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CES 2010: Toshiba shows off Cell-powered HDTV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 06 Jan 2010 18:39 User comments (29)

CES 2010: Toshiba shows off Cell-powered HDTV Today at the CES 2010 event, Toshiba showed off their ZX900 Cell TV, using the Cell processing engine found in the powerful PlayStation 3.
The player will come as either 46-inch, 55-inch or 65-inch models and the company says each will include a 3.2GHz Cell chip with eight cores. Each core will upscale SD content into 1080p HD content using "smart" pixel generation that Toshiba says will leave upscaled images almost "indistinguishable" from Blu-ray and other legitimate HD content. The same technology will reduce noise and remove artifacts, all on the fly.

The processor is so powerful that it can also convert 2D content into stereoscopic 3D, all on the fly as well.

Heading over to the actual display, the ZX900 will have 512 separate backlight zones, about five times the amount current top-end LED-backlit TVs have. The screen will also "adjust the picture's color temperature to compensation for each environment it's placed in, using a sensor to measure light and color levels around it," says Reghardware.

The Cell TV has a contrast ratio of 9,000,000:1 and brightness of 1000cd/m².

Additionally, the TV has a 1TB HDD built-in to the set's control box, which is linked to the Cell TV by Wireless HD technology. 802.11n Wi-Fi is standard. The TV has a built-in upscaling DVD player, and the screen has a built-in surround sound bar.

Although pricing was not made available, Scott Ramirez, Toshiba America Consumer Products marketing chief frankly said the price will not be cheap.

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29 user comments

16.1.2010 21:05

Each core will upscale SD content into 1080p HD content using "smart" pixel generation that Toshiba says will leave upscaled images almost "indistinguishable" from Blu-ray

So um..if thats the case then why bother with Blu-Ray at ALL since most of the special features on all blu-ray discs is SD anyway?

What a scam.

26.1.2010 21:14

Originally posted by windsong:
So um..if thats the case then why bother with Blu-Ray at ALL...?
The reason is right there in the article;

Quote:
...the price will not be cheap.
I'm predicting at least $3.5K for the smaller 46 incher and over $5K for the 65 incher.

I can get TRUE 1080p from a $1K or less display and a $150 BD player.


So go ahead and stick with SD sources. But if you want these babies you'll have to pay through the nose.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 06 Jan 2010 @ 21:17

36.1.2010 21:43

Wasn't there an article not too long ago that talked about how the cell processor was being scaled back as far as production? Something along the lines of "Only those necessary to run the PS3s". Interesting to see other new products using this CPU.

47.1.2010 2:48

Originally posted by MaxNB:
Wasn't there an article not too long ago that talked about how the cell processor was being scaled back as far as production? Something along the lines of "Only those necessary to run the PS3s". Interesting to see other new products using this CPU.
IBM is just no longer developing NEW CellBE CPUs...but Sony/Toshiba are still welcome to and IBM is incorporating some related technology into their upcoming POWER7 processors.

57.1.2010 8:08

So, it will make an Educated Guess. If it only had to make a small guess it might be ok. BUT, SD produces 408,960 pixels of information and BluRay produces 2,073,600 pixels of information. That means that the Cell is making an “Educated Guess” on what %80 of the picture should be. I don’t like those odds. If it works, I’ll get it to pick Lottery numbers for me.

67.1.2010 9:26
Seanspade
Inactive

Originally posted by glassd:
So, it will make an Educated Guess. If it only had to make a small guess it might be ok. BUT, SD produces 408,960 pixels of information and BluRay produces 2,073,600 pixels of information. That means that the Cell is making an “Educated Guess” on what %80 of the picture should be. I don’t like those odds. If it works, I’ll get it to pick Lottery numbers for me.
This is 100% of the truth in writing.

Why, first of all, would I want something in SD no matter what it does. Toshiba is trying to make it so that people can connect a Blu-ray Player, and have an experience with their home TV's where NOTHING is not in some form of HD, whether simulated or not.

This is great, and I totally understand the marketing ploy, as well as how it could be useful, but honestly, I have a 65" LED Display I just bought for $4,799, as well as a PS3. When I put a DVD in (I've been watching Oz (HBO) which is letterbox format) the PS3 automatically widescreens it, as well as upscales it completely, which looks amazing, so all this blah blah cell processor stuff is worthless to anyone who has already made most of the conversions already.

