When the Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD player landed on our doormat yesterday, we were keen to put it next to our long-term loan sample HD-E1 and see how the two players differ. This is especially important because if you're an American (the EP30 is called the A30 in the US and the E1 is known as the A2), or you shop around, the E1 can be bought for a massive discount.
So, what joy does the EP30 (pictured top) offer that the E1 (bottom) didn't? Well, for a start it can chuck video out at 1080p, which is a very welcome addition indeed. It also supports the 24p movie-enhancing format out of the box. There are also some minor cosmetic alterations and a significantly less cool power button.
The EP30 can be bought online for as little as £210, and that includes seven free HD DVDs, which is an awesome offer.
At first glance, the two players look very similar. Until you realise that Toshiba has, for some reason, reversed the layout almost totally. The display on the E1 is to the right, while on the EP30 it's been moved to the left.
Apart from this reversal, the players do look fairly similar. The EP30 is more rounded though, which is pleasant and makes the players look a little less retro and 80s. Although to be honest, the fact that the E1 and XE1 looked like VHS decks was something that appealed to our nostalgic side.
You may also notice that the basic playback controls are no longer hidden under a flap on the EP10, the only thing concealed is the single USB socket. Click through for more photos.
Update: A full review of the EP30 is now available on the site.