If Haswell innards weren't enough to incite a purchase of Alienware's X51 gaming PC, perhaps a 4K-capable GPU could push you over the edge: Dell's little gaming-machine-that-can is now available with AMD's Radeon R9 270X. This card brings the chipset maker's Eyefinity tech into the fold for multi-monitor support, and it's powerful enough for ultra-high-def gaming. While we're scraping together enough pennies for a 12K gaming rig, we suppose this will just have to do.
Panasonic's 65-inch Smart VIERA WT600 UHD TV may have hit the market as a "me too" 4K TV, but it sure does look nice -- even when placed right next to some of the competition. Thanks to its embedded H.264 decoder, we saw it run 4K content straight off an SDXC card and streamed from the internet (after about 10-15 seconds of loading). Interestingly, while the TV supports the fresh and still-unfamiliar HDMI 2.0 spec, a good chunk our demo session was done over DisplayPort 1.2a to show the display's ability to pump out 60fps 4K content -- unlike existing competitors, which cap out at 30fps. Aside from faster frame rates, it was apparent in our viewing session that the out-of-box settings on a Sony XBR-65X900A ($5,499) had overly boosted reds, while both it and a Samsung F9000 ($5,000) dropped in for the demo showed pronounced haloing. Now we just want to see all of these TVs running 4K content fed from a player using HDMI 2.0 -- whenever that's fully standardized.
Not one to rest on its 39- and 50-inch Ultra HDTV options, Seiki has announced that its promised 65-inch model is going to arruve this December, just in time for the holiday shopping season. Seiki's newly minted, well-sized Ultra HD set, which is formally known as the SE65UY04, features a refresh rate of 120Hz on 1080p and 30Hz on 4K resolution. This means the outfit's 65-incher won't have HDMI 2.0 onboard, and thus potential buyers will have to be content with HDMI 1.4 technology. Now, given the not-too-shabby $3,000 MSRP, we have a hunch some folks won't mind that too much once it becomes available in "early December." More importantly, do you plan to snag one?
LG had its own Ultra HD news to reveal here at CEDIA 2013, and first up are two new edge LED lit LCD TVs joining the family. The cheaper models the company announced in Korea last month are coming to the US this month, with the 65-inch LA9650 (shown above) rocking a $5,000 price tag, and the 55-inch coming home for just $3,500 -- even less than we'd expected. Coming along with the new TVs is an LG "Sound Plate" it first showed off at IFA (pictured after the break). There's no price or release date yet, but expect it to hit in Q4. Beyond the new TVs, LG is also slashing prices on its existing lineup, with the higher end LA9700 models in the same sizes dropping to $6,500 and $4,500. Concerned about needing HDMI 2.0 in the future? We don't have firm answers yet, but LG says it's working on a solution for existing models. Even its 55-inch curved OLED TV is getting a price break, dropping down to $10,000 at retail from its previous launch price of $14,000.
It's been a while since ever popular VLC has seen a major update, and today's debut of version 2.1 -- also known as "Rincewind" -- packs a handful of features that are sure to please. Most notably, VLC for both Windows and OS X is now 4K-compatible, but VideoLAN didn't stop there. Also included in the upgrade are improved support for a variety of file types including MKV, AVI and MP4, as well as a beefed up audio core designed to boost performance and fidelity. OS X users will notice adjustments to the player's UI, including a customizable playback menu and the ability to play video as a desktop background. For those of you interested in porting to Android, iOS or Windows mobile devices, there are also a few tweaks to make the process as pain-free as possible. To see the full list of improvements and download the upgrade, head on over to the source link below.
Here at CEDIA 2013, Sony has just announced three new SXRD projectors, including two 4K models and one for the 1080p crowd. If you must have the highest res video output, only the new VPL-VW1100ES and VPL-VW600ES will do, with both tossing a DCI-approved 4,096 x 2,160 pixel count at the nearest display surface. The VPL-VW1100ES updates the VPL-VW1000ES introduced two years ago and remains at the top of Sony's projector line, bringing a bundled 4K player for a tidy $28,000. The VPL-VW600ES (pictured above) arrives with similar specs to the model introduced in Europe last month, offering that high pixel count with lower brightness and contrast levels in a smaller frame. As a result its $15,000 pricetag is lower too, although an option to bundle the FMP-X1 4K player and tablet controller will add an extra grand on top of that.
