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.
Michael Bay just came onstage during Samsung's big Ultra HD showcase here at CES 2014, but abruptly left the stage without announcing anything. Apparently tripped up by teleprompter issues, the director of the Transformer movies said he'd try to wing it before giving up in frustration. That left EVP Joe Stinziano alone to chuckle about the trickiness of producing live events before moving on to the business of introducing ever larger televisions. The best part? This isn't the first time Bay has pulled one of these -- back in '09 he nuked an LG CTIA press event by pulling out a Samsung cellphone on stage.
06/01/2014 - Samsung's Ultra HD TVs will stream 4K video from Amazon, Comcast, DirecTV, Netflix and more
Samsung's Ultra HD TVs won't sell themselves -- they need the content to justify all those extra pixels. To that end, the Korean tech giant has just announced partnerships with companies that will deliver 4K to the masses. Amazon, Comcast/Xfinity, DirecTV, M-Go and Netflix are all working with Samsung to stream the higher-resolution video format through their native Smart Hub apps. You won't necessarily have to subscribe to a service to get extra-sharp media, though. Samsung is going to sell a UHD Video Pack that stuffs a hard drive full of 4K documentaries and movies, and it will offer downloads of additional shows throughout the year (for a total of 50), similar to the service Sony launched last year. Ultra HD content still won't be ubiquitous in the wake of the deals, but they might give you a good excuse to buy your dream TV a little early.
Samsung's new curved UHD TV spans 78 inches and will be one of 10 new 4K sets hoping to convince you to make the upgrade. It'll be joined by both the 55- and 65-inch models revealed at IFA last year, but thankfully we've now got a lot more details on what's going on underneath those pixels and curves. The 78-inch U9000 model is just 1.2 inches deep, but gets a quad-core processor for all the heavy visual lifting. Samsung's trying to appeal to those of you that like to use your tablets while watching TV too, with a new Multi-Link mode that will share the screen up to four ways, with the ability to use the built-in web browser or even watch related YouTube videos.
Upgrading the processor from previous models now means that the Smart TV gets to work from 1.8 seconds. Big deal? Well, when it took Samsung's older models more than five seconds to warm up, it's a pretty impressive improvement. There's also those previously teased gesture upgrades, offering up the ability to switch channels and adjust volume with a finger -- we didn't get to test this out at Samsung's fancy Vegas launch party, but we'll definitely be running through all those features in the coming days. Following standard CES tradition, the company unfortunately wasn't sharing pricing or availability details on these UHD TVs, but we'd hazard a guess that we'll be hearing more in the next few months.
Admit it: if you had the means (and the space) you'd absolutely want to own Samsung's 105-inch curved 4K television set. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our readers can meet neither of the aforementioned criteria, which is why you must live vicariously through us. We're happy to provide this much-needed public service. You're welcome.
What's it like? Well, the mammoth set is impressive to behold, and as you would expect, it delivers Samsung's hallmark saturated colors and crisp picture... for the most part. Unfortunately, during our brief time watching the set, it looked like the TV or video feed was malfunctioning, as we saw some occasional pixelation and a single line flash on screen once or twice. Regardless, that 5,120 x 2,160 resolution is truly stunning, even if its 21:9 aspect ratio makes it a bit of an oddball -- which is why we only got to see panoramic shots of cities and landscapes instead of regular movie or TV programming. Still, after this, going home to our meager 50-inch set will be tough. %Gallery-slideshow159446%
06/01/2014 - This is what Netflix's 4K streaming looks like
Earlier today Netflix CEO Reed Hastings jumped into LG's press conference to confirm that his company will offer the second season of House of Cards in 4K, streamed directly to Ultra HD TVs from LG and others. Naturally then, we stopped by Netflix's Las Vegas hotel suite to check out the latest offerings and got an early preview. While Samsung showed off a demo of 4K Netflix last year, that video stream wasn't really live from the internet so this is our first true taste of Ultra HD content. Obviously it's a demonstration under controlled settings and non-final hardware, but watching the House of Cards season two trailer and a documentary clip came through impressively sharp.
