HD Guru’s Best of CES 2018 Awards Revealed!

January 18th, 2018 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K Front Projection, 4K LED LCD, 8K ultra-high resolution, AI Voice Powered Digital Assistants, Amazon, Audio, Blu-ray Players, Connected TVs, Digital Camera/Camcorder, Digital Cameras, DLP, electronic program guides, front projectors, Full Array LED Backlit with Local Dimming, HDR, HDR10+, Home Automation, intelligent assistant, Laser HDTV, laser projectors, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, LG Electronics, News, OLED, OLED, short-throw projectors, Sound Bars, Sound Systems, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV, Ultra HD Blu-ray Players, voice command, voice control

 

CES 2018 brought will probably be best remembered as the show that brought true voice control AI operation to America’s 4K Ultra HDTV screens.

In addition to unveiling new products with advances in the different flavors of high dynamic range (HDR), new OLED, QLED and MicroLED technology advances and more Ultra HD Blu-ray players, most televisions and devices of all categories, featured either direct voice input control to command a whole-home network or tied into a network anchored to a smart speaker that serves as the voice AI interface.

To make all of this magic work seamlessly together, manufacturers either adopted home automation network platforms from third parties or built their own from whole cloth.

We also saw a handful of new Ultra HD Blu-ray players, including some of the first models to support the open HDR10+ dynamic HDR metadata platform, in addition to HDR10 and Dolby Vision .

This year, HD Guru editor-in-chief Gary Merson (at top on right) presented 11 coveted HD Guru Crystal Awards to eight luck manufacturers.

On to our picks.

Hit the jump to see all the winners:

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Comcast Reveals Expansive Olympics Platform Including 4K/HDR

January 17th, 2018 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, AI Voice Powered Digital Assistants, cable MSOs, Cable TV, Connected TVs, Dolby Atmos, electronic program guides, HDR, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, OLED, Second Screen, Streaming Services, Surround Sound, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV, voice command, voice control

 

Good news comes today for Winter Olympics fans who happen to be subscribers of Comcast Xfinity cable TV service and have its X1 gateway platform.

The service, which is a sister company to NBC Sports that happens to be carrying the Winter Olympics coverage from PyeongChang, S. Korea to the United States, will be providing the most extensive live, VOD and even 4K Ultra HD/HDR10 coverage yet produced for the popular international event.

Comcast Xfinity said Wednesday that it is providing customers not only with multi-layered coverage on TV screens, but will replicate much of that experience on mobile devices through the Xfinity mobile app for use both in and out of the home, as well.

“We have a very rich metadata ingestion engine,” said Chris Satchell, Comcast Chief Technology Officer. “We take many sources and combine them. We layer in our own data and experience for our X1 platform, so while others can take [Olympics coverage] content from NBC, it doesn’t mean they can do this experience.”

Read more about the Xfinity Winter Olympics coverage plans after the jump:

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HD Guru’s Five Key Takeaways From CES 2018

January 15th, 2018 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, 8K OLED, 8K ultra-high resolution, AI Voice Powered Digital Assistants, Amazon, Connected TVs, Full Array LED Backlit with Local Dimming, HDMI, HDR, HDR10+, intelligent assistant, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, LG Display, LG Electronics, News, OLED, OLED, Streaming Services, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV, Ultra HD Blu-ray Players, Video Processors

ATSC Contributing Members Celebrate Finalization of the ATSC 3.0 Core Specifications at CES.

CES 2018 will likely be remembered as the year that the stakes changed for television contrast performance, picture processing and color accuracy. Virtually across the board, every leading manufacturer advanced and expanded 4K OLED and/or LED-LCD TV lines with more powerful picture processing and brought back full-array LED backlighting to LCD TVs in a bigger, brighter and blacker way.

At the same time, we got a clearer vision of the future direction of television technology with the debut of the first MicroLED screen intended for home use, and a handful of 8K sets that appear to be heading to the home faster than many might have expected.

It was also the year that Artifical Intelligence (AI) took a central role in smart TV platforms of virtually every major TV brand, allowing the power of spoken commands to take on new levels of capability from controlling a home theater to ordering a pizza through the display (or its mic-equipped remote).

See our five key takeaways for the show and what to expect in the months (and years) ahead after the jump:

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Comcast Unveils Expanded Xfinity Home Automation Platform

January 10th, 2018 · AI Voice Powered Digital Assistants, cable MSOs, Cable TV, Home Automation, intelligent assistant, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, OLED, routers, Second Screen, UHDTV, voice command, voice control

 

Giant cable TV multi system operator (MSO) Comcast is using CES 2018 to unveil an expansion on its Xfinity Home security and automation capabilities across the entire Xfinity services portfolio.

Parts of that expansion will involve the company’s X1 set-top interface and Xfi mobile device app and is an extension of the the successful Xfinity Home security platform.

“We are going to help customers unlock some of these new capabilities as we think about the connected home moving into more of an intelligent home, giving our customers the ability to have that at their finger tips with one click or by saying something into the voice remote,” said Patti Loyack, Comcast Cable IP services VP.

The system will enable new levels of personalized service and convenience, so that, for example, a customer can wake up in the morning and say “Xfinity, good morning,” and automatically the X1 box tunes the television to a favorite morning program, the thermostat is adjusted to a preferred temperature, the lights are turned on or off, and the latest news, weather and traffic reports appear on the X1 screen offering a glance of the morning’s activity.