If your display space or budget aren't 4K ready yet the VPL-HW55ES continues Sony's 1080p line with "enhanced optical efficiency" and an improved cooling system that should make the lamp last longer, all for a price of $4,000. All three projectors are going on sale through custom installers this fall, with the VPL-HW55ES due in October and the VPL-VW600ES in November. If you're looking for the top of the line VPL-VW1100ES however, you're encouraged to check back in October to set up that service appointment. Check after the break for the complete specs, we'll get an in-person look at all three shortly.
We are well past mid-August, which is when Sharp initially estimated its new 70-inch Aquos 4K Ultra HD LED TV would begin hitting shelves. Despite the late arrival, however, something tells us folks will still be glad to have yet another choice when shopping for their next 4K television set. To make things better, Sharp's super high-res, THX-certified Smart TV is set to be carrying a $7,499.99 MSRP here in the States, making it about $500 cheaper than when it was originally announced. Those of you interested shouldn't have trouble finding one, as Sharp says it'll be available at many regional and major retailers across the country.
DisplayLink's been wringing all kinds of connectivity out of our computer's USB ports for years, turning one connection into many. It should come as no surprise, then, that the company's using its considerable compression expertise to send high-resolution 4K video through that very same pipe. Ideally, the system shoots video over USB 3.0, while still giving users the full connectivity options of any compatible DisplayLink device -- but it can also function using USB 2.0, though the dynamically compensating data compression at work may cause some frames to drop.
We chatted with Displaylink's Director of Marketing, Andy Davis, about the feature and he informed us that the new 4K capability comes courtesy of a chip design first revealed back at CES that, while upping the max resolution of transmitted video, has no trouble driving multiple displays. In theory,the number of 4K screens the chip can drive is only limited by the graphics drivers and video decoding capabilities of the computer it's connected to. And, the new architecture also enables wireless streaming of 4K video using 802.11ad and can stream 1080p video over 802.11ac (4K over 802.11ac is in the works). We got to see a brief demo of the technology in action, and the video played back flawlessly over USB 3.0 for the few minutes we saw it work. Using 2.0, we noticed a slight flicker once or twice during playback, but the feed was still quite watchable. All in all, its a nice addition to the DisplayLink feature set. Now if they'd just let us know when we'll actually see it implemented in something we can buy.
Other than a smallish 1/2.3-inch sensor, Sony's new PXW-Z100 4K camcorder should push all the right buttons for pro shooters. Though it shares a sensor (and body) with the newly launched FDR-AX1 prosumer model, everything is upmarket from there. It'll record 4:2:2 10-bit (billions of colors) 4K video at up to 500/600Mbps at 50p/60p using its new XAVC format and high-speed XQD memory cards. By contrast, the FDR-AX1 uses XAVC-S, capturing 60fps 4K at 150Mbps in 4:2:0 8-bit color. HD is also recorded at 10-bit at a healthy 233Mbps for 50 or 60 fps video, compared to 50Mbps for its prosumer cousin. You'll be able to output 4K video at up to 60fps via HDMI to a compatible BRAVIA monitor, and a remote control WiFi adaptor is included. All that's missing is the shallow depth of field you'd get with a larger sensor -- but a lot of shooters are so over that.
Sony outed the very first 4K OLED television at CES last January, and now Samsung is catching up with its very own. We swooped by the firm's slice of show floor at IFA to lay eyes on its latest TV, and walked away quite impressed. The 55-inch Ultra HD set packs a powerful visual punch, delivering sharp visuals and incredibly vivid colors. So vivid, in fact, we were suspicious that the sample footage was HDR video -- it may very well be, but that doesn't take away from the hardware's color reproduction prowess. Big blue's panel far and away outpaces non-OLED 4K displays when it comes to bright and lively color. Viewing angles on the screen are remarkable too, as glancing at the screen just a few degrees askance won't blur or mute picture quality. As for form factor, Samsung's set is contained into a sleek and extremely thin shell. No pricing or release window is on the docket, but you can check out the gallery below to ogle at the TV for yourself.%Gallery-slideshow83288%Follow all of our IFA 2013 coverage by heading to our event hub!
