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Venturer Electronics, a vendor of consumer electronics from Canada, has initiated shipments of its first HD DVD player into both Europe and the U.S. and has become the third company to market dedicated HD DVD player. However, the price of this player, which was supposed to be affordable, is sometimes higher compared to Toshiba’s own device.

Venturer SHD7000/SHD7001 players lack full-HD output and only offer 1080i maximum resolution (1920x1080, interlaced) which requires less advanced image processing and ultimately means more affordable hardware inside. Still, the player from Venturer supports Dolby TrueHD sound, HDMI connector and DVD upconverting capabilities, the feature-set that can satisfy unpretentious customers with mainstream HDTVs.

Venturer’s SHD7000 and 7001 players are now available both in the USA and England at the price of $229 and £170 (about $339 or €230 at press time). The players are available exclusively from QVC store in Britain and from a number of e-tail shops in the U.S. In the UK customers also receive Troy and Hulk movies on HD DVD along with the players, while in the USA no valuable product bundle is present.

Toshiba HD-A3 player now costs about $199 in the USA (in special cases there are a number of HD DVD movies available for free with it), whereas Toshiba EP10 player costs about £285 (about $568 or $386 at press time) in the UK.

In spite of expectations, the HD DVD player from Venturer has not become an affordable HD DVD solution in the USA, where Toshiba has truly strong positions. Nevertheless, its price in the UK is considerably lower compared to Toshiba’s solution.

The low-cost HD DVD player will indisputably drive the high-definition movie experience to the mass market. Given that contemporary DVDs only feature 720x480 resolution, even 720p (1280x720, progressive scan) and 1080i will provide considerable quality improvements to those, who own mainstream LCD or plasma HDTV-sets with 1366x768 resolution.


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