17/04/2014 - What you might not know about the 4K/Ultra HD TV
Sony has nailed down the final launch details for its newest 4K Bravia TVs, and surprise -- they just might be affordable this year. The "entry-level" XBR-X850B series will start at a relatively frugal $2,099 for a 49-inch model, with prices peaking at $5,499 for a 70-inch set. If you've got a bit more cash and want upgrades to both audio and wall mounting, the XBR-X900B line starts at $3,999 for a 55-inch set and scales up to $8,999 for a 79-inch variant. There's still a couple of models for the money-is-no-object crowd, of course. The improved LED lighting of the 65-inch XBR-X950B will set you back $7,999, while the display's 85-inch sibling costs an eye-watering $24,999. All of the 4K sets ship in June.
15/04/2014 - Sharp Introduces New Line of Quattron Pro 4K TVs
09/04/2014 - Ultra HD's the word at NAB 2014
Whether you call it 4K or Ultra HD, next-gen television sets are on their way to your living room. Some experts expect sales in the US alone to approach one million this year, with early adopters opening their wallets at an even greater rate overseas. But while many of us still get by with 1080p, content producers are adopting Ultra HD as the norm on set, with manufacturers focusing almost exclusively on next-gen hardware here at the National Association of Broadcasters' annual trade show in Las Vegas.
Ultra HD cameras take every shape and size, from Sony's just-announced Alpha A7s mirrorless camera to Blackmagic's giant URSA, with its fold-out 10-inch screen. Even drones are snapping 4K footage, including JVC's new gimbal-mounted Super 35mm cam. Some models, such as Red's $14,500 Dragon cam, can capture even higher-res video -- in this case, that means 6K footage from a camera you can hold in your hand.%Gallery-slideshow187774%
If you're prone to skipping the intro on House of Cards, you might want to ease off the fast-forward controls in the future. Why? Because finally you can enjoy that scenic tour of Washington DC in glorious 4K (you have a 4K TV, right?). Actually, it's not quite that simple, as TVs will reportedly need to have HEVC/H.265 decoding. While season two of Underwood's evil scheming can already be enjoyed (as promised earlier this year) in the higher resolution, there's no word on what content will be next to get upgraded (though there are some wildlife documentaries to enjoy also). Some reviewers apparently got a first look at the Frank's sharp(er) suit on the weekend, but the rest of us mortals might have to wait a little longer.
Philips' 4K TVs last year were on the large side, but it's following up in 2014 with smaller models -- including one with a few tricks up its sleeve. The company's new 55-inch 8809 series set mates the extra-high resolution with Android, giving you both Google Play apps as well as access to your Dropbox content. It's also a capable set whether or not you like the mobile OS, with a 1GHz refresh rate and Ambilight illumination that plays nicely with both games and Hue lights. There are also 48- and 55-inch 1080p sets running Android (the 8109 and 8209 series), and you can pick up the 7809 series (pictured here) in 42-, 49- and 55-inch flavors if you're comfortable using a 4K set without Google underpinnings. All of the new 7000 and 8000 series TVs should be available in Europe and Russia in the second quarter of the year, although the Android variants aren't expected to reach the UK. Pricing isn't available at this stage, but we'd expect these screens to be more affordable than Philips' 65- and 84-inch behemoths.
24/03/2014 - Panasonic: High hopes for 4K TV
We got our first peek at Samsung's latest high-end HDTVs -- including the new curved shape that it says creates a larger viewing "sweet spot" -- at CES back in January, and now they're just about ready to come home. Of course the new shape isn't all there is to offer, and while Samsung isn't joining LG in pushing any new OLED TVs, it is expanding its lineup of Ultra HD screens and bringing more 4K content to watch thanks to a new deal with Fox. There's also upgraded Smart Hub software with multitasking to pull in streaming video and live TV all at once, new quad-core CPUs to boot it all up in just 1.8 seconds, and a simpler pebble shaped remote for control. That massive 105-inch Ultra HD TV we were drooling over is still penciled in to launch during the second half of this year, but if you're looking for a more modest upgrade, then we have new details on price and release for most of the other models (LCD only, no word on plasma).%Gallery-slideshow159470%
Even though CES 2014 is long gone, some of the stuff announced there is just now starting to become available for purchase. Case in point: Sharp's Quattron+ lineup, a series of 2014 AQUOS televisions featuring the latest and greatest, including a revamped SmartCentral platform. But that's not what's interesting here. Instead, it's the Quattron+ technology, one that Sharp describes as being able to "accept a 4K signal and play it back at near-4K resolution, with an effective resolution of 3,840 x 2,160."
The company says this is possible thanks to its Revelation Upscaler, which takes HD content and "optimizes it for the higher resolution screen, so that it's sharper and more vivid." By building Q+ TVs on 1080p panels, Sharp claims it's then capable of pricing these lower than some of its would-be competitors. Now, is that enough to get you to buy into it? If so, you'll have quite a few options to choose from -- they're up for grabs now in 60-, 70- and 80-inch flavors, with prices ranging from $2,500 all the way to a cool $6,000.
