IFA 2008: Toshiba Press Conference

Toshiba's address to the press at IFA was something of a mixed message - Riyad tries to figure it out.

There were two products announced that incorporate the Cell chip. The first was the new ZF range of TVs, which sport the Resolution+ Picture Enhancement Technology. The ZF range will be the pinnacle of Toshiba’s new TV range and will feature 5:5 pulldown 1080p 24Hz processing, 100Hz processing and four HDMI ports. But it’s the Resolution+ processing that takes pride of place, which should, in theory at least, produce superior picture quality from SD sources. And with Toshiba claiming that 99 per cent of content viewed on HDTVs is SD, the need for the best possible picture processing is clear.

The second product to use the Cell chip is Toshiba’s new XD-E500 upscaling DVD player. This is the first device to use the XDE algorithm and Toshiba claims that this player produces “near” HD quality images, and will suit consumers who already have a large collection of DVDs. I actually have a sample of the XD-E500 in the office, so I will be evaluating the quality as soon as I’m back from IFA, but ultimately, an interpolated image is never going to be as clear and sharp as a 1:1 mapped high definition image.

Just to add a bit more confusion to Toshiba’s message, is the announcement that I reported on last week from the Intel Developer Forum. Intel’s new CE 3100 chip will be doing much the same job as the Cell chip in consumer devices such as TVs. That in itself isn’t unusual, but considering that Intel showed a quote from Hisatsuga Nonaka – Corporate Senior Executive Vice President Toshiba – stating that Toshiba is looking forward to working with Intel, I can’t help but wonder how Cell and CE 3100 are going to coexist. When asked about CE 3100, Toshiba claimed that there were no plans to use anything other than Cell for the foreseeable future.

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