Innovative Technologies for AV Notebook PCs with SpursEngineTM
New Value Creation by Convergence of Information and Audiovisual Technologies
Trends in and Prospects for High-Definition AV Notebook PCs
TOKORO Tsuyoshi / NAKASHIMA Nobu
Most audiovisual (AV) equipment has become digitalized in recent years and the quality of AV contents is becoming higher, as exemplified by digital photographs with high pixel resolution and high-definition (HD) video contents. Digitalized AV contents provide a wider range of experiences to users, but many improvements in hardware are required in order to process and store large amounts of information. Particularly in the case of PCs, which have become a platform for processing large volumes of AV contents, there is a strong need for improvements in HD image processing performance and storage capability.
To meet these requirements, in March 2006 Toshiba released the QosmioTM series, the world’s first lineup of AV notebook PCs, featuring a digital terrestrial television tuner and HD image displaying capability. We have also developed the SpursEngineTM high-performance stream processor, which offers high-speed stream processing of HD contents, and have implemented this chip in the new QosmioTM series.
LSI Architecture of SpursEngineTM
YASUKAWA Hideki / GOTO Harutaka / UENO Kiyoji
Toshiba has developed SpursEngineTM, a high-performance stream processor that offers high-speed stream processing of high-definition (HD) contents when connected to a PC system, and has implemented this chip in the new QosmioTM AV notebook PCs. SpursEngineTM is connected to the PC system via a PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) Express interface, which can transfer data at up to 1 Gbyte/s. It also utilizes XDRTM DRAM as working memory, allowing it to support high data transfer rates of up to 12.8 Gbytes/s.
SpursEngineTM uses hybrid architecture featuring special-purpose hardware engines for fixed codec processing and synergistic processor elements (SPEs) derived from the Cell Broadband EngineTM (Cell/B.E.TM), providing advanced and flexible processing such as a hand gesture application.
System Architecture of QosmioTM AV Notebook PCs with SpursEngineTM
SATO Shigenobu / SAKAI Akio / WATANABE Gen
Toshiba has developed the QosmioTM AV notebook PCs, aiming at the creation of new value by the fusion of AV and PC technologies. The QosmioTM series provide not only high-quality picture and sound but also convenience for enjoying AV contents.
With the increasing volume of high-definition (HD) video contents in recent years, high-speed processing of HD video data is required. To meet this requirement, we have released the QosmioTM G50/F50 series incorporating the SpursEngineTM, based on the technology of the Cell Broadband EngineTM (Cell/B.E.TM). In order to implement a circuit board with embedded SpursEngineTM in the QosmioTM PC, various problems had to be overcome including size minimization, lower power consumption, and high-efficiency cooling control. We succeeded in solving these issues by using a high-density board layout, shared cooling parts with the graphics processing unit (GPU), and a power-saving technology called “keep link power down” (KLPD).
Software Architecture of QosmioTM AV Notebook PCs with SpursEngineTM
ARUGA Hideo / MORI Kenichi / HAYAMA Tatsuya
The SpursEngineTM, a high-performance stream processor implemented in the new QosmioTM AV notebook PCs, offers users the smooth handling of high-definition (HD) video contents by supporting the CPU and graphic processor to accelerate video recognition and processing tasks. Each function of SpursEngineTM is implemented in programs of synergistic processor elements (SPEs) controlled by the middleware, and applications are performed without concern for hardware control. This provides a software development environment in which SpursEngineTM can be easily utilized by various applications.
System Software and Middleware for SpursEngineTM
SHIRAKAWA Kenji / HARASHIMA Takahiro / SAITO Natsuko
The system software for the SpursEngineTM, a high-performance stream processor, provides the program execution environment to efficiently coordinate programs running on the host processor, synergistic processor elements (SPEs), and hardware codec engines.
Application programs utilizing the stream-oriented programming model and video codec middleware are able to perform video transcode functions simultaneously with various high-order processing on the video stream.
Super-Resolution Technology for Video Quality Enhancement
KUMAGAI Akira / IDA Takashi / TANAKA Akira
Digital high-definition broadcasting has disseminated in recent years. With the increasing emphasis on high picture quality, demand has been increasing for better video quality in the upscaling of standard-definition (SD) video contents on notebook PCs equipped with a large liquid crystal display (LCD).
Toshiba has released the QosmioTM series audiovisual (AV) notebook PCs featuring enhanced video quality using proprietary color control technology. We have developed a new technology that allows users to experience SD video contents with high-definition quality on a large PC LCD, utilizing a high-performance stream processor named SpursEngineTM and a newly developed super-resolution technology.
Easy Video Scene Search using "Face Navigation"
KUBOTA Hidetoshi / MOMOSAKI Kohei / AOKI Hisashi / KAZAMA Hisashi
Demand has been increasing for effective searches of large volumes of accumulated data recordings due to the progress of digital video devices. In response to this trend, Toshiba has developed the "Face Navigation" function to make it easier to find scenes in a video utilizing the advanced video processing performance of the SpursEngineTM stream processor in the new QosmioTM audiovisual (AV) notebook PCs.
"Face Navigation", based on our advanced video indexing technology, makes it possible to display a graphical view of highlight scenes, faces and audio scene changes in a video content.
Hand Gesture Interface Technology
SAKAMOTO Kei / OOTAKE Toshifumi / IKE Tsukasa / FUJITA Masahiro
In order to control equipment by hand gesture image recognition on a PC, both high-performance algorithm for image recognition and stress-free high-speed data processing technology are required.
Toshiba has developed a new hand gesture interface using images captured by a video camera and an image recognition technology, which eliminates the need for interface devices such as a keyboard, mouse, or remote controller. We have been able to successfully achieve comfortable operation for users by implementing an optimized hand gesture recognition algorithm on our SpursEngineTM media processor, which supports the smooth handling of image recognition and processing by cooperative processing with the PC’s host processor.
SpursEngineTM Reference Kit for SpursEngineTM System Application Engineering
UESUGI Kouki / HABA Shintaro / HAMAOKA Yoshiyuki
SpursEngineTM is a high-performance stream processor that consists of four synergistic processor elements (SPEs) derived from the Cell Broadband EngineTM (Cell/B.E.TM) multicore processor, and an MPEG-2/H.264 Advanced Video Coding (AVC) hardware codec.
Toshiba has developed the SpursEngineTM Reference Kit (SRK) for system developers to accelerate the development of attractive applications for PCs. The SRK consists of a PCI Express x1 add-in card equipped with SpursEngineTM and a software development environment. Many vendors are expected to utilize the SRK to develop systems using SpursEngineTM, thereby enhancing the ease of use of PCs.