Toshiba improves HD DVD players, cuts prices

Third-generation high-def players offer more bang per buck

Good news for US residents who happen to have already decided to board the good ship HD DVD. They'll soon be able to get their hands on the first third-generation players to hit the market.

Toshiba US has announced that its range of HD DVD machines will get a significant spec bump. It'll start next month with the launch of three new models that improve significantly on existing players in both performance and - possibly most importantly - price.

Home movies

The flagship HD-A35 will sell for $500 (£250) with improved 1080p high-definition video playback at 24fps. It also supports 7.1 surround-sound by allowing the audio signal to bypass its internal audio processor to go directly to a 7.1-capable receiver for processing. Together, those two technologies promise a more cinema-like viewing experience.

Additionally, the A35 sports an enhanced colour-processing technique called Deep Color that can display billions of colours. And it features CE-Link for controlling compatible devices with just one remote handset.

Also, the $400 (£200) HD-A30 model offers the same output as the A35, but without both the ability to go all the way to 7.1 audio and the Deep Color technique. Finally, the budget $300 (£150) HD-A3 offers just 1080i video playback.

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