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Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player review



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Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player
  • Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player
  • Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player
  • Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player
  • Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player
  • Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player
  • Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player
  • Toshiba XD-E500 Upscaling DVD Player
  • XD-E500KB DVD Player (Progressive Scan, 1080p Upconversion, HDMI)


Our Score:


2008 has been a pretty tough year for Toshiba. After Warner turned its back on HD DVD in January and essentially killed the format off, Toshiba had to go back to the drawing board as far as high definition went. For the past three years Toshiba has been pushing HD DVD as the single most important aspect of any home cinema setup, so now that it’s gone, what’s filling the gap? Strange as it may seem, Toshiba feels that the HD DVD breach can be filled with, err, DVD.

While at IFA recently, Toshiba put forward the idea that the majority of consumers are still watching SD content, so the lack of a true HD source device in its line up isn’t that much of an issue. Now, although it’s probably true that most consumers are still watching SD on their HDTVs, this new message from Toshiba is somewhat at odds with the message the company has been putting out for the past couple of years. Let’s face it, if Toshiba really believed that consumers aren’t interested in HD source devices, why was it pushing HD DVD?

Anyway, let’s put Toshiba’s u-turn to one side and concentrate on the product in front of me right now - the XD-E500. The XD-E500 is a DVD player, but it’s the most advanced DVD player that Toshiba has ever brought to market. Although Toshiba has been selling upscaling DVD players for many years, this is the first to incorporate the company’s eXtended Detail Enhancement, or XDE technology - clearly EDE didn’t sound as cutting edge, so Toshiba grabbed the second letter of the first word for the acronym.

The XD-E500 looks similar to Toshiba’s other upscaling DVD players, in that it’s slim, shallow and very light. Although the lack of substance isn’t an issue in a player that costs less that £50, like Toshiba’s own SD-480E, it’s somewhat disappointing in a deck that will set you back around £130 on the street. The front fascia is reasonably busy, with a full complement of control buttons, along with the power button on the right. The left is dominated by the disc tray, with an Open/Close button to the right of it. There’s a small display that indicates track information, and next to this is an array of indicator lights that show what mode of output has been selected.

Matt G Baish

September 15, 2008, 5:12 pm

I agree that Toshiba should look at producing Blu Ray players (inc budget models? though Sony licence will probably knobble that one)- they might as well make some cash whilst they can.

However, I can only hope, that they are working on the NextGen of high def content (maybe some sort of download alliance with the well established MS XBL?). If only to introduce a bit of competition & help drive down Blu Ray disc prices. Having said that the MS XBL service in UK (at least) is not great content-wise at the moment - but it could be so much more & having a stand alone upscaling DVD player (with Hard-Drive) may help somewhat. In fact what about a Toshiba Blu-ray player with 500 gig hard-drive & dowloadable XBL Movie content & Freeview thrown in for a laugh - nice & one in the eye for Sony at the same time :) Must go have a lie down now.

Please feel free to slag off the broadband speeds in the UK to point out how infeasible this is at the current time :)


September 15, 2008, 6:06 pm

I would have thought you would have compared it to the Oppo players. We all know that Toshiba are sulking in the corner and DVD is dying. But at least properly compare the product to it's competition.


September 15, 2008, 6:57 pm

Yes Oppo has a good reputation for building great upscaling DVD decks, but they also provide far more functionality that the Toshiba. For a start, you get a USB port, so you can stream all your DivX content direct, without having to burn it to disc. Then you get full DVD Audio and SACD support. You also get an internal audio decoder, so you can output surround sound to any amp with 6 channel analogue inputs. Add to that the fact that the Oppo decks also exhibit far superior build quality and finishing, and there's at least some justification for their price.

However, as good as the Oppo players are. The price of Blu-ray decks has dropped so significantly over the past few months, that I don't think I could recommend one as an alternative to a REAL high definition source. I understand that many consumers have large DVD collections - I have over 600 discs myself - but that doesn't change the fact that no matter how good your upscaling, it can't compare to an actual HD source.

I'm sorry jopey, but I honestly see the XD-E500's competiting with Blu-ray players, so I am comparing it to its competition. With current pricing, a Blu-ray deck doesn't cost too much more and gives you real HD, while also doing a decent job of upscaling your DVD collection.

Gavin Hamer

September 15, 2008, 10:21 pm

Erm. It's an expensive DVD player, it's not a cheap HD player.

Anyway, it seems like the value rating is compared to DVD players and the performance rating is compared to Blu-ray players. Most of the text of the review seems to be complimentary about the performance. Knocking down the design for being too slim/shallow/light seems a tad odd. So they should've made it bigger and added some lead?

From another review that I read of this player, I noted that this box does not include the cell processor, and that upscaling product is to follow.

