CES - Toshiba shows prototype TV running on Cell chip

Toshiba has demonstrated a TV based on the Cell microprocessor at CES.

What happens when you take the powerful Cell microprocessor, the chip that sits at the heart of the PlayStation 3 games console, and put it to use inside a television? Toshiba is demonstrated just such a TV at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show and the results are impressive.

The Cell chip was developed by Toshiba along with IBM, Sony and Sony Computer Entertainment, and is dedicated to graphics processing. Each chip contains a single Power PC core and eight co-processors to make heavy-duty processing of video a breeze.

While Sony developed the chip for its PlayStation 3, Toshiba invested money in the project with an eye to using the device in consumer electronics products. Until CES, the company hadn't shown a Cell-powered consumer device, but a pair of flat-panel TVs on its booth at the trade show have changed that.

The first and perhaps most relevant benefit of putting the Cell inside a television is the ability to handle real-time upscaling of standard definition TV to high-def. With more and more HDTV channels, we get more and more used to the crisp, sharp quality offered by HD and that makes standard definition look poor. With a Cell-powered TV you'd be able to enjoy regular channels in higher quality much closer to that of HD, said Hiroaki Komaki, a specialist at Toshiba's core technology center in Tokyo.

The upscaling doesn't stop there. The same feature can be used to zoom in on an area of an HDTV picture, enlarge that single area, and then improve it's image quality. Imagine zooming in on a home movie of a sports event and getting closer to the action.

The Cell also makes it possible to easily navigate a number of video channels simultaneously. In a demo at CES, the chip was streaming 48 chapters from a standard-definition video file in real-time, with each appearing as a video thumbnail on the screen. Clicking on one of the clips would bring it up on the lower half of the screen, with 16 chapters still running in the upper half. Another push on the button would move it to full screen.

If the video streams were HD, it would be able to process six in real-time and display them on the screen, said Komaki.

Toshiba still hasn't decided exactly what features it will build into a Cell-based TV, nor has it decided when such a set will go on sale. One thing Toshiba isn't planning on doing is building a PlayStation 3 gaming system into its TVs. The chips may be the same but Komaki said such a combination isn't likely.

The company has been chasing the idea of Cell-based consumer electronics since it signed on with Sony and IBM to develop the chip in 2001.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?