Toshiba demonstrated that its Cell microprocessor, jointly developed with the Sony Group
and IBM, can simultaneously decode 48 SDTV format MPEG-2 streams.
At the COOL Chips VIII event held in Yokohama from April 20 to 22, 2005, the company
showed a film demonstrating the decoding process.
In the film, 48 MPEG-2 streams stored on a HDD were read, decoded and projected onto a
1,920 x 1,080 resolution display divided into 8 x 6 cells, each of which showed a
different video in each cell. The company expects the technology to be used to display
thumbnails for a video list. Of the eight synergistic processor elements (SPE) used in
the Cell, six are used for decoding 48 MPEG-2 streams and one is used for scaling the
screen. The remaining SPE can be used for a completely different processing function.
In the demonstration, Toshiba used an operating system environment it had developed to
increase the efficiency of Cell software development. One of the environment's key
features is that application software developers can program software without considering
which threads will be allotted to each of the different SPEs, because the environment
allows the automatically scheduling software to SPEs.