Sony Unveils 3 Mid-Range 4K XBR TV Series

June 28th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Second Screen, Streaming Services, UHDTV

Sony Electronics officially unveiled Tuesday five models across three mid-range 2016 4K Ultra HD XBR TV series including: the XBR-X800D, the XBR-X750D and the XBR-X700D.

All of the new models go on pre-sale this week and will be available starting in July through Amazon, bestbuy.com and other retailers, the company said.

The two models in the X800D series – the XBR-43X800D and XBR-49X800D – ship with support for high dynamic range (HDR).

Sony said the lone 65-inch model in the X750D line and the 49- and 55-inch models in the X700D series “will be upgradable to HDR compatibility via a firmware update later this year.”

Read more on Sony’s new mid-range 4K UHD TVs after the jump:

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Amazon Begins Dolby Vision Content Support

June 27th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Curved Screeen, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, Blu-ray Titles, Connected TVs, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, OLED, OLED, Streaming Services, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

Update ! Amazon becomes the next of the over-the-top streaming services to get into the streaming high dynamic range (HDR) game today by offering select titles in 4K Ultra HD with Dolby Vision’s flavor of the wide contrast system.

Owners of LG’s HDR-supporting TVs will be able to receive and view the new programming from Amazon’s video streaming service beginning today, but owners of Vizio P- and M-series Dolby Vision-ready HDR TVs do not have access to the Amazon Instant Video streaming app on the SmartCast (a variant of GoogleCast) streaming system, due to lack of a carriage agreement between between Google and Amazon.

According to information on their website, Vizio Reference Series TVs, which use the VIA streaming platform instead of GoogleCast, should support Amazon Instant Video, however.

According to a statement from Vizio: “Vizio’s SmartCast displays offer access to thousands of streaming apps, but do not currently support the Amazon Instant App”.

The initial slate of Dolby Vision metadata-carrying content includes Amazon’s original series Bosch, which is available through Amazon Prime Video, along with a number of movies from Sony Pictures including: The Smurfs 2, Men in Black 3, Salt, Fury, Pineapple Express, and Elysium, which are available for purchase through Amazon Video, the company said.

“We’re thrilled that starting today customers have access to titles, including our binge-worthy Amazon Original Series, in Dolby Vision HDR,” stated Jim Freeman, Amazon Video VP. “Today is just the beginning. We will continue to expand our selection, adding more movies and TV series for our customers to watch and enjoy in the premium picture quality of HDR.”

The move follows by about a year Amazon’s delivery of its first 4K Ultra HD content (minus the HDR). But HDR delivers much more demonstrable picture improvement benefits than increased resolution alone.

Read more on Amazon’s roll out of Dolby Vision content after the jump:

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Android Ransomware Could Infect Connected TVs

June 24th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Streaming Services, UHDTV

 

Watch out smart TV owners, malicious hackers who have wreaked havoc on our computers and mobile phones might be moving on to your connected big-screens, and if you’re not careful, you might find your TV locked up and demanding a ransom payment.

According to a blog posted this month by Mobile Threat Response Engineer Echo Duan from Texas-based anti-virus resource Trend Micro, a variant of lock-screen ransomware known as FLocker is out there and could affect any device running the Android operating system, including some smart TVs. This would include recent Sony TVs and some 2015 Sharp Aquos TVs in the U.S., among others.

Sony executives did not respond to our requests for comment.

FLocker is capable of locking up smart TVs, claiming to be a communication from “US Cyber Police,” accusing the user of crimes that weren’t committed and demanding a payment to release the device. Duan said using multiple devices that run on one platform, like Android, enables the malware to affect one one and potentially spread to others with which it connects.

Trend Micro points out that the malware wasn’t specifically authored to go after smart TVs, but there is nothing to stop them from infecting certain models if the malware is received by another device that connects to it, like a mobile phone or tablet.

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Epson Shows 4K Projector Alternative At CE Week

June 23rd, 2016 · 3LCD front projectors, 3LCD projectors, 4K Front Projection, Blu-ray Discs, Full HD 1080p, HDMI, HDR, News, UHDTV

 

Anyone in the market for a very big-screen TV and has the ability to control the lighting in their home theater room should try to get to a local audio video specialty dealer carrying Epson’s latest lines of Home Cinema projectors for a demonstration.

The company used the CE Week showcase in New York City this week to demonstrate its newly announced Pro Cinema 6040UB ($3,999 suggested retail), which will ship in the middle of August along with the Pro Cinema 440 ($2,699), the Home Cinema 5040UB ($2,999) and Home Cinema 5040Ube ($3,299) projector models. All were designed to produce bright, saturated images with higher contrast and lower black levels than we’ve seen before at these price points.

Video projectors provide a very big-screen alternative to today’s flat-panel displays, at significant savings inch-for-inch over similarly sized OLED or LCD TVs. Video projectors will also allow screens up to 200 inches and larger in some cases, which is not likely to be touched by flat-panel TVs anytime soon. Epson’s new models do a very good job of bringing all the dynamics and drama from the professional theater home at a relatively affordable price point. Of course, how much you choose to put into the surrounding home theater space will impact that cost as well.

