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Cell-based SpursEngine Enhances Net Video

Toshiba has adapted the technology behind the Cell Broadband Engine chip, most often found in the PlayStation 3, for use inside the latest Qosmio notebooks.

The Cell-based chip has been modified for more graphics-related applications, and Toshiba has named it the SpursEngine. In a new line of Qosmio notebooks, the SpursEngine will help to improve the image quality of internet video presumably through smart filtering techniques.

Toshiba had already used the SpursEngine chip to filter DVD-based video, but this is the first time it’s being applied to a format other than MPEG-2. The SpursEngine also features hardware decode and encode support for MPEG-4-based video.

The image quality enhancing features are reported by IDG as working only when played full screen in Internet Explorer. We’re unsure why the feature is limited to just Microsoft’s browser, but the full screen restriction could be a limitation posed by how the SpursEngine interacts with the rest of the graphics subsystem.

With streaming becoming increasingly popular, and a legitimately viable way to deliver content through Hulu and Netflix, the hardware acceleration of internet video could be something big.

The Toshiba Qosmios go on sale in Japan this week with a worldwide release planned for a later date.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • deltatux
    I think this'll be more useful in TVs or those TV tuners in for computers than laptops.
    Reply
  • I have to agree that youtube looks pretty ugly for a video format!
    They would have been better converting everything to DivX or XViD instead of shockwave flash files.
    Reply
  • Can it make Crysis look better on my laptop?
    Reply
  • tacoslave
    will it make porn look better?
    Reply
  • the_one111
    tacoslavewill it make porn look better?Yeah, if it doesn't do that all the 13 year olds won't be begging their parents for it.
    Reply
  • Mr_Man
    MPEG 4? Is that H.263 or H.264? I hope the latter, since it's the better format (though that means it wouldn't apply to DivX).
    Reply
  • petitero666
    Waste of money. It's only to make the laptop fancy and expensive.

    Only good use to that would be building a PS3 emu or VM over it.
    Reply
  • anarchy4sale
    I use netflix streaming on a regular basis on my netbook in between classes, but in reality, it looks fine, I wouldnt have payed more for this to be in my computer.
    Reply