I even have a 42" Dynex 1080p HDTV in my bedroom, so no area of the house ISN'T HD already, and that setup cost me $700. I mean, c'mon Toshiba.

If this is priced reasonably, meaning 2.5k or under, I may take a look, otherwise, go buy a PS3.

77.1.2010 9:36

So this is fuzzy scaling? So without the Cell setup it be forced to do hard number crunching?

87.1.2010 9:43

Toshiba is probably counting on the collective short-term-memory loss of consumers. It was Toshiba who after surrendering HD-DVD said that they were producing a new upscaling DVD player that would rival Blu-Ray. This new DVD player turned out to be a dud. The same thing is going to happen here. Nothing can "rival" true HD content. And it is not only resolution, it is also color rendition that makes HD content so life-like. So Toshiba, are you planning of "inventing and adding" new colors to your "enhanced" DVD pictures too? Stop playing with the consumers expectations. C'mom Toshiba, you can't fool all of the people all the time.

97.1.2010 9:44
scum101
Inactive

I used to do this in realtime on my cluster.. upscaling 540x300 xvid stuff to full 1080p .. took more power than transcoding and flatting a full 3 hour film in 4 minutes.. lots of noise.. lots of heat.. and my loadbalancers used to screech after about 10 mins of it..

I'm not sure the cell is up to it. 4 in parallel might just manage the sheer numbercrunching required... How many are in these boxes?


107.1.2010 9:58

The deal is that Toshiba owns the Lion’s share of DVD patents. Royalties are paid to Toshiba for DVD sales, licensing, etc… The longer that they can hang on to DVD, the better for them.

117.1.2010 10:20

This is a great idea. I have a typical cable box (Rogers in Toronto), and get 50-60? HD channels and several hundred SD channels. I don't watch the SD channels because I'm used to HD. This set would make the SD channels way more watchable, the same way a good upconverting DVD player makes a DVD more watchable. The CELL technology improves on the 'guessing' an upconverter must make, because (as I understand it) it draws on 'real' data from several frames of video (normal upconverters look at just a single frame). It won't be as clear as HD, but it should be better than a current good upconverter, some of which do a pretty good job. I have about 2000 DVDs which I won't be replacing real soon with BluRay, and whatever will improve PQ for those, I'm in favor of.

127.1.2010 10:23
Seanspade
Inactive

Originally posted by scum101:
I used to do this in realtime on my cluster.. upscaling 540x300 xvid stuff to full 1080p .. took more power than transcoding and flatting a full 3 hour film in 4 minutes.. lots of noise.. lots of heat.. and my loadbalancers used to screech after about 10 mins of it..

I'm not sure the cell is up to it. 4 in parallel might just manage the sheer numbercrunching required... How many are in these boxes?
I would assume 1(?). The Cell is not similar to Intel, or AMD, and it really deserves a class all it's own.

My best friend in the Army (he's a high ranking officer) said they had 25 $5,000 machines running something, and they switched it to 30 PS3's because the power was unmatchable. So, $125,000 scaled down to $10,000 and the $10k has more power?

Wow.

137.1.2010 10:37

Thought this is why I bought my PS3 when it first came out - to use the cell processing power to upscale Standard DVDs to Hi-Def. TV comes down my cable at 720p or 1080i, which is good enough. So, not interested in spending a fortune for a TV/computer. BTW, I gave up on Blu-ray, upscaled standard, if it was shot digitally, is just fine.

147.1.2010 11:59

I remember when HD ready tv's first came out they were priced in the thousands, and still can be of course but you can get an excellent quality picture from one for well under £1000 now. If Toshiba's technology takes off then it will be copied by other companies and prices will fall. Personally I can't see that much difference between HD and ordinary digital TV anyway. Its a marketing scam, thay have to make everything sound as if its better. I understand that the difference in USA is more marked but here in UK its not.

157.1.2010 12:00

Why is it I get this feeling the cell is a dead end hardware/tech wise....

167.1.2010 12:06
Seanspade
Inactive

Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
Why is it I get this feeling the cell is a dead end hardware/tech wise....
because it costs $94 to make mass produced, and rivals the power of $2,000 servers? Sounds like the future to me.

