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Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD player

While the format war rages, movies must still be watched

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Review The HD format wars may be inching forward on the content front, but on the hardware side Toshiba has made a very aggressive move with the HD-EP30 - an HD DVD player which could be yours for less than £200.

If you’re worried that the EP30 is a cut-down player then you needn’t be - it includes most of the features the average consumer will need. Unlike the HD-E1 released last year - and reviewed here - which was only capable of outputting 720p or 1080i pictures, the EP30 can produce full HD images at 1080p so you’ll be able to get the most out of your HD DVD discs. It even supports 24fps playback, so you can view movies at their original frame rate if you have a TV that supports it.

Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD player

Toshiba HD-EP30: value for money regardless of the format war's outcome

You do miss out on advanced features such as 7.1 bitstream audio output and HDMI 1.3 Deep Color support, but to make the most of these features you’ll need high-end equipment to match - so you're less likely to be put off by the price of the more expensive HD-EP35, which supports both.

However, if you’re just looking for something to make the most of the brand new 1080p HD telly you got for Christmas, then it’s an extremely good deal – costing not that much more than a high-end DVD player. Even if Blu-ray eventually emerges as the dominant format in the future, with such a cheap asking price you should get your money’s worth out of the EP30 before it ever becomes a problem – especially since you get seven HD DVDs included with the machine.

You’ll find a copy of The Bourne Supremacy and 300 in the box and you can download a voucher to claim a further five titles. There are even some decent films included like Children of Men and Corpse Bride – you can find the full list on the HD DVD Europe website.

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