Toshiba XD-E500 Upconverting DVD Player Comparisons & Conclusion
My reference DVD player is the Oppo DV-983H, which costs $250 more than the XD-E500, but it also offers much more in terms of features and performance. Not only is it a fantastic DVD player, it also plays SACD and DVD-Audio discs, and it has a USB port for music, pictures, and firmware updates. Even without the added features, it's a better upscaling player with its Anchor Bay VRS processor. Its picture quality is superior to the Toshiba's with both test patterns and real-world material, which is worth every extra dollar. It delivers a sharper, more accurate picture without the ringing.
That's not to say the XD-E500 is a bad upscaling player, but it's far from ideal. First, Toshiba's promise of a near-HD experience with its enhanced picture modes doesn't deliver because they do more harm than good. Also, its inability to pass above-white and below-black and its stretching of 4:3 material are inexcusable at any price.
If $150 is the max you can spend on a DVD player, you may want to audition the Toshiba as well as other players in this price range. If you can stretch your budget above $150, there are better products that bring more to the screen.
Decent DVD upscaling
Fast navigation of discs
Minimal layer-change delay
Picture enhancements don't work as advertised
Cheap build quality
Doesn’t pass above-white or below-black