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After being thoroughly disappointed by the detail-boosting XD-E500, the player charged with filling the HD DVD-shaped hole in Toshiba's range, we now turn our attention to the next player in the pecking order.
The SD-580E may lack the eXtended Detail Enhancement found in the XD-E500 but it does upscale DVDs to 1080p, 1080i and 720p, which should still make it an attractive proposition to hi-def TV owners looking to make the most of their DVD collections - and at less than £60 online, it could be a cost-effective way of doing so.
Inevitably, the low price tag has taken its toll on the deck's build quality. It's painfully light, sounds hollow and the fascia feels plasticky to the touch - in other words, exactly what you'd expect from a budget DVD deck. Thankfully, Toshiba has masterfully disguised its physical shortcomings with sleek, sexy black styling and wafer-thin dimensions, which perfectly compliment Toshiba's Regza LCD TVs.
The fascia is kept nice and tidy thanks to a minimal amount of buttons, but the disappointing LED display panel is reduced to four digits, which can only show the current chapter. There's also a separate light showing the current HDMI output resolution, but the main attraction on the front panel is the USB port, a feature not found on any other DVD player in Toshiba's range (including the XD-E500). It can be used to play back MP3, DivX and JPEG files and cuts out the hassle of burning your content onto disc before you can play it. But you can still play these files from disc if you wish - the unit accepts every format except DVD-RAM.
Rear connections are the same as the SD-480E and include HDMI, component, composite and SCART outputs (the latter thankfully offering RGB), while on the audio side you'll find coaxial digital and analogue stereo outputs. It's a modest selection, but one that should suffice for most systems.
Other features include Enhanced Picture Mode (EPM), which enables you to adjust the picture's brightness and contrast levels, and Enhanced Audio Mode, which generates virtual surround when using two speakers. You'll also find a range of other exotic features such as a zoom mode, a Night mode for after-hours viewing and all the usual trickplay modes.
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