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

Bang and Olufsen Beosound Stage - Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Learn more >

Toys for Boys

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

ASUS ROG, ACRONYM partner for Special Edition Zephyrus G14

Learn more >

Nakamichi Delta 100 3-Way Hi Fi Speaker System

Learn more >

Family Friendly

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit for Nintendo Switch

Learn more >

Philips Sonicare Diamond Clean 9000 Toothbrush

Learn more >

Stocking Stuffer

SunnyBunny Snowflakes 20 LED Solar Powered Fairy String

Learn more >

Teac 7 inch Swivel Screen Portable DVD Player

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?