DirecTV Presents NHL 4K Game With Live HDR, But Was Anyone Watching?

December 15th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Curved Screen, HDR, HDR10+, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, LG Electronics, News, Satellite TV, Satellite UHD 4K TV, UHDTV

 

DirecTV revealed late Thursday afternoon (Eastern time) that it was televising that evening’s game between the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins and the Vegas Golden Knights in 4K Ultra HD with high dynamic range (HDR), making it the first major U.S. pay-TV service to deliver live HDR programming.

The only problem is, it didn’t say which high dynamic range (HDR) profile the service has decided to use for its HDR coverage, making it impossible to know if any TVs currently in the market would have the ability to actually present it on screen.

The broadcast amounted to a test of the forthcoming 4K/HDR capabilities of the satellite TV service, which is impressive on its own, but at this moment in the real world, live HDR broadcasts remain virtually useless to most 4K Ultra HDTV owners.

We made repeated attempts to reach DirecTV representatives for answers to our HDR questions before game time Thursday, but a spokesman could not help us and had not addressed our technical questions this morning, long after the broadcast aired. (By the way, Las Vegas defeated Pittsburgh, 2-1.)

DirecTV’s announcement of the event described its HDR as a profile that “enhances every pixel, adds depth, and pays greater detail to the brightest and darkest images, providing a viewing experience that allows you to feel like you are actually at the game from the confines of your couch.”

The problem is, most 4K Ultra HDTVs in the market right now support only the HDR10 high dynamic range profile (there are more than six different ones being proposed), and in a few cases, like some Vizio and LG TVs, Dolby Vision.

As we have reported here, HDR10 uses static metadata and requires that HDR contrast and color grading be inserted into content in post production. That’s not realistic for live broadcasts like sporting events, unless using Samsung’s new HDR10+ dynamic metadata enhancement to the HDR10 baseline profile, which is based on the ST.2084 standard supporting the Perceptual Quantization (PQ) Electro Optical Transfer Function (EOTF).

Dolby Vision also uses dynamic HDR metadata based on PQ, and has the ability to be used for live on-the-fly broadcasts, but only a few televisions, like some Vizio and LG models, are equipped right now with the firmware to utilize it. Companies like Sony, which have announced that certain 2017 TVs will support Dolby Vision, have not yet upgraded their firmware to support that profile.

More likely, DirecTV is using the Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) HDR profile, which unlike other HDR profiles, does not need metadata of any kind, provides an open license, but will require firmware to support it. Although many sets in the market from a variety of brands have been claimed to eventually support HLG, many of those models still aren’t ready.

Read more about DirecTV’s HDR broadcast plans after the jump:

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Amazon Launches First Content Using Samsung’s HDR10+

December 13th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Connected TVs, Digital Media Receivers, HDR, HDR10+, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Streaming Services, UHDTV

 

Samsung and Amazon formally announced the release Wednesday of the first 4K Ultra HD content supporting Samsung’s new HDR10+ dynamic HDR technology.

Amazon said it is offering Amazon Prime subscribers access to “hundreds of hours” of content carrying HDR10+ dynamic metadata.

HDR10+ is based on the existing baseline HDR10 platform that uses static metadata. This takes one scene of a movie or program and applies instructions on how a supporting TV is to present brightness, darkness and color elements throughout the entire presentation. HDR10+ adds to that dynamic metadata and color tone mapping that allows filmmakers to determine how to fine-tune the look of HDR on a supporting TV screen on a scene-by-scene and even shot-by-shot basis, for greater realism.

Read more on the first HDR10+ content after the jump:

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DisplayHDR Spec Helps Clarify HDR Performance Levels

December 11th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K Front Projection, 4K LED LCD, Calibration, gaming monitors, HDMI, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Test Equipment, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

VESA Certified DisplayHDR brand logo representing the entry  level of HDR system performance for PC displays.

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) revealed Monday what it is calling the industry’s “first fully open standard specifying high dynamic range (HDR) quality, including luminance, color gamut, bit depth and rise time, through the release of a test specification.”

The new VESA High-Performance Monitor and Display Compliance Test Specification (DisplayHDR) is initially positioned at laptop and desktop PC displays and monitors that use liquid crystal display (LCD) panels.

The first release of the specification, which is called DisplayHDR version 1.0, establishes three distinct levels of HDR system performance to facilitate adoption of HDR in the PC market.

HDR provides better contrast and color accuracy as well as more vibrant colors compared to Standard Dynamic Range (SDR) displays, and is gaining interest for a wide range of applications, including movie viewing, gaming, and creation of photo and video content.

