Will HDR Lead To Another New HDMI Connector?

May 4th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, HDMI, HDR, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, OLED, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

High dynamic range (HDR) televisions are now in their second year, and most 2016 higher-end displays and supporting 4K Ultra HD source devices are equipped with at least one of the latest HDR-metadata-supporting HDMI 2.0a connectors

Meanwhile, 4K content mastered with HDR metadata is ramping up through streaming services and Ultra HD Blu-ray discs. So now, we are often asked, is it the right time buy a 4K Ultra HDTV or 4K player?

The simple answer is: probably. Most of the pieces are now in place to enjoy the benefits of 4K Ultra HD pictures that deliver, via inclusion of HDR and a wider color gamut, pictures that are clearly better than the best Full HD 1080p displays.

The caveat is that work is always proceeding on next-generation standards which typically require new digital input interfaces (connectors), so don’t expect anything you buy today (or ever, really) to remain compatible with the next new advancement for long.

Read more on what to expect from the next digital interface connector after the jump:

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Samsung UBD-K8500 Earns 1st `Premium’ Ultra HD Blu-ray Player Status

May 3rd, 2016 · 2160p, Amazon, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, Blu-ray Titles, HDR, News, UHDTV

Updated! Samsung Electronics said Tuesday that its Ultra HD Blu-ray player, model UBD-K8500, has officially earned the UHD Premium Certification from the UHD Alliance (UHDA).

The new certification, introduced in April 2016, is granted to Ultra HD Blu-ray players that comply with performance standards for resolution, high dynamic range (HDR), peak luminance, black levels and wide color gamut among other key metrics. The UHDA will not disclose exact criteria to anyone who is not a UHDA member, but it referred those interested to the minimum performance parameters the body established for Premium devices, distribution and content and announced at CES 2016 in January. That Premium criteria has been added below.

Read more on the Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Premium certification after the jump:

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Sony Reveals Pricing, Availability For 2016 A/V Sound Products

May 3rd, 2016 · 2160p, 3D Blu-ray player, Amazon, Audio, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, HDMI, HDR, News, Sound Bars, Sound Systems, Streaming Services, Surround Sound, Surround Sound Systems, UHDTV

Sony Electronics revealed Tuesday pricing and availability of its 2016 lineup of audio and video products that support immersive surround sound, Hi-Res Audio and build upon Sony’s wireless multi-room audio products of wireless speakers, TV sound bars, A/V receivers, and premium audio & video players.

Among the offerings was a new “reference-quality” turntable, which Sony said was “strategically designed to expand the company’s range of premium Hi-Res Audio products.” More on that later.

Sony also introduced its UHP-H1 Premium Audio & Video player ($349.99 unilateral price), which is the company’s first Hi-Res Audio certified Blu-ray Disc player (pictured at top). The unit, which is available for pre-sale now, features support for 2-channel and multi-channel SACD and DVD-Audio discs, Hi-Res Audio files with 24bit/192kHz streaming, and MP3s.

The player includes anti-vibration construction using a reinforced frame and beam chassis design; has advanced 4K upscaling, which adapts to the source video’s resolution, up to 60p high frame rate support, and Bluetooth connectivity with LDAC support for wireless headphones or speakers. The UHP-H1 also has multi-room capabilities, to connect via a SongPal App to Sony audio products to playback audio from CD’s and other music files stored on USB memory for wireless multi-room listening.

Read more on Sony’s 2016 audio/video product introductions after the jump:

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DEG: 4K Ultra HD Products Saw Strong Q1 Sales

April 29th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, Connected TVs, Full HD 1080p, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, UHDTV

Sales of 4K Ultra HDTVs, UHD players and supporting 4K media saw strong sales over the first three months of 2016, according to preliminary data supplied Friday by the DEG: Digital Entertainment Group, a multi-industry home entertainment promotional association.

Ultra HDTV sets continued to show “dramatic” growth in the quarter, with unit sales shipments surpassing 1.5 million for the period, according to the preliminary numbers released by the group.

The DEG reported U.S. shipments of 4K Ultra HDTVs were up 210 percent for the period, bringing the total number of sets sold since the technology market launch to more than seven million units.

The group said the displays have generated strong demand for native-resolution content that can be played on the next-generation TVs.

Overall, home entertainment spending was stable for the period, but out-performed the box office, the DEG numbers show.

The DEG said that initial shipments of the first Ultra HD Blu-ray player (Samsung’s UBD-K8500) in the U.S. market were quickly purchased in the period by 4K Ultra HD-hungry consumers. The group couldn’t report sales volume numbers because only one manufacturer is currently supplying a player.

