Subtitles, Closed Captioning Popular Among Young Viewers

More people than ever are using subtitles — often in their native language, to help follow-along with indiscernible audio, according to a study by language-teaching app Preply. Netflix released figures indicating more than 80 percent of its subscribers used subtitles (or closed captions) once a month or more. And the trend is not limited to seniors; younger viewers are about four times more likely to turn on subtitles. The prevalence of rear-facing, or downward-directed speakers in today’s ultra-thin TVs has compounded the problem, often resulting in worse audio than the old-fashioned TV sets, which had front-facing speakers. But there are other issues affecting TV audio. Continue reading Subtitles, Closed Captioning Popular Among Young Viewers

Microsoft Rolls Out New Surface Products, Apple Integrations

Microsoft is launching a host of new Surface products in time for the holidays. The Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and Surface Studio 2+ were among the debuts at the fall 2022 Microsoft event. The Surface Pro 9 comes to market October 25 with two models, one with Intel inside and the other powered by Microsoft’s own SQ3 chip, an always-connected 5G ARM processor customized by Qualcomm that features a new Neural Processing Unit and up to 19 hours of battery. The Intel variants start at $999 while the SQ3 options begin at $1,299. Continue reading Microsoft Rolls Out New Surface Products, Apple Integrations

CEDIA: Samsung 98-Inch 4K Neo QLED TV Offers 5,000 Nits

Samsung’s new 98-inch QN100B Neo QLED TV is drawing positive reviews and the promise of theater-quality presentation for the living room. Samsung calls it “the most powerful 4K TV ever created for the home,” with up to 5,000 nits of peak brightness. At 19.9mm thick, it’s one of Samsung’s thinnest TVs, despite its size. Built-in 120W, 6.4.4-channel Dolby Atmos surround sound with Samsung’s Cinema Object Tracking make it sound like a winner. Samsung didn’t share pricing, but this model is part of what’s being called “the newly competitive 100-inch class.” Continue reading CEDIA: Samsung 98-Inch 4K Neo QLED TV Offers 5,000 Nits

Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix

Netflix has tapped Sennheiser to bring spatial audio its global subscribers. Netflix says its AMBEO 2-Channel Spatial Audio will work with any speakers and device to help convey a cinematic experience. “Some of the most iconic moments in TV and film are defined by the immersive moments they create through sound,” Netflix said, citing “Eddie Munson’s epic guitar scene in ‘Stranger Things 4,’” the series used to premiere the new technology as part of its development with Sennheiser. “Red Notice,” “The Witcher” and “Resident Evil” are also among the first shows to get the AMBEO upgrade. Continue reading Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix

CES: TCL 8K QLED X925 Pro Comes in a Very Thin Package

TCL, the No. 2 TV-maker in the world after Samsung, raised the curtain on a new flagship model at CES 2022. The X925 Pro is a super-thin, 85-inch, 8K Google TV powered by the company’s own flavor of Mini-LED, featuring OD-Zero technology. Measuring just 10mm thick — half that of some competing models — the 8K display has local dimming, QLED color, a built-in webcam for video chats, 120Hz refresh rate and, to make gamers happy, variable refresh rate (VRR). The Google TV OS enables hands-free “Hey, Google” voice commands. The X925 Pro touts numerous high-end touches and has a $10,000 price to match. Continue reading CES: TCL 8K QLED X925 Pro Comes in a Very Thin Package

CES: TV, Audio and Drone Tech Make a Splash at Central Hall

ETC’s George Gerba and Don Levy spent Thursday navigating the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Central Hall looking for unique products from major exhibitors at CES 2022 that would be of special interest to the entertainment industry. They found a Hisense ultra-short throw projection TV, a Samsung TV with an adjustment capability that would be useful in-camera as well, Fraunhofer tech for adjusting the volume of dialog separately from other audio in a consumer device, a winged drone with impressive flight duration and speed, and a few other products of note. Continue reading CES: TV, Audio and Drone Tech Make a Splash at Central Hall

Tidal Launches New Music Tiers, Model to Pay Artists Directly

Tidal unveiled an upgrade to its paid music plan and introduced two new plans — a cost-free tier (a first for the platform) and Tidal HiFi Plus. The standard $9.99-per-month subscription, now called Tidal HiFi, provides users with lossless and high-resolution audio and customized listening insights through features such as Tidal Connect and My Activity. With the new $19.99-per-month Tidal HiFi Plus, users get immersive formats including Dolby Atmos and Sony 360 Reality Audio as well as exclusive access to Tidal’s Master Quality Authenticated recordings. Tidal also launched an innovative direct-to-artist payments program with plans to introduce fan-centered royalties next year. Continue reading Tidal Launches New Music Tiers, Model to Pay Artists Directly

