Sony Is the First to Debut 4K TVs with Built-in Google Assistant

According to Sony, its newest 4K TVs have built-in Google Assistant, which will be added later this year via a firmware update. The timing is perfect, as more people have become interested in upgrading to a 4K set, and the market offers variety in feature sets and price points. Samsung touts its quantum dot technology; Vizio offers great prices; LG sports OLED screens; and now Sony, which also has an OLED screen, is marketing itself as the first TV manufacturer to offer Google Assistant. Continue reading Sony Is the First to Debut 4K TVs with Built-in Google Assistant

Sony to Unveil Two PlayStation 4s: 4K Pro and Smaller Version

Sony plans to debut a high-end console, PlayStation 4 Pro (formerly “Neo”). Set to ship November 10 for $399, PlayStation 4 Pro will boast a faster processor, more storage, and 4K graphics. Sony will also release a more energy-efficient, 30 percent smaller PlayStation 4, to go on sale September 15 for $299. This console replaces the original PlayStation 4, which debuted November 2013 at $399. All PlayStation 4 consoles will be able to play back high dynamic range images, including, via a software update, older PlayStations. Continue reading Sony to Unveil Two PlayStation 4s: 4K Pro and Smaller Version

Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

On August 2, Microsoft’s Xbox One S will be available for $399. The new console is 40 percent smaller than the Xbox One, offers a tidy built-in power supply, and is capable of standing vertically, a throwback to older Xboxes. The Xbox One S is also more powerful, with a faster processor that, for the first time, provides 4K video for streaming Netflix and Amazon Video, and high dynamic range (HDR), as well as the ability to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. But only users with 4K TV sets will be able to see the difference. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts Xbox One S, Project Scorpio to Soon Follow

DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Although Super Bowl 50 was broadcast only in HD, now media outlets are beginning to deliver live sports in 4K Ultra HD. AT&T’s DirecTV says it plans to deliver as many as 25 MLB Network games live in the new format this year, although its 4K Ultra HD will not feature high dynamic range (HDR). Sony reports it just accomplished a 4K Ultra HD (with HDR) test broadcast on a February 10 soccer match between Mexico and Senegal, in Miami’s Marlin Park. Last year, about 6.3 million UHD TV sets shipped in North America. Continue reading DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

More People Shopped Online Than in Stores this Black Friday

Last week’s start to the holiday shopping season marked the most social on record with 1.4 million tweets during the week leading up to Black Friday. However, sales in retail stores on Thanksgiving and Black Friday fell about $1.4 billion this year, with more consumers opting to pursue deals online. Black Friday saw a 14 percent increase in online sales over last year, for a total of $2.72 billion, while Thanksgiving online sales jumped 25 percent. Adobe estimates that shoppers spent $4.45 billion online Thursday and Friday combined. Continue reading More People Shopped Online Than in Stores this Black Friday

IFA 2015: Samsung is First to Announce 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

As 4K UHD TVs slowly come to market, and streaming services continue to introduce support for 4K and high dynamic range programming, Ultra HD Blu-ray is the next logical step. During its press conference at the IFA trade show in Berlin yesterday, Samsung became the first company to officially announce a 4K UHD Blu-ray player. Samsung’s UBD-K8500 supports HDR, offers 64 times the colors of standard Blu-ray, and plays UHD content at up to 60 frames per second. 20th Century Fox is providing content for the player, and plans to issue all its new releases in 4K Ultra HD with HDR. Continue reading IFA 2015: Samsung is First to Announce 4K UHD Blu-ray Player

Google Ups the Ante with VP10 Compression, to Beat H.265

Media today requires more bandwidth, and that means more efficient compression. Ultra HD or 4K, wider gamut for more color choices, and HDR (high dynamic range) all require a bigger pipe and better compression. Same goes for HFR (high frame rate) — anything above 30 fps, for movies and games — and of course all that video streaming that everyone is doing. Up until now, H.264 has been the leading contender, but now Google is pushing its VP9 technology hard to play catch-up. H.265 and VP10 are just over the horizon. Continue reading Google Ups the Ante with VP10 Compression, to Beat H.265

