Toshiba's Cell TV on Track for Autumn Launch

Toshiba's development of a TV based on the Cell processor is on schedule and due to be launched in about six months, the company said Tuesday.

The Cell is the processor used in Sony's PlayStation 3 games console and was co-developed by Toshiba with Sony and IBM. Each chip contains a single Power PC core and eight co-processors to make heavy-duty processing of video a breeze. Its use in the upcoming television stands to be the first in the consumer electronics space.

Announcing new models of LCD TVs for Japan, the company confirmed the Cell TV would be part of its product line going into the competitive year-end sales period in Japan.

No details of the TV are available yet but some clues as to what the set will offer can be seen in prototypes that Toshiba has been demonstrating at consumer electronics trade shows in the last year and a half.

The image processing power of the chip was shown by performing a real-time upscaling of standard-definition video to a quality that is closer to high-definition. If you're used to high-def TV then the upscaled picture is unlikely to fool you but it's probably better than watching an unprocessed picture.

The chip was also put to use streaming 48 chapters from a standard-definition video file (it would have been 16 chapters in high-def) to make navigating a file easy. Imagine the interactive menu that's found in many DVDs appearing on your TV for shows that you have recorded on the set's built-in hard-disk drive.

For people hoping the inclusion of the Cell chip will mean the ability to run PlayStation 3 games there's bad news. Toshiba has said several times that the TV won't have such capability.

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