Read more about the VESA DisplayHDR test specification after the jump:

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Google Kicks Off `Home Max’ Speaker Launch

December 11th, 2017 · AI Voice Powered Digital Assistants, Audio, Home Automation, intelligent assistant, News, voice command, voice control, Wireless Audio

 

Google launched Monday its new Home Max speaker with Google Assistant technology, designed to provide a bigger sound experience and intelligent “smart sound” acoustic adjustments.

The Google Home Max speaker is available now primarily online through Best Buy, Walmart and the Google Store at a $399 retail price. It is slated to roll out to other retail locations, including Verizon stores, shortly.

Not surprisingly, rival Amazon had not listed the speaker Monday. Amazon has not carried any of Google’s Home Assistant products as it pushes adoption of its own family of Alexa-powered speakers and devices equipped with far field mic input.

Read more about the retail launch of the Google Home Max speaker after the jump:

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Amazon Pre-Holiday Deals Continue On Select OLED, LED TVs

December 8th, 2017 · 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, LG Electronics, News, OLED, OLED, UHD 4K OLED

LG’s OLED55C7P is available now for $1,696.99

Time is rapidly running out to get a pre-Holiday deal on a new 2017 4K Ultra HDTV in time for a special gift to someone else, or to yourself.

Most of the major manufacturers have products available that are still flashing promotional discounts.

Among those offers are several of LG’s 2017 4K OLED TV models, providing some of the best black levels in the market.

Sony’s TVs are also being advertised with savings as high as 30 percent off the regular selling price.

We’ve selected a few favorites available on Amazon right after the jump. Click the links to get the latest deals on these great models:
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Inkjet-Printed OLED TV Manufacturing Comes One Step Closer

December 7th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, LG Electronics, News, OLED, OLED, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

 

The first organic light-emitting diode (OLED) display panels produced using an inkjet process for sale commercially were introduced this week by Japan-based JOLED with initial shipments reportedly headed to Sony for use in medical monitors.

According to reports out of Japan, the delivery marks the first commercial release of inkjet produced OLED displays, and is an indication that television-sized OLED panels made with the process eventually will be coming to increase volume and reduce TV-sized OLED panel prices, potentially by as much as 30-40 percent.

JOLED is a company that was established in 2014 through a merger of the OLED development operations of Panasonic and Sony. However, high debt loads and slumping profitability forced both companies to sell off portions of their holdings in the operation to Japan Display, which recently declined to take on a planned majority position in the company.

As a result, JOLED is looking for $900 million in funding to advance its inkjet OLED mass production efforts, according to reports out of Japan.

Read more on JOLED’s first inkjet 4K OLED panel shipment after the jump:

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New TI DLP Chipsets To Bring Wider Range Of 4K Projectors

December 6th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Front Projection, DLP, Front Projection, front projectors, laser projectors, News, portable projectors, short-throw projectors, UHDTV

 

Texas Instruments (TI) revealed Tuesday that it has developed a series of new DLP chips based on its previously introduced DLP660TE digital micromirror device to deliver 4K Ultra HD to new applications, including pico-class (mini) projectors.

The company said it has produced two new 4K DLP chipsets — the DLP470TP and the DLP470TE — that are smaller than the popular DLP660TE chipset currently used in 4K DLP home theater projectors under several brands. The new chipsets can be adapted to a variety of applications including home theater, commercial/education and mobile uses.

Increasing the 4K DLP chipset family is expected to give projector manufacturers the ability to offer a wider range of products at different sizes, brightness levels and price points.

Read more about TI’s new 4K DLP micromirror device chipsets after the jump:

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Canon Adds Trio Of High-Performance FHD Camcorders

December 5th, 2017 · Digital Camera/Camcorder, Digital Cameras, Full HD 1080p, HDMI

The Canon XA15 Compact Full-HD Camcorder

Canon launched Tuesday three new compact and lightweight Full HD  camcorders built for action — the Canon XA15, XA11 and VIXIA HF G21, each of which is targeting a broad range of consumer and professional uses in the field.

The Canon XA15 ($1,899 suggested retail), XA11 ($1,399) and VIXIA HF G21 ($999) Full HD camcorders are all scheduled to be available at the end of December 2017.

All three models are said to include “first-class optics,” and a 20x 26.8mm-576mm optical zoom lens designed to let videopgraphers capture a variety of scenes high quality. Canon combines in each model a powerful HD CMOS sensor and the company’s DIGIC DV4 image processing platform, capable of rendering high quality low-light shots in 1080/60p at 35 Mbps.

Read more about Canon’s new ultra-compact camcorders after the jump:

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