Toshiba has announced details and a release date for its new flagship 55ZL1 HDTV. The new model will be the first to be powered by a new CEVO-ENGINE, which replaces the company's Cell-powered models. The CEVO-ENGINE is essentially a stack of Cell multicore processors in the form of a seven-core processing unit that provides the processing grunt for such features as 2D to 3D conversion, 3D depth control, HDD video recording, Auto Calibration, and a face recognition feature that will switch to your personal settings after identifying you using the 55ZL1's integrated camera.
While 2D to 3D conversion has been pretty hit and miss (with more miss than hit), the CEVO-ENGINE's 2D to 3D rendering has received good reports from those who have seen the 55ZL1 in action. Users can also adjust the level of the 3D effect using a 3D Depth Control feature, while the TV's Intelligent 3D+ reduces the panel's response time to help cut ghosting in 3D mode.
Toshiba says a new Auto Calibration feature found in the 55ZL1 adopts a color-analyzer-based approach to optimize the settings and display movies with the same colors and gray scale intended by the movie's director.
The 55ZL1 also takes localized dimming to the next level with the world's first 512 cluster LED panel comprising a total of 3,072 LEDs for improved contrast and a peak brightness of 1,000 cd/m2. This also allows the TV to achieve a brightness level comparable to regular 2D viewing and overcome the dimming that usually results from using active shutter glasses in 3D mode.
A Personal-TV feature lets the TV know who's watching and adjusts the settings of the TV accordingly. Using the integrated camera and face recognition application the 55ZL1 can identify up to four viewers sitting in front of it and apply the appropriate picture settings and channel list. It will also group recorded content by user and can remember the volume level for each user after switching off. If it detects no one sitting in front of the TV for a certain period it will also switch to standby mode to save power.
With no TV worth its salt these day not packing some online connectivity the 55ZL1 comes with WLAN to suupport Toshiba's SMART-TV online platform that allows streaming, purchasing and sharing of Web-based content. It also supports the European Hybrid broadband broadcast TV (HbbTV) standard that enables devices to receive and display related online content simultaneously to the broadcast picture.
Toshiba will release the 55-inch 55ZL1 in May 2011 in Europe at a price yet to be announced. It also plans to extend the CEVO-ENGINE into its more affordable WL and upcoming YL series that will be available in 42-, 46-, and 55-inch screen sizes later this year.