Before reading this review, I already had the prejudice that the TR review would be much more critical of this unit than the other review I read, and sadly that was indeed the case.

Not that I would buy this thing!


September 15, 2008, 10:47 pm

just a question, how would something like this compare to, say, connecting a pc directly via DVI/HDMI and playing dvds through that to a HD tv?

just interested


September 16, 2008, 4:22 pm

Gavin - you're right, it is a DVD player, but Toshiba is pushing it as a viable alternative to an HD player. Yes, I was generally positive about its upscaling ability, but at this price it is competing directly with actual HD devices. The value rating is taking into account its position compared to DVD players and Blu-ray decks - it simply doesn't offer enough compared to a Blu-ray and it's way too expensive compared to DVD players.

The problem here is that after years of Toshiba shouting about how important high definition source devices are, it now wants consumers to buy into an old format. Yes I still have a LOT of DVDs, but I haven't bought one for 18 months and will never buy another one. Any new movies that are release, I'll want to own in HD, not SD. I therefore find it hard to be positive about a device that encourages consumes not to move forward, despite the new tech being affordable.


September 16, 2008, 4:36 pm

As for using a PC to watch HD, it's not the best option for a number of reasons including a lack of HDMI 1.3, which brings with it the problem of outputting Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio bit streams, along with no support for Deep Colour.

Also, please forgive any typos in these posts, I'm sitting in a presentation an using an iPhone over. GPRS.


September 16, 2008, 11:32 pm

I usually swear by the reviews on this site but felt I had to register to comment on this one.

Riyad, I feel you're missing the point of this product and others like it (from Oppo, Denon and the like). The vast majority of people are happy with standard DVD quality and see no clear reason to spend a lot of money on new hardware and software to migrate to Blu-ray. For these people, quality upscaling decks like this allow them to squeeze more picture quality from their disks with a minimal outlay.

I've spent some cash on AV equipment in my time but there's no way I'm rebuying my entire DVD collection on an HD format. Therefore upscaling players are perfect - especially if, like me, you have a TV that isn't the size of the moon.

130 quid for a quality upscaling deck is a bargain.

Hamish Campbell

September 17, 2008, 2:07 am

errr 130 quid a bargain?

if Riyads right that 160 gets you blu ray which will also upscale dvds then thats blantantly rubbish.

if you see no clear reason to spend a lot on new hardware then you'd get a 50 quid upscaling dvd player.....actually you'd probably just let your fancy new tv do the upscaling.


September 17, 2008, 1:12 pm

You hit the nail right on the head there haim - not much I can add without just repeating what you said :)


September 17, 2008, 5:25 pm

A 160ukp blu-ray player will not upscale DVDs as well as this unit. Neither will your TV unless you have a very expensive recent model.

Now, if you want to buy blu-rays right now, obviously you need a blu-ray player. But if you don't, you are actually shooting yourself in the foot by getting one now (as anyone who recently bought the Panny BD30 or BD50 will tell you).

The longer people wait before making the jump, the better the hardware they will get for the same money when they eventually do it. That's just common sense.


September 17, 2008, 10:36 pm

Actually there is absolutely nothing wrong with the Panasonic BD30 or BD50. Yes, the profile has moved on since the BD30 launched, but I wouldn't feel short changed about not having BD Live funtionality - anyone who was at the Sony press conference at IFA will testify to that, unless you like having your face injected into Starship Troopers 3.

Actually a Blu-ray player can do a very good job of upscaling, just like Toshiba's entry level HD-E1 HD DVD player did a great job of upscaling despite being cheap.

Ultimately, if you're serious about watching movies, it makes sense to be buying all your new films in an HD format, and if you're not serious about movies, you probably won't want to pay through the nose for an upscaling DVD deck.


September 18, 2008, 4:15 am

I'm obviously not getting through so this will be my last post on the subject.

1. Yes, blu-ray players do a good job at upscaling DVDs. But dedicated DVD players do a better job, and that's what it's all about isn't it, from a DVD point of view? If not, are all of the reviews up til now of DVD upscalers by the popular magazines worthless?

2. I disagree that if one is serious about watching films, one must buy everything from now on in the blu-ray format. People are not made of money. Blu-rays are perhaps 3 times the cost of a standard DVD. Are they worth that price difference? After seeing the actual quality difference, I say no. If I won the lottery obviously I would invest heavily into blu-ray as that format contains the best possible picture and sound. It is likely that I will not win the lottery. It is likely I will stick with the hundreds of DVDs I currently own and will look for a way to make them look and sound better on my system.

For those with cash to burn, go for blu-ray, perhaps investing in one of Denon's high-quality players. For everyone else, stick with DVD and get some great upscaling from the Tosh XD-E500, Denon DVD-1940 or higher, Oppo DV-98x and so on.