06/09/2013 - Eyes-on with Samsung's 31.5-inch 4K PC monitor
Samsung's continuing the UHD TV march here at IFA with plenty of sets, but it's also showing a 4K (3,840 x 2,160) 31.5-inch monitor that's built to sit on your desktop. Crisp images deliver on the Ultra High Definition promise, but the colors are particularly vibrant, due in part to the LED panel's ability to reproduce 1.07 billion colors and pictures that can cram in 99 percent of Adobe's RGB color spectrum. Because of that, the set easily distances itself from others that have flat, dull image reproduction. However, viewing angles leave something to be desired, as standing far off to the side clouds the monitor. Not only does this piece of kit churn out good imagery, but it easily tilts and pivots into a vertical position, to boot. When it comes to connectivity, the screen packs four USB ports and slots for HDMI, DVI-DL and DPX2. If you're ready to hook up this display to your PC, there will be some waiting involved -- no pricing or release details have been divulged. If you'd like to gawk at the firm's hardware, look out below for our gallery.%Gallery-slideshow83282%
The never ending battle between Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG has moved to its inevitable next level, as LG has introduced an even larger super high-res OLED than its competitor's 55-inch models. The new high water mark is this 77-inch Ultra HD curved OLED it's showing off at IFA 2013, which is a step up in pretty much every way possible and even makes us recall the LCD size wars of the mid '00s. Whether or not we asked for it, it's bringing new display technology, a rare shape and of course, that truly outstanding size. It's only a concept now, but so was the $15,000 55-inch version at one point so we'd suggest keeping your black card handy.
Source: LG Newsroom
New 4K TVs from Philips? We can't say we didn't see 'em coming. Heck, Philips even won an award for one of them. The company was waiting for the main event here at IFA to make the thing officially official, however. Philips took to the stage today to show off two entries in its 9000 series -- 65- and 84-inch models. The company's promising an "attractive price point here" -- that means €4,999 ($6,588) for the smaller 65PFL9708 and €14,999 ($19,768) for the 84PFL9708. Both sets feature Ultra Pixel HD Engine technology for upscaling, given the still somewhat limited selection of 4K content. The 65 and 84 are both available now in the UK and Russia.
At Samsung's press conference it's bringing some of those extra large Ultra HD TVs it promised at CES, and mentioned something even more tantalizing: a 4K OLED. Unfortunately that last one did not make an appearance on stage, however the company has promised it will be present in its booth for demos tomorrow. We expect that, like the ones shown by Sony and Panasonic at CES, this is just a prototype, but if it's anywhere near as beautiful as those we can't wait to see it. As far as products that are actually shipping, Samsung also showed off its 55-inch curved OLED again, as well as the 65-inch F9000 UHD TV. As far as the supersized 4K sets, Samsung is showing off 98-inch and 110-inch models that outsize the 85-inch behemoth it kicked this crazy trend off with back in January. Finally, it's trying to address the issue of high-res content, with representatives from Eutelsat and TF1 present to talk about the projects they have in the works.
05/09/2013 - Eyes-on with Toshiba's 50-inch concept 4K TV
If you want an 84-inch 4K TV, you've really gotta be a one-percenter, but fortunately for the rest of us that's not a very big market. That's why it's high time that companies started to trim those ultra high-definition panels down to a size and price point that's suitable for the everyman. It's Toshiba, therefore, that's leading the charge to affordability with a concept 50-inch 4K TV. The M9/L9 Series Concept is currently just that, but it combines the usual breathtaking imagery with a more apartment-friendly size. Naturally, there aren't currently any plans to bring this to market, but hey, the company will happily sell you a 58-inch model for £3,000.Follow all of our IFA 2013 coverage by heading to our event hub!
Sony's betting big on 4K, with its movie studios shooting movies and television in 4K using its pro cameras. And now, to get that content to all those Ultra HD TVs, the company is rolling out its long-awaited Video Unlimited 4K download service. As of today, there are 70 native 4K movies and shows available -- Sony's aiming to have over 100 by the end of the year -- and users can rent or buy content through the service. Of course, you'll need one of Sony's FMP-X1 media players and an appropriately rezzed Sony screen to actually consume said video. Single show episodes are $3.99, with movie rentals starting at $7.99 for a 24-hour viewing window. Looking to buy? $29.99 gets you any film for good.
