updated 03:10 pm EST, Wed January 7, 2009
Toshiba Cell TV and REGZAs
Toshiba this afternoon outed its CES offerings and centered them on its TVs. The Japanese firm says it has produced the first prototypes of TVs that use a Cell processor to handle its image processing. The performance of the chip, which is already shared with the PlayStation 3, is strong enough to handle very high resolution video processing but can also encode live HD and easily handle network video streaming. An example 55-inch set can not only play 4K (3840x2160) resolution video but upscale 1080p footage to the higher resolution while reducing the amount of noise and other artifacts.
The Cell unit is contained in an external device but will be included with mulitple, unspecified models over the course of the year. The 4K example is a 56-inch, conventionally lit set, while a 55-inch LED-backlit TV has also been shown using Cell processing.
In addition to its test TVs, Toshiba is also introducing a suite of new REGZA production models with a new look and improved image quality: the SV670 series in 46- and 55-inch versions has an unusual "infinity flush" bezel that makes it appear as though the edges fade off. Both screens are also LED-backlit to significantly boost their contrast levels, have quick-response 240Hz panels that eliminate motion artifacts, and offer rare Dolby Volume and InstaPort features that respectively maintain constant sound levels and more quickly switch HDMI ports. The two sets ship in May.
The ZV650 line borrows a similar design and features of the SV670 but uses a more traditional CCFL backlight and will ship one month earlier, arriving with 42-inch, 47-inch and 55-inch models.
The more modest XV645 series reduces the visual effect of the bezel to the bottom, rebadging it Deep Lagoon, and switches to a simpler but still fast 120Hz panel. The RV525 lineup comes in 40- and 46-inch sizes that handle 1080p pictures; models in the AV600 and AV502 are all 720p sets and vary in size from 19 inches to 37 inches. XV645 models start shipping in May while all the simpler models should already be shipping.