LAS VEGAS —
Toshiba’s consumer electronics group will unveil the first fruits from its new association with the information systems business unit, offering extensive Wi-Fi and Internet streaming capabilities and one of the widest 3D offerings at the show.
“Our goal now is to take the strengths of these two strong Toshiba divisions and try to use them to create some best-in-class products and some best-in-class relationships with our dealers,” said Scott Ramirez, Toshiba TV and DAV products marketing VP.
“There are a lot of PC and TV assets that we can leverage that I think can allow us to create some enhanced products for what is finally a truly converging industry.”
He added that Toshiba’s process of going to market has already become “faster and more market focused” than in the past.
To differentiate its television products, Toshiba is offering a range of features that are said to be both fun and functional, while new cosmetics in LED models emphasize ultra-thin panel depths, including the chrome-accented Blade step-up units.
For picture performance, Toshiba will offer steps in panel quality, as opposed to just improvements in chassis design, Ramirez said.
In addition to a core LED line, Toshiba will step to last year’s CineSpeed panel, and then to the new CineSpeed Plus 120Hz and 240Hz panels and Quantum Black 480Hz panel.
Quantum Black models are reserved exclusively for Toshiba’s Cinema Series, offering stronger static contrast, a faster response time, 480Hz ClearScan motion smoothing, fine local dimming with more zones and Crystal Coat for increased black levels.
For 3D, Toshiba will offer three technology approaches, including active-shutter glasses, like those introduced a year ago; polarized “passive” shutter glasses, like those used in 3D movie theaters; and prototype glasses-less displays, called Toshiba’s “Glasses-Free 3D,” which were introduced to the Japanese market at CEATEC last year.
Models will be shown in the 55-inch and 63-inch screen sizes at CES, but the company is still trying to determine if it will market them here, Ramirez said.
Toshiba, he said, sought to deliver 3D sets capable of the highest 2D picture quality to maximize the 3D experience, he added.
The active and passive glasses sets will all incorporate a new Toshiba CEVO processor that retains elements of the former Cell processor, once earmarked for the discontinued Cell TV, in a lower-cost chipset.
This includes a Trivector 2D-to-3D conversion system to view any content in 3D, 3D Super Resolution Plus up-conversion for non-1080p 3D content, and a 3D Cross-Talk Canceller system.
Toshiba will call its active-shutter 3D sets “Dynamic 3D,” and will position them as the ultimate in 3D picture quality.
Toshiba calls the passive 3D system “Natural 3D.” The approach is said to enable longer viewing times without eyestrain, and a lower total cost of ownership due to the cheaper glasses technology.
To bring “fun” into the equation, Toshiba is introducing a collection of new features, including a voice-control system on select models.
For voice control, an accessory module picks up audible cues and enters command mode after hearing a double clap of hands. From there the user speaks commands such as, “TV power on”, “Channel up,” “Mute,” etc., and the TV will engage those commands.
For IPTV functionality, Toshiba will add its NetTV platform with Yahoo! Widgets to more models in 2011, and has expanded the list of pre-installed content service providers. All Internet-ready models this year will also come with built-in Wi-Fi networking, and all big-screen Internet-ready models will add Skype video calling capability.
A gaming pack in select models allows faster response times between the controller and the screen, and a native (pixel-for-pixel) mode pulls all of the overscanned pixels back into the viewable area of the screen for faster visuals of objects entering and exiting the screen.
The Wi-Fi-ready models also add an enhanced DLNA system that allows two-way control of shared content from the TV to PC and PC to TV.
Sets also include USB ports to share content from thumb drives and portable hard discs.
For menu operation, step-up Toshiba models add the new Horizon Motion Graphic user interface to make function selections fun and visually pleasing.