Posts with tag television

An extension of Blu-ray makes it all happen

Kill your Blu-Rays – Ultra HD movies coming to optical discs as soon as this year


4K televisions (or Ultra HD, if that’s your thing) are amazing, with picture quality that often goes far beyond anything you can even remotely hope to find on now standard 1080p sets. The big problem, however, is that up until now, there just hasn’t been much to actually watch with these new, expensive, beautiful televisions. Netflix has helped fill the gap with a small library of shows streaming in 4K, but the selection is next to nil and support is limited to only select, Netflix sanctioned smart televisions. That’s all about the change however as The Blu-ray Disc Association has just announced at CES that they’re working on a new version of the existing Blu-ray technology that will bring 4K movies to your next home theater system, in convenient disc format.

The new discs, which will be branded as Ultra HD Blu-ray and will essentially be Blu-rays manufactured with a new process that allows up to 33GB per layer (up from 25GB), meaning that a single disc will allow for as much as 99GB. This is absolutely necessary given that 4K movies require an obscene amount of available space, way more than the average 1080p Blu-ray movie.


Manufacturer Panasonic is proving the concept with a prototype Ultra HD player, seen above. Sure enough, it works as you’d expect – this is just your average Blu-ray player with the added bonus of beautiful 4K video playback. According to Engadget, the new Ultra HD Blu-ray specification – which has yet to be finalized – will likely call for HVEC encoding, a next-generation encoder that allows for incredibly highly compressed file without losing quality.

These new Ultra HD Blu-rays are expected to hit market by the end of 2015, however a delay into early 2016 is still possible. While all this technology is cool and it’s fantastic that 4K will finally have an opportunity to invade the average living room, the real question is whether or not Americans are ready to invest in a next generation optical disc format. It seems like just yesterday that the industry tried to get us to ditch our old and busted DVDs for high definition Blu-rays. Can that same strategy be successful only a couple of years later?

Source: Engadget

Remember when 3D was a thing?

Vizio kills 3D TVs, announces affordable 4K TVs


Hey guys, remember when 3D televisions were to be the future of the home theater? Yeah, apparently Vizio doesn’t either. At CES 2014 today, Vizio effectively killed their entire lineup of 3D televisions, failing to introduce even one new TV with those familiar depth creating glasses.

Instead, the company focused on what everyone seems to be most excited about in this market – 4K support. Vizio announced that they would begin releasing televisions with the new resolution with the same excellent picture that we all have become accustomed to from Vizio, and at their famous bargain basement prices. Vizio has always been the best in the market when it comes to value and bang for the buck, and it looks as though that trend is very much continuing in 2014.

Of course, if you’ve got a premium sized wallet then Vizio has a premium priced television for you. Introducing the Vizio “Reference Series”, a new lineup of 4K TVs with best in class picture and functionality. Vizio is introducing “HDR” functionality in this lineup, which the company says “creates a contrast range with true-to-life intensity, more accurately reproducing the nuances of the picture and revealing fine details found in real scenes.”

As for 4K video playback, all new televisions will support 4K video decoding internally using the new HVEC codec, which is able to deliver video with massive resolutions yet managed to retain fairly sane file sizes – this h.264, but for the 4K era video era. Content delivery is one of the biggest issues the television industry has yet to overcome, and it looks like Vizio is trying to lead the effort to solve that problem once and for all.

Source: The Verge

Boxee TV, Boxee Box, boxes of Boxees

Samsung to purchase Boxee for $30 million (Update: Samsung confirms!)

Dlink-Boxee-BoxNew reports are emerging from the ether that Samsung has purchased popular online TV service Boxee, creator of such products as the Boxee TV media center suite on the PC/Mac, Boxee Box, and most recently Boxee Cloud DVR. Samsung has reportedly paid $30 million for the company as it hopes to make a bigger splash in the home entertainment market, currently largely dominated by Apple with their AppleTV set top box.

