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More from Rodolfo La Maestra

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K - Nuvola 4K Player NP-1

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 4 2014, 4:45am

This article follows the series of articles of the “Living with 4K” topic, and 4K related products and subjects, including 4K content and 4K Blu-ray. Today is about a new 4K player that is just coming to the market, the Nuvola NP-1.

NanoTech Entertainment has confirmed product availability of their Nuvola NP-1 4K player that claims to be compatible with all UHDTVs regardless of brand, as opposed to the proprietary player/TV pairing setup Sony has done with their current 4K media player (FMP-X1) and their UHDTVs/4K Projectors, which limits their 4K media player connectivity to only Sony UHDTVs/4K Projectors.

Blu-ray

Kaleidescape Cinema One - Review

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 4 2014, 4:30am

Beyond the functionality and practical capabilities appreciated by most press reviewers, the primary reason of this article was to test and evaluate the storing and play back quality of Blu-ray audio/video using the Cinema One as a central/only server of content.

Kaleidescape targets the Cinema One to enthusiasts of high quality home-theaters looking to replace their existing players of physical media (CD, DVD, Blu-ray) with a product that claims to enhance the user experience by organizing and facilitating the access to a library that unifies their music and movie content.

At the end of this article I also provide a cost view for the consumer, depending on his/her style of collecting content, being physical disc, electronic, or both. In my opinion this type of investment should be evaluated not only by its upfront expenditure as a system, but also as a per-movie-cost-of-ownership when all is installed and all the movies are loaded.

Throughout the article you can also read the respo ...

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K - Here is the 4K Content

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Mar 10 2013, 2:25pm

As I mentioned in this article Sony announced at CES 2013 the near future availability of a 4K player and a 4K content distribution service, expected by mid 2013.

People that have a 4K display today will have to wait for 4K content to arrive in some form to show the potential of their 4K panel/projector, or use the TimeScapes nature video and suitable computer equipment (such as RAID hard drives and 4K video cards).

There are currently two Sony 4K servers that are used for demos...

Smart HDTVs & Peripherals

SmartStick Makes "Any" TV Smart

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Mar 7 2013, 3:56pm

This small device promises to make "any TV" Smart, giving you access to Internet streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, etc., network content, and even browsing capabilities and email, all using your own TV as display device.

The idea is great, the device is relatively low in price but I should add: when it works and when you have the compatible TV.

The first question I asked myself is: which kind of TV can actually be made "Smart" based on the connectivity and specifications of the SmartStick?

General Interest

HDTV Adoption - Not as High in Number of HDTV Sets

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 28 2013, 3:40pm

HDTV was implemented within the effort of the DTV transition and since 1998 the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) published yearly statistics of shipped DTVs. Just a few years ago estimates of 113 million (M) households with 3.1 TVs on average per household were published (up from 2.6 a couple of years earlier).

The current data is...

3D HDTV

3DTV is Not Dead, It's Just Facing Reality Beyond the Hype

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 26 2013, 3:48pm

Contrary to what many at the press have been preaching since 3DTV was introduced in 2010, 3D is still alive and active in the industry, and many consumers still want to experience 3D at home.

What it should be dead is the approach of inflated advertising and improper reporting of 3DTV as a whole new television set or system that replaces what you have, although it appears that the market and the industry have finally adapted to the idea of considering 3D as what it should have been considered since day one...

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K - Blu-ray Association Evaluating Adding 4K - How to see 4K now

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 15 2013, 11:10pm

In my last article of this Living with 4K series I mentioned the near future 4K download players introduced at CES 2013 by REDRay and Sony. I also discussed the issues to movie collectors regarding the possibility of having, or not, a 4K disc from Blu-ray or otherwise.

As I said in my other article, on the roundtables I participated about Blu-ray I always received a NO response when I asked the president of the Blu-ray Association, Mr. Andy Parsons, if the association was working on a 4K version of Blu-ray.

However, on a recent exchange with him last week Mr. Parsons shared with me better news about the possibility of 4K in Blu-ray...

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K - No disc? The end of Collecting Movies?

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jan 30 2013, 3:47pm

As mentioned in the previous article of this “Living with 4K” series two companies (Red and Sony) have announced their solution for playing 4K content on the new Ultra-HDTV displays introduced in 2012 and showed at CES 2013 in much larger selection by many manufacturers, including Samsung, Sony, LG, Sharp, Hisense, Westinghouse, Vizio, and Radio Shack (just testing if you are paying attention).

One common denominator of these two companies is that their 4K players are not disc based, such as a new Blu-ray disc with larger capacity and more efficient compression for 4K could be, the units rather download, store, and playback 4K content using an Internet connection and an internal hard disc drive, like one would do using a computer.

Red’s 4K player is called, guess what?, Redray, with an MSRP of...

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K - The REDRAY 4K Digital Cinema Player

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jan 28 2013, 4:53am

Yes I said "Redray", not "Blu-ray" 4K player. This is an update of my "Living with 4K - Part 2 - 4K Content, when?" article.

According to RED DIGITAL CINEMA, this 4K player is expected to be available by early 2013. I requested a unit for review back in December so this is just an introductory article, which I will continue with a full review when RED sends me a review unit.

