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.