Toshiba has announced it will launch two high-definition (HD) DVD players in the UK later this year.
The first player is a mainstream model which will cost around £400 and hit shops mid-November, while a higher-end model will be available in December costing about £600.
The two players will play pre-recorded HD-DVD discs which Toshiba says will allow viewers with HDTVs to watch ‘stunning, digital, high-definition picture quality far surpassing that delivered by standard DVD’.
Both players will be able to play existing (non-HD) DVDs and CDs.
Around 40 HD-DVDs will be released by the end of the year including The Pianist, Million Dollar Baby, Apollo 13 and Jarhead followed by more than 55 other releases in the first three months of 2007.
Paramount, Universal Pictures International and Warner Home Video are also planning to offer current releases as well as selections from their back catalogues over the next several months.
Yoshihide Fujii of Toshiba said: ‘HD-DVD has been lauded by early adopters in the US and Japan for providing consistently high-quality and unsurpassed audio and video performance. Europe is seeing fast-growing demand for HDTV.’
The first HD-DVD player was launched in March 2006 and the format is set to battle it out with Sony’s Blu-Ray system to become the dominant successor to DVD.
The Blu-Ray discs have more storage capacity than HD-DVD discs, but HD-DVD is a cheaper system.
Which? expert Dave Holes said: ‘As always new technology is expensive and these new players are no exception. But inevitably prices will fall.
‘We’ll be testing these products soon, and we’ll say whether we think they’re worth the high price-tag.’