CES 2009: Toshiba Cell TV Prototype

After much talk and speculation, Toshiba finally showed off its Cell TV prototype.

It’s been a long time coming, but Toshiba finally showed off its much talked about Cell TV platform at CES. In case you don’t know, the Cell chip that beats at the heart of the PlayStation 3 was co-developed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM, and Toshiba has big plans for it.

Toshiba has been making quite a noise about its Resolution+ upscaling technology, and at its press conference a couple of days ago the company claimed that Resolution+ could upscale a 1,920 x 1,080 image to 3,840 x 2,160 without any artefacts. That kind of processing takes a lot of power, and that’s where the Cell chip comes in. But Cell isn’t a one trick pony, Toshiba also claimed that Cell TV will be able to decode and record multiple HD broadcasts, while also playing back in real time.

The Cell TV on show is a two part system – a monitor and external box. The box looks great, and one can only hope that the eventual retail product looks similar. I grabbed a sneak peak at the rear of the Cell system which sported four HDMI ports (although I assume one would be an output to the screen), three composite inputs, complete with analogue audio, four S-Video ports, two Ethernet ports and USB ports.

Toshiba had the Cell box driving a 55in LED backlight TV with local dimming, and was demonstrating how quickly processing effects could be applied to a Full HD. The real time processing was impressive, but I’ll reserve judgement on the performance of Cell TV until I get a production model in the lab – that may be some time away though.

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