DVD Upscaler - Toshiba XDE500 review...

cobraman2008

Active Member
Well, my latest addition to my home entertainment system and to compliment my LGPG3000 50" and Yamaha AV32 5.1 Surround Sound System is the brand new Toshiba XDE500 Upscaler.

Now I know people are buying Blu-Ray players as this is where the market is heading so you may wonder why I just spent £99.99 getting a DVD player from Comet last night? The simple answer is - I have a huge DVD collection and I have no intention to dispense with my collection and spend hundreds of pounds on upgrading to (in my opinion) fairly expensive Blu-Ray discs.

I already have a Playstation3 and have been using this for upscaling DVDs (and for playing a few Blu-Rays I had brought) for the past two months but this is now spending most of its time upstairs in my brother's room where we use his Samsung LCD for gaming. The hassle of moving the PS3 back and forth from upstairs to downstairs was getting on both our nerves so I bit the bullet and decided to purchase the XDE500 and this will live downstairs whilst the PS3 makes it self at home upstairs.

I'd like to start by saying having read the numerous expert reports and reviews on various AVS forums, sites and magazines - most of the reports recorded very good things for the XDE500. Negativity was mainly aimed at this not being a Blu-Ray player and the quality was not on the same level as Blu-Ray. Thus, most reviews have harshly marked this DVD upscaler comparing it to Blu-Ray players instead of comparing it to what it is - a DVD upscaler and nothing more. The fact that it the XDE500 is a Toshiba creation (and we know the history of HDDVD and BR) many people are saying Toshiba are calling this their "Blu-Ray" player. For me that simply isn't true and for people in the market for a fairly reasonably priced, high-end DVD upscaler - the XDE500 should tick all the boxes.

I decided to watch the football last night and didn't fancy playing with the machine as Liverpool had just lost 4-2 to Spurs so I called it an early night.

So I've just spent the last two hours or so messing around with the XDE500 and have to say it is AWESOME.:thumbsup:

Firstly, lets begin with the dimensions and weight. It is small. Length and height wise it is fairly standard but the depth is half of what a DVD player is. And it weighs next to nothing. Lifting it out of the box and it felt like a shell with nothing in it. It is extremely light indeed. The remote control is similarly standard size and weighs next to nothing.

So without reading the instructions and jumping straight in, I connected a HDMI cable, plugged in the audio cable from my amp, plugged it into the mains and fired it up. A super cool 'Toshiba' sign lights up in white on the front fascia and we are greeted with a Toshiba wallpaper on the plasma.

I decided to stick in the nearest disc to hand with was LoTR 3 into the machine and it loaded up instantly. The graphics on the fascia are green LEDs and it basically showed we had reached the main menu of the film. So I immediately stuck it on play and the film's credits began. To say I was disappointed is an understatement. The colours were way too vivid and bright - until I realised my brother had left the plasma on Sport mode. This was quickly changed to my preferred Cinema mode and everything was good.

Now I have already emphasised this is not a Blu-Ray player but what is being called a damn good DVD upscaler but skipping chapters and watching bits of the film tells me this is very close to Blu-Ray quality. I've seen this particular film on a standard DVD player around 2 years ago, on my PS3 last month but on the XDE500 we are jumping to a completely new level. Basically, it is double the quality of what I was getting on the PS3 - it is very close to Blu-Ray quality for me. It is ultra sharp, colours are natural, blacks are deep and picture sound is non-existant.

Messing around with the remote control and clicking on the Set-Up button brings the main interface up for the DVD upscaler. Here we can select Colour Mode, Contrast Mode and Sharp Mode. I tried all three settings; colour mode was disappointing adding far too colour to the reds and greens which left skin tones unnatural, contrast mode seemlessly made the blacks deeper (I cannot wait to try this on Sin City) but sharpness mode is the best compromise between the two and this looks like the mode which is going to be used most often.

Then there is the option to play the movie in 720i, 720p, 1080i or 1080p. I simply selected Auto and it went straight to 1080i so that is where I left it. Another neat tool is you can view the bitrate of the movie whilst its playing - this figure always keeps moving as the scenes ebb and flow before your eyes.

So that's about it thus far. I will try a DIVX disc shortly and see how good it is at upscaling content from downloaded onto disc from my computer. Unfortunately and something I would have liked is a direct USB port so I could have plugged my portable hardrive into the upscaler. Some players come with this portability but the XDE500 doesn't - which stops me giving the player a 10/10 mark.

I am delighted so far with the purchase and for the money (which some may seem as expensive) - if you have a comprehensive DVD collection and don't wish to jump ship to Blu-Ray just yet then this player is a must. It's not as good as the Oppo but then that is £300; £200 more than this player.

Cheers - Cobraman2008:D
 

cobraman2008

Active Member
Most people are comparing it to a Blu-Ray or HD-DVD player which it isn't.

It's a DVD upscaler and people should be comparing it against other DVD upscalers. My only other experience of an upscaler is the PS3 and the XDE500 blows that out of the water.:smashin:
 

emthree

Active Member
Most people seem to be saying it's a piece of crap.

