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Toshiba launches multimedia Qosmio notebooks

"Brightness equivalent to that of a flat panel TV"

Toshiba has launched a range of notebook personal computers that come optimised for audio and video functions.

The Qosmio E10 series will kick off with a single model next month featuring an in-house developed image processing chip and other enhancements such as the addition of a second backlight in the LCD (liquid crystal display) to offer a brightness equivalent to that of a flat panel television. It will cost £1499.

The dedicated chip includes 11 image processing functions most of which are intended to clean up the image displayed on the computer's screen, said Midori Suzuki, a spokeswoman for Toshiba in Tokyo.

They include functions such as a deblocking filter, which is said to reduce block noise during playback, and an interlace-to-progressive scan converter, which can help reduce screen flicker and improve edges on fast moving objects.

On the audio side, the notebook will feature a pair of 30mm speakers, which are the largest speakers yet to be offered in a notebook computer, according to Suzuki.

A problem usually faced by users who watch TV on their computers is the time taken for the operating system to start and load and for the TV application to begin. This process typically takes more than 30 seconds.

To shorten it, Toshiba has made it possible to watch the TV, record or time-shift programs without starting up Windows by including a Qosmio Player application that runs on Linux and can be booted much faster than Windows.

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