The paint is still wet on the new HDMI 2.0 specification, and already it's getting some use. Panasonic's rumored new Smart VIERA WT600 TV with support for the new 4K / 60fps input, as well as DisplayPort 1.2a, has just been given the official nod. The 65-inch set also offers up a built-in H.264 decoder, so you'll be able to play all that 4K content direct from USB drives, SD cards and directly from the internet (thanks to the onboard WiFi). Other features include personalized home screens so users can pick up their favorite content quickly, and voice control via the touch pad remote. The WT600 is available to pre-order starting today, for an October ship date, costing a cent shy of $6,000.
We assure you, the camera above is not Sony's HDR-AX200. While it shares a similar body, this is the new FDR-AX1 that leaked this morning -- a fixed lens 4K videocamera for prosumers, priced at a cool $4,500. Although JVC beat Sony to the market with its $5,000 kit, Sony's vying to have the upper hand with the tech inside its take, namely by using its XAVC S format. It works by capturing video in MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 Long GOP and audio in linear PCM, which all gets saved in an "MP4 wrapper." To handle the massive amount of data throughput from its 4k/60p stream, the camcorder records to QXD cards (two slots are onboard) which, until now, haven't had much use outside of Nikon's D4. A 64GB card will net you two hours of 4K video, while downscaling to 1080/60p adds an extra hour on top of that.
Video gets captured by a 1/2.3-type Exmor R CMOS sensor and a 20x optical zoom (31.5-630mm) G lens, which comes equipped with a trio of ND filters and Optical SteadyShot. As you'd expect, there are a plethora of manual controls, powered stereo XLR inputs, a 3.2-inch display and a viewfinder on back. It's worth noting that while the AX1 won't be HDMI 2.0 compliant at first, Sony's planning a firmware update down the line to enable it. Until that occurs, it'll only be able to transfer HDMI video over to Sony's existing 4K TVs. We're also told that the camcorder will work with SD cards for shooting in HD.
If you don't care for the flexibility of interchangeable lenses or need something more affordable than the likes of a RED Scarlet, the FDR-AX1 can be yours this October. Sweetening the deal just a little more, Sony will also throw in a 32GB XQD card and a full copy of Vegas Pro 12 to ensure you can get started out of the box. Check out our eyes-on gallery with the prototype seen above in the meantime. %Gallery-slideshow79389% %Gallery-slideshow79406%
Only just after it leaked out, the folks at HDMI Licensing are announcing HDMI 2.0 officially. Arriving just in time for the wide rollout of a new generation of Ultra HDTVs, it adds a few key capabilities to the connection standard. With a bandwidth capacity of up to 18Gbps, it has enough room to carry 3,840 x 2,160 resolution video at up to 60fps. It also has support for up to 32 audio channels, "dynamic auto lipsync" and additional CEC extensions. The connector itself is unchanged, which is good for backwards compatibility but may disappoint anyone hoping for something sturdier to support all of those suddenly-popular dongles. The cables won't change either, as the group claims current high-speed Category 2 wires can handle the increased bandwidth. Some companies have suggested upgrade paths for their UHDTVs already on the market -- hopefully we'll find out more about those plans this week at IFA 2013.
Panasonic is one of the few electronics companies that's not pushing a 4K TV right now, but that is apparently about to change. An AV Forums reader spotted a few webpages cached prior to the company's launch event that show off not only its upcoming 4K res WT600 television, but also details of the HDMI 2.0 spec. The current HDMI 1.4 connectors can only handle 4K content at 30fps, and the page mentions HDMI 2.0 will support at least 60fps, but any further capabilities are unknown. The Panasonic WT600 details shown include that it will support DisplayPort 1.2 as well as 4K specific features like a web browser, media player, rendering engine and THX certification. The only disappointing part, as the post points out, is that there's no sign yet of Panasonic's sweet 4K OLED prototype which combines both of this year's high-priced HDTV buzzwords in one lovely display. The HDMI licensing group has a press conference scheduled for IFA on Friday while Panasonic's is Wednesday, so it shouldn't be long before we hear more about both pieces of this puzzle, and how other manufacturers plan to react.
