Sony's FS700 has plenty going for it regardless of its 4K potential, not least in terms of its super slow motion shooting up to 240fps at 1080p. Nevertheless, if 4K it has to be, then a new NEX-IFR5 interface unit will be out in June to make full use of the camera's big sensor and 3G-SDI output. A couple of things to bear in mind: in addition to this $2,500 interface, you'll need a recorder like the AXS-R5 (around $6,300 plus extra for cards) to store your weighty 4K rushes on, plus you'll find that shooting in this mode will limit slow-mo to a four-second bust at 120 fps. Read the PR for further detail on using 2K with the IFR5, as that format allows continuous slow-mo and ought to be less brutal on the budget.
No matter how many 4K TVs hit shelves, without native content their appeal will likely remain limited. Samsung and LG are working to change that, at least in their home country, by announcing a memorandum of understanding with five Korean cable operators (Hyundai HCN, CJ HelloVision, C&M, CMB, and T-Broad) to boost 4K TV broadcasts. We could see both live and on-demand 4K programming by the end of this year or early next year, made available via apps on smart TVs and streamed through South Korea's abundant high speed internet connections. Still not enough resolution for you? Just last week, Japan's NHK showed off the first 8K Super Hi-Vision narrative film at the Cannes Film Festival. We'll let you know when all of these developments add up to Ultra HDTV content viewable in your neck of the woods, but for now early adopters will have to make do with mostly upscaled content like Sony's Mastered in 4K 1080p Blu-ray discs.
Sharp has just introduced a couple of high-end TVs if you're rich enough to be seeking an UltraHD set and lucky enough to live in Japan: the 70-inch LC-70UD1 and the 60-inch LC-60UD1, part of the new 4K Aquos UD1 series. Each will feature Sharp's 4K "Moth-eye" panel, Aquos 4K-Master Engine Pro HD upconversion engine, 2.1 channel THX surround and 3D capability. The 70-inch model will run 850,000 yen ($8,290) and launch on June 15th, while the 60-inch set will arrive August 10th for 650,000 yen ($6,335). There's no word yet on a stateside arrival, but based on what Sharp said at CES 2013 in January, it may join a 32-inch 4K Aquos model sometime later this year.
Source: Sharp (translated)
20/05/2013 - Samsung plans to launch 65-, 55-inch 4K TVs in June
When Samsung unveiled its first 4K Ultra HD TV at CES this year, it said other sizes would follow, both larger and smaller than the initial 85-inch version. Now it's apparently ready to fulfill part of that promise, announcing in Korea that 65- and 55-inch models will launch next month. Of course our next question is how these smaller models will compare to the $39,999 MSRP 85S9 UHD TV in price. Hopefully they'll follow the path blazed by Sony, which recently introduced models at that size with pricing well below the $10,000 benchmark, although we expect Seiki's 50-incher will still hold the crown for value pricing. The press release mentions they will feature Samsung's upgradeable Smart TV platform and the "micro dimming ultimate" LED lighting of their larger cousin, but the odd "Timeless Gallery" frame / stand (pictured above on the 85-incher) was not listed.
Source: Korea Newswire
Google just announced it will be upgrading Google TV units to Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, and China's TCL has announced it will have the first 4K TV built on the platform. We got a look at TCL's custom-skinned MoVo Google TV platform and 4K TVs separately at CES (pictured above, and in the gallery) so it only makes sense they'll be combining the two. Part of TCL's MoVo customizations include a motion sensor to recognize each user and personalize offerings based on their habits. Called Personal Box Office (PBO) or "Lazy TV" searches the available content and makes a recommendation without the need for a remote or even voice command. The press release indicates it will be available "later this year" although whether that includes a US release like Seiki's 50-inch Ultra HD set remains to be seen. According to the company it's being demonstrated at Google I/O this week, we'll see if we can get some hands-on time tomorrow.
Gallery: TCL CES 2013 booth
15/05/2013 - Sony announces pricing for 55- and 65-inch 4K TVs in the UK, pre-order now, in-stores June
Fancy some of the 4K magic from Sony, but are living over in the UK? Well you can get one step closer by pre-ordering today. The Bravia X9 -- as it's known over there -- comes in two sizes (55- and 65-inch) both of which will land in bricks and mortar stores in mid-June. The price? Well, £4,000 and £6,000 respectively. That outlay will get you upscaling on all your media, and Sony's 4K X-Reality PRO enginge handling the full-resolution stuff. Still not convinced? Well there is NFC and plus a TV SlideView app for Android and iOS if that sweetens the deal?
