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back to article Toshiba demos Cell-equipped HDTV

Toshiba used the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) to explain why it plans to incorporate the PlayStation 3's Cell processor into future LCD TV products. Tucked away in one corner of Toshiba's cavernous CES stand was a prototype Cell-equipped telly running a range of image processing demos. The Japanese giant showed two key apps: …

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Built in PS3...

Whilst the technology sharing commences, why not push the boat out and load it up with all the PS3 gubbins, including Blu-Ray - assuming that the cell chip is only necessary for it when performing "out of the ordinary" HD experiences.

Would make for quite a compelling purchase...

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"What it's doing with the PS3 processor"

Not decoding HD-DVDs? Oh well...

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Anonymous Coward

Cell upscaling in the real world

"Toshiba's demo certainly looked impressive, but we'd like to see it working in the real world before we make a judgement."

So put a DVD in a PS3. Cell upscaling in the real world.

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Picture-in-picture

Seriously, who uses PiP anyway? Stupid marketing gimmicks aside, how is it at all practical for to watch something in the corner of the screen with no audio.

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Resolution

I don't think you have to worry about upscaling HD images to resolutions higher than 1280x1080 (1080i) or 1920x1080 (1080p) for a long time. Look at how long it took them to get that high. Am I the only one amused that a 52" television is now capable of 1920x1080, whereas my 19" CRT from 10 years ago could do 1600x1200?

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The main reason HD is not compelling

It's not really that hi-def. Aside from the fact that only the newest cinema releases and HD games can even utilise the increased resolution effectively and they're still behind PC resolutions by a long ways.

I have a 42" plasma because I didn't want to have to worry about the image processor quality issues in LCDs and because if I wanted another 32" CRT I'd have to mail-order it. I don't run HD content at all and have no plans to. DVD over component looks great as do Wii games -- hell DVD over RGB SCART looks really good as does DTV over RGB SCART so I'm satisfied with the quality of the display, but the only thing I can think of using my HDMI ports for is to eventually hook up a MacMini for MAME playing...

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Anonymous Coward

PiP

I can see it being useful for channel surfing while the ads are on. But in these days of timeslip devices which can snip unwanted trails, ads and news bulletins or at least FF through them, how useful is that?

On big screens you might be able to have Final score or something on top of the Saturday afternoon film or a late kickoff broadcast, and still be able to read the results.

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Anonymous Coward

Image processing.

Whilst watchign my mums sky plus on a samsung lcd over christmas, there was a very noticeable effect on the image in films, a weird flatness of the image.

Presumably some smoothing algorithm gone bad... Does this thign do that as well?

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Paris Hilton

re:pip

I use it regularly for football games. I watch the main one I'm interested in main display, and the one I'm kinda interested in in the smaller, and swap during commercials or instant replay. Saves time over taping and replaying the minor game while still keeping an eye on it.

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RE: Resolution

CRTs have always run at higher res than LCDs, with the exception of a few specialty devices. I imagine that is because CRTs can change resolution to whatever a user wants to see (My mom used to run 800x600 on a 17 inch...) wheras an LCD has a fixed native resolution, so we just get common-denominator displays. My laptop has something like 140 DPI, and you could use that to fit a hell of a lot more pixels on a 19 inch LCD than 1280x1024. But then my mom couldn't read it.

For TVs I imagine that there is just no driving force for higher res, since until very recently people couldn't even get content higher than DVD res.

To brag a little, my 7 year old 24 inch (22.5 viewable) CRT runs at 2304x1440, 80Hz refresh. Lets see a 24 inch LCD do something like that. And I'm not even going to start talking about color or black levels...

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Go

PiP is useful

> Seriously, who uses PiP anyway? Stupid marketing gimmicks

> aside, how is it at all practical for to watch something in the

> corner of the screen with no audio.

I frequently use PiP to play a video game fullscreen, while listening to news (talking head shows) in a small window.

PiP should come with AiA -- audio in audio. On a modern 7.1 type audio setup, you could place the different shows in different spatial locations; I'm pretty sure the brain can process that better than straight mixed audio. Watching 3 shows with spacially separated audio would be like standing between 3 conversations at a party: you pay attention to one, miss most of the other 2, but if someone says something of interest to you, you tend to notice.

AiA could degrade reasonably smoothly on an old stereo setup (can still do some spatial placement with phase alone); and straight mixing on mono would be useful in some cases. Hell, I often wish I could mix two stations on my car stereo -- one talk show + one music show.

I should patent all these ideas instead of giving them away like this. Sheeze. If you design and market something based on these ideas, please at least give me one....

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Thumb Up

word on street....

says that it'll be able to view ALL the channels that it can receive on the DVB streams - as each multiplex throws the MPEGII's into the TV.

what COULD be very cool is if its got blu-ray and the actual PS3 intergrated into it. wireless controllers, wireless broadband etc all in the TV. that could be a 2008 must buy.

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Boffin

so old hat

Philips have done this for years with multiple core media VLIW processors doing the fancy stuff in software. Very. Old. Hat. But maybe it means Sony can sell a few more Cell chips because a run rate of a million or so a year is paltry, getting them in tellies could double the sales.

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Alert

>so old hat

Old hat? Previous years tech used standard definition stuff at an order of magnitude lower bandwidth. It's still kind of a big thing, though admittedly not as much as it was.

NXP (the semiconductor spin off of Philips) just showed off a new processor at CES 2008 called the PNX5100. Each PNX5100 has 3 Trimedia 5-way 32-bit VLIW processor cores running at 350MHz. Assuming that it has 5 independent floating point multiply-accumulators inside, that's 3.5 GFLOPS peak (2 operations x 350MHz x 5-way VLIW).

For comparison, each SPE in a Cell runs at 3.2GHz and performs 4-way SIMD floating point operations. What that means is that every single cycle it can execute 8 floating point operations. That's 25.6 GFLOPS peak (2 operations x 3.2GHz x 4-way SIMD).

In short, a single SPE has just over 7x the performance of a single Trimedia processor core, and a single Cell has 8 of them.

In truth, Cell is totally overkill for this and they're probably only using it out of convenience since they just purchased Sony's Cell fabrication department. In the long run, Toshiba will likely end up using their SpursEngine with only 3 to 4 SPEs operating at somewhere between 1.5 and 2GHz, which at the low end will still be just about 4 times more floating point performance compared to the next generation NXP media processors.

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