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IFA 2009: Toshiba Press Conference

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While Sony was busy in the world of make. believe - its new marketing message - Toshiba was firmly planted in reality for its press conference at IFA 2009. As has been hinted at before the show, Blu-ray played a large part in proceedings, with a new standalone Blu-ray player and a Blu-ray equipped laptop (among other things) announced.

Satellite P500 - Blu-ray Laptop

We'll start with that laptop, which is called the Satellite P500. It's being marketed as the ‘ultimate multimedia laptop', a claim which is borne out by the spec list. An 18.4in laptop, the P500 will come with either Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) or HD Ready (1,680 x 945) displays, up to 8GB of RAM and up to 1TB of storage split between two drives. More pertinent, however, are its multimedia credentials, with the Blu-ray drive being teamed with Toshiba's Resolution+ upscaling technology previously seen in its TVs.

Added to this are Harmon Kardon speakers, which have an excellent track record on Toshiba's laptop's, and support for Regza-Link (CEC) over the HDMI output. Finally there's the Toshiba Multimedia Controller, a new software application that will be found in all future Toshiba media devices (TVs, mobile phones etc), which offers seamless, configuration free media streaming over networks - we'll see about that one!

SV Series LED Backlit LCD TV

IFA 2008 saw several companies launch LED backlit TVs and Toshiba joined their ranks today in announcing the Regza SV Series. This will be a local dimming LED backlit LCD TV, not the edge backlit variety preferred by Samsung, and Toshiba claims a unique diffuser filter will make their backlighting more ‘natural' than the competition.

Being Toshiba's new top of the range model, the SV Series packs every conceivable feature into its frame. This includes Dolby Volume, DLNA, USB and SD support, as well as Resolution+. Key techie highlights include 200Hz processing and a quoted 2,000,000:1 contrast ratio, with the slightly leftfield addition of an ambient light sensor powering a new ‘AutoView' configuration mode.

Journ.E Touch Media Tablet

Talking of leftfield announcements, one thing we certainly weren't expecting from Toshiba was a media tablet, but gone ahead and made one it has. Donning the bizarre name Journ.E Touch, this 7in touchscreen device will be powered by an ARM processor and run an embedded Windows CE operating system - hardly cutting edge, but we'll give it the benefit of the doubt for now.

With the focus being very much on Internet browsing, multimedia and social networking, it's no surprise to discover that there's Wi-Fi on-board or that a docking station offers an HDMI output to your TV. Pre-installed applications for YouTube, Acetrax (a video-on-demand service apparently), Flickr and MSN Messenger (among others) will give you instance access to popular services, while a separate wireless keyboard will be sold so that you can browse the Internet on your TV, though you can also use the device to do this, too. There's only 1GB of built-in storage, but there's an SDHC card slot, so this could be expanded to as much as 32GB. Pricing is expected to be 249 Euros, around £217 at current exchange rates.

BDX2000 Blu-ray Player

All this was merely a pre-amble, however, to the main event, that Toshiba will finally be selling a Blu-ray player. Its first effort will be BDX2000 and will of course be a Profile 2.0 player, so Bonus View, BD Live and other 2.0 features are a given. Indeed, with the Blu-ray standards (and expectations) fairly well set now, the BDX2000 is much like most players in offering support for both Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio codes, deep colour, and 1080p/24fps playback. Rather than USB, Toshiba opts for an SD card slot, which will be required when accessing any BD Live disc features.

Overall, though lacking the natty sound bites of Sony, it's a solid showing from Toshiba, if only because - after much exasperation - we're finally going to see a Toshiba Blu-ray player. It might have taken a while, but it has finally seen the light.

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