177.1.2010 12:09

Quote:
Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
Why is it I get this feeling the cell is a dead end hardware/tech wise....
because it costs $94 to make mass produced, and rivals the power of $2,000 servers? Sounds like the future to me.
And yet its not rivaling anything without being plugged into itself in double pairs......

187.1.2010 12:33

Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
Why is it I get this feeling the cell is a dead end hardware/tech wise....
That feeling that you have would actually be the Corn on your toe that is telling you that it is going to rain.

197.1.2010 12:35
scum101
Inactive

Quote:
My best friend in the Army (he's a high ranking officer) said they had 25 $5,000 machines running something, and they switched it to 30 PS3's because the power was unmatchable. So, $125,000 scaled down to $10,000 and the $10k has more power?
First twin xeon I bought cost £8400 .. I still have it.. it runs as a loadbalancer.. If I was to go and price the cluster at shop to buy prices when they were bought you would be talking about 64x whatever a state of the art pc cost in 1998/9.. so most likely well more than the price of a house. you have anything to say to that?

The military (I read that article) were looking to upgrade an old cluster anyways.. and the small size and low power consumption was what swung them.. the hardware they replaced in REAL VALUE terms were old duron twin 800's.. worthless in modern money... and about 5k when new.

LSPP has more considerations than power.. hell I can go buy a server now that will piss all over a ps3 for sheer number crunching and flops... a quad quad rackmount server..16 cpu's all running flat out.. the military seem to be looking at off the shelf things the enemy could and might build instead of having anything that is actually supposed to do anything... hell they can afford a Cray paid for with your money if they want (they have more than a few let me tell you). The military don't need these childrens toys for anything serious.. I suspect more a semi covert op into the tech the enemy may have available.

back to the topic.. sticking an end of line piece of hardware in a retail device with a planned lifespan of maybe 4 years tops..

I throw serious doubt on the ability of a single cell processor to handle the sheer number crunching involved on a full time basis.. MY experience as a cluster builder tells me that 4 would be more like the number they need.. and 8 would be better.. My cluster was happy at around 28.8GFlops but would run at nearly 35GFlops with a lot of coaxing and protesting which realtime full "guesswork" upscaling took it close to the max.. When the loadbalancers start screeching it's time to back it all off.. I think for these demos they have used very carefully prepared and chosen subject matter.. lets see it do a sd to hd render in realtime of a live sd feed of a large crowd of people or a field of wild flowers in the breeze.. that would be a test.. not some nicely off disk (and we know about shenanagins from manufacturers in the past with hidden feeds) all prepared in a safe environment demonstration.
I don't think one cell processor has the clout to run this..

Ah well..along comes somebody with zero parallel processing and supercomputer building experience and argues.. only on afterdawn.

207.1.2010 12:49

Quote:
Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
Why is it I get this feeling the cell is a dead end hardware/tech wise....
That feeling that you have would actually be the Corn on your toe that is telling you that it is going to rain.
'

more like the boil on my butt..it tells me alot of things.... :P

217.1.2010 12:51

Quote:
Quote:
My best friend in the Army (he's a high ranking officer) said they had 25 $5,000 machines running something, and they switched it to 30 PS3's because the power was unmatchable. So, $125,000 scaled down to $10,000 and the $10k has more power?
First twin xeon I bought cost £8400 .. I still have it.. it runs as a loadbalancer.. If I was to go and price the cluster at shop to buy prices when they were bought you would be talking about 64x whatever a state of the art pc cost in 1998/9.. so most likely well more than the price of a house. you have anything to say to that?

The military (I read that article) were looking to upgrade an old cluster anyways.. and the small size and low power consumption was what swung them.. the hardware they replaced in REAL VALUE terms were old duron twin 800's.. worthless in modern money... and about 5k when new.

LSPP has more considerations than power.. hell I can go buy a server now that will piss all over a ps3 for sheer number crunching and flops... a quad quad rackmount server..16 cpu's all running flat out.. the military seem to be looking at off the shelf things the enemy could and might build instead of having anything that is actually supposed to do anything... hell they can afford a Cray paid for with your money if they want (they have more than a few let me tell you). The military don't need these childrens toys for anything serious.. I suspect more a semi covert op into the tech the enemy may have available.

back to the topic.. sticking an end of line piece of hardware in a retail device with a planned lifespan of maybe 4 years tops..

