Selling Cell

The key to Toshiba’s new image processing and upscaling strategy is the use of the Cell Broadband Engine - the chip that sits at the heart of the PlayStation 3. In case you didn’t know, the Cell chip was developed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM. Toshiba was keen to point out that more complex upscaling and image processing algorithms require more processing power, and that’s where the Cell chip comes in.

According to Toshiba the Cell chip will allow up to 48 picture streams to be processed simultaneously, which is pretty damn impressive. However, there was no indication given on what resolution or codec those streams would be delivered in. Toshiba also implied that the Cell chip would allow for far better network integration, which will allow the TV to be a connected, interactive tool, rather than a passive one. Thompson also touched on the idea of using the power of Cell to make YouTube content look good on a TV, although I can’t imagine any amount of scaling making YouTube footage look anything but awful.

To demonstrate how Toshiba’s new upscaling techniques work, a still from an athletics meet was used. Toshiba demonstrated how the picture is analysed and scaled, with resulting jagged edges smoothed out. However, Tosh made a point of saying that areas of no detail, like grass, did not need any processing. This I found particularly strange, since if you’ve ever watched a football match in HD, you’ll know that there’s a significant amount of detail in the grass. This highlights the shortcoming of any upscaling technique, since it can only work with the detail contained in the original source.



August 29, 2008, 1:03 am

It's unfortunate that Toshiba can't come in with a &#163100 full 2.0 spec Blu-Ray player and steal significant PS3 sales away from Sony. I want to get a Blu-Ray player and would something half the price of the PS3 with all the features in an instant. If they also slipped out some region free firmware for it as well they would sell SOOO many of them it's silly.

Such a player could have been built on the platform of HD players they already had (HD DVD and Blu-Ray used the same codecs after all).. so it's a shame they haven't the balls to hand Sony their asses by doing something Sony can't, or won't, do and on using their own format no less.

Currently it does seem like Toshiba is sulking in the corner.


August 29, 2008, 2:58 pm

It's not as easy as Toshiba just making Blu-ray players, they will need to become part of the BDA, which Sony is a main body in, and will be coming in last with probably little to no say as to how they are able to market, manufacturer and release their own product. Remember, there is a reason every new profile update came out on the PS3 first.

Toshiba have no need to waste more time and money on this generation of HD player as they can concentrate on the next phase, which is currently in development, and can continue to concentrate their efforts on their flash based storage products which will hopefully be a successful proposition to counteract the optical format in the near future.

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