Comcast’s Sky Glass 4K QLED Smart TV: The Pros and Cons

Sky Glass, the streaming television platform that Comcast offers European customers as an alternative to dish-delivered Sky Q, has begun generating reviews. Billed as a turn-key smart TV solution, Sky Glass features a 4K display, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, a built-in set-top-box and six-speaker Dolby Atmos. It also touts wake-word voice commands at the press of a button and multiscreen functionality via the Sky Stream Puck. However, as a walled garden Sky Glass is said to lack the versatility of Android TV or LG’s webOS TV platforms. Continue reading Comcast’s Sky Glass 4K QLED Smart TV: The Pros and Cons

Comcast Launching XiOne Streaming Device and XClass TVs

Comcast is upping its hardware play, launching a branded wireless streaming device, the XiOne, and offering TVs running its own software, dubbed XClass in the U.S. The cable giant plans to make XiOne its branded global platform. Comcast describes XiOne as a plug-and-play device with faster processing, more memory and a voice-activated remote. It supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, Wi-Fi 6, 4K UHD and HDR. XiOne boxes are currently available in Italy and Germany to some subscribers of Sky Q, which Comcast owns. Comcast has begun introducing the devices in the U.S. to customers using older boxes.  Continue reading Comcast Launching XiOne Streaming Device and XClass TVs

Apple Unveils New OS, Privacy Updates and More at WWDC

Apple’s WWDC annual week-long developer conference kicked off with a first peak at iOS 15 enhancements. That includes the next version of FaceTime, which will more closely resemble Zoom, including a grid view for group calls and spatial audio and voice isolation features. The company teased new software updates for AirPods Pro and AirPods, and a multitasking menu for iPadOS 15, coming this fall. The upcoming watchOS 8 will boost fitness, sleep and meditation features. Among numerous other announcements, the company showed data privacy improvements and revealed that HomeKit will now support Siri. Continue reading Apple Unveils New OS, Privacy Updates and More at WWDC

Amazon Music, Apple Music Unveil Hi-Res Audio for All Subs

Apple Music and Amazon Music are unveiling high-resolution audio to subscribers at no extra cost. Amazon Music had announced that its Amazon Music HD is available to all eligible Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers and Apple revealed that subscribers will be able to access Lossless Audio, “to hear the exact same thing that artists created in the studio.” Apple Music users will, based on their connection, be able to choose music resolution from CD quality (16 bit/44.1 kHz) up to Hi-Resolution Lossless at 24 bit/192 kHz. Continue reading Amazon Music, Apple Music Unveil Hi-Res Audio for All Subs

CES: Panasonic Debuts New OLED TV with Surround Sound

Panasonic unveiled its flagship JZ2000 OLED TV, following last year’s HZ2000 4K OLED TV. Both feature support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ but the JZ2000 now supports “ambient-aware” versions of both formats — Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Ambient — which adjust HDR brightness in response to light levels around the TV, especially useful for daytime viewing. The Panasonic JZ2000 also features 360° Soundscape Pro, which supports side-firing speakers for Dolby Atmos, resulting in better support of multidirectional sound. Continue reading CES: Panasonic Debuts New OLED TV with Surround Sound

WiSA: Wireless Speaker and Audio Advances Home Theater

WiSA — wireless speaker and audio — offers the promise of changing and simplifying home theater setups by getting rid of speaker wires and even the A/V receiver. WiSA, which has support from 60+ manufacturers of home theater gear, including LG, TCL, Toshiba, Klipsch, and Bang & Olufsen, is a hardware and software specification for high resolution digital audio. As such, it can send audio wirelessly from a sound source to up to eight powered speakers within the same room, using 24-bit 48kHz or 96kHz signals. Continue reading WiSA: Wireless Speaker and Audio Advances Home Theater

WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

At WWDC this week, Apple officially announced its plan to move from Intel chips to ARM-based “Apple Silicon” chips. With its own chips, Apple will no longer have to rely on Intel’s update cycles. It also means that Apple will be able to bring its customized neural engines to Macs for tasks that use machine learning. Apple stated that developers will be able to create apps that run on ARM-based Macs in Xcode’s new version, which will also continue to support Intel x86 Macs. Additionally, the company announced iOS 14 (with home screen widgets), iPadOS 14 (with Scribble handwriting-to-text conversion), macOS and Safari upgrades, spatial audio for AirPods Pro, Apple TV updates, and more.  Continue reading WWDC: Apple Unveils New Silicon Chips, macOS, iOS, More

TiVo Stream 4K Offers Cord-Cutters Live TV, Streaming Apps

TiVo launched Stream 4K, its first device that focuses on streaming video. The Stream 4K dongle, which plugs into HDMI and hangs from the bank of the TV set, was announced at CES 2020 and is shipping today for $50. It uses Google’s Android TV system to access Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, YouTube and other familiar apps and provides 4K resolution, Dolby Atmos sound and Dolby Vision HDR if available from the app. Stream 4K will compete with Amazon Fire TV Stick 4K and Roku Streaming Stick+. Continue reading TiVo Stream 4K Offers Cord-Cutters Live TV, Streaming Apps