Processors power up home entertainment

Processors power up home entertainment
Steve Bush Playing a 3D video game in which you join a real motor car race as it takes place is just one of the developments predicted by Toshiba’s Haruo Nakatsuka during his ISSCC keynote speech on domestic entertainment, writes Steve Bush in San Francisco. Nakatsuka’s prediction is based on processor and communication developments expected early next century. Running the game will require a five billion floating point operation/s (GFlop/s) CPU and a 700 giga operation/s graphics processor. Beyond games, he expects 3D TVs, and televisions that automatically select shots you want to see – so called video filtering. For the first of these, a scene is filmed from several angles simultaneously. The television then constructs a geometric model of the scene as it is received and uses real-time ray-tracing to play it back from an arbitrary direction. “A viewer can enjoy a football goal scene from any angle,” said Nakatsuka. “This will take around 100GFlops, or 10GFlops if it is done off-line.” With 900GFlops processing performance available, video filtering becomes possible. This will allow a computer to automatically select programme material known to be of interest to the viewer. For instance, the television could use facial recognition to follow the viewer’s favourite footballer around a match, always selecting the camera that gives the best view of that player. Where does Nakatsuka see all this processing power coming from? “We need to maintain a processing power growth of two times per year to get real-time ray tracing in 2005 and video filtering in 2008,” said Nakatsuka.


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