DVD is not dead as long as it's possible to buy recent disks for less than a tenner. As soon as blu-ray can do that, it will be the new format of choice. Until then, it'll always be playing second fiddle. There is a recession going on you know?

Hamish Campbell

September 18, 2008, 1:49 pm

Well maybe not recession yet, but I get the point.

Hence, avoid buying 120 quid of dvd upscaler AND another simlar amount in a few years when the price of blueray discs comes down to an affordable level for you.

Instead spend 30 quid now and save yourself 100. You get dvd upscaling at a decent quality level AND blue ray whenever you need it.

Or if you are struggling with recession issues spend 50 quid on an ok upscaler.

If you are me, worry more about affording a new tele first :)

Shaka 1

September 18, 2008, 5:59 pm

You've got to laugh. If I was cynical I'd say all these bluray bashers are pissed off HDDVD owners.

A blind man can clearly see that Toshiba are aiming this player directly at bluray players.

After the failure of HDHVD, which Toshiba desperately wanted to succeed, toshiba are now proclaiming that HD is no longer necessary and DVD is 'good enough'. Let me ask you, if DVD is 'good enough' then why bother upscaling to 'try' and match HD??

I don't understand how many times Riyad has to reply for you thickos to understand. If you're going to spend an £x amount on an upscaling player and spending another 㿊 or 㿔 gets an HD bluray player which can also upscale just as well then doesn't it make more sense to buy a future proof player? He's not saying to you replace all your DVDs with bluray versions, but at least you now have a choice to buy new movies in either format.

Someone said a DVD player upscales better than a bluray player. erm I think that depends on the components in the player ...

Matt G Baish

September 19, 2008, 8:06 pm

@Fistynuts I agree with you on this; I too am a bit sick of being told to buy a Blu Ray player rather than a decent DVD upscaler. Whatever Toshiba's marketing department may say - surely the R&D dept are not stupid and do not, IMHO, really intend this to compete direct with BluRay players. Another plus for a DVD upscaler versus BluRay player is the speed of the unit; early generation BluRay (& HD-DVD players for that matter) are pig-slow compared to a decent DVD player (no offence intended to our friends in the Sus family). Personally I therefore play all DVDs on my (non) upscaling DVD player & all my HD-DVDs on the (very cheap when I got it) Tosh HD-DVD player (i.e. the speed of the unit is worth thw wait for HD-DVD but not for upscaled DVD - however a FAST upscaler would tip the balance for me).

@Shaka Equally we could label all upscaling/HD-DVD bashing posters as Blu-Ray/Sony Fanboys - but I am sure you are not one of those now are you?! ;^)

@Riyad Are you guys at TR *always* right? I think I have only seen a back-down once in the comments sections (with a corresponding +1 point on the features of some phone or other :)) Sheesh - remember we commenters (don't think that is a word - ho hum) are also your readers - so taking our POV on board (whilst not saying that you have to agree with it) would at least be favourite! :^)


September 19, 2008, 10:09 pm

@Matt G Baish - you can and you have. You've also proved my point.


September 20, 2008, 10:13 pm

Thanks Matt for adding some sense to the argument.

I noticed today that this month's What Hi-Fi? gives this player 5 out of 5.

Following Riyad's review guidelines � turntables should be marked down as CDs are out now. It's a nonsense.

And no, I am not a "pissed off HD-DVD owner". As I said, I reckon hi-def isn't yet worth it.

Matt G Baish

September 22, 2008, 4:11 pm

@Shaka - look I don't want to get into a slagging match here but how exactly did I prove your point?! I actually bought into HD-DVD *AFTER* Toshiba announced it was dead since it is a cheap interim solution between DVD and whatever comes next (could be Blu Ray - IMHO however the software is too expensive at the moment) & I plan to rip them all (for backup purposes obviously) once I can get a cheap enough huge RAID NAS Device on which to do so. I am *NOT* slagging off Blu Ray - I would equally defend someone if they were `really` unjustly being called a `Blu ray fanboy`. Note that I didn't actually call *you* one; I was just pointing out that your conclusion did not follow from the fact that some of us `thickos`, as you so eloquently put it, think that pitching this upscaling player versus a Blu Ray is an unfair contest; `apples versus oranges` to paraphrase an overused, but apt, idiom on this site ;).

