Universal Reveals 4K Ultra HD Movie Release Plans

April 19th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, Blu-ray Titles, Connected TVs, Digital Media Receivers, HDR, News, Streaming Services, Surround Sound, UHD (4K) Media Players, UHDTV


Universal Pictures Home Entertainment (UPHE) said Tuesday that it will release for home use globally a slate of films in 4K Ultra HD resolution with high dynamic range (HDR) both in Ultra HD Blu-ray format and as digital streaming and downloads, beginning this summer.

The studio said it plans to release a mix of new releases, including anticipated blockbusters: The Huntsman: Winter’s War, Warcraft and Jason Bourne as well as recent hits, such as Everest, Lucy, Lone Survivor, and others. UPHE said a selection of IMAX films will be included in the mix.

UPHE said all of its designated offerings will feature a combination of 4K resolution and HDR.

Read more on Universal’s 4K Ultra HD movie release plans after the jump:

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Vizio Unveils More SmartCast `Displays’ In New E, M Series Lines

April 19th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Connected TVs, Full Array LED Backlit with Local Dimming, Full HD 1080p, HDMI, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News

Vizio unveiled Tuesday new entry level E-Series 4K Ultra HD “home theater displays” and Full HD TVs and M-Series 4K Ultra HD “home theater displays” that incorporate the new SmartCast Smart Entertainment Ecosystem first introduced in the 2016 P-Series.

Like those models recently unveiled SmartCast P-Series, the new E-Series and M-Series SmartCast “displays” build in Google Cast technology for smart TV functionality. All of the 4K models lack built-in over-the-air tuners and are technically “entertainment monitors” or “entertainment displays” and cannot properly be called “television sets or TVs.”

The six new M-Series 4K Ultra HD displays support 3840×2160 pixel resolution (four times the resolution of 1080p Full HDTVs) and will accept and display metadata for high dynamic range (HDR). The seven 4K Ultra HD E-Series models offer 3840x2160p resolution but do not support HDR. The six Full HD E Series TV models offer 1920x1080p resolution and SmartCast functionality.

Vizio told HD Guru that while the 4K Ultra HD M-series models will offer support for HDR, it “is focused on Dolby Vision support at this time. Vizio has not made any announcements for any updates.”

We have asked Vizio for the minimum peak luminance and black level measurements it uses to qualify using the term “HDR” in the M series models. We are still waiting for a response.

Due to differences of opinion on luminance and contrast testing methodology for HDR, Vizio said it does not participate in the UHD Alliance Ultra HD Premium logo certification and labeling program.

“Vizio remains focused on the Dolby Vision format at this time, as we feel it is technologically superior and has substantially better picture quality resulting from a proper implementation of high dynamic range and extended color gamut,” the company said in statement.

Vizio M series models (like the one pictured at top) will carry HDR supporting HDMI 2.0a/HDCP inputs and one of five total HDMI inputs will support HDMI 2.0, a company representative told us.

The new E-Series entertainment displays are hitting retail shelves now and are being offered in a range of screen sizes from 43 to 70 inches for 4K Ultra HD models and in 32 to 55 inches for Full HDTV models. Vizio said the Full HD models have built-in over-the-air broadcast tuners and can be properly called television sets.

Read more about Vizio’s 2016 E and M series entertainment displays after the jump:

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Review: Samsung’s UBD-K8500 Sets Bar High For Ultra HD Blu-ray

April 18th, 2016 · 2160p, 3D HDTV, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Blu-ray Discs, Blu-ray Players, Blu-ray Titles, Connected TVs, HDMI, HDR, Product Reviews, Review, Surround Sound, UHDTV

Samsung’s UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray player (above) has a curved design but no readout.

Since the introduction of the first DVD player, Samsung has sought to be first-to-market with all of the latest optical disc technologies to come along.

The company’s track record includes the introduction of the first DVD player, the first Blu-ray player and this year, the first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, all of which started out at relatively hefty price tags, in exchange for providing a convincing showcase of material for contemporary state-of-the-art television displays.

Samsung’s Ultra HD Blu-ray player, model UBD-K8500 ($397.99), is no exception. Those who have one of today’s high-performing 4K Ultra HDTVs with the ability to receive and display high dynamic range (HDR) metadata and a wide color gamut (WCG), will find this player presents the best quality pictures those TVs can deliver.

The up-to-100 Mbps bit rate the format supports blows away the look and sound of anything currently seen in 4K Ultra HD streaming media files. The latter lags behind at an average 12-15 Mbps. Discs also don’t suffer the problems with Internet congestion that cause buffering issues and force streaming media providers to periodically step-down resolution levels to avoid program stalls.

The Ultra HD Blu-ray format was designed to output up to 3840×2160/60p 4K Ultra HD resolution images, 10-bit color depth along with HDR metadata (only the HDR-10 format is mandatory and supported in this player), a color gamut encompassing the huge Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers’ (SMPTE) BT.2020 color space, 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, and a host of surround sound formats.

Of course, today’s Ultra HDTVs won’t be able to utilize all of the capabilities Ultra HD Blu-ray players were designed to deliver. The new disc format was developed to handle both current and forthcoming display capabilities so that the player you buy today should continue to play discs that output standards required in the future, like the aforementioned BT.2020 color gamut that no currently available TVs can fully support.

In effect, the Ultra HD Blu-ray format provides a bucket carrying a Holy Grail of picture quality specifications, which televisions can draw from to match the maximum level they were designed to display.

