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9/10

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Toshiba XDE600 Upscaling DVD Player - Toshiba XDE600

The USB port on the front comes in useful for playing DivX, XviD, MP3, WMA and JPEG files without the need to burn them onto disc first, but unsurprisingly there's no DivX HD or MKV support.

Of course, the star feature is XDE, which works using three different modes called Sharp, Colour and Contrast. As the name suggests, Sharp Mode boosts detail clarity but doesn't take the blanket approach of most sharpening modes - it works out which parts of the picture actually need sharpening and leaves the rest alone.
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Colour Mode looks at the movie's palette and adjusts it accordingly to deliver the brightest and most natural looking balance, paying close attention to blues and greens. The Contrast Mode tackles the balance between light and dark parts of the picture and enhances them for maximum effect, which is particularly useful for bringing out detail during dark scenes - and once again XDE can actually discern which parts need boosting and which don't.

You can only select one of these presets at a time, but when you select the Colour or Contrast modes the picture sharpness is also enhanced. But if you don't like any of the settings then you can bypass them.

Elsewhere the XDE600 offers everything you'd expect from a DVD player, including a three-stage zoom and trickplay modes like repeat A-B, slow motion and frame-by-frame playback. The deck searches discs up to 100x normal speed and the Enhanced Audio Mode lends a more expansive '3D' effect to stereo sound but its ineffective.
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The onscreen display design is identical to the other Toshiba DVD players we've tested recently, apart from a jazzy splashscreen featuring the XDE logo. The setup menu is colourful and clearly sequenced, plus the responsive cursor keeps frustration to a minimum.

The all-black remote is nothing special to look at but boasts logical button layout and a few useful keys, including one for toggling through the XDE modes. The Display key brings up a transparent banner showing all the details that are missing from the front display (including the video bitrate).

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