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Innovation

Toshiba Cell Regza 55X1: The HDTV of the future?

Let's set aside 3D TVs for a moment—they seem to be coming whether we want them or not—and look at another futuristic set concept that's (of course) coming to Japan by year's end. Toshiba's "Cell" project, which powers an LCD HDTV with the Cell processor—best known as the brains behind the PlayStation 3—finally appears closer to reality.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor on

Let's set aside 3D TVs for a moment—they seem to be coming whether we want them or not—and look at another futuristic set concept that's (of course) coming to Japan by year's end. Toshiba's "Cell" project, which powers an LCD HDTV with the Cell processor—best known as the brains behind the PlayStation 3—finally appears closer to reality. At the Ceatec 2009 trade show in Japan this week, Toshiba is showing off the Cell Regza 55X1, a 55-inch LED-backlit set that leapfrogs the competition in terms of features.

The Cell HDTV comes with 3TB of storage (both the Cell chip and storage reside in an external box), which shames all DVRs out there except something that a person has built himself or herself. How shameful? It can record up to 26 hours of programming from eight channels simultaneously. For pure sensory overload, the TV can also display eight channels at once. You can search your recorded shows by keyword, which is useful if you're taping a long block of programming from a channel. It also can optimize picture settings automatically, which THX-certified displays do as well; it will be interesting to see how the Regza compares to those THX sets in this regard. A network connection of some kind is included, though whether it's wireless or the usual Ethernet jack is unclear, and Toshiba has chosen the Opera browser for its window to the Web.

The 55X1 is expected to go on sale in Japan at the beginning of December; Gizmodo reports that it will costs a little more than $11,000, and Toshiba expects to sell about 1,000 per month. The site also says it's coming to the States in 2010, though I wasn't able to get a Toshiba rep to get back to me with any idea of a US price or date of availability. Gizmodo also says that a Cell TV with 4K resolution (i.e., more than 2x the resolution of 1080p) is in the works.

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