Posts with tag tv
An extension of Blu-ray makes it all happen
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?
Netflix has made it so
I’m a big fan of Netflix’s original series, including House of Cards (which itself was renewed for a third season a couple of months ago), and that’s why I’m so excited that Netflix has just officially renewed Orange is the New Black for Season 3. The show, which is a comedy based around the insanity that goes on in an all-woman’s prison, has yet to even broadcast its second season – which premiers on June 6th – but that hasn’t stopped Netflix from demanding even more from their poor, overworked writers. (Kidding, guys – seriously, don’t stop writing these things.)
The announcement was made via the “Orange is the New Black Writer’s Room” official Twitter account, and includes a photo of a bunch of crazy, fake (we assume – please, goodness, be fake) titles for episodes in the third season. No broadcast date for Season 3 has been set just yet, so stay tuned if you’re a fan of the show.
Better colors, full backwards compatibility
If there’s one thing that bothers me about home media, it’s the color banding you’ll notice if you look realllyyy close at that favorite movie of yours on your television. The cause of this minor annoyance is that today, many televisions, projectors, and forms of media show content with just 8-bits of color – enough to give a beautiful, clear picture from far away, but little enough to notice some weird banding up close that’s caused by an inadequate supply of colors. While manufacturers have been working to develop screens and pictures with 12 and beyond bits of color, which would solve the issue, there have been little to no talk about improving the specifications of all of our favorite home media format – Blu-Ray – to deal with the issue.
Well, until now. A relatively unknown company called Folded Space has just announced a new encoding specification compatible with Blu-Ray discs that would deliver content with 12-bits of color, all while maintaining compatibility with all existing players and keeping file sizes the same. Of course, this is all fine and dandy, but now the company needs to convince content providers that this is worthwhile in an industry that has been notoriously slow to react; now years following the advent of consumer ready 4K screens, Blu-Rays are still delivered in a relatively puny 1080p image with no solution on the horizon any time soon.
Handy for iOS Chromecast owners
If you’re invested in the iOS ecosystem but wish you could have just a smidge more Google Play on your iPhone, you’re in luck – Google has just released their new Google Play Movies & TV application for iOS today, bringing Google’s wide selection of movies and television to iOS devices. The application is obviously handy for those iOS owners with Chromecasts desperately in need of some content – because the built in iOS video player doesn’t support Chromecasting, applications like these are needed to push content to the device on iOS.
Of course, this has pretty limited utility for the rest of us – Apple’s own selection of Movies and television shows available to rent and purchase on iTunes is, if anything, superior to what Google offers on Google Play. And because it’s built right into iOS, it’s a far more compatible and integrated way to view your content, especially if you’ve also got a Mac or an Apple TV.
You can download Google Play Movies & TV for iOS at the source link below.
Source: App Store
House of 4K
Turns out 2014 might very well truly be the year of the 4K TV, as Netflix today confirmed what we were all already expecting – the company will begin shooting, producing, and streaming all future original, Netflix produced shows in 4K, up from the company’s current standard of 1080p.
Netflix has been testing 4K streaming support for quite some time now, so it’s really no surprise that the fruits of those efforts will begin to show this year. In fact, Netflix’s upcoming second season of House of Cards will be available in 4K streaming on “supported devices” later this Spring.
4K TVs, along with Smart TVs, are definitely a big story at CES 2014 this year. LG has announced a new lineup of webOS-based Smart TVs yesterday while other manufacturers, such as Vizio, will also soon begin offering a lineup of affordable 4K TVs.
Boxee TV, Boxee Box, boxes of Boxees
New 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.
We hardly loved thee
3D 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.
Everything you need to know
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.
If you really, really like Netflix
Did you buy one of those new 4K TVs only to discover absolutely no one is offering any type of motion video in 4K right now? In that case, we’ve got good news for you: Netflix will be offering 4K streaming “within a year or two.” Their own original series, House of Cards, was shot mostly in 4K, so when they offer 4K streaming you will have something to watch.
There’s a problem, however, and that comes from various Internet infrastructures in the United States. Streaming 4K video is a huge strain on most average broadband connections in much the same way streaming video games is; you would need something like high-end cable or a fibre line in order to make use of a 4K video stream.
Netflix has said that over in European countries, a technology they developed called Open Connect has been deployed to many European ISPs. Essentially, Open Connect lets Netflix stream their shows without having to set up a special content delivery network; instead using the ISP as their backbone. If they can duplicate that over here in the United States, 4K video streaming might actually become feasible.
Source: The Verge