Toshiba challenging Blu-ray again?
The rumor today is that Toshiba is planning to challenge Blu-ray again, only this time with traditional DVD technology. What’s that you say? Remember when Toshiba left HD DVD in the dust they said they were focusing on upconverting players, and that is exactly what we’re going to see later this year.
But aren’t DVD upscalers already on the market? Yes, they have been for years. Toshiba is claiming their new chip is different. It is using Super-resolution technology to create a 960p image from the original 480i source material. This image will then be scaled to 720p, 1080i or 1080p depending on the TV’s abilities.
Doesn’t this sound like a gimmick? Of course it does. They claim it’s a new “large integrated circuit” (LSI) that converts each frame to high-resolution instantly. This LSI is cheaper than what Blu-ray has to offer so they plan on a full-frontal assault on the Blu-ray market.
How is that different than what they did with HD DVD? I don’t know really. For about a year Toshiba was marketing HD DVD players as a DVD player that made your existing movies look better but also played HD DVD. Now they’re taking out the HD DVD part and saying your existing library of movies will look as good as Blu-ray. Hard to believe, but they’re trying this on for size.
The way they’re marketing this technology may hurt Blu-ray sales, but it seems more of a vendetta than a real challenge. Their real competitors are Silicon Optix (HQV), Anchor Bay (DVDO), Sigma Designs (Gennum), and Genesis Microchip. These companies have been perfecting video scalers since long before the format was first introduced.
The basic math just doesn’t work. Blu-ray begins with six-times the resolution that DVD does. You simply can’t add the fine detail back into the image the compression schemes take out. Maybe Toshiba will join forces with Flexplay to really take on the world.