CES 2009: Cell TV to take Toshiba beyond HD

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CES 2009: Cell TV to take Toshiba beyond HD

Las Vegas (NV) – As 1080p and Blu-ray have become mainstream in the high-definition landscape, and as we are trying to figure out how Internet content streaming will impact the future of Blu-ray, Toshiba presented its vision for entertainment enthusiasts who are looking for more than just HDTV – Quad HDTV. The company is expected to be first to be providing a device that will be able of hitting 4K resolutions.

HD DVD has been officially dead for almost a year now and Blu-ray has taken over the HD media role for now. Strangely enough, Blu-ray is a non-topic so far at CES 2009 – and is trumped by presentations about Wireless HD as well as Internet content streaming. Toshiba is still not offering Blu-ray players and today said that it won’t introduce such players in 2009 either. Instead, the company is relying on enhanced feature sets in three new Regza TV families, which will include LED backlighting (edge lighting as well as full matrix lighting), 240 Hz effect technology as well as Resolution+ 1080p upscaling, which, according to the company, will deliver a near-HD viewing experience.

Resolution+ scales beyond 1080p but is limited by the processing capabilities in today’s TVs. To break this barrier, Toshiba said that it has developed Cell TV, an Apple TV-like set-top box with integrated Cell processor, which can take 1080p (1920×1080 pixel) pictures to 2160p (3840×2160), commonly referred to as Quad-HDTV, or simply 4K. Described as “not your ordinary TV”, Toshiba will position the device as the “top-end of the top-end” of TV viewing. The device will have Wireless HD connectivity and will be able to record up to six HD channels simultaneously.

Cell TV will be released later this year, but no matter whether this device will be on retail shelves for a few hundred or a few thousand dollars, consumers will still have to buy a Quad-HDTV to take advantage of the upscaling feature. Such TVs are currently sold only to enterprise customers and cost about $50,000 (which will get you a model in the 50“ range.)  

If Cell TV is in fact capable of delivering the picture quality Toshiba promises, the company may have come up with a new technology that allows consumers to look beyond Blu-ray.