Toshiba's address to the press at IFA was something of a mixed message - Riyad tries to figure it out.
On a more positive note, the four cornerstones of Toshiba’s TV strategy look pretty sound. First up is connectivity, which will include wireless HDMI – unfortunately the ZF series announced today doesn’t yet include this feature. Second is design, with Toshiba highlighting the new Picture Frame 2 sets as a step forward aesthetically – considering that the current Picture Frame Toshiba sets look great and take up surprisingly little room, I’d say that the company has this one nailed.
Third is the Cell Broadband Engine – although the newly announced devices are hardly scratching the surface of Cell’s potential, the fact that everything runs in software on Cell means that even today’s products could be upgraded with enhanced features later. Finally we have Ecology – just like every technology company right now, Toshiba is keen to reduce the environmental effect of its products, and announced that new backlighting techniques could reduce power consumption by up to 40 per cent.
Although there were definitely some positives in Toshiba’s address, with its new TVs looking very interesting indeed, the lack of any native HD source device is disappointing. I know that the collapse of HD DVD wasn’t Toshiba’s fault, and I also maintain that at the time of launch it was a far more compelling solution than Blu-ray. However, after HD DVD had the rug pulled out from under it by Warner back in January, it seems as if Toshiba’s high definition vision has become somewhat blurred. Even if this new upscaling system proves to be better than anything seen before, I still want to see native HD players from Toshiba, and that will mean Blu-ray.