In a demonstration to reporters last week, Toshiba played the same disc in an XDE player and a standard, $70 upscaling model on side-by-side LCD HDTVs. The new player produced a subtle but noticeable sharpening of the image.
Toshiba didn't demonstrate the XDE against a Blu-ray or HD DVD player, and Louis Masses, director of product planning for the audio and video group at Toshiba America Consumer Products, was careful to stress that it's not meant to compete with or replace Blu-ray.
"If you want Blu-ray, go get Blu-ray. This product is meant to improve playback of DVDs," Masses said.
Perhaps Mr. Masses is being cute. The public has shown no interest in abandoning the DVD format for Blu-ray, and he knows it. Maybe Toshiba will win the format war after all, by offering Video Hamburger Helper instead of Sony's Video Kobe Beef.