After its announcement at the IFA consumer electronics show in Berlin in August, Toshiba's new entry-level 1080p HD DVD player has arrived in UK shops.
As expected, many retailers are offering the machine, called the HD-EP30, for at least £50 below its launch price of £249. That makes it the first sub-£200 full HD player on these shores.
Despite the lower price point, the HD-EP30 adds new features compared to its predecessor, Toshiba's HD-E1. Crucially, these new features include a video output at 1080p, the much-touted 'full HD' resolution available on an increasing number of flat-panel TVs.
Until now, the battle between HD DVD and its Blu-ray rival has been more about the formats themselves and the movies available. But with prices tumbling for new kit all the time, it has now turned into a vicious price war. The nearest priced (and dedicated) Blu-ray option is the new Sony BDP-S300 player, which debuted at a suggested price of £399 but which is already available from online discount stores for £260. Its tech spec places it roughly between the Toshiba HD-EP30 and EP35.
For most people, though, the best value Blu-ray player remains the Sony PlayStation 3, with UK bundles from around £300. With this, consumers get a next-gen gaming console as well as Blu-ray Disc playback. The PS3 is also capable of being upgraded to the Profile 1.1 specification.