According to spokesperson Joris Evers, at first the super high-res streams will only be available via embedded Ultra HD TV apps since most devices aren't ready to decode h.265 HEVC compressed video yet. The demo we saw was actually running through a dedicated decoder, with two separate 4K video profiles set at about 11Mbps and 15Mbps (check after the break for a grab, not meant for quality comparison but to show the bitrate) that both seemed a clear upgrade over current 1080p feeds. We still don't know exactly when the Ultra HD video will be available, but that may depend on how quickly the next generation of TVs with support for the format hit the streets. Netflix has said it wants to be known as the place to go for 4K content and it appears to be well on its way -- assuming you have a healthy broadband connection, of course.
06/01/2014 - Panasonic ups its smart TV game with the VIERA Life+ Screen, complete with voice and facial recognition
Panasonic's taken to the stage at CES and has just revealed the VIERA Life+ Screen in an effort to "redefine what a 21st Century TV should be." Televisions under this banner are kitted out with Xbox One-like facial recognition that will display information relevant to users on an "Info Bar" relegated to the lower part of the screen. Voice recognition has also been baked into the set along with a feature called "myStream" that helps you keep favorite channels organized. And of course, it wouldn't be 2014 without social integration, particularly content sharing and Facebook notifications. When it comes to picture quality, the line of sets shown off today boasts a 4K LED display (which is said to look just as good as the company's old plasma tech) and will come in 58 to 65 inches when it arrives this year, with an 85-inch -- the firm's first LED TV of that size -- joining it later in 2014. Even if you aren't in the market for a UHD TV, every one of the outfit's 4K and 1080p sets fresh out this year will have the VIERA Life+ Screen moniker attached.
Filed under: HD
06/01/2014 - Sharp Aquos lineup for 2014 bears 1080p and 4K TVs, a revamped SmartCentral platform and the new Quattron+ Series
We knew an army of TVs would be making an appearance at CES 2014. Accordingly, Sharp has just announced what we can expect out of the Aquos portfolio this year, with new hardware being introduced as part of its HD, Quattron and 4K Series -- there's also the debut of Quattron+, but we'll talk more about that a little later. As expected, Sharp is placing emphasis on big LED screens: Each model begins at 60 inches, ranging all the way up to 90 inches in the case of the HD Series. Speaking of which, the entry-level Aquos HD will be priced starting at $1,300, offering 1080p at 120Hz, 2D/3D options and Smart TV features. Meanwhile, the Quattron Series, which starts at $1,700, also does 1080p, but at 240Hz, plus it's equipped with Quattron technology and Sharp's completely overhauled SmartCentral platform, something the HD line doesn't have access to.
Those looking to spend a little more will be able to choose from the newly minted Quattron+ or 4K Series, both of which are running the company's revamped Smart TV software, SmartCentral 3. TVs with Quattron+ (seen above) are sort of a step between 1080p and Ultra HD; Sharp describes them as the "highest-resolution full HD" sets available, noting that the technology "divides each pixel, creating two pixels from one, to deliver 16 million subpixels." Prices on these are expected to be from $2,300 to $6,000 -- this gets you things like 3D, THX-approved sound, Bluetooth and, on the higher-end models, an AquoMotion 960, 240Hz screen. Lastly, the 4K Series, which is likely the most interesting of the bunch and ranges from $5,000 to $6,000, gets you an Ultra HD TV with an AquoMotion 240, 120Hz display, THX 4K, 3D, a duo bass subwoofer and four HDMI 2.0 ports. All in all, Sharp is going to be kicking off the year with a total of 19 different Aquos TVs; the HD, Quattron and Quattron+ are expected to ship in the spring, though there's no word yet on when the 4K Series is due to arrive.%Gallery-slideshow159549% %Gallery-slideshow159550% %Gallery-slideshow159447% %Gallery-slideshow159547%
06/01/2014 - Netflix confirms it will stream House of Cards in 4K this year, posts full season two trailer
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings just crashed LG's CES 2014 press conference (we're sure he was invited) to announce, officially, that House of Cards will be one of the first shows available in 4K later this year. Already shot and mastered in 4K, the show is a natural fit, although it seems viewers will need to use the Netflix players embedded in their Ultra HD televisions to stream this show in the highest quality possible. We're going to ask Netflix how it plans to fit all those pixels through our skinny internet connections when we get a chance, but for now HoC fans can bite into a new season two trailer after the break.