New Toshiba laptop runs DVD and TV without booting Windows

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Toshiba's new Qosmio computer is a further convergence of portable personal computing and audio-visual capabilities, and for the first time in a PC offers access to the TV, TV recording and DVD functionality without having to boot the computer.

The Qosmio series will be rolled out worldwide, with the three models in the initial Qosmio E10 series scheduled for launch in Japan on August 6. All three will feature 15-inch screens, and Toshiba will expand the line-up with 15.4-inch and 17-inch wide-screen versions by the end of 2004. Advances in digitisation, including the transition to digital broadcasting, have long been welcomed as promoting the convergence of computing and AV sources. While companies have taken steps in this direction, including introducing AV-PC desktop PCs with a TV tuner, the main target has been the home and products designed for use in a fixed place. Toshiba's Qosmio has been designed on the premise that content is no longer fixed to a location, and that people not only want to be able to enjoy it but to take it with them-and Qosmio offers an optimised environment for doing so. Qosmio PCs include a proprietary TV tuner that Toshiba can factory-configure for use with the NTSC, PAL or SECAM. Qosmio also boasts state-of-the-art video and audio technologies that realise high-grade image reproduction and superb sound quality.

At the heart of image playback is Toshiba's proprietary "QosmioEngine". This newly developed technology combines 11 optimised image processing technologies for diverse image sources, including TV and DVD, with a video enhancer dedicated to producing superb images in the Windows environment. The 11 image-enhancing technologies cover de-blocking, de-ringing, digital sharpness, digital overdrive, interlace to progressive conversion, black and white level enhancement, color correction, edge enhancement, digital noise reduction, 3D Y/C separation, and 10-bit A/D conversion *1 .

Image quality is further enhanced by the Qosmio display, a "High-luminance Clear SuperView LCD." The display achieves a brightness of, 600cd/m 2, comparable to that of LCD TVs, by integrating two backlights, while dual filter coatings reduce diffusion of internal light and reflection of ambient light to reproduce clear, high contrast images.

Toshiba's MPEG-2, real-time-hardware-encoder-based "Qosmio TV Tuner" offers five image-enhancing technologies, including time-base correction, ghost reduction, digital-noise reduction, 3D Y/C separation, and 10-bit A/D conversion and supports high resolution recording at a maximum encoding rate of 8Mbps.

Qosmio' excellent image quality is complemented by the superb sound of two 2W 30mm diameter Harman Kardon speakers, the largest speakers yet integrated into notebook PCs. The result is high quality sound and reproduction of lower registers, even without a woofer.

Toshiba has sought to make that Qosmio PCs as easy to use as they are versatile with its "QosmioPlayer" and "QosmioUI" control software. "QosmioPlayer" provides fast access to TV, a CD or DVD, with no need to boot Windows. It also supports simple recording to Qosmio's integrated HDD.

QosmioPlayer also supports time shift: press the time shift button on its remote controller and a Qosmio PC will record a program and continue to do so, even as the viewer goes back to the start of program, moves from one recorded part to another, or repeatedly watches one part of the program. This and other functions can all be easily controlled from the PC's front panel or its remote controller.

"QosmioUI" navigation software provides control of AV functions when Windows is on, including viewing TV and video, editing motion pictures and playing back a CD or DVD. The brightness of the LCD, volume adjustment and program recording can also be controlled with "Qosmio UI" navigation.

Toshiba supports Qosmio's wireless capabilities with an optional wireless TV tuner (PAWTV001) that can be connected to an antenna or cable socket by coaxial cable, and to a set-top box or video source, including personal digital video, via a video composite cable. The tuner communicates with Qosmio PCs when linked in an 802.11b/g wireless LAN.

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