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Photos from IFA 2006: Toshiba demos its HD DVD players

Toshiba's presence at IFA can be summed up in five letters: HD DVD. The high-definition players announced at the show formed the centrepiece of Toshiba's stand

The centrepiece of Toshiba's stand at IFA 2006 was the area promoting HD DVD. Toshiba announced the European launch dates and pricing for two players, the mainstream HD-E1 and the high-end HD-XE1. Visitors to the show were able to see the players in action, compare them to standard DVD players and find out about the first batch of titles.

The emphasis was on Toshiba's three big brands: Regza for HD-Ready LCD televisions, HD DVD for recorded content and Qosmio for multimedia laptops -- including the Qosmio G30, with its built-in HD DVD-ROM drive.

The HD DVD players sat upon pedestals, encased in perspex -- presumably to protect them from visitors hungry for hi-def players at any cost. Toshiba claimed to be the only company showing high-definition video from a player, rather than simulating playback using a computer behind the scenes.

Side-by-side playback of HD DVD and DVD pictures enabled viewers to compare the two formats. HD DVD gives a more stable, more detailed picture with cleaner edges.

HD DVD titles announced so far include Apollo 13, Bourne Supremacy, Jarhead and Serenity from Universal; Mission Impossible III (M:i:III) from Paramount; Constantine, Goodfellas, Lethal Weapon and Syriana from Warner Bros; Basic Instinct, Rambo I, II and III, The Pianist and Total Recall from StudioCanal; and Planet Earth from 2 Entertain.

Toshiba also displayed recordable and rewritable HD DVDs, ranging in capacity from standard 15GB discs to dual-layer 30GB discs and triple-layer 45GB discs.

Journalists at the press conference flocked to examine the new players. The HD DVD add-on drive for the Xbox 360 was also on display.