Finally the cat is out of the bag!
Toshiba was involved with the Cell processors development all the way back in 2005 promising TVs, DVD Players and HD DVD drives (Blu-ray hadn’t won the format way yet) all using its power. Three years on and Toshiba has finally announced its plans for consumer products based on the IBM, Toshiba and Sony co-developed CPU.
In actuality precious little detail has been put forward by Toshiba. What we do know, courtesy of Japanese publication Tech-On! is that the TV will actually feature a full-blown Cell CPU while the notebook is getting a Cell-derivative called the SpursEngine. The Cell processor in the TV will enable high quality up-scaling of SD content, the ability to play and record multiple TV programmes simultaneously and, should Toshiba wish to implement it, HD decoding – say, MKVs or HD DivX files on a NAS box.
On the subject of the SpursEngine, there are some differences to the Cell. For a start, the SpursEngine features only four SPUs, as opposed to the Cell’s eight. Further, it has no CPU element controlling these; that work is done by a PCI Express controller. However, these are the same SPUs used in the Cell, meaning, in effect, that anything the Cell can do the SpursEngine can do – albeit slower.
This notebook is expected to ship sometime in 2008, so we’ll be able to see soon just what the SpursEngine can do. Toshiba’s Cell-based TV, on the other hand isn’t expected until late 2009, but that should at least mean we’ll see a highly polished product once it is available.