Given Sony's heritage, it's no surprise that the company loves its audio -- but we can imagine that some might be overwhelmed when the company has priced and dated the cores of its 2013 home and shelf audio lineups in one sitting. Don't worry, we'll break it all down. On the home audio side, both the BDV-N7100W and BDV-7100W home-theaters-in-a-box (N8100W shown above) are already shipping at respective $599 and $699 prices with 1,000W 5.1-channel output, internet-linked Blu-ray players and both Bluetooth as well as OneTouch NFC pairing. TV watchers who can wait until June will also see the STR-DN1040, a $599 7.2-channel receiver with 4K upscaling, Bluetooth, WiFi and 165W per channel; the $449 STR-DN840 receiver, which scales back to 4K passthrough and 150W per channel; and the $399 HT-C660 soundbar, which adds NFC pairing to the same wireless mix as the receivers.
Shelf audio is simpler, with every new entry arriving May 27th. Both the LBT-GPX55 (below) and LBT-GPX77 mini stereos offer a respective 1,600W and 1,800W of output alongside Bluetooth, NFC, a CD player (!) and dual USB ports at a $499 starting price. Those who don't need their walls rattled quite so thoroughly can spring for the $349 RDH-GTK37iP boombox, which puts out a still-substantial 420W on top of Bluetooth, NFC, an iOS dock and attention-getting strobe lights. That's a lot information to process, we know. If you're not satisfied even after that deluge of information, however, Sony's pressers await after the break.
Now that Ultra HD TVs are poised to hit the market in force, it's more important than ever to have receivers that can handle them -- even if our bank accounts often can't. Harman Kardon knows this well enough to ship its AVR 2700 and AVR 3700 receivers, both of which carry 4K passthrough and upscaling on their eight HDMI ports as a matter of course. The two also support AirPlay streaming alongside more commonplace DLNA media sharing and offer remote control mobile apps. Home theater futureproofers mostly have to decide on audio channels and network support before they buy: the $800 AVR 2700 produces 7.1-channel surround and sticks to Ethernet alone for networking, while the $996 AVR 3700 introduces 7.2-channel audio and WiFi. Few of us will use either receiver to its full potential right now, but well-heeled 4K TV owners (or just the well-prepared) can pick one up today.
The entry price for Ultra HDTV plunged by more than $10,000 earlier this week thanks to Sony's new 4K sets, but now it's going even lower with this model from Seiki. The brand is new to the US market and as such unfamiliar to most, but with a $1,300 listing on TigerDirect it's been lighting up AV enthusiast and deal-hunting forums alike. We haven't yet had a chance to see this display, but hope to take a look shortly. In the meantime, there are plenty of reasons not to be an early adopter -- the infamous eye charts suggest 4K's impact at this size may be reduced, it's an unknown company with unknown standards for quality and service, a new HDMI standard may be incoming and there's no content until the $699 FMP-X1 player arrives this summer -- but with a sub-$2K pricetag some would say you can't afford not to have an Ultra HD set in your possession. Those same people would also suggest inviting us over to watch the game (sports, console, but most likely a super high-res PC title if you can manage) on it, and indicate we are willing to bring refreshments.
[Thanks, Eric Kotz]
If you were chomping at the bit to create content for the oncoming 4K revolution, Sony has just announced a couple of enhancements to its XAVC video format to help you on your way. Long GOP is a high-efficiency codec designed to meet the requirements of the professional market, while XAVC-S is aimed squarely at consumers with its MP4 wrapping. Of course, both codecs should play nice with Sony's series of CineAlta cameras (the PMW-F5 is pictured above), which is set to reach over 2,000 units shipped by the end of the month. Sony's not the only one making XAVC-compatible devices however; over 60 manufacturers have applied for XAVC licenses while 31 others have pledged to support it in their products. Seeing as 4K hardware is finally dipping into affordability, we can't fault Sony for getting the ball rolling, at least from the creation side of things.
Via: Far East Gizmos
The 56-inch OLED TV Sony trotted out at CES may have lost an inch on its way to the market, but that extra few centimeters can still be had, at least in the professional sector. The company announced its A Series Trimaster EL monitors at NAB today, outing a 4,096 x 2,160 30-inch model as well as a 3,840 x 2160 56-inch display. Both panels boast of wide viewing angles and low color shift, promising accurate signal reproduction for industry professionals working with 4K content. No word yet on pricing, but professionals can look forward to upgrading sometime in May 2013. Hit the break for the official press release, item skus, and a quick break down of what products the A series will be replacing.