Read more about the Xfinity Home Automation initiative after the jump:

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Polk Unveils `The Command Bar’ With Alexa Mic Array

January 9th, 2018 · 2160p, AI Voice Powered Digital Assistants, Amazon, Audio, Auro3D, Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, HDMI, HDR, height channels, Home Automation, intelligent assistant, News, object-based audio, OTT services, Sound Bars, Sound Systems, Streaming Services, sub woofer, Surround Sound, Surround Sound Systems, UHDTV, voice command, voice control, Wireless Audio

 

Sound United is using CES 2018 to unveil the Polk Audio Command Bar, which was developed in association with Amazon to produce a soundbar that is kind of like an Amazon Alexa speaker on steroids.

In other news, Sound United said today that it is further expanding its brand portfolio by finalizing a new deal to acquire Classé Audio.

Classé Audio offers a suite of high fidelity amplifiers, pre-amplifier processors and integrated amplifiers. Classé Audio was previously owned and distributed by Bowers & Wilkins.

Classé Audio’s president, Dave Nauber, will continue to lead the Classé Audio brand at Sound United,

The Polk Command Bar, which will be available in March and priced at $299.95 suggested retail, will integrate Amazon Alexa far-field microphones into the home theater setup.

Meanwhile, Sounds United’s Marantz brand also unveiled a new model 8805 pre-amp (replacing the 7704) and the Denon brand unveiled the new flaship AVR-X8500H, 13.2-channel high-performance receiver with eight HDMI inputs/3 out supporting 4K Ultra/HDR10/Dolby Vision, XLR ports, compatibility with Dolby Amos, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X, Auro 3D, HEOS multi-room audio, Crestron and Control4 certification, Alexa-voice control and comes with the Audyssey MultiEQ full setup for auto speaker tuning to the room environment and speaker layout.

The Denon AVR-X8500 AVR is slated to hit retail in May at a $3,799 suggested retail.

The company said the Command Bar was engineered to work the same way that any Amazon Echo, Echo Dot (and others) AI speaker does to control various home automation and home entertainment devices that operate within the same network.

Read more on The Command Bar for Polk Audio after the jump:

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Sony Unveils Wired Connectivity Option For RX0 4K Cameras

January 8th, 2018 · 2160p, 360-Degree Video, Digital Camera/Camcorder, Digital Cameras, HDR, News, UHDTV

Sony’s diminutive RX0 camera (above) is getting new wired connectivity capabilities to enhance multi-camera synchronized shooting.

Sony announced at CES 2018 that it is adding wired-control extensions to its RX-family 4K cameras including the latest cube-style RX0 ultra-compact model designed to link with other cameras for unusual synchroized shooting experiences including 360-degree images and Virtual Reality (VR).

Among the new features being offered are: raw field capture, S-log-2, and 4K capture and output in up to 960 fps slow motion. Using wired connections users will be able to link and synchronize cameras over longer distances and with greater synchronization accuracy.

In addition, a new version of Sony’s PlayMemories software will enable up to 50 RX0 cameras to connect together for wildly different shooting perspectives and VR footage, among many other things.

Sony said the new capabilities are expected to really expand the creative options open to content creators dabbling in new creative worlds like VR.

Read more on the extensions to Sony’s RX0 camera after the jump:

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Sony Raises Picture Bar With X900F LED-LCD, A8F OLED TV Series

January 8th, 2018 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, AI Voice Powered Digital Assistants, Amazon, Connected TVs, Dolby Atmos, Full Array LED Backlit with Local Dimming, HDMI, HDR, Home Automation, intelligent assistant, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, OLED, OLED, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV, Video Processors, voice command, voice control

Sony’s Bravia 4K UHD OLED 8F series ups picture quality ante in 2018.

Sony Electronics unveiled at CES 2018 Monday two new and expanded series of 4K Ultra HDTVs including the X900F Bravia 4K LED-LCD TV series and the A8F Bravia 4K OLED series.

Both series were said to have been designed to make the best use of 4K High Dynamic Range (HDR) content and improves SD and HD content to near 4K HDR quality using a combination of a new picture processor and panel control technologies.

“Building on the great successes of the X900 and OLED TV series, we are further expanding the choices for consumers by introducing the new X900F LED and A8F OLED TV models,” said Mike Fasulo, Sony Electronics North America president and COO.

Read more about the Sony 2018 4K TV lines from CES 2018 after the jump:

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TCL Unveils New 5, 6 Series 4K Roku TVs With Dolby Vision

January 8th, 2018 · 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, AI Voice Powered Digital Assistants, Connected TVs

One TCL’s 2018 Series 6 4K Ultra HD Roku TVs with a thin-screen design.

TCL, which was last year’s fast-growing television brand in North America behind its lines of value-priced Roku TVs, used CES 2018 to both celebrate its achievements over the past 12 months, and to set the course for further advancements in the year ahead with high value, strong performing displays.

The company said it is emphasizing “premium picture performance” in larger-sized smart TVs with HDR10, Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR), a wide color gamut and precise color accuracy to make its name and build is share of the U.S. television business.

As an example of that effort, TCL revealed at press conference in Las Vegas that it will globally launch in the second half of 2018 premium 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TVs incorporating new “quantum dot on glass” technology. This approach was described as “a method of bringing the wide color gamut performance of quantum dot technology to a more mainstream range of products.”

Nearer term, the company will launch in a few weeks new aggressively priced lines of 4K Ultra HD LED-LCD TVs that will further the momentum started with the release of the popular P6 Series of 4K/Dolby Vision HDR Roku TVs it released in the second half of 2017.

Read more TCL’s 2018 television product plans after the jump:

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