One of the hot tech sectors at CES 2013 is 4K, also known as Ultra HD. 4K UHDTV has a resolution of 3840 × 2160 (8.3 megapixels), 4 times the pixels of 1080p, while 8K UHDTV has a resolution of 7680 × 4320 (33.2 megapixels).
Consumer interest in the pixel-dense TVs has yet to be determined, and finding content is big problem, but if the prices plunge below $10,000 for an 84″ monster, the concept could take hold.
- Vizio unveiled upcoming XVT Ultra HDTVs promising 4K for the “mainstream”. Among its 2013 lineup of LCD HDTVs is a new top of the line XVT-Series of Ultra HDTVs at 55-, 65- and 70-inches. They don’t have much in the way of prices or release dates, but the company claims it will “bring the expensive new technology to mainstream consumers.”
- Sharp’s AQUOS Ultra HD is due the second half of the year. Sharp plans an 85-inch 8K monster which it’s been showing off for some time.
- Samsung unveiled an 85-inch S9 UHD TV. Samsung’s 2013 smart TV features quad-core processing, voice and gesture control and apps. There’s no word on pricing or ship date, but Samsung is promising 95- and even 110-inch sizes before the year is out.
- Hisense previewed a 2013 TV lineup that includes a 110-inch 4K set, Google TV and glasses-free 3D. Its 2013 lineup will include the XT900 line, which brings 3D-capable 4K displays to 65-inch, 85-inch and slightly staggering 110-inch sizes. If extreme resolution isn’t top on the list, there’s still the 55- and 65-inch XT780, which port Hisense’s Google TV interface from a set-top box. Prices and ship dates will have to wait until closer to release
- Sony will launch 4K digital distribution network this summer, ‘mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray discs. When it launched its $25,000 84-inch Ultra HD last year it loaned owners a hard drive solution that came preloaded with movies, but now buyers will be able to download native 4K movies as well.
- Westinghouse has 110-inch 4K LED TV, also saying it’ll announce a bevy of MHL-compliant models at the show that’ll work with Roku’s HDMI Streaming Stick.
Ultra-thin, Organic LED TVs may be coming home, but the prices are still plenty fat, in the $10,000 range.
- LG’s 55-inch OLED television starts at $12K, shipping in March. There are three different OLED sizes to choose from, but only 55 and 65 inchers were mentioned, alongside an enormous 84-inch model. No word on pricing for the larger set.
- Samsung unveiled a 55-inch OLED HDTV, and is planning to release it this year. Availability and pricing are still TBD, but the KNF559500 likely includes a quad core CPU, five panel Smart Hub and apps, with recommendations, gesture control. Also unique to this HDTV is support for Multi-View, which, with the addition of appropriate 3D glasses (each with their own built-in headphones) lets two people watch two entirely different things on the same screen at once.
- Sony announced the world’s first 4K OLED TV at CES, but no price or release in sight. The 56-inch set boasts a native 3,840 x 2,160 OLED panel, and the prototype was on display at CES 2013 in Las Vegas.
- Panasonic plans a 4k OLED, too. Panasonic showed off its half inch thick, 56-inch Ultra HDTV OLED at CES. Like Sony’s there’s no price or availability. Panasonic also revealed a 20-inch, 4K resolution Windows 8 tablet but the company hasn’t revealed any more details.
Google updated its YouTube app for Android back in November to allow for pairing with TVs equipped with Google TV. TV sets that work with your smartphone or tablet or an IPTV settop are also big.
- The Google TV-powered Asus Qube has an IR receiver, a USB port on the right, and HDMI-in, HDMI-out, RJ-45 and IR-out. Qube packs a Marvell Armada 1500 chipset with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of flash storage. ASUS plans to launch the Qube in the US in around March for around $150.
- Netgear’s NeoTV PRIME is a Google TV box with on-demand streaming services, with live TV, the Chrome browser (Flash supported), Primetime, full access to the Play store and, of course, search. The PRIME is available today for $130.
- Archos reveals Android-powered TV Connect, that puts Play store on your big screen. Under the hood is a 1.5GHz “multi core” CPU, 1GB of RAM and 8GB of expandable storage.
- Diamond Multimedia introduced the AMP2000 Android set-top box, with availability coming later this year. It joins the likes of Roku and FAVI in the powered-by-Google streaming race.
- Redbox Instant, when it arrives sometime in early 2013, will cost around $8/month for unlimited streaming, as well as access to four free one-night disc rentals at any Redbox kiosk.
- Hisense Pulse with Google TV is priced at $100, now available from Amazon. The compact entertainment box supports 1080p output and has WiFi, HDMI, USB and Ethernet ports, letting you pump in content through a host of connections.
- European mobile operator Orange will bring gesture controls to its new set-top box to b. Running the SmartMotion server, movements will be picked up by Movea’s MEMS motion-sensing remote, with gestures for volume control, web browsing and even gamepad and joystick commands.
- Verizon has announced a lineup of new FiOS media servers created by Motorola. The Motorola Medios+ VMS1100 media server can connect up to five Medios+ IPC1100 IP-based set-tops in a home, allowing FiOS users to record up to six shows at once on its terabyte hard drive, then view them on any of the connected set tops — or tablets, Xbox 360s or other devices in the home.
- Intel has a partnership with Comcast to bring Xfinity TV viewing to Intel-based devices. The box is actually being produced by Arris, which recently purchased Motorola’s settop box unit from Google.
- Dish’s new Hopper has added Wi-Fi and integrated Slingbox. That allows you to transfer recorded programming to your iPad for viewing on the go without an Internet connection. Like its previous DVR models, the new Hopper can skip commercials. It’s free for new subscribers, but carries a $449 list price for others ($100 more than the original).
Hulu has more than 3 million subscribers for its $7.99 per month Hulu Plus service, more than doubling what it had a year ago, company CEO Jason Kilar wrote in a blog post. The 30 million Netflix members view over 1 billion hours of Netflix per month
MobiTV is utilized by all the major US carriers for streaming video, including AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, US Cellular and others.
MobiTV CTO, Kay Johansson, believes that wireless delivery of video is will be delivered by a combination of Unicasting, using technology like MobiTV for video on demand over a dedicated cellular channel, and multicasting, using standards like evolved MBMS (Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services).
One big breakthough, according to Kay, is the adoption of the H.265 standard (High Efficiency Video Coding), expected in 2013. It is expected to reduce the bandwidth requirements of HD video by 30%-50%. Where H.264 required 6-8 Mbps for HD video, H.265 requires only 3 Mbps.
At the 2012 Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm demonstrated a HEVC decoder running on an Android tablet, with a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, showing H.264/MPEG-4 AVC and HEVC versions of the same video content. In this demonstration HEVC showed almost a 50% bit rate reduction compared with H.264/MPEG-4 AVC.
It is thought capable of delivering 720p HD quality video at 2 Mbps or less over a managed or unmanaged broadened network. The new standard is in its final draft and is expected to be approved by early 2013.
Broadcom’s new H.265 chip is said to match the quality of H.264 with half the network bandwidth. It maxes out at a resolution of 4,096×2,160 pixels at 60 frames per second. The ARM-based quad-core processor also can run applications, handle gigabit networking, and decode up to four simultaneous streams of video. H.265 (HEVC) is expected to become the codec of choice in a few years.
MobiTV demonstrated its video streaming application utilizing LTE Broadcast technology enabled by Qualcomm Labs. It’s the first video streaming solution to allow mobile network operators (MNOs) to offer both unicast and multicast broadcast capabilities. Operators can localize when and where content is aired by offering broadcast services over LTE that can be turned on and off based on demand.
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