Today Toshiba announced an ultra-powerful LCD TV powered by the same chip as the Sony PS3. It's backed by a 3 TB hard disk, and can play and record up to eight different television channels at once. It'll also cost 1 million yen (about $11,000) when it becomes available in Japan this December. What's Toshiba thinking?
An $11,000 TV with that kind of horsepower might be meant for bigger things. The Regza Cell, as the TV is called, could one day support small, modular add-on peripherals that off-load all their processing to the TV's chip (the eponymous Cell). That would make peripherals--a Blu-ray drive, a streaming HDMI box, a game console, or an Internet link--small and cheap. Out of the box, the TV can support an Internet connection and uses an Opera browser.
Sony has attempted something similar with its Bravia Home Link suite, which lets you stream an HDMI signal wirelessly, get Internet content like Amazon Unbox or YouTube, and add on a small DVD player or HDMI expander to connect extra stuff. But as Gizmodo acknowledges, the $3,500 suite isn't exactly seamless to set up. If Toshiba can do it better, they may have a market in the simplicity-driven home theater fan. Or, more accurately, the fan with $11K to burn.