Samsung is of course the manufacturer of many different models of fairly high end TVs, including so called “Smart TVs” that feature online connected multimedia software right into the television’s firmware. Boxee’s excellent software seems like it would be a natural fit in one of these televisions, but then the question remains – is Boxee really that big of a name draw, and would you purchase a television with Boxee baked in?

Neither Samsung nor Boxee have yet confirmed the deal. We’ve reached out to both companies for some sort of statement, and will update this post if we hear anything back one way or the other.

Update 07/03 @ 1:47 PM EST: Samsung has just confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that they have indeed purchased Boxee. The full statement reads as follows:

Samsung has acquired key talent and assets from Boxee. This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices.

Via: All Things D / The New York Times

We hardly loved thee

Goodbye, 3D TV – ESPN 3D to shut down this year

espn3d-logo3D TV has always been somewhat of a big gimmick, but it was one that saw a fair bit of commercial success over the last few years. The problem is, there was never really a whole lot of content for the format – sure, there were a few 3D stations, and yes, there was 3D Blu-Ray disc, but at the end of the day all your Benjamins really got you was an overpriced television set and a weird pair of glasses 9 times out of 10. It’s no surprise, then, that 3D TV is falling to the wayside in a big, big way. The next major blow to the format? ESPN has just announced that their ESPN 3D station, which broadcasted 3D games and shows, will be shutting down before the end of 2013.

That alone is a huge sign – ESPN is one of the biggest channels on television today, and a powerhouse in the TV industry – but their decision is backed by many other signs. Head to your local Best Buy – how many new 3D TVs do you see in their crowded showrooms? Are there anymore on online retailers? The answer is overwhelmingly no. Manufacturers have shied away from the format in a big, big way this year and have focused their efforts on their smart television sets and – most recently – 4k TV sets, which offers a picture many times the resolution of 1080p, which will be hitting the marketplace in a big way as the year goes on.

So goodbye, 3D TV. It’s been fun, but not really.

Via: The Verge
Source: Katina Arnold (Twitter)

Everything you need to know

The XBox One: Microsoft hopes to revolutionize not just gaming, but all of entertainment


The XBox One – Microsoft’s answer to not only the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Wii U (not to mention an array of other contenders), but also a revolutionary change in the entertainment industry as a whole. Combining the highest power gaming console ever made with a revolutionary new social television aspect, ultra fast direct Wi-Fi, HDMI input-output, and much, much more, the XBox One isn’t just a successor to the XBox 360 – it’s a successor to everything on our entertainment cabinets today.

In an ongoing effort to collect everything we know to date about the XBox One, we’ll constantly be updating this post with the latest specs and functionality as we learn them. But first, let’s get this party started with a comprehensive list of confirmed specifications – or in simple terms, what’s actually inside this beautiful, glossy black box?

Read more to get the scoop.

A busy time for all the CPU makers

Qualcomm’s next-gen Snapdragon

First NVidia, then Intel, followed by AMD and now Qualcomm releases some details on their next-generation SoCs – the Snapdragon 800 and 600.

First up, the Snapdragon 800. It features a new quad-core CPU architecture with speeds up to 2.3GHz and will be made using a 28nm process. The memory performance is also greatly enhanced, adding support for DDR3 memory. As if that wasn’t enough, the Snapdragon 800 also features a brand new GPU with support for 4k video at 30FPS and 2k video at 60FPS, which makes it perfect if you’re going to use this with your new 4k television. Finally, if you like having movie theater experiences at home, this SoC has support for Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound.

Also on the table is the Snapdragon 600. Consider it more of a vastly improved Snapdragon S4, with clock speeds up to 1.9GHz, a new GPU and DDR3 support. This lower-end Snapdragon will be pitted against the new Tegra4 and Intel’s Clover Trail platform.

The Snapdragon 800 will begin shipping by the middle of this year, and the Snapdragon 600 will begin shipping in Q2’2013.

Source: Engadget