CES Hi-Def Highlights
By Glen Dickson -- Broadcasting & Cable, 1/18/2009 7:00:00 PM
Panasonic Expands Wireless, Web Capabilities for HD Sets
Panasonic is expanding its Viera Cast technology, which routes Web content tailored for the TV screen through Panasonic-controlled servers to broadband-connected Panasonic HDTV sets, throughout much of its Viera HD line. It is also introducing Viera Cast in broadband-capable Blu-ray optical disc players.
Viera Cast content partners include Amazon's video-on-demand service, which gives access to more than 40,000 movies and TV shows through the Internet to the TV screen. Amazon on-demand customers can use either the PC or the TV to order movies that will be delivered through Viera Cast.
“They can buy it with one click, and it is added to their Amazon on-demand delivery queue,” said Bill Carr, VP of digital media for Amazon.
VIDEO: Scenes from the floor at CES:
Panasonic introduced the Z1 plasma HDTV, a one-inch-thick plasma display that uses a wireless link to transmit uncompressed HDTV signals from a separate set-top box directly to the display, and said it is working with Comcast to implement HDMI CEC networking technology between Comcast set-tops and Panasonic HDTV sets. HDMI CEC will let customers use the Panasonic TV remote to access their TV features and the Comcast interactive program guide through a single interface.
“They can use a single remote, and have a single way on-screen to do navigation,” said Mark Hess, Comcast senior VP of video product development.
Toshiba Raises Bar on HD Resolution
Toshiba demonstrated at CES a prototype “cell TV” that uses Toshiba's high-performance “cell” processor chip, which is already employed in Sony's PlayStation consoles, to improve picture quality. Toshiba's gambit is to separate the cell processor from the LCD panel in a separate set-top box, which will be loaded with storage and serve as an HD home server.
The processing power of the cell chip, which is three times faster than the processors in Toshiba's current Regza TVs, can support display resolutions of up to 4K by 2K (3840 by 2160), or four times 1080-line-progressive resolution, and also receive and decode six simultaneous HD streams, said Toshiba VP of marketing Scott Ramirez. In its CES booth, Toshiba used a 56-inch, 4K by 2K-pixel LCD panel to display images that the cell processor upconverted from 1920 x 1080p resolution to 3840 x 2160 resolution.
Technical details were sparse, but Ramirez said the combined set-top and panel would probably sell in the $5,000 to $10,000 range and could come out in Japan this year, and possibly in the U.S. by 2010.
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