Along with its new smaller (and cheaper) 4K TVs, Sony has announced its FMP-X1 4K media player and 4K video distribution service. Plans for both were first revealed at CES, however the official press release (included after the break) provides the full details, that it will be $699 and arrive preloaded with 10 4K films and shorts when it ships this summer. Starting in the fall, the video service will launch, with "fee-based" access to Sony's library of movies. Sony also revealed that it has started adding to the 4K movie collections for the buyers of its $25k 84-inch Ultra HDTV, delivering Lawrence of Arabia. Those buyers will be able to swap their current player for the FMP-X1 when the 4K distribution network launches in the fall. The "mastered in 4K" (but delivered in 1080p) Blu-ray discs are still part of the plan as well, and buyers of the new TVs can expect Spiderman, Ghostbusters and Angels & Demons as pack-ins.
Think $25,000 for an 84-inch 4K TV is a bit tough to swallow? You're certainly not alone, but if you're willing to compromise on a few viewable inches, you could very well save yourself quite a bit of cash. At Sony's NAB press conference today here in Las Vegas, the company finally shared pricing for its smaller 4K models, the Bravia XBR-55X900A and the XBR-65X900A, which ring in at 55 and 65 inches, respectively. That first flavor will retail for a mere $5,000, with its larger sibling due in stores for just two grand more. As we learned at CES, both models offer Triluminous displays with X-Reality PRO and Motionflow XR960 technology, WiFi and NFC one-touch screen mirroring, not to mention native support for displaying 3,840 x 2,160 pixels images. The more budget-friendly duo will hit stores on April 21st -- they'll also be available to order online in just two weeks' time.
Samsung's $40k work of art has nothing on Redmond's non-existent TV division: Microsoft has built a 120-inch 4K display. Don't start pinching pennies, though -- this TV was created strictly for demo purposes, and won't be coming coming to stores any time soon. Check out Pocket-lint for all the details.
21/03/2013 - JVC will launch its first (sort of) 8K projector later this month in Japan, for $261,000
JVC showed off a prototype 8K Super Hi-Vision projector in 2008 at CEATEC, and now it's ready to ship a real product later this month, dubbed the DLA-VS4800. JVC's e-Shift pixel technology is at play here, which we first saw in consumer products with the '4K' projectors it shipped in 2011, and updated in last year's models. Basically the D-ILA display panel inside the device is half the resolution (in this one, 4,096 x 2,400) but projects two images alternated at 120Hz, one shifted slightly diagonally. This creates the impression of a higher res display, without actually upping the pixel count.
Based on our demos of the tech at CEDIA for the last two years, the effect is very convincing, however with AV Watch's presumed price tag of 25 million yen ($261k US -- and that's without the 4 available lenses, which have no price), we might want a few more real pixels, if such a product were available for purchase. Still, if you want the first 8K display device on the block, this is your only choice, unless you can convince Sharp to part with one of its sweet 8K Super Hi-Vision LCD prototypes (we've asked, we've begged, we've planned Ocean's 11-style heists -- it's not possible.) The other issue is that you'll still need some content to view, and with the roadmap currently putting test broadcasts in 2016, leaving this one to the museums and planetariums it's intended for may be the best course of action.
Via: AV Watch
Source: JVC Kenwood Japan
Toshiba isn't the first name you'd associate with exciting products, but recently we were invited to check out its 2013 selection of AV gear in the hope we'd be dazzled by pixel counts and the IQ of its revamped smart TV platform. We revisited a few products we had flings with at CES, were introduced to some new panels, and taken through the ins-and-outs of the company's fresh Cloud TV interface. Was there anything to get excited about? Head past the break for the full tour.
Netflix is quickly establishing a reputation as a technology vanguard beyond just its streaming-first initiative. We only just saw Super HD streaming in January, and it's already discussing the leap to Ultra HD: Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt tells The Verge that Netflix wants 4K streaming inside of "a year or two" for at least some of its catalog. It doesn't take a genius to deduce that the internally-produced House of Cards could play an important role in that upgrade. Hunt confirms that David Fincher shot the political drama in 4K, and it should be encoded for the higher resolution later in the year. While it's doubtful that most of us will have the bandwidth to handle any near-term 4K launches short of moving to Kansas City, it's good to know that the content should be ready well before we are.
Source: The Verge
The future of TV is supposed to involve streaming video, and it's also supposed to involve 4K TVs -- but melding the two has been difficult. Telefonica wants to show that the feat is at least possible with mere mortal connections: it's been using Mobile World Congress to show 4K video streaming on a 100Mbps fiber-to-the-home link. As our Spanish teammates can attest, the (admittedly very local) demo works as well as you'd hope, providing all the fine details without buffering or other hiccups. There's no estimated timeframe for a commercial service, but we wouldn't hold out hope of a version that would fit on cable or DSL when there's a raw 40Mbps bitrate.
