Toshiba America announced on Wednesday its plans to release a firmware upgrade that adds 24p HD video output capabilities to its entry-level HD DVD players.
The announcement was made at the "Toshiba in your Life" press event, held yesterday in New York.
The firmware will be applied to the Toshiba's high-end HD-XA2 and the entry-level HD-A20 models. The updated players will be able to output 1080/24p HD DVD video, a function that was missing in the HD-A20 model, and had fired up negative criticism when Toshiba announced its availability last year.
The update will also offer support for the HDi network function, that will allow an HD DVD player to access specific internet servers in order to receive exclusive material related to HD DVD movies. The HDi network is part of interactive features of the HD DVD format. Bandai Visual USA will release this month the first HD DVD animation title in North America ("Freedom Volume 1") - which includes the HDi network function. The function is also backed by Microsoft and Memory-Tech, which will both develop the hardware and software environment related to the HD DVD interactivity features.
Last but certainly not least, Toshiba announced that starting from July 1st, the Toshiba HD-A2 and HD-A20 models will be available for $299 and $399, respectively. The company decided to continue selling the specific devices at the same prices, as they were decided after the $100 in-store rebate announced last March.
The MSRP price of the HD-XA2 model ($799.99)will not change for now.