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Toshiba Brings World's First HD DVD Player to the Japanese Market

31 March, 2006


Toshiba's HD DVD Player to Debut Today in Japan

HD-XA1
 
HD-XA1

TOKYO—Toshiba Corporation today took the home video experience to the next, high definition level, as it started the Japanese roll out of the world's first commercially available HD DVD player. The new player, HD-XA1, delivers high definition images and crystal clear sound, bringing home entertainment to a new level.

Toshiba's HD-XA1 is the first player to support the HD DVD format*1 approved by the DVD Forum, the international association that defines and promotes DVD standards. HD-XA1 supports playback of pre-recorded HD DVD, offering consumers stunning digital high-definition picture quality far surpassing that of standard DVD*2. Sound is also enhanced. Along with L-PCM 5.1ch audio, HD-XA1 supports the clarity and realism of three next generation surround-sound formats, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, and sound sources can be output to audio systems via the player's HDMI output or multi-channel audio output. Support for up-conversion of standard DVD to a resolution of 1080i or 720p through HDCP capable HDMI output allows consumers to enjoy current DVD libraries with output resolution scaled to their HDTV or HD displays.

HD-XA1 also goes beyond the capabilities of standard DVD with extensive support for advanced navigation and interactive features offering new and exciting ways to interact with content. The player's "pop-up menu" displays movie chapters with thumbnails while the movie plays, and allows users to navigate menu features without pausing playback. Picture in Picture (PIP) with motion video functions include the ability to play supplementary video over the main program, allowing viewers to watch bonus content, such as a superimposed director's commentary or a documentary about the making of the movie, while the movie plays*3.

Initial shipments of HD-AX1, until April 27, will bundle two complimentary HD DVD movie discs, "Resident Evil" and a Japanese film, "Moonlight Jellyfish".

Over the last year, Toshiba has marked 130 years of operation. During this celebratory period the company has designated certain strategic new products as "T130 Products". HD-XA1 is positioned as a "T130 Product".

Outline of HD-XA1
Outline of HD-XA1

Background

Toshiba commercialized the world's first DVD players in the Japanese market in November 1996, and brought its first products to the US market in March 1997. DVD has since become one of the most successful consumer products in history. Today, the global market for DVD players and recorders is huge. Worldwide cumulative sales were in the region of 370 million units*4 by the end of December 2005, and in Japan the penetration ratio of DVD players and recorders reached 49%*5 of household by the end of March 2005. The versatility of DVD has won it wide application, including PCs, automotive systems, video camcorders and games, and further market growth is expected.

Today, the CE and IT industries are poised to advance to new levels of achievement, and consumers are ready to go with them. HDTV broadcasting is moving into the mainstream and expanding its service area, and analog broadcasting is slated to be phased out in many parts of the world—in Japan by 2011. These trends are fueling fast growing demand for higher picture quality and larger data capacities.

Against this background, Toshiba has brought the first HD DVD player to market to promote the early and fast penetration of the next generation DVD format, and to stimulate the penetration of content software based on HD DVD. Toshiba will enhance its line-up of HD DVD products by introducing notebook PCs with HD DVD-ROM drives and HD DVD recorders with integrated HDD.

Key Features of the New Player

1. Playback of high definition content and support for advanced content features
Alongside playback of high-definition quality HD DVD content, the HD-XA1 supports enhanced functionality and diverse features. While those features depend on content, the player's "pop-up menu" displays menu or movie chapters while the movie plays, enabling to search desired functions or jump to a desired scene through chapter guide. The player also supports PIP with motion video functions. For example, director's and actor's commentary can be motion video super-imposed concurrently when the movie continues to play, allowing them to literally point to the material they are discussing.

2. Next generation surround-sound formats
HD DVD supports Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, next generation surround-sound formats, and also supports L-PCM 5.1ch. Analog 5.1ch output integrated into the HD-AX1 allows consumers to enjoy surround sound simply by connecting the player to an AV amplifier with analog input.