Source: Engadget Spanish (translated)
Despite the flood of 4K TVs that are emerging this year, there won't be a lot of content to play on them in the near future short of space galleries and the World Cup. The team at DirecTV can't provide an immediate solution, but it's at least getting ahead of the curve with a spate of new trademarks. The satellite giant now owns trademarks for the terms 4K, 4KN, 4KNET, 4K Network and 4KNetwork, the lot of which would cover broadcasts, streaming and VOD -- all hinting that the company is at least toying with the prospect of a 4K-only channel or service. Don't get your hopes up, however. DirecTV has declined comment, and there's a big difference between securing a trademark and having the resources to do something with it. We'll have to wait for sufficient capacity on TV networks -- and in our wallets -- before 4K TV channels exist as more than names.
[Image credit: Brian Cantoni, Flickr]
LG is all about product synergy at MWC 2013, demoing the ability to beam 4K resolution video from a phone to an Ultra HD television -- no wires necessary. There's no specifics mentioned about the technology in use other than that it uses "ubiquitous" WiFi connections, but LG claims its technique uses less than half the power others require. That's achieved by reducing the drain on the phone's CPU and other hardware, but we'll have to wait for a hands-on opportunity to learn more about how this works -- and to save up enough money to buy one of those Ultra HDTVs.
21/02/2013 - The PlayStation 4 can output in 4K, but not games
Yes, the PlayStation 4 is capable of pushing out a 4K video signal. Sony president of Worldwide Studios Shuhei Yoshida confirmed as much to Joystiq in an interview this morning, where he said that the PlayStation 4 will play video that was recorded in the super high-def resolution, but the games currently being made for it aren't in 4K.
Sony made a big 4K push at CES 2013 -- it was all Sony president Kaz Hirai would talk about in our interview, and Sony's booth reflected the company's 4K initiative. It seems that the company's not getting too far ahead of itself, however, recognizing that few consumers buying a PS4 this holiday will own the still-nascent TV tech.
12/02/2013 - Sony Entertainment's Michael Lynton praises the DVR for enabling an 'explosion in creativity'
Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Entertainment, has taken the stage here in Dana Point, California for this year's D:Dive Into Media, speaking candidly about his outfit's use of social media to advertise, and more importantly, how modern technology is impacting meaningful change on the creative side of things. Citing shows like Sons of Anarchy, Mad Men and Breaking Bad -- ones that he's obviously a fan of -- he noted that the proliferation of DVR technology has enabled a lot of it.
"I personally believe that this explosion in creativity you're seeing right now is due to the fact that you can create 13 episode, long-form narratives and then watch it whenever you want. It even brings better directors and writers who don't think that they can tell their stories in the two-hour frame of a major motion picture. I think this is a direct effect of technology. It's the first time I've seen it -- there was always talk about how technology would impact creative, and this is it."
Any smartphone owner who's ever watched a streaming HD video buffer... and buffer... and buffer on even LTE connections will appreciate the ITU's speediness today. Just months after MPEG proposed the extra-miserly H.265 video codec, the ITU has approved it as an official standard. As it's greenlit so far, the format (also known as High Efficiency Video Coding) includes 8-bit, 10-bit and photo-oriented profiles that should cover most 2D capture and playback. Pros are promised 12-bit and chroma profiles in the future, while there's work on 3D for all of us. We'll have to wait for both software support and hardware acceleration to reap the rewards, but there should be many: the halved bandwidth requirements have obvious benefits for cellular devices as well as 4K media delivery for that rash of giant TVs about to hit the market. Let's hope that camera and mobile device makers are just as impatient as we are.
Throwing a $20k Ultra HD TV set onto the market when there's no 4K content of any kind in sight is quite the leap of faith, but LG told ChosunBiz (and confirmed to us) that it's already found 300 deep-pocketed videophiles in Korea for its 84-inch 84LM9600 since it went on sale. Judging by CES 2013 the industry is all-in on the tech, so that news hopefully bodes well for the near future of UHDTV. It's safe to say that consumer interest has been piqued by the pixel-rich screens, but whether that'll translate into the kind of numbers we've seen recently for run-of-the-mill HDTV will likely depend on the all-important sticker price -- which will have to be much, much lower than recent models.
Via: The Verge
Source: ChosunBiz (translated)
14/01/2013 - CES 2013: HDTV and connected devices roundup
As you may have guessed by scanning our CES coverage this year, HDTV -- particularly of the Ultra HD variety -- was kind of a big deal at this year's show. In fact, UHDTV's omnipresence fanned so much reader interest this year that we penned a feature article to put the whole phenomenon into perspective. While that makes for a lively discussion, none of the 4K sets announced at the show are shipping yet, and the few from last year that are available might cost as much as a new car -- or two. To that end, let's head after the break to see all the new TVs, set-top devices, Blu-ray players and the like presented at CES -- including a few you may actually be able to afford.