LAS VEGAS Toshiba is again pitching Cell TV, this time as "ultimate TV," here at the Consumer Electronics Show.
|Atsushi Murasawa, president and CEO of Toshiba America Consumer Products, said it is betting on Cell TVs in the U.S. market.|
The difference this time, though, is that Cell TV, based on Cell processors -- co-developed by Sony, Toshiba and IBM and originally used in Sony's PlayStation 3 game console -- may actually hit the U.S. market this fall.
Until now, Cell TV has earned a reputation as an eternal "demo" used by Toshiba to showcase the company's technological prowess.
What's different this year? First, Cell TV has been available in Japan since December. Toshiba claims that more than 1,000 Cell TVs -- priced at about $10,000 per unit -- have been sold in Japan in about a month.
Second, as many leading TV manufacturers roll out 3-D TVs in the U.S., Toshiba needs "something" to differentiate its 3-D TV offerings, including new capabilities like on-the-fly 2-D to 3-D conversion.
Indeed, the pending U.S. models will feature a new set of functions with a specific emphasis on 3-D. These functions include not only converting multiple 3-D formats, but also converting incoming 2-D video signals (from broadcast or packaged media) into 3-D in "real time," the company claimed.
Third, Toshiba said it isn't just testing the water with its Cell TVs, but will offer multiple models in the U.S. market. The U.S. models will come in three screen sizes this year: Genesis at 55 and 65 inches; and Illusion at 46-, 55-, and 65-inch screen sizes.
Thus far, Toshiba has introduced only one Cell TV model in Japan. Its focus is on simultaneous decoding of eight channels of broadcast TV signals, said Yoshiaki Uchiyama, senior vice president of Toshiba America Consumer Products.
"We need to increase volume and our market share in the United States," said Uchiyama. Toshiba currently maintains nearly 10-percent market share in the U.S. TV market, according to Uchiyama. Reaching "a little over 10 percent" market share this year is Toshiba America's goal, he said.
Toshiba executives declined to comment on the pricing of different Cell TV models in the U.S.
Real-time 3-D conversion?
Toshiba is not alone in pitching real-time 2-D to 3-D conversion in upcoming 3-D TV models. Samsung on Wednesday (Jan. 6) claimed that "a built-in video processor" inside its 3-D TV models will offer a similar conversion feature in order to offer "unlimited 3-D content" while the availability of 3-D TV broadcasts remain limited.