Toshiba pointed out that the 24fps feature isn’t really needed for PAL sources, since the XD-E500 is already outputting a 25fps 1080 progressive signal, but the problem with that argument is that modern HDTVs are looking for a 1080p 24fps signal, not a 1080p 25fps one. As such, TVs will not apply the even pulldown techniques that are used to ensure smooth and fluid playback with a 24fps source. Toshiba’s own TVs offer a 5:5 pulldown feature for 1080p 24Hz signals, resulting in smooth 120Hz playback. Other manufacturers use 3:3 or 4:4 methods, but they all look for a 1080p 24Hz input before applying those methods. And let’s not forget that these TVs are expecting a signal from an HD source like Blu-ray, where the movie has been encoded at 24fps in the first place.
There’s no doubt that the XD-E500 is a decent DVD player, but the question is whether anyone should still be investing money in DVD at this point in the game. There’s a solid argument for buying a cheap upscaling DVD player for the secondary TV in your house, but the XD-E500 is, by no means, a cheap DVD player. And with the price of Blu-ray players dropping every day, I find it impossible to suggest that anyone buy a DVD player for £130, no matter how impressive its upscaling is.
I sincerely hope that Toshiba comes to its senses sometime soon and starts to produce Blu-ray players, because if the company keeps its head firmly in the sand, it’s going to seriously damage its standing in the home entertainment arena. Now that the format war is over, Blu-ray is likely to become the standard format for the next eight years or so, if DVD’s lifetime is anything to go by, and Toshiba needs to be part of that picture.
As for the XD-E500, it’s a good upscaling DVD player, but it’s just far too expensive compared to other DVD decks, and even entry level Blu-ray players. Clearly Toshiba has put a lot of research into the XDE picture processing, and it’s a shame that we never saw this technology implemented in an HD DVD player, which is no doubt where it was meant to be used all along.
Ultimately, no matter how good your upscaling and picture processing, you can’t create detail, you can only enhance what’s there in the first place. As such, the XD-E500 is never going to produce pictures as good as a Blu-ray player with true, high definition content. Considering its price, you’re simply better off buying an entry level Blu-ray deck and starting your high definition collection now.
Score in detail
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