3. Digital high definition picture output with up-converter and HDMI output
Through the HDMI interface, high-definition pictures stored in a disc can be displayed digitally in HD, on digital TVs and displays that incorporate HDCP capable HDMI input. Such TVs include Toshiba's new TV REGZA Z1000 series. Through the HDMI interface, standard definition DVDs can be up-converted to an output resolution of 720p or 1080i, to complement the performance of a HDTV.

4. Compatible to playback various discs including current DVD software
In addition to prerecorded DVD software, HD-XA1 supports playback of DVD-R, DVD-RW and DVD-RAM discs. It is also compatible with music CDs and playback of CDs in WMA or MP3 file format.

Key Specifications

Key Specifications
* HD-XA1 supports AACS (Advanced Access Content System), the next generation content protection system.

About HD DVD Format

HD DVD is standardized by the DVD Forum, the international association of some 240 companies. Specifications of HD DVD-ROM physical, file and application formats were approved by the Forum in August 2005. In addition to a versatility that enables support for diverse applications, including players, recorders, PCs and automotive devices, HD DVD's main features are:
1) The same disc structure as DVD, two 0.6mm-thick polycarbonate discs bonded back-to-back. This structure makes it easy for HD DVD to achieve backward compatibility with DVD hardware devices, and also assures a simple manufacturing process for discs and hardware devices, resulting in reasonable manufacturing costs.
2) Robust playability, with no need for a disc cartridge to protect against surface blemishes and fingerprints.
3) The ability to meet capacity demands. The DVD Forum has approved HD DVD-ROM discs with a data capacity of 15GB with a single-layer disc and 30GB with a dual-layer disc (1GB = 1-billion bytes). High data capacities are achieved by adopting a shorter wavelength blue-violet laser and advanced data processing technologies, assuring the ability to store large capacity data sources, including high-definition images.
4) Adoption of advanced navigation and content features to enhance the entertainment of consumers.
5) Adoption of AACS (Advanced Access Content System) to secure robust content protection.
6) Using twin format disc technology (single-sided dual-layer; DVD 4.7GB and HD DVD 15GB), a single disc can store both HD DVD and DVD versions of a film, allowing consumers to immediately enjoy the standard definition movie on today's DVD players and to playback the same movie in HD on an HD DVD player at a later date. A combination disc (double-sided dual-layer; DVD 8.5GB and HD DVD 30GB) is now under development.

For more information on HD DVD, visit the following sites:
1) the HD DVD Promotion Group :http://www.hddvdprg.com/
2) Toshiba Corporation: http://www.toshiba.co.jp/hddvd/eng/index.htm

*1 Compatible with HD DVD-ROM disc prerecorded in HD DVD-Video format
*2 Disc may require HDTV or HD display equipped with D3/D4 input, HDCP capable HDMI input, or component video input for high-definition viewing. Other TVs or displays can playback content, but not in high definition. Also, some content may not playback or playback in lower resolution on D3/D4 and component video output.
*3 Updates to player firmware may be required for some interactive features, depending on content, which may also require an always-on broadband internet connection. Some features may require additional bandwidth.
*4
Source: JEITA (Japan Electronics and Information Technology Industries Association)
*5
Source: Data of penetration ratio of key consumer durables by Cabinet Office of Government of Japan (as of the end of March 2005)

Notes:

  • HDMI and High-Definition Multimedia interface are trademarks of HDMI Licensing, L.L.C.
  • HD DVD and DVD are trademarks of the DVD Format/Logo Licensing Corporation.
  • Dolby is a registered trademark of Dolby Laboratories.
  • DTS is a registered trademark of DTS, Inc.
  • While Toshiba has made every effort at the time of publication to ensure the accuracy of the information provided herein, product specifications are subject to change without notice.

Information in the press releases, including product prices and specifications, content of services and contact information, is current on the date of the press announcement,but is subject to change without prior notice.

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