PC World asks what happens when you take the powerful Cell microprocessor, the chip that sits at the heart of the PlayStation 3 games console, and put it to use inside a television? Toshiba is demonstrated just such a TV at this week's International Consumer Electronics Show and the results are impressive.
The first and perhaps most relevant benefit of putting the Cell inside a television is the ability to handle real-time upscaling of standard definition TV to high-def. With a Cell-powered TV you'd be able to enjoy regular channels in higher quality much closer to that of HD, said Hiroaki Komaki, a specialist at Toshiba's core technology center in Tokyo.
The upscaling doesn't stop there. The same feature can be used to zoom in on an area of an HDTV picture, enlarge that single area, and then improve it's image quality. Imagine zooming in on a home movie of a sports event and getting closer to the action.
The Cell also makes it possible to easily navigate a number of video channels simultaneously. In a demo at CES, the chip was streaming 48 chapters from a standard-definition video file in real-time, with each appearing as a video thumbnail on the screen. Clicking on one of the clips would bring it up on the lower half of the screen, with 16 chapters still running in the upper half. Another push on the button would move it to full screen.
If the video streams were HD, it would be able to process six in real-time and display them on the screen, said Komaki.