Source: AV Forums
Remember how we'd heard that a British broadcaster is trialing 4K TV? We have a hunch as to which company that is: Sky now claims that it's the first UK TV network to have conducted a live 4K broadcast. The firm captured a weekend Premier League match in ultra high resolution using the same infrastructure it normally requires for a live show, with satellites delivering a feed to the company's Isleworth broadcast center. Commercial service remains distant, mind you -- Sky requires both more research and wider adoption of 4K TVs to justify an upgrade. If everything falls into place, though, Sky could have an advantage over rival providers that have yet to venture beyond HD.
Satellite TV in Ultra HD quality is no longer just a dream: following a successful test broadcast this week, KT Skylife has unveiled a roadmap for offering 4K TV to its subscribers. The Korean provider plans to trial one channel of UHD content in the efficient H.265 (HEVC) video format next year, with a full commercial launch due in 2015. Widespread availability will depend on KT Skylife's ability to clear regulatory hurdles, CEO Jae-chul Moon says. The real challenge, however, may be finding customers with Ultra HD TVs. While prices are falling quickly, there's no guarantee that 4K sets will be commonplace in two years' time.
Source: The Korea Times
How do we know that Philips will unveil a 65-inch 4K television at IFA on September 5th? Because that same, unannounced device has just won the European Ultra HD TV of 2013-14 award. The self-congratulatory press release mentions that the Ambilight XL-packing hardware will be offered at a "significantly lower" price point than current UHD sets, which generally retail for upwards of $7,000 for this sort of screen size. There's no word on how much cheaper this new unit will be, but we're hoping that Philips has updated its (slightly clunky) smart TV interface to complement the eye-watering resolution.
Alright, we admittedly don't know a great deal about the provenance of the slide above. It was first picked up on Chinese social networking site Weibo, but the original post seems to have been deleted. What we do know, however, is that Sony's forthcoming flagship phone, codenamed Honami, has already been rumored to possess a 4K-ready processor (the Snapdragon 800), and that Sony is wildly enthusiastic about 4K as something that can unite its expanding hardware ecosystem. The slide's title therefore has a ring of truth to it, because it's accompanied by Bravia branding and sounds like realistic marketing babble from a TV-focused presentation:
"How do you get 4K content? By shooting videos with a 4K cellphone."
The slide also details a 20-megapixel Exmor R rear camera sensor for Honami, which tallies with earlier reports, as well as a meaty 2.2-megapixel front-facing camera. The only issue we have is with the quoted 4K video resolution of 4,000 x 2,000 -- it's unusual and doesn't match the Ultra HD resolution Sony has settled on for its 4K TVs (3,840 x 2,160). In any case, resolution is only half the story. This is all speculative, of course, but if other bottlenecks in this phone forced Sony to compress the heck out of captured 4K video, there's every chance it'd end up looking worse than 1080p.
Korean manufacturers Samsung and LG often match each other in product introductions, but today they were together in announcing cheaper options for some of their latest TV technology. Samsung is dropping the price on its new 55-inch curved OLED (above) and LG rolled out two lower priced versions of its 55- and 65-inch 4K TVs that sacrifice a few premium features. In Samsung's case, the price is dropping by 34 percent, from 15 million won ($13,500) to 9.9 million ($8,910). While we'd heard the KN55S9 will arrive in the US mid-August for $15,000 there hasn't been an official announcement yet, but Value Electronics is promising more details on the 14th.
For LG, the new LA9650 (pictured after the break) variant of its 65-inch UHDTV drops to 8.9 million won ($8,010) compared to 10.9 million ($9,810) for the original LA9700, while the 55-inch is 5.9 million won ($5,310) compared to 7.4 million ($6,660). In the US the original models sell for $7,999 and $5,999, respectively, while retailer B&H already has placeholders for the new models with US prices of $6,999 and $4,999. If the listing is accurate, we could see these versions ship in the US around October 23rd. These new models give up a few creature comforts like the bottom-mounted motorized 4.1 speaker and camera, but keep the pixel count along with fixed 2.1 speakers and 16GB of memory for DVR functions.
According to the Korea Times, Samsung's price cut came as a result of improved manufacturing yield, and customers that already purchased one will be refunded the difference. Of course, these prices are hardly mass-market or challenging value priced entries from Chinese manufacturers Seiki or TCL, but is remarkable to see OLED technology dropping below $10,000 so quickly.