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Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD player

While the format war rages, movies must still be watched

One area could do with improvement, however, is start-up time. Press the on button and you’ll need to wait almost an entire minute before you can put a disc in, and after that a further 30 seconds until it actually starts playing. In the grand scheme of things, having to wait a minute and a half before sitting down to watch a two-hour movie isn’t that great a hardship, but it’s annoying if you want to quickly flip through scenes from a number of discs.

Looks-wise, the EP30 could pass for a player costing twice the price, with its sleek black and sliver lines. The bright white LED display may appear a little dazzling at first, especially if you’ve dipped the lights for that movie theatre feel, but you can dim it or even turn it off if you find it distracting.

Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD player

Looks-wise the EP30 could pass for a player costing twice the price

Like its predecessors, the EP30 has a USB port at the front hidden beneath a flap that is currently non-functional and reserved for future use – but it can use it to charge up your iPod if you don’t want to boot up your PC just to give it a boost. Round the back you’ll find the usual connectors for HDMI and component-video, plus standard-definition composite-video output. You won’t find a Scart connector. There’s also an Ethernet port, providing access to additional disc content and player updates over the internet, provided you wire it up to your broadband box, of course.

Verdict

All in all, the EP30 is a bit of a steal – even if you’re just looking for a new DVD player then it’s worth considering since it’s not half bad at upscaling your existing movie collection. Put in a HD DVD disc, however, and the results are fantastic. If you’ve got an HD telly, then you’re really not doing it justice feeding it standard definition content. Add in the fact that you get seven discs included – worth around £75 at least – and it’s a bargain.

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Toshiba HD-EP30 HD DVD player

Good value for money, marred only by the apparent decline of HD DVD...
Price: £199 / €267 RRP