updated 04:30 pm EDT, Thu September 14, 2006
Toshiba 2nd Gen HD DVD
News that Europe would be first to see Toshiba's improved HD DVD players had left North American users without a clear alternative to the native 1080p output of Blu-Ray. Those concerns were put to rest at the CEDIA expo in Denver today through Toshiba's unveiling of two second-generation HD DVD players for the North American market. Much as with the European models (pictured), the new HD-A2 and HD-XA2 are split between mainstream and high-end features. The A2 retains the same 1080i output as the original A1 but improves general performance. More impressive is the high-end HD-XA2, which is capable of true 1080p and also supports the HDMI 1.3 standard and can display "deep color" 36-bit images versus the normal 24. Toshiba says it will release the basic HD-A2 first in October for the same $500 price as the pioneering A1; the HD-XA2 will ship in December for $1000.