Sony has revealed plans to offer a broadband television by 2006 that will incorporate a powerful new Cell processor it is developing with IBM and Toshiba. The manufacturer has also introduced its first portable WiFi TV sets in the U.S.
In an interview with the Japanese business daily Nihon Keizai Shimbun and reported by Reuters, Sony Chief Executive Nobuyuki Idei said the company will use Cell technology to power its next-generation game console as well as a network television that will offer functions similar to a personal computer.
The Cell processor will be up to 10 times more powerful than conventional chips and able to process large chunks of data through a high-speed Internet network. Sony has said Cell — due to start test production in early 2005 — will power the PlayStation game console, which will probably double as a home server, as well as other digital home electronics.
For the three business years ending March 31, 2007, Sony has earmarked $4.4 billion to spend on semiconductor development for Cell and other key devices.
Its LocationFree broadband TVs will be available in 12.1-inch (LF-X1) and 7-inch (LF-X5) screen sizes, each with a base station that transmits video content to its dedicated, wireless, touch-panel screen. Utilizing Sony’s first dual band wireless systems (2.4GHz and 5GHz), the new models deliver personal video contents from the base station via secured device authentication and encryption technology to the wireless monitor in Wi-Fi HotSpots and Ethernet ports found in hotels, airports and other locations.
The portable sets combine TV viewing with high-speed broadband Internet capability. When the base station and the wireless monitor are each connected to the Internet, users can access the Web and exchange e-mail on-line using the on-screen keyboard.
The base station houses an NTSC tuner, an Ethernet port and two video inputs for A/V components and other peripherals. There is also a USB port for connecting to an optional analog modem, as well as an IR Blaster for added control and convenience. The new wireless personal broadband TVs will be available this fall.