03/03/2014 - MHL 3.0 does 4K video output, 10W charging and data transfer over a single cable (video)
You may have already followed the announcement of Sony's Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet last week, but did you know that they are also the first mobile devices to feature MHL 3.0? For those who haven't caught up, this standard allows 4K video output -- over a bandwidth of 6 Gbps -- from a micro-USB port, while giving back up to 10W of power to keep your phone or tablet juiced up. Better yet, you also get a dedicated 75 Mbps channel for data transfer, as opposed to just 1 Mbps in earlier versions, which is only enough for HID input (like keyboard, touchscreen, mouse and even gesture control). It's still snail pace compared to the likes of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, but at least you can now transfer files to and from your mobile device over the same cable. Besides, it's possible to achieve a higher transfer rate of up to 600 Mbps using special connectors, such as USB 3.0's 10-pin configuration.
At MWC last week, Silicon Image demoed MHL 3.0 -- powered by its SiI8620 transmitter chip -- working between an Xperia Z2 and a Sony 4K TV, with the bonus capability of navigating through the phone using the TV's remote. The company also showed off file transfer between a USB drive and a Snapdragon 800 development board over MHL 3.0, though products (likely monitors, set-top boxes and docks) that support this feature won't be out until later this year. For now, you can check out our demo video after the break. %Gallery-slideshow182765%
Remember that awesome Smart TV processor Qualcomm trotted out for CES? It looks like it won't be making its way to your living room after all. The company quietly announced the death of the Snapdragon 802 this week, stating that "the overall demand for processors uniquely designed for smart TVs has proven to be smaller than anticipated." It's a shame, too -- that quad-core chip was specifically designed to push 4K content to your living room with a robust app experience, complete with multitasking support. Considering how many Android sets have hit the market in the last few years, we're left to wonder: is there really a dearth of demand, or is Qualcomm struggling to find a way to market its new silicon?
Via: Engadget Chinese
28/01/2014 - 4K: Is Ultra HD the Next Big Step?
15/01/2014 - Samsung’s 110-inch 4K HDTV Now Available for Sale
12/01/2014 - CES 2014: HDTV & home theater roundup
Every year, CES is filled wall to wall with flat-screen televisions and the things that plug into them. 2014's show brought its own variations to that theme. Curved TVs, OLED TVs, Ultra HD TVs or some combination popped up wherever we looked, and unlike last year, many of them will go on sale soon. Big manufacturers like Samsung, LG and Sony dominated news for high-end sets, but others like Vizio are promising an unprecedented slew of features at value prices.
The project formerly known as Google TV has a limited presence on the CES show floor in 2014. While a number of companies are still working up Android-powered boxes and dongles, the largest TV manufacturers we saw on the floor promoting it were Hisense and TCL. Both are showing off skinned versions of Android TV with Google Play, which looked different but offered similar features like gesture and voice control. Hisense was also showing a new version of its Pulse add-on box which sports some very Chromecast-like video sharing features. Announced in December, Pulse Pro will ship later this year with Android 4.2.2 and brings a new remote with an integrated microphone for voice control. Hisense's Android TVs include its Ultra HD H9 and H8 line
While other manufacturers focus on their homegrown smart TV platforms, it appears Google is doing battle by opening up the services and apps it developed for Google TV to the companies interested in using Android. We'll see if this looser approach helps its reach any, or if Google has any major surprises up its sleeve in 2014, like that Nexus TV box that has been rumored.%Gallery-slideshow160533%
The jury's still out on Android gaming (exhibit A: OUYA), but that's not stopping Huawei from taking a dive into that niche corner of the industry. Its Tegra 4-based Tron mini-console, announced here at CES 2014, pairs a cylindrical-shaped hub with a Bluetooth controller that hews quite closely to the Xbox 360 mold OUYA also went after. Before we get your hopes up though, take note that Tron's for China only -- at least, for now anyway. A Huawei rep did say that the company's looking into further market expansion, but given its track record with smartphones in the US, we have a hard time believing Tron will see these shores anytime soon.
The Tron console itself runs a half-skinned version of Android JellyBean (version 4.2.3) that presents a clean menu overlay with feature tiles for access to games, Huawei's store, video, application, settings and featured titles. That slick menu selection comes to a screeching halt, however, as soon as you attempt to select anything other than games, bringing you face-to-face with Android's ugly underbelly -- much like on the OUYA. %Gallery-slideshow160409%
Kogan's name may not roll off your brain as easily as some companies we could mention, but the Australian outfit is attempting to bring premium technology to the masses with a focus on low prices. In fact, there's probably a comparison with Vizio to be made here, considering that Kogan's first 4K TV retails for $999 AUD, or around $890 USD. Then there's the Agora HD Mini 3G, a 7.85-inch tablet with a 3G modem that retails for $199 AUD, or about $180 in the US. Considering that how frequently our Antipodean friends are gouged by technology companies, it's good to see the locals fighting back. %Gallery-slideshow160307% %Gallery-slideshow160308%
Among the announcements Sony dropped during Kaz Hirai's CES keynote, the Life Space UX project seemed to be most outrageous, pushing an entirely new vision for projectors. We checked out the company's CES demo booth and found out it actually goes even further than that. The prototype 4K Ultra Short Throw Projector shown on stage and in the demo is expected to cost between $30,000 - $40,000 when it launches later this year.