I wouldn't say 'most'. Most are quite satisfied. The 'testers' on the other hand are mostly dissatisfied! Seems like 'wood' and 'trees'.:D
 

Peopleselbowpad

Active Member
I think part of the problem is Toshiba in the pre-release material that this was the next step in Upscaling and then when it was released apart from the XDE Technology it was still a Zoran based upscaler which is what most of the Aldi & Lidl cheapo players use.

I do think there has been a bit of a "We will hate this regardless" campaign going on, especially on AVS, not so much on here.

At the end of the day it's like any player. You buy it, you like it, you win. You buy it, you dont like it, you take it back.

If it had a USB port I think I would have tried it out but alas. Maybe in the next one.
 
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TommyVecetti

Active Member
Can I ask how the sharpening function works? Are there different notches, or is it just a case of having it on or off.
 

cobraman2008

Active Member
Can I ask how the sharpening function works? Are there different notches, or is it just a case of having it on or off.

There are three options, Sharp, Contrast and Colour.

Contrast adds to the depth of the blacks, Colour adds more green and red hues and Sharp simply adds sharpness to the images on screen. It's either on or off for all these options and you are only allowed to have one option on at a time. Of course, you can turn everything off if you prefer - which I did whilst watching 300.

Hope that helps.
 

emthree

Active Member
There are three options, Sharp, Contrast and Colour.

Contrast adds to the depth of the blacks, Colour adds more green and red hues and Sharp simply adds sharpness to the images on screen. It's either on or off for all these options and you are only allowed to have one option on at a time. Of course, you can turn everything off if you prefer - which I did whilst watching 300.

Hope that helps.

In the on mode, Sharp is always on. So you can have:

1.Sharp
2.Sharp+Colour
3.Sharp+Contrast
4.Off

I don't own the player but that is my understanding of how XDE feature works.
 

emthree

Active Member

Glenzo

Active Member
Interesting....

I wonder how it compares with with Toshiba HD DVD Players for eg. the EP10/30/35 which were noted for great upscaling capabilities so much so that if you were going Blu Ray it was a good idea to keep your hd dvd player for this.
 

Randomruss

Standard Member
I bought the XDE500 on boxing day for £60 and have been very impressed with it so far. I too have a large DVD collection and have found the picture quality excellent. Definitely a good buy for the price.
 

doctorblue

Well-known Member
Guys,

Can I ask for your technical help with this question?

I believe that there is a readily to be had region-free handset hack that many have confirmed works - I've got it already waiting to go.

The question I have is that my boys have a quite a few a US (Region 1) cartoon DVDs (4:3), such as Ben 10 etc.

I have heard that this player cannot upscale 4:3 NTSC discs and that you can only play them at its lowest resolution setting...this is true?

Very interested in this player but only if it can play US discs at a decent quality...should I be worried about this NTSC issue?

Thanks,

The Doctor
 

Dave The Rave

Active Member
Hia all....
just got my xde500 toshiba player.
Can someone give me the hack for it please.
I know its on here already but cant seem to find it.
Cheers :thumbsup:
 

Dave The Rave

Active Member
Hi all...
I recieved my XDE500 today and have just spent around an hour tinckering with it....
First impresions out of the box were very good,the player is very small and compact and very light (which i like),you get the usual leads i,e hdmi and component cables.
The controller is quite small and light,nothing special but it does what its expected to do LOL
Plugged the player in and the first thing that struck me was the toshiba simbol at the front lights up white which i kinda liked.
The set-up menu is very simple and easy to use,set my settings to 1080i and changed from pal to auto.I also turned the XDE function to sharp.
The are 3 options....colour,contrast,sharp...I thought that sharp was by far the best setting.
the only problem i had was when i changed the above settings my t.v (panasonic 32lxd60) kept going blank,I had to change from hdmi 2 to hdmi 1 and back again for the menu to come back on (very strange)
Doesn't really bother me as once you have chosen your settings you dont really have to go back to them.Quite difficult to explain the problem but i hope you got the jist of it lol.A minor niggle but after spending 10 mins or so it was sorted.
I tried a number of dvd's....
First of all i tried THE ROCK which i have to say was awsome!!! the picture was outstanding.
The next film i tried was ALIENS (the definitive edition) was not as good as the rock but was still very good.
Then i got one of my all time fave films which is JAWS,\this was region 1 so i took a deep breath and keyed in the hack.pressed play and it worked,no problems at all,fantastic.the picture for a film that was released in 1975 was excellent.
Then i tried RAMBO which again had an excellent picture.
The final film i tried was FINDING NEMO (region 1),the picture quality was outstanding and the colours excellent.
Now alot of people have been going on about a high pitched noise coming from the player when in standby mode,i have to say that for me it is there, but its not half as bad as i was expecting.
I have my electrical equiptment plugged into a surge protection extension socket with individual switches so if the noise buggs me that much i can always swich off at the socket (really should not be a big issue)
Anyway to sum up,I would give this player an excellent 9/10
For 58 of my earth pounds this really is a fantastic low cost upscaling dvd player.
Hope this helps anyone who is thinking about buying this player,its well worth £58 (laskys)
Been on Amizon looking for dvd's lol....still so much cheaper than buying blu- ray dvd's.:thumbsup:
 
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doctorblue

Well-known Member
Guys,

Can I ask for your technical help with this question?

