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CES 2009: Toshiba to show cell-based HDTV

Toshiba promises super high resolution screens

Toshiba 56 inch TV

Toshiba’s 56-inch prototype Cell TV

Toshiba plans to demonstrate a brand new cell-based prototype HDTV at this year’s CES 2009 show in Las Vegas, with a high-resolution display that’s double anything available on the high street at the moment. 

The best full HD LCD and plasma TVs currently available sport a screen resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 – that’s the number of lines (width x height) that make up the picture and matches the 1080 output from high-definition Blu-ray players. The 56-inch prototype Toshiba HDTV takes a giant leap forward in resolution and ‘up-scales’ the 1080p signal onto a 3,840 x 2,160 display – that’s double the number of pixels on a full HD set.

To get the picture on screen Toshiba are employing the Cell microprocessor used in the Sony PS3 high-definition games console. Toshiba developed the chip in conjunction with Sony and IBM.

From Sony PS3 to Toshiba LCD

Mike Briggs, Which? TV expert, said, ‘It sounds amazing and we can’t wait to take a look to see if the Cell processor delivers the same high performance in a TV as it does in the PS3. But the digital processing software at the heart of the TV is also crucial to putting a good picture on screen. We’ve often seen high-resolution TVs that sport over-enhanced and unnatural looking pictures because the digital processing software simply isn’t up to the job.’

The Cell microprocessor hasn’t been used in any Toshiba TVs up until now but the other half of the equation – the processing software – has already been built into Toshiba’s new Regza 42ZV555 HD-ready 1080p LCD TV. We’ve currently got it in the lab and will have results in a few weeks. Toshiba reckons this is the first ‘up-scaling’ TV on the market, which, according to the company means this TV can turn standard definition broadcasts and DVDs into something resembling HD quality.

Blu-ray HD rival?

Resolution + is the key piece of software at the heart of the ZV555. More than 99% of TV programmes are broadcast and viewed in standard definition, and most movies watched in the home are on DVD. Resolution +, Toshiba claims, is designed to instantly upgrade standard definition pictures – adding resolution, sharpness and depth to bring picture quality in line with a high-definition experience.

This isn’t the only piece of their AV kit Toshiba have claimed can upgrade standard TV into pseudo HDTV. The XD-E500 DVD player also comes with a similar Resolution + related fanfare. The new machines hit the market less than a year after the Toshiba-backed HD-DVD format lost the battle for high-definition DVD supremacy to rival Blu-ray.

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