updated 11:10 am EDT, Mon October 5, 2009
Toshiba Cell Regza and 4K appear
Toshiba took the lead at Japan's CEATEC show by unveiling its most advanced TV to date. The Cell Regza 55X1 uses a variant of the same Cell processor found in the PlayStation 3 and can handle tasks that were previously difficult or impossible in regular sets: it can record up to eight simultaneous digital over-the-air TV shows at once using a special DVR box and will even display those images simultaneously. Image correction also moves up with self-congruency adjustment at the edge of the display, better color balance and sharper upscaling for DVDs and other sub-HD video.
The Cell chip is housed in a separate box that also serves as a DVR with 3TB of total storage; 2TB is used for timeshifted programming and will hold up to 26 hours of HD. It supplies the Internet connection and, in a rare addition, supports browsing the web through a version of Opera.
The 55-inch set itself also has one of Toshiba's best-ever panels and has an LED backlight with 512 local dimming zones that contribute to a 5,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio and 1,250cd/m2 brightness. It refreshes at up to 240Hz and beneath has a seven-speaker sound bar underneath.
Toshiba ships the Cell Regza to its home country first and will ship it in early December. Although prices will be open on the Japanese market, early estimates have the 55X1 selling for the equivalent of $11,134. A US version hasn't been confirmed; most Toshiba sets reach the US, but the high price is an unknown factor.
As part of its presence, Toshiba is also showing prototypes for a number of Cell Regza designs. The lead is a 4K model with a 3840x2160 LCD that would take advantage of the Cell to add detail to 1080p video. A second model uses Toshiba's spatial motion interface for control. Other models vary from a 46-inch set with the Cell hardware built into the display and a 37-inch model that would act as a media server.