Read more about Epson’s new pixel shifting projectors after the jump:

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PlayStation Vue Now Available On Roku

June 21st, 2016 · Connected TVs, Digital Media Receivers, DVR, Full HD 1080p, HDMI, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Streaming Services, UHD (4K) Media Players

 

Sony’s PlayStation Vue, the internet-based provider of cable and broadcast-based live TV and on-demand channels, is now available on Roku devices, the manufacturer of set-top streaming media adapters and integrated smart TVs revealed Tuesday.

PlayStation Vue is accessible by owners of the Roku Streaming Stick, Roku Streaming players and Roku TVs. In addition, PlayStation Vue will be coming to Android smartphones and tablets via a streaming app, beginning next week, Sony said.

With the addition, Roku further builds out its already robust assortment (more than 3,000 apps are available and growing) of entertainment streaming apps and games. The PlayStation Vue service joins Dish’s rival Sling TV service, which has been on Roku for more than a year.

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Sears Launches Kenmore, Kenmore Elite TVs

June 21st, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Full HD 1080p, HDMI, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, UHDTV

 

Long-time general merchandising retail chain Sears continues to dabble with new concepts to keep the doors open and the offerings relevant from this vaunted retail institution.

It’s latest effort was to stretch its long-time Kenmore and Kenmore Elite private label brands to encompass lines of Full HD and 4K Ultra HDTVs for the first time.

The move is part of an over-arching effort by the company to squeeze additional profit opportunities out of its long-lived and generally well-trusted private label brands that also include: Craftsman and DieHard.

The company is also trying to leverage the brands to add its own spin on “the connected home,” by bringing out products that interconnect via the Internet of Things (IoT) for interoperability, home security and home automation.

Ironically, the connected aspect was missed on these relatively pedestrian Kenmore and Kenmore Elite LED LCD TVs, which lack any internal Wi-Fi connectivity to support built-in streaming apps, requiring users to add on a connected gaming console, media adapter or some other device with Wi-Fi connectivity to access popular over-the-top (OTT) streaming services like Netflix or Hulu.

Read more on Sears’ new Kenmore and Kenmore Elite TV lines after the jump:

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Samsung Customer Experience Lab Puts TV Users To The Test

June 20th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Connected TVs, Curved Screen, HDMI, Home Automation, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Streaming Services, UHDTV

Samsung Customer Experience Lab Team: Jonathan Gaiser, Mike Darnell and Richard Titus.

Samsung Electronics wants you to know that it’s hard at work figuring out what you are going to want to do with your TV and how you want to interact with it today and tomorrow.

The South Korean TV giant is busily monitoring trends and user behavior patterns to determine the best ways to deliver those experiences to your living room.

Samsung recently brought HD Guru and a group of product reviewers to its Mountain View, Calif. Samsung Customer Experience Lab where we got a first-hand look at the lengths to which Samsung will go to ensure your use of their televisions is as easy and enjoyable as possible.

Research conducted at the site using customer user groups, goes into fixing, refining and even developing products on the market, coming to market or under development for the future.

In fact, that research, which involves lengthy and detailed analysis of subjects from various user demographics and how they interact with Samsung equipment, was instrumental in bringing about the 2016 Samsung SUHD TV models on sale in stores right now.

Those TVs use Samsung’s Tizen operating system with newly refined and crafted user interface software that enables operating the TV and all of the connected source devices via one tiny hand-held remote. That device has just a few buttons to highlight and activate source devices and content apps, in a fashion that makes switching the picture from a Blu-ray Disc title to a baseball game on live TV as effortless and fast as changing channels.

On our trip we met with Richard Titus, Samsung Senior VP of Customer Experience, and his team including Mike Darnell, Samsung Research America principal user researcher and Jonathan Gaiser, Samsung Customer Experience Lab designer, to get a feel for what goes into making Samsung’s smart TVs smarter, so the user doesn’t have to think as much about what he wants to watch and how to get there.

Among one of the more outstanding features to come out of this year’s batch of Samsung Smart Hub TVs is the ability to instantly recognize and identify from on-screen tiles arranged in a pair of stacked, scrolling rows any source connected to one of the TV set’s HDMI inputs and be able to switch to it quickly.

Read more of our QA and session with Titus after the jump:

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Lionsgate To Master In Dolby Vision, Atmos Formats

June 17th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K LED LCD, Audio, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, Blu-ray Titles, Connected TVs, Digital Media Receivers, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Sound Bars, Sound Systems, Streaming Services, Surround Sound, Surround Sound Systems, UHD (4K) Media Players, UHDTV

 

Hollywood studio Lionsgate said Thursday that it will begin mastering some of its content for the Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR) format and Dolby Atmos object-based surround sound.

Dolby has now enlisted five studios to back its Dolby Vision HDR platform and seven to pledge support for Dolby Atmos surround sound.

The announcement left out any mention of which titles Lionsgate intends to master in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos first, and when or how they will reach the home. Currently, no Ultra HD Blu-ray players have been announced with support for Dolby Vision output, leaving only streaming via Walmart’s OTT movie service Vudu, some other unnamed OTT service, or digital downloads.

Currently, 35 Dolby Vision titles are available to stream from Vudu, 14 of which include Dolby Atmos support. In addition, Netflix has produced a version of its original series Marco Polo with Dolby Vision support.

However, Lionsgate said it plans to offer Dolby Vision and Atmos titles in the coming months.

Read more on the Lionsgate Dolby Vision plans after the jump:

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