- Written by Brian Alvarez and Adrian Wittenberg
- Published on 20 February 2009
The XD-E500 is a fairly average DVD player in terms of design. The case is made of stamped metal, fairly thin and hollow feeling, it’s not flimsy but at the same time it doesn’t exude high build quality. Discs are placed on a thin tray on the left hand side of the player. Smack dab in the middle of the front face is a very large, and very bright XDE logo. Thankfully this can be turned off in the set up menu. A very simple LED display on the far right of the player shows chapter numbers, while another series of LED lights display the selected output resolution.
On the back, the connections are centered on the rear panel. All connectors are nickel plated and well labeled. The power cord is not detachable so thankfully it’s of a decent length.
The remote control also has a utilitarian appearance and average construction quality. None of the buttons are illuminated. The buttons are placed closely together and my large hands had a difficult time pressing the desired button without accidentally pressing a neighboring button. It’s not the best remote I’ve ever used, nor is it the worst, as you may have guessed, it’s fairly average.
Internally the player is very simple in design. The transport mechanism is physically separated from the main logic board. The logic board itself is incredibly compact and well laid out.
Video and Audio Decoding is handled by the Zoran Vaddis 966 processor. Toshiba also employs a Zoran HD Extreme 2 chip for scaling duties.
Next to the logic board is a well engineered switch mode power supply. This is a very elegantly engineered player and internal construction is much better than I expected for a player at this price.
Toshiba’s XD-E500 offers the usual up-conversion of DVDs to 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p60 and a very unique 1080p/24. 1080p 24 removes the 3:2 pull down used to convert film from 23.98 frames per second to the 29.97 frames used by NTSC video. Reconstructing the video back to 24fps from 29.97 should provide a smoother image, free from judder and motion artifacts. In order to take advantage of 1080p/24 you need a compatible display capable of displaying the signal at a scan rate that is a multiple of 24hz. These displays are becoming increasingly common, unfortunately for me my Panasonic plasma is not one of these displays. However, I was able to test the 1080p/24 mode on a Samsung LCD at my office and can confirm it works well. On well authored discs the 1080p/24 mode made slow pans smoother and more fluid.
The party piece of the XD-E500 is its XDE modes. XDE has three modes which offer distinctly different picture enhancements. The modes are: Sharp, Color, and Contrast.
According to Toshiba, the Sharp mode provides enhanced edge detail. Toshiba asserts the image is sharpened intelligently in areas that need it and it will not apply the processing to parts of the image that don’t call for it. They also suggest there will be a sharper image without the usual side effects of sharpening filters.
The Color mode enhances blues and greens in the picture to create a more vibrant image with greater saturation and depth.
Third we have Contrast mode for enhanced detail in darker scenes.
So how well do the XDE modes work? Can the XD-E500 rival a Blu-Ray source and is the XD-E500 competitive with other DVD players in its price range? Read on to find out.