Toshiba tackles convergence on multiple fronts

Toshiba tackles convergence on multiple fronts

Toshiba hit the digital entertainment market this week with the promise of a new HD DVD standard, retail support and a slew of new convergent products including MP3 players, projectors and a high-definition entertainment Qosmio laptop.

Toshiba Australia general manager, Mark Whittard, said Toshiba had little chance of catching Apple's iPod which dominates the MP3 space. However, he was confident the newly released gigabeat Flash and the gigabeat X series compact digital music devices would quickly establish market share.

"Anecdotally we are already the coming second to Apple in the MP3 market," he said. "We are competing in features rather than price, with colour screens, very high-quality graphic interface and an fm transmitter. What we are offering is value for money."

The MP3 players are only peripheral to Toshiba's overall vision for digital convergence in the home. At the centre of its strategy is the Qosmio G30, which combines television, stereo audio player, DVD and notebook PC with an integrated high-definition (HD) digital TV tuner.

"We believe the gigabeat MP3 players will be great to add alongside a Toshiba laptop, because the software will be fully compatible and it will be easy for customers to synchronise the music they down load from the Internet onto their PC," Whittard said.

This kind of interoperability forms the basis of Toshiba's approach. The company took advantage of the launch this week to demonstrate the ease with which the new Qosmio could be used to wirelessly stream video or high-definition television through an Xbox acting as a Media Center extender.

"What we are really doing is making home entertainment network easy to set up and display, so people can really understand how it will operate," product marketing manager for Toshiba, Matt Codrington, said.

The company also foreshadowed the release of its High-Definition DVD standard, which has been created in conjunction with NEC. The technology promises to be backwards compatible.

But the standard will have its work cut out if it is to overcome the rival Blu-ray standard under development by a group headed up by LG and Sony.

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