Toshiba Corporation today announced a new line-up of four LCD beautiful ?face?? flat-panel LCD televisions, the first LCD TVs with the ability to record high definition video to an external LAN-compliant HDD (LAN HDD) integrated into a home network.
All four models integrate ?meta-brain,? Toshiba?s newly developed proprietary system for bringing advanced intelligence to digital TVs. The new line-up will offer two standard 32-inch and 37-inch models (LZ100) and two advanced models with the same screen sizes offering enhanced networking capabilities (LZ150). Toshiba will launch the new TVs to the Japanese market at the beginning of November.
The newly developed ?meta-brain? draws on Toshiba?s advanced expertise in system LSI and image processing software to provide the essential platform for Toshiba?s future digital TVs, including improved image quality and enhanced network capabilities. The standard ?meta-brain? in the LZ100 LCD TVs integrates a dedicated large scale system LSI for image processing and a 64-bit main CPU, while the advanced version in the LZ150 models also integrates a second 64-bit processor to manage its LAN unit and downloads of high definition video images. This state-of-the-art hardware, combined with advanced, Linux-based image-processing and Toshiba?s proprietary encryption technologies, supports recording of high definition video clips via LAN.
Connected to a LAN-based home network, LZ150 LCD TVs can record high definition video clips to a LAN HDD, record terrestrial analog programs to a LAN HDD or PC, and support e-mail, including an automatic e-mail checking function. This lets users know when they receive mail to their personal e-mail account, and can then display the messages and even open and display attached JPEG files. The e-mail function can also be used to program recordings from outside the home. Another plus offered by the LZ150 series is the ability to record terrestrial analog broadcasts to an SD memory card in the MPEG-4 format.
All four new LCD TVs support Internet browsing. The built-in LAN terminal can be connected to a broadband environment, such as ADSL or an optical cable, and an integrated browser is launched with a touch of the dedicated button in the remote controller. All models have a ?net double window? function that allows the web to be surfed and TV programs to be viewed, side by side, simultaneously, on a single screen. If users want to do an Internet search, they can type in words by connecting an external keyboard to the LCD TV?s USB port. This port also supports digital cameras, mobile phones and memory cards with USB adapters and display of JPEG images.
?The LCD TV market is growing really fast,? said Kazuo Ehara, Vice President of the CTV & Visual Media Equipment Division in Toshiba?s Digital Media Network Company. ?Penetration rates in the Japanese market in the second half of fiscal year 2004 are 35% on a unit basis and 60% by sales value. There is also growing demand for the ability to record high definition images. Toshiba will lead the market by meeting customer requirements and by introducing LCD TVs that can record high definition images to a LAN HDD.?
Alongside enhanced network capabilities, Toshiba continues to pursue high quality images with its leading-edge capabilities in digital processing. The company?s proprietary ?next-generation magic square algorithm? offers 1,024 color tone gradations, and realizes richer halftones by randomly lighting up pixels, producing natural images surpassing those typical of panel displays.
Other digital image processing technologies to improve picture quality include ?histogram dynamic gamma? and ?color image control.? The former seeks to reproduce realistic images by detecting image brightness frame by frame, pixel by pixel, then applying the optimum dynamic gamma pattern from a total of 1,677 variations. The latter reproduces images with familiar saturation levels, not the reduced saturation typical of recorded images. As a result, displayed images are closer to the hues that we memorize. The LCD TVs in the new series also offer a ?color image adjustment? that allows color adjustment in specific parts of the image, a function previously possible only for the total image.
At the same time as it has advanced image quality, Toshiba has also devoted attention to developing ?face net,? an easy-to-use graphic user interface that allows viewers to get the most out of network functions. Concern for enhanced ease of use can also be seen in the large buttons of the remote controller. One thing this controls is a new high speed cursor that users can move around the screen at a faster speed.
The new LCD TVs are all equipped with DEPG?, Toshiba?s proprietary advanced electronic program guide that can display program guides for five hours of viewing for six channels at a time. By using DEPG?, viewers save a program to a LAN HDD simply by selecting the program and selecting LAN HDD for the recording.
All four models in the LCD beautiful ?face? series share the same sophisticated design and are finished with a wire-rim frame reminiscent of fashion glasses. This enhances the slimness of the design and harmony with modern interiors.
In addition to these large sized LCD TVs, Toshiba will also launch the ?LCD TV beautiful ?face? 20LB20,? 20-inch LCD TV with BS analog tuner. This smaller LCD TV integrates bass reflex, box-shaped titanium diaphragm speakers that offer resonant bass and treble sound. The shape of bass reflex box adjusts bass sounds by placing a resonating duct on the back surface of the speaker box. The material of the titanium diaphragm speakers reproduces excellent higher registers. ?20LB20? also offer high quality images, high contrast and luminance, digital noise reduction and a wide viewing angle. Like Toshiba?s other new LCD TVs, it will be launched in the Japanese market at the beginning of November.