Toshiba 55LZ1 To Feature Modified Cell Chip Dubbed CEVO

Jonathan Sutton

Toshiba has revealed at the IFA 2010 in Berlin that a modified version of the Cell microprocessor – dubbed Cevo – will power its flagship Toshiba 55LZ1 HDTV due to be released in Europe, in place of the original Cell chip which had video enthusiasts drooling as early as 2 years ago. The official reason given for the modification was that the Cell TV was deemed to be too powerful and not a suitable fit for the European market.

Initially unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Toshiba’s Cell TV boasts the advanced Cell microprocessor that also powers the Sony Playstation 3 (PS3), allowing the company to efficiently incorporate multiple video-enhancing technologies on the television. In Japan the powerful chip was fully utilised to equip the HDTV with as many as eight high-definition tuners, 3Tb (Terabytes) of storage, and a native screen resolution of 3840 x 2160.

But having dangled the Cell TV in a couple of expos, Toshiba obviously had a rethink, and came to the conclusion that these features were excessive for the European market. Cue the birth of Toshiba CEVO – short for Cell Evolution – which will become the heart of the Toshiba 55LZ1

The CEVO technology found within the Toshiba 55LZ1 consists of multiple stacked modified Cell processors, one of which is dedicated solely to 2D-to-3D conversion. Thanks to the CEVO microprocessor, the Toshiba 55LZ1 can also upscale half-resolution 3D images to full 1080p side-by-side dual images delivered to the left and right eyes.

The 55-inch LCD screen on the Toshiba 55LZ1 is illuminated by more than 3,000 LEDs which are arranged in 512 locally-dimmable zones, which should allow for more precise lighting and dimming controls compared to the more conventional 128 dimming zones. Toshiba quotes a dynamic contrast ratio of 9 million to 1, meaning that the Toshiba 55LZ1 local-dimming LED 3D TV should be capable of delivering not only supremely deep blacks, but also retina-torching brightness which may be necessary to counteract the darkening effect of 3D glasses.

The Toshiba 55LZ1 is scheduled to hit UK stores during the first quarter of 2011. Although pricing has not been confirmed, sources suggest that the Toshiba 55LZ1 would retail at 5,000 Euros (around £4,150) per set.