Rant over :)

robert choo

October 3, 2008, 8:48 pm

about bluray vs HD...toshiba is not given the same playing field..it is kill by the sony gang with big bucks..sony know that he is loosing ground...hence the conspiracy to kill tosiba...hype on 1080p and 50g...ask sony to sell the trilogy in one disk..no way..3disc to make 3x $ than 1x.. 1080p how may monitors in the household has this feature. moreover no much difference in picture quality..now sony call the shot..and the consumers must pay the price...it just show how the consumers can be conned..we can get out of it...just dont buy..dont be cornered and force down the throat by BD..

sj 1

October 5, 2008, 8:46 pm

I am greatly disappointed with this review...the MOST important question when buying a DVD player, to me, is the quality of DVD playback. To compare SD to Blu-ray seems to completely missing the point; I don't yet have any Blu-ray material but I do have an enormous number of DVDs...and I want to play them on a nice big screen at the best quality I can afford. I'm looking for value for money here, I'm not able to afford the best possible equipment. Therefore it's vital that I can compare "like with like".

As I understand the situation, different players have different abilities at upscaling an SD image to 1080p...and, critically, a good DVD player will do a BETTER job at upscaling than a cheap Blu-ray player. It is simply misleading to suggest that upscaling is just some kind of 'feature' of players...that a cheap DVD supermarket player will do the same job as an expensive DVD player...and that all Blu-ray players will do exactly the same job of upscaling SD as each other, and as the cheap DVD players.

What I need to know is "How does the DVD playback quality of this player compare with the DVD playback of the other players, including any Blu-ray machines reviewed?"

I have read glowing reviews of the OPPO 983 DVD player...it is held up as the BEST player of DVD pictures, regardless of comparison with Blu-ray players, when talking about upscaled SD material. That machine is over 𧷤. The question should be "how much do I have to pay to buy a future-proof Blu-ray player that gives me upscaled DVD pictures of equivalent, or better, quality to the OPPO?"...The answer is NOT going to be the 𧵘 Samsung Blu-ray talked about above...and it's probably more than the 𧷤 price of the OPPO...in fact it's probably a great deal more...if it's even available. That's what I need to know from a reviewer who compares a DVD machine with Blu-ray.

Having read this review I have to ask "Why is someone who thinks DVD is dead being asked to write a review of a DVD player?". It seems daft to suddenly start comparing DVD quality to Blu-ray and then giving the DVD player a 6/10 quality rating. Obviously the two are not alike, and doing this casts all previous quality ratings in a confusing way...and I, as the reader, cannot compare this review with any others in this website.

What are you going to do?...change all the other quality ratings of previous reviews to allow the new standard of visual quality based on Blu-ray pictures to accurately compare with this one? Without a "standard" of quality, across all reviews, there can't be comparison between products...and I can't trust these reviews.

I always thought of this site with high opinion...but the "Trusted Reviews" brand has just been damaged.


November 1, 2008, 8:20 pm

Guys i think you are all wrong in this, i will never buy blueray or dvd again, instead i now download all my films.

The future is solid state! get a player with usb and get a huge 500gb hard drive and download all your films. I have 900 films in my digital library at a click away, and they still get upscailed, spinning disc formats are the past, roll on Films for dowload service!!!!!!


November 3, 2008, 11:15 pm

I just went out to comet to buy a XDE500 purly to upscail my huge 900+ collection of divx movies.

I have currently been using my pc but wanted something that looked good and make the picture of the compresed file better.

OMFG!! This DVD player is the best thing ever created, took 2 min to copy 4 dix movies to a disc, wal-e indiana jones 4 and a few others, ive never seen riped divx movies look so good, tried finding nemo on a standard dvd in it...., Is there a need for blue ray??

Guys just to point out, i have sold my samsung BDP1500 (blueray player) as i will never justify spending 㿀 on a Blueray when i can download free or buy from asda for ١. BDP1500 upscail is poo compared to this, finding nemo is almost as good as blueray, i dont know how toshiba has done it but OMG is all i can say.

1 more thing, why do old films keep coming out on Blueray??? rambo 1?? was a hd cam even invented then, Sony are and always will be a Rip off merchant.

Hd solution? Buy a good upscailer, XDE500 is the best one currently on the market, wait till 2010 when we have a dedicated online movie download service where you can get everysingle film you want in HD, a bit like I tunes, Spinning format HD will not take over DVD, it will be downlaod services that im holding out on, Digital DVD colections, thats what microsft and Toshiba are working on, HOLD OUT !!

Geoff Richards

November 4, 2008, 12:10 am

Ashy - we certainly can't condone your downloading activity. Such behaviour is not only illegal but highly immoral. Just look at the state of the PC gaming industry, rife with piracy. If everyone just said "screw Blu-ray - I'm just going to download it for free" then Hollywood would implode and there would be no more films to watch.

Consider yourself officially warned - any further discussion of pirating films will result in a ban.


November 4, 2008, 3:22 am

Ok 2 things, i dont download all my films, i have over 900 dvd's that i have backed up on my pc to watch anytime, number 2.

Holiwood make enough money from the cinimas alone to pay for the film and make plenty of margin, so dont give me this imploding crap, Downloads is the future, and im not talking ilegal im saying a service like virgin media or i tunes.

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