Hollywood studios have released 26 Ultra HD Blu-ray titles in the first quarter, and accounted for sales of “more than 80,000 discs in their first weeks of launch,” the DEG said. The group said sales of Ultra HD Blu-ray discs doubled the number of standard Blu-ray Discs sold during the first weeks of that format’s launch.

Read more on the DEG’s first quarter 2016 home entertainment market demand after the jump:

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CTA Defines Wide Color Gamut Displays

April 27th, 2016 · 2160p, Connected TVs, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, UHDTV


The Video Division Board of the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) recently updated the official industry terminology for 4K Ultra TVs by including definitions for displays that support a wide color gamut (WCG).

Prior, the CTA board had established related terms for 4K Ultra HD supporting High Dynamic Range (HDR).

Most of the terms fall into line with definitions previously established by other multi-industry groups including the Blu-ray Disc Association and the UHD Alliance, and issues formal criteria for how certain products should be displayed and marketed.

Read more about the CTA’s WCG and HDR display terminology after the jump:

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HDR Support Comes To 2016 Mid And Entry AVR Lines

April 27th, 2016 · 2160p, Audio, HDMI, HDR, News, Sound Systems, Streaming Services, Surround Sound, Surround Sound Systems, UHDTV


High performance networked AV receivers compatible with the latest 4K Ultra and high dynamic range (HDR) video signals and Dolby Atmos and DTS:X objected-based audio formats were unveiled this month in the more mainstream 2016 product lines from Denon, Marantz, Onkyo and Pioneer.

Many of these new more affordably-priced models are available or coming in a few days, and will connect with 2016 4K Ultra HDTVs support HDR and a wide color gamut. Most also can be set to upconvert lower-resolution video content for display on 4K Ultra HD TV screens.

Read more about the new more affordable HDR-supporting AVR class after the jump:

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Sony VPL-VW365ES 4K Projector To Get HDR Update

April 26th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Front Projection, HDMI, HDR, News, UHDTV


Sony Electronics said Tuesday that it will bring high dynamic range (HDR) to its 4K VPL-VW365ES home theater projector in May, and that current owners will be able to update their models through a firmware update that will be available at that time.

The VP-VW365ES, which carries a $9,998.99 unilateral pricing policy, was first introduced at CEDIA 2015 last fall offering bleeding-edge picture quality technologies and flexible installation capability for home theater system integrators at an under $10,000 price point.

Sony said the update will make the VPL-VW365ES the third Sony home cinema projector, following the VPL-VW5000ES and VPL-VW665ES, to support the 4K Ultra HD and HDR formats.

Read more about the VPL-VW365ES after the jump:

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Review: New 1080p Roku TV Streaming Stick

April 25th, 2016 · Amazon, Connected TVs, Full HD 1080p, HDMI, Headphones, Product Reviews, Streaming Services

Major TV manufacturers have been trying to solve the puzzle to building a successful and satisfying smart TV system for the better part of a decade now, but the truth is that Roku has been one-step ahead of most of them since before they started integrating complex operating systems and IP functionality into dumb displays.

Roku, too, has teamed up with TV makers like TCL, Insignia and Hisense to build its platform into all-in-one sets, which are more basic on picture quality enhancements but long on streaming pleasure. But it’s the company’s simple and efficient media adapters and “Streaming Sticks” that continue to capture the most attention for their value, simplicity and huge selection of over-the-top streaming apps and services.

In fact, if getting the best smart TV experience is really all that you’re after, it’s hard to argue against having a Roku Streaming Stick, even if you already have a smart TV. A growing population of smart TV owners, who have purchased aftermarket Streaming Sticks and Roku set-top devices, has formed to get all of the functionality that Roku has to offer from its more than 3,000 service partners.

Roku’s latest $49.95 “Streaming Stick, (3600R)” which is available this week, might be the best argument yet to get one. It doesn’t make any huge leaps in feature advancement over the previous-generation Roku Streaming Stick, so there really isn’t much of a reason to upgrade if you have the older purple model, but the latest black version does shave a bit off of the size, without shaving any of the entertainment selection.

It also adds a quad-cord processor that significantly steps up the start-up and app-loading speeds (Roku said it’s up to eight times faster) and the extra power makes it less susceptible to freeze ups or stalls than the previous generation of the Streaming Stick introduced two years earlier.

Read more of our review of the new Roku Streaming Stick after the jump:

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