Streamed 4K Video from Netflix Being Leaked to Torrent Sites

Pirates have reportedly found a workaround for 4K copy protection on Netflix, as an Ultra HD copy of the first episode of “Breaking Bad” is making the rounds on torrent sites. While 4K content for television and PCs may still be in its early stages, some analysts anticipate increased leaks in the future. Netflix and Amazon are among the first streaming services to offer 4K content, although most consumers do not own 4K TVs yet. Streaming has strong protection, and until the recent leak, High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection (HDCP) was generally believed to be unbreakable. Continue reading Streamed 4K Video from Netflix Being Leaked to Torrent Sites

LG to Intro New Flat Series of HDR-Compliant 4K OLED TVs

LG announced that its first flat-screen 4K OLED TV lineup will be available next month. The EF9500 series will be similarly priced to the curved EF9600 series ($5,500 for the 55-inch model and $7,000 for the 65-inch model). However, the new series will mark the first fully HDR-compliant OLED TVs, capable of displaying high dynamic range content from streaming sources and components such as Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and players shipping later this year. HDR offers more contrast between light and dark images for a superior viewing experience. Continue reading LG to Intro New Flat Series of HDR-Compliant 4K OLED TVs

BT Sport Ultra HD, Europe’s First 4K Channel, Broadcasts Live

On August 8, BT aired a live broadcast of a Premier League match on its newly launched BT Sport Ultra HD channel, the first such channel in Europe. The broadcast, which featured Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur, is the first of a series of live weekly broadcasts; future live broadcasts include UEFA Champions League, Aviva Premiership Rugby and MotoGP. BT’s TV Entertainment Ultra HD package, which costs subscribers about $23 a month, relies on a 4K-capable TV and BT’s 4K-capable 1TB Ultra HD YouView+ set-top box. Continue reading BT Sport Ultra HD, Europe’s First 4K Channel, Broadcasts Live

Cross-Promotion Highlights the 4K Entertainment Experience

Sony debuted a campaign this weekend to market 4K entertainment. The promotion — launched by Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment and Best Buy, in collaboration with National CineMedia — includes a 30-second spot for NCM’s FirstLook pre-show content. The spot features outtakes from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” (available tomorrow on Blu-ray, DVD and Digital HD) with an emphasis on viewing movies via Sony 4K Digital Cinema projectors in theaters and Sony 4K TVs at home. Continue reading Cross-Promotion Highlights the 4K Entertainment Experience

Sony Planning to Debut a Pair of Curved 4K TVs Next Month

Sony will soon join LG and Samsung in offering curved 4K LCD television sets. The Japanese company is expected to unveil two models at 65- and 75-inches during next month’s IFA show in Berlin. While Sony has yet to announce pricing and availability, the curved sets will compete with Samsung’s HU9000 line, which includes a 65-inch model priced at $4,300 and 78-inch model at $8,000. Sony currently sells a 65-inch curved 1080p TV for $2,500. Continue reading Sony Planning to Debut a Pair of Curved 4K TVs Next Month

Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

New data from analyst IDC finds that shipments of 4K televisions have reached over one million per month and are projected to reach upward of 15.2 million for 2014. Consumer adoption is on the rise as the average selling price has dropped 85 percent worldwide in the last two years, from $7,851 in 2012 to $1,120 in 2014. A new report from BI Intelligence predicts a faster adoption curve than HDTV, with 4K TVs to be found in more than half of North American homes within 10 years. Continue reading Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

Sony to Launch Curved LED HDTV, Promises Immersive Viewing

Sony is getting ready to launch its new 65-inch curved screen HDTV. While LG and Samsung introduced curved OLED HDTVs this summer ($10,000 and $9,000 respectively), Sony’s $4,000 display is the first curved LED HDTV featuring contrast-enhancing LED backlighting. According to Sony, the new TV produces richer 3D video and has a wider viewing angle with a curvature designed to make the viewing experience seem more natural. Continue reading Sony to Launch Curved LED HDTV, Promises Immersive Viewing

Sony Betting on 4K with Video Download Service and New TVs

Sony announced on Wednesday a new 4K video download service called Video Unlimited 4K, along with the unveiling of two new 4K television models. The announcements are part of a larger 4K Ultra HD initiative from Sony. While the service will initially be available only in the U.S., and challenges may result from the limited number of film and TV titles and the large file size of 4K videos, Sony has plans to expand its offerings and sees a strong future in 4K. Continue reading Sony Betting on 4K with Video Download Service and New TVs

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