Toshiba America Consumer Products is now shipping its new series of HD DVD players, HD-XA1 and HD-A1, to retailers in the US. This release will be supported by consumer promotions and an extensive advertising campaign, highlighting consumer benefits, following a 40 city retail tour.
Toshiba has also announced a promotion with Netflix, which includes a coupon for one free month of DVD rentals, including HD DVD content. Another tie in is a King Kong promotional campaign: consumers who purchase a player before 31 May 2006 can receive by mail a US$25 coupon to be used towards the purchase of King Kong or any DVD/HD DVD at participating retailers.
Toshiba's player is the first to the market, so making it appeal to consumers is important.
Toshiba's new HD DVD players are backwards compatible so users can play their existing DVD and CD libraries. Both the HD-XA1 and the HD-A1 support three new sound formats: 5.1ch Dolby Digital Plus, two channels of Dolby TrueHD and 5.1ch DTS core stream for DTS-HD.
The models perform up-conversion of standard DVDs through the HDMI output, allowing users to playback existing DVDs which are scaled to their HDTV or HD displays.
The players also support advanced navigation (content depedenent), such as a "pop-up menu" that displays movie chapters with thumbnails, while the movie plays; Picture in Picture (PIP) with motion video functions that superimpose content, allowing users to watch a documentary about the making, while the movie plays.
Expected pricing is US$799 for HD-XA1 and US$499 for HD-A1.