Standard DVD players are like, so last year. If you're buying one now, it has to be an all-singing, all-dancing upscaling player with an HDMI digital video output and DivX playback, or else we won't even think about looking at it. Harsh demands, but they're easily met by Toshiba with its SD-350E -- a DVD player that's technologically miles ahead of the players the company was releasing just last year.
It's a good job the compny is listening to the flat-screen elite. These posh LCD and plasma owners are chomping at the bit for HD DVD and Blu-ray, so in the meantime they need a DVD player that will make their existing DVD movies sparkle like one of Elton John's tiaras. That's why the SD-350 takes standard resolution DVDs and outputs the video at high-definition resolutions. Complicated stuff, but all you need to know is that it makes your movies look as good as they do on George Lucas' home-cinema setup. Probably.
The Toshiba SD-350E follows in the footsteps of Denon's high-end DVD-2910 and Samsung's high-value DVD-HD850. Toshiba's player is a close competitor to Samsung's, and both are designed to accompany their new HDMI-equipped LCD TVs. Toshiba's player is much fancier than its mundane 32WL56 and has a disc tray that lights up blue (ooh!), and some fun additional features. It'll play DivX movies, as well as JPEG pictures and MP3 music -- we only wish it also offered high-resolution audio playback from DVD-Audio and SACD. We'll give this player a full going-over in an upcoming review, and look out for the 32WL56 LCD review later in the week. -GC