I throw serious doubt on the ability of a single cell processor to handle the sheer number crunching involved on a full time basis.. MY experience as a cluster builder tells me that 4 would be more like the number they need.. and 8 would be better.. My cluster was happy at around 28.8GFlops but would run at nearly 35GFlops with a lot of coaxing and protesting which realtime full "guesswork" upscaling took it close to the max.. When the loadbalancers start screeching it's time to back it all off.. I think for these demos they have used very carefully prepared and chosen subject matter.. lets see it do a sd to hd render in realtime of a live sd feed of a large crowd of people or a field of wild flowers in the breeze.. that would be a test.. not some nicely off disk (and we know about shenanagins from manufacturers in the past with hidden feeds) all prepared in a safe environment demonstration.
I don't think one cell processor has the clout to run this..

Ah well..along comes somebody with zero parallel processing and supercomputer building experience and argues.. only on afterdawn.
THats what I am getting at the Cell is a good thought but a unfinished one.

227.1.2010 13:48

Quote:
Originally posted by ZippyDSM:
Why is it I get this feeling the cell is a dead end hardware/tech wise....
because it costs $94 to make mass produced, and rivals the power of $2,000 servers? Sounds like the future to me.
NOT true, the ONLY reason the military went to PS3's was it could do the job but the key factor was, it was much cheaper. One reason is the status quoi PS3's are sold at a loss and Sony plans on making it up on peripheral sales and games. The other issue is a $5K PC/Server designed through normal channels to MIL spec is tenfold the price or more that you or I would pay. The military would like to get around this with off the shelf equipment but then they enter into problem areas that their expensive design would skirt i.e., exhausting of lethal gas, flammability, corrosion in extreme conditions, ability to keep on ticking under extreme impact (explosions), and so many more things. I've worked in this environment and designed some of this gear you are ignorantly speaking about and I'll tell you, you are off base here. Also as the military is doing foolish stuff like this to save money due to budgetary issues it will nip them in the butt in the future.

Back to the TV what a waste of technology and those that buy this deserve what they get. Like others have said Toshiba is screwing up once again. It won't be long and all broadcast will be upscaled to HD anyway as it really should have been upon the DTV change. If Obama has his way this TV could get axed in the US as it will consume way too much power to be sold.

237.1.2010 16:18

I know that the article and all the comments here are making a big deal of the "Cell" proccessor but I think it misses the point a little bit.

The price of an LED tv with twice as much LEDs as any out now is going to be more expensive. This will be a high quality HD set. The Cell cpu is more of an option in my eyes. The 1TB Hard Drive and Wifi are also a useful additions.

I guess what I'm saying is the addition of the Cell proccessor is sort of a stop-gap measurement while we still have SD content around. SD isn't going to be going away that soon. Think of the amount of people that have DVD collections at home.

Can SD be upscaled to look as good as HD? Maybe not. Could it get close? Toshiba seems to think so...

247.1.2010 19:00

What makes for, for a second, think that the algorithms that Toshiba is using the Cell to perform are remotely like the ones that Sony has the Cell perform in the PS3? Sony has a vested interest in not letting SD get too close to BluRay in perceived picture quality. Toshiba has a vested interest in raining on Sony's parade because of how Sony bribed their way to an undeserved win in the HD-DVD vs. BluRay war of last year. I am sure that Toshiba absolutely loathes Sony and would love to crush BluRay by making SD movies look as good. You can get a good % of the way there with an inexpensive Oppo DVD player (been there done that on a 58" plasma), I do not doubt for a second that using a Cell you can get much closer if not, effectively, "there". This is part one in Toshiba's attack. Count on drastic price drops with newer models if the reviews are good on the technology and the sets sell well to early adopters. Sony should be...very afraid.

- nopcbs

Quote:
Originally posted by glassd:
So, it will make an Educated Guess. If it only had to make a small guess it might be ok. BUT, SD produces 408,960 pixels of information and BluRay produces 2,073,600 pixels of information. That means that the Cell is making an “Educated Guess” on what %80 of the picture should be. I don’t like those odds. If it works, I’ll get it to pick Lottery numbers for me.
This is 100% of the truth in writing.

