Toshiba HD-XE1
HD DVD Player

Wanna get Hi?

Able to output HD video in glorious 1080p and audio in almost equally glorious lossless surround, this is the UK's most advanced HD-DVD player. It's also the priciest, but what do you think Toshiba is? A charity? Shame on you.

The sleek black design is similar to the cheaper HD-E1, but far heavier and more solid. In fact, there's more metal on show here than if Metallica were to don metal suits, then do a gig in a smelting plant.

The HD-E1 could only feed lossless Dolby True HD to an amp equipped with an HDMI input, but this has a 5.1-channel analogue audio output, so will work with any surround sound amp. Sound quality is trouser-soilingly good, even without support for True HD's full 7.1 channels.

The HD-XE1 carries Hi-Def video in 720p, 1080i or 1080p. The picture is great - sharp, vibrant and clean, but in truth not that much better than the HD-E1. Like the other Hi-Def players around, you do notice the image juddering slightly during slow horizontal pans, but you also get a van-load of extra detail and a raft of tweaking options thrown in, covering everything from noise reduction to colour enhancement.

With its bomb-proof build, 5.1 output and pretty, pretty pictures, this is the best HD-DVD player in the UK by a large margin. Toshiba need to sort the speed of these things out though - you can practically read the instruction manual in the time it takes this sucker to warm up, then make a cup of tea while changing discs.