As a first-of-its kind player, it’s no surprise that the UBD-K8500 won’t support every voluntary specification that this new format is capable of handling, but it covers the most essential ones in dynamic quality.

Read more or our review of the Samsung UBD-K8500 after the jump:

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Petition Seeks FCC Approval Of ‘Next-Gen TV’ System

April 15th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Curved Screeen, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Audio, Connected TVs, Curved Screen, HDR, News, OLED, OLED, Streaming Services, Surround Sound, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

The country’s move to a next-generation broadcast TV platform is starting to pick up momentum.

The platform, which is called ATSC 3.0 or “Next-Generation TV,” could soon bring to TV markets around the country the possibility of 4K Ultra HDTV pictures with high dynamic range (HDR) and a wide color gamut, new surround sound formats, live TV delivery to both mobile and stationary receivers, and more robust signal reception, among other things.

This week, in advance of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) Convention in Las Vegas, April 18-21, a coalition of consumer electronics companies, commercial and public television broadcasters and public safety advocates filed a petition with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requesting local television stations and television receiver manufacturers be permitted to adopt the new over-the-air broadcast transmission standard on a voluntary, market-driven basis.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA), National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), America’s Public Television Stations (APTS) and the Advanced Warning and Response Network (AWARN) Alliance were the groups who jointly filed the petition at the FCC.

Unlike the last transition from analog to digital TV broadcasting, the ATSC 3.0 rollout is expected to be undertaken on a market-by-market basis and would not require consumers to purchase new equipment. The proposal would make both ATSC 3.0 transmission and inclusion of ATSC 3.0 tuners in television sets optional.

ATSC 3.0 tuners could eventually be built into Next-Gen TVs, but in the interim, consumers are expected to be able to purchase Next-Gen TV tuner dongles that could connect to a TV’s USB port to receive the new signals.

Some have speculated the transition could begin as early as 2017.

Read more on the ATSC 3.0 transition petition after the jump:

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Samsung Releases Atmos Soundbar Pricing

April 14th, 2016 · HDMI, HDR, News, Sound Bars, Sound Systems, Surround Sound, Surround Sound Systems, UHDTV, Wireless Audio

In addition to ushering in its 2016 SUHD TV class this week, Samsung staged a sendoff for some of its most innovative soundbars to date.

The highlight was the $1,499 Dolby Atmos-equipped HW-K950 that comes with included wireless back/height-channel speakers and wireless subwoofer to deliver a 5.1.4-channel object-based surround experience.

The Dolby Atmos system implements height-channel speakers, among other things, to simulate the sound of objects in the picture moving around, through and above the listener.

The HW-K950 (pictured at top) was an HD Guru Best of CES 2016 award winner in the best soundbar category.

Samsung also introduced a scaled-down version in the $999 HW-K850, which delivers a 3.1.2 surround setup with included wireless sub. Wireless rear channel speakers can be added as an option. Both soundbars are slated to hit retail shelves this summer, Samsung said.

Read more on Samsung’s soundbars after the jump:

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DirecTV To Present 25 Showcase MLB Games In 4K UHD

April 12th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Curved Screeen, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, Curved Screen, Full Array LED Backlit with Local Dimming, News, Satellite TV, Satellite UHD 4K TV, UHDTV

AT&T’s DirecTV used Samsung’s 2016 SUHD TV sendoff in New York City Tuesday to announce it will carry 25 showcase Major League Baseball (MLB) games this season in 4K Ultra HDTV resolution.

Beginning Friday, DirecTV will present its 4K-capable subscribers a live 4K UHD game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants. The game will be called by MLB Network’s Bob Costas, Harold Reynolds, Tom Verducci and Sam Ryan, and will mark the first-ever live 4K UHD telecast of a Major League Baseball game in the United States, the satellite TV provider said.

The announcement was made at Samsung’s 4K SUHD TV event because Samsung revealed that starting this summer, its 2016 SUHD TVs will integrate interoperability between its TVs and the satellite TV service’s software platform to help new Samsung Smart Hub TVs make recommendations of DirecTV programming to TV owners.

The DirecTV set-top box will also be fully controllable by the remote of Samsung’s new TV models, and will present DirecTV’s 4K Ultra HD programming, including the new MLB Showcase games on select Samsung 4K Ultra HDTV sets.

Read more about 4K Ultra HD baseball on DirecTV after the jump:

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Samsung Sets Prices, Ship Dates On 2016 SUHD TVs

April 12th, 2016 · 2160p, 4K Curved Screeen, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, Curved Screen, Full Array LED Backlit with Local Dimming, HDMI, HDR, News, UHDTV

Samsung Electronics released pricing and availability on five 2016 SUHD class 4K LCD TV series, including the company’s new flagship KS9800 line offering full-array LED backlighting.

The announced SUHD model classes include: the KS8000, KS8500, KS9000, KS9500 and KS9800. All feature new quantum dot LED backlighting technology to achieve a wide color gamut surpassing 90 percent of the DCI-P3 recommendations for professional digital theaters, will accept and display high dynamic range (HDR-10 format) and are said to conform to the new Ultra HD Alliance standards to qualify as “Ultra HD Premium” 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TVs.

That means all of the SUHD TVs will have 10-bit cadmium-free quantum dot displays, will achieve at least 1,000 nits of peak brightness when presenting HDR content, and include a new Ultra Black feature that reduces reflections by absorbing light to improve perceived black levels.

Read more on the Samsung 2016 SUHD TVs after the jump:

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