TVs And The Internet
A more imminent and financially tangible example of how TVs are going to become wider home control/Internet access portals could be seen in the way many brands at the show were announcing downloadable content deals for their TVs with Internet presences such as Yahoo and YouTube.
Toshiba, meanwhile, was displaying a TV that can show 48 different image sources at once (thanks to its use of Toshiba’s Cell Broadband Engine processor technology), with those sources coming from any of the TV’s eight – yes, eight – built in tuners, or from networked multimedia sources and external AV storage devices. The processing is able to handle multiple formats and sample rates simultaneously, and as well as representing a step forward for the idea of TV as multimedia hub, it clearly takes ‘channel surfing’ to a whole new level – a level Toshiba chortlesomely likes to call Happy Zapping.
Elsewhere, Sony’s stand carried a TV that enables you to call up associated web-based content for a TV show you’re watching live, or can work as a more general communications gateway. What was particularly nifty about this demonstration was the control system, which made the TV’s interactive functionality remarkably easy to use. Being shown that accessing interactive features from a TV won’t need a degree in rocket science and finger dexterity to rival Frederick Chopin was extremely reassuring.
Of course, CEATEC’s dreams of making your TV an interface to the world are rather dependent on something most of us in the UK can still only dream about: truly fast broadband Internet access. So just to rub our noses in it and give good old BT something to strive for, let’s wrap up this section with KDDI’s ‘au box’.
Despite the dull-as-dishwater name, this little device is a groundbreaking home cinema appendage for your TV which offers CD/DVD playback, built in amp and speakers, mobile phone interface and the small matter of 1Gbps – not Mbps, but Gbps - streaming via KDDI’s new 1Gbps broadband service. This clearly makes the previously distant dreams of high quality IPTV a genuine reality.