Toshiba’s Cell Regza TV
Posted date : Dec 4, 2009

It’s on SOI. Here’s Why.

Toshiba’s new Cell Regza TV is poised to redefine both high-definition (HD) TV and TV-Internet convergence. At the heart of this strategy is the SOI-based Cell processor.

It was almost a decade ago when Toshiba first teamed with IBM and Sony to create the Cell. The SOI-based solution enabled the right balance of maximal performance in a minimal power envelope. IBM puts it in servers, and Sony in the PlayStation3™. Now, Toshiba has put it at the heart of its new flagship Regza.

A combination of the high-speed parallel processing of the Cell Broadband Engine™, specially developed for demanding multimedia applications, and Toshiba’s advanced image-processing algorithms, the Cell Platform achieves an arithmetic processing capability of approximately 200 Gigaflops, allowing it to support unrivaled image-enhancing capabilities. Yet the whole tuner in which it’s embedded pulls no more operating wattage than a couple of lightbulbs.

Toshiba is leveraging the Cell’s processing power for:

  • Self-congruency, a dedicated pixel interpolation process that reconstructs edges with more detail and greater realism.
  • Algorithms doubling color data decompression.
  • A control system for the LED backlight with real-time optimizing to ambient light conditions.
  • A navigation system that handles 40 HD thumbnails, simultaneous recording of 8 channels over 26 hours, and a super-fast search of the built-in, 3-terabyte hard disk.
  • A newly developed audio and multi-amplifier system.

In the bridge with the Internet world, however, the challenges are even greater. YouTube videos, for example, typically look good on a PC when the window is about the size of a playing card. In full screen, low-resolution videos look awful.

Video content from the Internet streamed straight to a TV is even worse, due to the lack of resolution and noise compression. So for Cell Regza, Toshiba co-developed an Internet browser with Opera Software supporting full HD, broadband services and providing full support of YouTube contents at near HD quality. It takes the processing power of a Cell to detect the noise compression of low-resolution Internet content, then separate and correct the image in real time for the bigger screen.

This dovetails with current convergence trends. YouTube has been cutting deals with the big entertainment content providers, bringing in vast libraries to which audience-artist interaction and context-sensitive merchandizing can be added through its eCommerce Platform. Combined with HD TV, the stage is now set for a whole new business model.

The Cell Regza 55X1 will be available in Japan in December 2009, in the US in 2010, and Europe shortly thereafter.

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