Why, first of all, would I want something in SD no matter what it does. Toshiba is trying to make it so that people can connect a Blu-ray Player, and have an experience with their home TV's where NOTHING is not in some form of HD, whether simulated or not.

This is great, and I totally understand the marketing ploy, as well as how it could be useful, but honestly, I have a 65" LED Display I just bought for $4,799, as well as a PS3. When I put a DVD in (I've been watching Oz (HBO) which is letterbox format) the PS3 automatically widescreens it, as well as upscales it completely, which looks amazing, so all this blah blah cell processor stuff is worthless to anyone who has already made most of the conversions already.

I even have a 42" Dynex 1080p HDTV in my bedroom, so no area of the house ISN'T HD already, and that setup cost me $700. I mean, c'mon Toshiba.

If this is priced reasonably, meaning 2.5k or under, I may take a look, otherwise, go buy a PS3.

257.1.2010 19:25

Originally posted by nopcbs:
Toshiba has a vested interest in raining on Sony's parade because of how Sony bribed their way to an undeserved win in the HD-DVD vs. BluRay war of last year.
Wow - talk about bitter. It wasn't last year. It was in 2008.

It's been more than 2 years since Warner pulled the plug but some people still haven't moved on.

Originally posted by nopcbs:
Count on drastic price drops with newer models if the reviews are good on the technology and the sets sell well to early adopters. Sony should be...very afraid.
So when will we see these price drops? Realistically?

Let's look at the features of these new models shall we?

http://www.itproportal.com/portal/news/a.../#ixzz0bvbZaC4S

kira2 LED Back lighting - 2x brighter than current models
Tri-vector 2D to 3D conversion
1 TB hard drive
Built in Blu-ray player
Wireless HD 802.11n
DLNA "digital Media Server" level
USB playback
built-in NetTV Channels
built-in Video Phone capability
480 Hz refresh
Cell engine

Do you really believe that these models will be affordable to j6p in the near future?

If you do then you're more optimistic than me.

My prediction: By the time these Cell HDTV's even approach mass market prices you'll be able to get $50 Blu-ray players and most movies will be $10 or less.

Sony has nothing to worry about. What's on everyone's mind at CES right now is gettting 3D on Blu-ray and HD Cable/Sat off the ground.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Jan 2010 @ 19:31

267.1.2010 19:41

Originally posted by nopcbs:
I am sure that Toshiba absolutely loathes Sony and would love to crush BluRay by making SD movies look as good.
If that is true then why is Toshiba releasing 3 new Blu-ray player models just announced at CES?

http://www.engadget.com/2010/01/06/toshi...and-bdx2500-do/

BDX-2500: USB port for Wifi dongle - MSRP $199
BDX-2700: Built in Wifi - MSRP $299
BDX-3000: Built in Wifi and 3D capable - No MSRP yet
All 3 are BD-Live 2.0 and do online streaming with CinemaNow

I don't think they want to crush Blu-ray because they would be crushing their own product. LOL!
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 07 Jan 2010 @ 19:43

277.1.2010 19:49

Originally posted by Toshibot:
It's been more than 2 years since Warner pulled the plug but some people still haven't moved on.
Even Toshiba has moved on.

See my post above.

287.1.2010 22:06

Originally posted by Toshibot:
I'm predicting at least $3.5K for the smaller 46 incher and over $5K for the 65 incher.
The Toshiba Cell HDTV was released in Japan last month.

http://www.crunchgear.com/2009/12/08/tos...ell-regza-55x1/

The 55-inch model was priced at $11,230.

I'm thinking the 65-inch model for the USA would be at least $10,000.

Originally posted by Toshibot:
Do you really believe that these models will be affordable to j6p in the near future?
I'm an old man. I'll probably be dead before I can afford this HDTV.

298.1.2010 1:01

man, i wonder how my 8-bit NES will look/feel in full Toshiba HD hahaha...

It's awesome playing the classics on a nice projector, but it is a pretty crummy experience to play any video games on that aren't natively progressive-scan while using my 1080p HDTV as a monitor...

interlacing noise and latency kill when in 480i or 1080i modes... not to mention arse-terrible NTSC color conversion...

NTSC == Never The Same Color

hahaha

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