I believe that there is a readily to be had region-free handset hack that many have confirmed works - I've got it already waiting to go.

The question I have is that my boys have a quite a few a US (Region 1) cartoon DVDs (4:3), such as Ben 10 etc.

I have heard that this player cannot upscale 4:3 NTSC discs and that you can only play them at its lowest resolution setting...this is true?

Very interested in this player but only if it can play US discs at a decent quality...should I be worried about this NTSC issue?

Thanks,

The Doctor

Bought the unit today from Currys for £55 (pricematch against Comet plus 10% difference), and put in region-free hack - worked perfectly.

The boy's US Ben 10 DVD looks great (fullscreen), and tried SW RotS opening battle sequence which was awesome - as near HD quality as you can get.

Very pleased,

The Doctor
 

Dave The Rave

Active Member
just been on HMV and bought the alien vrs predator total destuction pack (8 films) for £12.99.........sod blu ray LOL
The XDE500 has been a revalation for me,with the quality of the upscaling i have seen on this player and the cheapness of sd dvd's at the moment,blu ray can kiss me goodbye:thumbsup:
 
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Randomruss

Standard Member
just been on HMV and bought the alien vrs predator total destuction pack (8 films) for £12.99.........sod blu ray LOL
The XDE500 has been a revalation for me,with the quality of the upscaling i have seen on this player and the cheapness of sd dvd's at the moment,blu ray can kiss me goodbye:thumbsup:

Thanks Dave - just bought the total destruction pack as well, what a bargain!
 

somersetpaul

Active Member
The XDE500 has been a revalation for me,with the quality of the upscaling i have seen on this player and the cheapness of sd dvd's at the moment,blu ray can kiss me goodbye:thumbsup:

Seconded!

Sold my blu-ray player after making direct comparisons.

Iron Man is stunning on this player.:clap:
 

Dave The Rave

Active Member
the only thing i am angry about is the fact that i sold my sd dvd collection of around 150 dvd's around 12 months ago:mad:
Oh well,will just have to start again lol
I have tried both toshiba hd and blu ray(ps3) in the past and got fed up with both of them and sold them on.
If anything the toshiba xde1 was the better of the 2 for me and i wish that hd was still around today as it was the cheaper of the two formats.
Cant understand how blu ray won the format war with the price comparason between the two,probably because blu ray had the most film studios backing.
Anyway,i have been full circle,going from a standard dvd player to hd to blu ray and back again lol.
I think (in my opinion) a good upscaling dvd player is the way to go with the price of sd dvd's,at least untill the price of blu ray films come's down.
watching films in hd,well i guess the novalty has worn off abit with me.
As long as the film i am watching is of good quality then i dont care if it is in hd or not.
Upscaling players have improved so much that i think it will be quite a while untill blu ray takes over from sd,IF EVER.
 

fizzi

Member
We recently bought this DVD player and are happy with the images from DVDs. However we have not been able to get it to detect 5.1 surround sound from DVDs that have it.

All we have done is unplug our old Sanyo DVD-SX25 DVD player and swap it for the Toshiba. We've not unplugged anything from our Sony Home Theatre DDW840/DDW740.

Having looked at all the diagrams on pages 16 and 17 of the Toshiba manuel can anyone confirm the diagram on the bottom of page 16 is the one I should go by and if it is then we need need to get a 75 coax cable?

thank you
 

Laceybloke

Active Member
We recently bought this DVD player and are happy with the images from DVDs. However we have not been able to get it to detect 5.1 surround sound from DVDs that have it.

All we have done is unplug our old Sanyo DVD-SX25 DVD player and swap it for the Toshiba. We've not unplugged anything from our Sony Home Theatre DDW840/DDW740.

Having looked at all the diagrams on pages 16 and 17 of the Toshiba manuel can anyone confirm the diagram on the bottom of page 16 is the one I should go by and if it is then we need need to get a 75 coax cable?

thank you

Hi Fizzi - Just got myself one of these players from Comet (thanks to the forum for the heads up on that one!) and set it up as you did, swapping out my old player for the new one. I too got no 5.1 to start with, but if you go into the audio options in the menu, you need to change the output from PCM to bitstream (or it may possibly be vice versa, I can't remember off hand). Worked fihe for me - give it a crack and see. I'm presuming that you've got either an optical or coaxial digital connection (either will do) from the player to the amp though. If not, that'd be your first step.

I have a question of my own though. When I have the XDE enhancement switched on, the player won't let me select 720p as the output resolution. Why is this. I've gone with 1080i (my TV won't accept 1080p) which looks awesome, but I'd be interested to see the 720p output for comparison purposes. Am I right in thinking that it won't do 720p with XDE on?

Thanks in advance!
 

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