After previewing a new high-resolution LCD TV and companion server/set-top at last year's CES show, Toshiba said Wednesday (Jan. 6) at CES 2010 that it will sell the high-end "Cell TV" in the U.S. this year and that it will be capable of converting standard 2D video to 3D HD.
Toshiba owns a semiconductor division among its various holdings, and Cell TV leverages the company's proprietary processing technology by incorporating chips previously used in high-end PCs and gaming consoles into a set-top box that will be loaded with reams of storage and function as an HD home server by connecting to a home network, through Wireless HD, Wi-Fi and DNLA networking technology. The Cell TV set-top will have 1 terabyte of hard-disk storage, and will include a built-in Blu-ray player.
According to Toshiba VP of Marketing Scott Ramirez, the Cell TV set-top has eight 3.2-gigahertz core processors, giving it processing capability 10 times faster than a standard desktop PC and 143x today's TVs. That processing power supports Toshiba's "Super Resolution technology, which can upconvert standard SD and HD video content to make it look like full 1080-line progressive "full HD" on the Cell TV 480-hertz LED panel.
The Cell TV processor also supports "Net Super Resolution," the up-conversion of low-resolution Internet content for big-screen display through proprietary compression noise-canceling technology. It will also be used for video-conferencing capability, which will be supplied with Cell TV through a companion camera, microphone and software.
More important, the Cell TV's processing chips will drive Toshiba's Tri-Vector 2D to 3D conversion technology. Tri-Vector uses proprietary software to analyze 2D frames, estimate the depth of field in each frame, and create a separate image for the left eye and right. This yields a 3D effect that can be viewed with active shutter glasses, says Ramirez.
"We're going to take anything you watch and you can watch it in 3D," says Ramirez.
There will be two series of Cell TV, the Genesis series with 55 and 65-inch models, and the Illusion series, which will have 45-, 55- and 65-inch models. Toshiba wasn't disclosing pricing for the device, but Ramirez has previously said the Cell TV would sell in the $5,000 to $10,000 range. The product is already selling in Japan for around $10,000 (US dollars). A Toshiba spokeswoman said the Cell TV device would likely be priced in that $5,000-$10,000 range when it hits U.S. retail later this year.
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