Similar to the pricey Cinema Beam projector released by LG last year, it can sit very close to a wall even in high-brightness settings and beam a large, clearly visible image. The combination of zoom lenses, three separate SXRD microdisplays and a laser diode light source make it powerful and sharp enough to put out a 147-inch 4K image that's visible even with the lights on. Its low sleek design and modular setup (it splits apart to reveal speakers and cabinet space within) is made for flexibility and to be "harmonic" with the room when it's off. Other prototypes in the demo (check out the gallery for a better look) included a projector placed in the lamp over a regular kitchen table for Surface-style interaction, a mirror that turned into a high-res, touchable display and ceiling projectors that shot upwards. %Gallery-slideshow159988%
If all of the 4K -- or 8K! -- talk from CES has you jonesing for a new TV, but you're short on scratch, we've got good news. Vizio has announced pricing for its P-series of Ultra HD panels and they'll sell for a lot less than you might expect. A 50-incher will run you a measly grand. Each five-inch bump in size ups the price $400, all the way up to the $2,600 70-inch set. Given that Vizio has a solid reputation, this line could be a reliable way to watch House of Cards in its native resolution without breaking the bank.
07/01/2014 - Sceptre's showing off 4K TVs, Roku Ready displays, earbuds and pretty much everything, ever at CES
Some companies make a a big to-do over a single product, with big press events and bigger ad campaigns. And then there are those companies like Sceptre that just kind of do the shotgun thing, jamming a single press release up with several product lines, ranging from a series of 4K TVs to earbuds with zipper-esque cord that's less likely to get tangled than the standard fare. The big announcement here is the unoriginally titled 4K Series, which range from 39- to 58-inches. Though, for the record, it's a much more solid moniker than the "Color Line," which are apparently named for their frames and not the fact that that their picture is no longer confined to just black and white. The company's also got a line of Roku Ready displays, some sound bars and something called a "Mobile Internet Display," which runs Android and sure sounds a lot like a tablet to us...
07/01/2014 - RCA will launch budget Android Ultra HD TVs, Roku Ready 1080p versions and even curved LCDs
As predicted, CES 2014 is featuring a flood of Ultra HD televisions, and they're not all from the big names. RCA is at Digital Experience showing off a 65-inch version of its new series with 3,840 x 2,160 res screens. Manufactured by On Corporation, they're also smart TVs, including the Android TV platform (formerly known as Google TV), complete with Search, Chrome and the PrimeTime guide, plus Miracast for screen mirroring. The LED-lit TVs will ship in 55-, 65- and 84-inch variants later this year and while they don't have pricetags yet, we're expecting these to come in at a lower price, similar to previous TVs from the brand. Not ready to make the 4K jump? RCA will also have Roku Ready TVs that ship with the Streaming Stick packed-in available in a multitude of sizes, Android-packing 1080p TVs, and even promises two curved LCDs in 46- and 55-inch sizes.
4K? Pah, Toshiba's already working on something, you know, one better. One of our eagle-eyed readers sent in this picture of a "5K" extra-wide UHD TV on the show floor. Of course, like LG's 5K model, this is really just a 4K TV with a thousand extra pixels tacked on at the edges, but the plain technical facts shouldn't detract from this spectacular work of corporate one-upmanship. Naturally, we'll probably find out more about this hardware in a day or so, but until then, we'll just have to gaze upon this slightly blurry shot and wonder.
3D? Pah. 2014 is the year that 4K makes its first grand assault upon the mainstream. Naturally, Sony is one of the names leading the charge, and is bolstering the 4K support it added to the Video Unlimited service back in September. The company's new range of UHD TVs will now pull down 4K video from a variety of sources, but most importantly, will work with Netflix's forthcoming native 4K streaming. This year's flagship is the XBR-X950B, available to buy in 95- or 85-inch models, while the middle tier is now occupied by the XBR-900B, offering 79-, 65- or 55-inch units. For those of us who aren't on the roster of a Major League Baseball team, however, the company is also releasing an "entry level" XBR-X850B line, which can be snagged in 70-, 65-, 55- and 49-inch versions. Each one has the usual cluster of Sony technologies, including X-Reality Pro, Triluminos and ClearAudio+, as well as screen mirroring, NFC and built-in WiFi. All of them will arrive in spring, but there's no word, yet, on how much these will set you back, but we'd wager that the hardware isn't yet into the "impulse purchase" category just yet.