Toshiba Details Third-Gen HD DVD Players

Toshiba confirmed that it will soon be launching its third-generation HD DVD players, with enhancements across the board. All three models are available for under $500, which could help spur adoption of the fledgling format.

As reported by BetaNews on Friday, the new lineup features the HD-A3, HD-A30, and HD-A35. Prices are $299, $399, and $499 USD, respectively. The HD-A30 will be available next month, while the HD-A3 and HD-A35 are not due until October.

The two higher-end players are capable of supporting 1080p/24, while the lower-end player supports 1080i. Additionally, the new models support "CE-Link," which allows enabled devices to be controlled together to perform various functions.

Support for Deep Color via HDMI has been added to the top-of-the-line player, as well as support for 5.1 channel analog output and High Bit Rate Audio. All players feature a much slimmer design, about half as tall as Toshiba's first-generation HD DVD boxes.

"With a majority market share in unit sales of next generation DVD players, consumers are speaking loud and clear, and they are adopting HD DVD as their HD movie format of choice," said Jodi Sally, Vice President of Marketing for Toshiba's Digital A/V Group.

Toshiba HD-A35

"Because of the proven manufacturing efficiencies of the HD DVD format, Toshiba can bring this level of innovation in technology to a new generation of players with cutting-edge functionality at affordable prices."

Both HD DVD and Blu-ray continue to fight it out for customers. While Blu-ray does have a considerable lead in devices that can play its discs thanks to the PS3, HD DVD has moved into a majority share in standalone players in recent months. HD DVD's movie attach rate is also much higher than that of Blu-rays.

Both the HD DVD Promotion Group and analysts say this has a lot to do with the format's capability to produce cheaper players much quicker than its competitor.

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