HPA Tech Retreat: How Did 8K Media Get Here So Quickly?

That’s what ROAM Consulting president Pete Putman asked in his HPA Tech Retreat discussion of the apparently out-of-nowhere rise of 8K. But the presentation’s title — “8K: Whoa! How’d We Get There So Quickly?” — was actually misdirection, as Putman showed in great detail how the development, research and plans for 8K go as far back as the 1990s. His advice for those considering a 4K television is that they won’t have to wait long to buy an affordable 8K one. (Although many in the audience preferred the purchase of a 4K TV with HDR.) “CES 2019 was full of 8K TV models,” he noted. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: How Did 8K Media Get Here So Quickly?

Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Roku is introducing new hardware at CES this week, including a number of 4K TVs featuring Dolby Vision HDR (high dynamic range). The company, whose app platform is now the basis of 13 percent of smart TVs sold in the U.S., has partnered with Element Electronics on Roku TVs expected to hit shelves later this year. TCL, which uses the Roku TV program for all its smart TVs, is also introducing new Roku-based 4K HDR TVs. And Hisense unveiled its H4 series, the company’s first 4K HDR Roku TVs. Dish, Dolby, Element, Hisense, Hitachi and TCL are among the vendors showcasing Roku TVs in Las Vegas. Continue reading Roku Readies 4K HDR Platform, Announces New TVs at CES

Roku Refreshes Media Box Line-Up, Offers Ultra HD and HDR

Roku updated its line-up of streaming media boxes, discontinuing the Roku 1, 2, 3 and 4 devices but hanging on to its $50 Roku Streaming Stick. New products for the “low-end” HD market now include the compact $30 Roku Express that has an HDMI port to connect to HDTVs and an infrared remote, and the $40 Roku Express Plus, sold exclusively at Walmart, offering a composite cable port to connect to TV sets without an HDMI port. Roku also emphasizes 4K/Ultra HD with three new players, two of which are HDR-capable. Continue reading Roku Refreshes Media Box Line-Up, Offers Ultra HD and HDR

Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

Troubled Japanese LCD manufacturer Sharp is in talks to sell to Taiwanese company Foxconn. According to Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, the two companies have cleared 90 percent of the obstacles to sealing a final deal. If the deal does go through, it will mark significantly new openness of Japanese companies to foreign suitors. Also wooing Sharp is Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), a Japanese government-supported consortium that has already acquired the display businesses of Toshiba, Hitachi and Sony. Continue reading Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

NHK Plans to Perform 8K Super Hi-Vision Tests at Wimbledon

Journalist Adrian Pennington forwarded us news that NHK is expected to be at Wimbledon in June for behind closed doors testing of 8K Super Hi-Vision. The tests will be conducted with IMG and the All England Lawn Tennis Club. Wimbledon host broadcaster BBC worked previously with NHK on Super Hi-Vision, including transmissions to Washington and Japan during the London 2012 Summer Olympics. “8K broadcasting is on the verge of becoming a reality, and it will undoubtedly become the mainstream past 2020,” predicts Hitachi COO Sean Moran. Continue reading NHK Plans to Perform 8K Super Hi-Vision Tests at Wimbledon

HPA Tech Retreat: Next-Gen Cloud and Production Workflows

Erik Weaver of the Entertainment Technology Center (ETC@USC) moderated an HPA Tech Retreat panel on “Cloud Demystified: Understanding the Coming Transformation from File- to Network-Based Workflow.” Panelists included DigitalFilm Tree’s Guillaume Aubuchon and Dolby Laboratories’ Christine Thomas. Weaver described ETC’s Project Cloud, which brings together media and cloud-resource leaders to develop guidelines and accelerate innovation and adoption of next-gen cloud-based content creation and production tools and processes. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Next-Gen Cloud and Production Workflows

Sony, Panasonic May Team Up for Mobile Panel Tech Venture

Sony and Panasonic are reportedly in early discussions to create a joint venture in next-gen panel tech for mobile devices with key Apple supplier Japan Display Inc. While OLED tech for TVs has been a pursuit of numerous companies, LG and Samsung have led the charge for smaller screens in mobile devices. According to people familiar with the matter, Japanese manufacturers hope they can compete with their Korean rivals in smaller panels through the new joint venture. Continue reading Sony, Panasonic May Team Up for Mobile Panel Tech Venture

Ultra HD Flirting with Aspect Ratio: Video Curves That Please

Immersive technology was all the rage as wide screens took over cinema in the 1950s. Its impact was made real again in three manufacturers’ booths at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show. Samsung, LG and Hitachi all showed impressive 105-inch diagonal, “5K” displays. The immense curved screens, featuring an ultra-wide 21:9 aspect ratio, are the first of their kind to present movies this close to their native cinematic format. Continue reading Ultra HD Flirting with Aspect Ratio: Video Curves That Please

Hitachi Pushes 1TB: Is there Life Remaining in Traditional Hard Drives?

  • While much activity in the storage world these days focuses on flash memory and solid-state drives, Hitachi GST has unveiled its new Deskstar and CinemaStar hard drives for desktop and CE products that can reportedly handle 1TB per platter.
  • The new drives build on advances the company made in its 7mm-tall Travelstar drives that have an areal density of 636 gigabits per square inch. Hitachi achieves the 1TB per platter capacity by advancing from 2.5-inch mobile drive sizes to 3.5-inch.
  • “In theory, the development could lead to standard desktop hard drives with 4TB capacities, and 2.5-inch notebook drives with multi-terabyte capacities,” points out Digital Trends.
  • The report adds: “The Deskstar drives are shipping to Hitachi’s channel partners now, while the CinemaStar drives are expected to start shipping to distributors and channel partners this fall — all will be available in capacities from 250GB to 1TB. As Hitachi expands the technology to multi-platter drives, expect high-capacity home servers, NAS devices, RAID arrays, and (of course) plain old hard drives to follow along.”

Sony, Hitachi and Toshiba Join Forces for Planned LCD Venture

  • Sony, Toshiba and Hitachi announced they plan to merge their small screen divisions into one liquid crystal behemoth, to be known as Japan Display.
  • “The deal could create the world’s biggest maker of LCDs for mobile phones and cameras,” reports the New York Times, “with 22 percent of the market for small and midsize screens, according to DisplaySearch, an industry research firm.”
  • “By integrating each partner company’s wealth of display expertise and know-how, I am confident the new company will become a driving force for technological innovation and new growth in the rapidly expanding market,” says Howard Stringer, Sony’s chief executive.
  • The Japanese government has reportedly encouraged its nation’s manufacturers to consolidate as a means of competing with rivals such as South Korea’s Samsung, which is presently more profitable than any Japanese electronics manufacturer.
  • The venture must gain approval from antitrust regulators in Japan in order to move forward.

Hitachi Announces LCD Screen: 720p and Glasses-Free 3D

  • Smartphone screens may continue to get larger. Hitachi announced it has developed a high resolution 4.5-inch, 720p display that the company hopes will be used for portable TVs, phones or handheld game devices.
  • The 1280×710 resolution may enable 720p HD movies to be viewed in native resolution on phones — and the backlit LCD would be an IPS-based display, allowing for a wide viewing angle like that on the iPhone.
  • Additionally, this new 3D-capable display uses a lenticular lens (rather than a barrier approach) that would enable glasses-free 3D.
  • ETCentric contributor Phil Lelyveld points out: “3D is driving the display industry towards higher and higher resolution phone screens, since 3D effectively halves the resolution. Resolution has become a marketing point in this highly competitive market.”