I also plan to review the 4K media server Sony lends to new owners of new Sony 4K panels to display some 4K movies until the consumer market can supply it (see further below). The server is configured as a Dell computer CPU with recorded 4K movies, it comes in a big box with a bunch of accessories, including a tablet, 16-feet HDMI high-speed cable, etc. I will compare both media players using my 4K Sony projector.

The Redray player is not...

OLED HDTVs

OLED TV Demystified

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jan 22 2013, 3:51pm

As you may already know, small OLED (Organic Light Emitting Diode) panels have been introduced to consumers in several forms for several years, and at CES 2012 LG and Samsung showed their 55-inches 1080p OLED HDTV prototype panels, both displaying stunning images and with prices said to be around $10,000 USD when available toward the second part of 2012, however, the OLED panels have not yet appeared at local stores, although they are expected soon in 2013. At least LG announced at CES 2013 panel availability for the first quarter in the US, at a higher price: $12,000.

As I covered in this article, LG’s WOLED HDTV uses a white OLED design and implements passive 3D technology displaying half resolution images per eye both eyes viewing simultaneously using low cost 3D glasses, while Samsung’s Super OLED HDTV uses a more classic RGB design and implements active-shutter 3D technology that renders full resolution images per eye displayed in alternate fashion.

If you are interested to ...

Digital Video Processors

Review: DarbeeVision Visual Presence DVP 5000 (Darblet)

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 28 2012, 3:52pm

I know what many of you would say: “if you are a purist, do not alter the original image; it should be viewed that way”.

However, you should give this little box a chance and see the results by yourself. Although I am warning you, when you do that it is almost guaranteed that you would never turn this processor off. You can adjust the effect to your preferred level of image realism and depth, and play with the settings for every content, and once you do that, there will not be a comeback to using your system without this box, you will be hooked.

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K (Part 6) - Which 4K? Sony - DCI 4K and Ultra-HD Capable

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 27 2012, 3:39pm

Parts 3, 4 and 5 of this “Living with 4K” series covered the various naming conventions and standards regarding 4K and Ultra-HDTV. Part 5 summarized the subject with CEA’s naming the new 3860x2160 displays as Ultra-HD. However, Sony responded by insisting in using also the 4K designation for their future products. Some say: why? I say: no wonder why.

I see no problem in Sony continuing the use of the 4K nomenclature for a true 4K product that came first to market as part of a long effort and dedication of manufacturing quality 4K products since 2005 for professionals and now for consumers, including content, cameras, production equipment, and displays, a coverage from image acquisition to display that no one else was able to match.

If there is a risk of some naming confusion it has been actually brought by...

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K (Part 5) - Which 4K ... DCI 4K, Ultra-HDTV, Ultra-HD, Quad-Full-HD?

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 24 2012, 3:34pm

Part 3 of this series addressed the overall issues of naming conventions defined by the various organizations (DCI, ITU, EBU and CEA) regarding 4K and Ultra-HDTV. Part 4 covered the specifics of DCI and ITU naming conventions and standards.

This part 5 covers the specifics of EBU’s (European Broadcasting Union) and CEA’s (Consumer Electronics Association) naming conventions and standards, wrap the subject, and provide an historic perspective of similar naming conventions decisions taken by the CEA in the past.


Ultra-HDTV as defined by the EBU (European Broadcasting Union)...

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K (Part 4) - Which 4K ... DCI 4K, Ultra-HDTV, Ultra-HD, Quad-Full-HD?

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 21 2012, 3:24pm

Part 3 of this series addressed the overall issues of naming conventions defined by the various organizations (DCI, ITU, EBU and CEA) regarding 4K and Ultra-HDTV.

This part 4 covers the specifics of the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) and ITU (International Telecommunications Union) naming conventions and standards.

Part 5 will cover...

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K (Part 3) - Which 4K ... DCI 4K, Ultra-HDTV, Ultra-HD, Quad-Full-HD?

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 20 2012, 3:07pm

I know, I know, another naming convention mess, and the new Ultra-HD term recently assigned by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) still does not cleanly address the naming issue it intended to resolve for the new high resolution panels, which were widely referred as 4K since 2011 by their manufacturers and by the press.

The short answer is...

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K: 4K Content, when? (Part 2)

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 30 2012, 2:15pm

On the first article of this series I discussed about getting a 4K consumer projector as an early adopter. I also introduced UHDTV and discussed 4K and 8K image resolutions. In this part 2 article I will discuss how one can start enjoying the capabilities of a 4K display, even without 4K content.

Not having 4K content available now does not render a 4K display useless, the same as HDTVs without much content in 1998/9 were questioned, with just a few HD loops and no Blu-ray until 8 years later.

4K (Ultra HD)

Living with 4K: Getting the Beautiful Monster (Part 1)

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 26 2012, 2:59pm

The year 2012 brought us the first couple of consumer 4K displays, some available and some just announcements, and the naysayers are warming up their keyboards again, cranking their blogs from their kitchen chair as they did when negatively wrote about 3DTV over the past 3 years, with comments such as “is too expensive”, “it will bomb as 3DTV”, “4KTV is stupid”, “who is going to buy 4K?”, “there is no glasses in 4K but who needs so many pixels?”, “where is the content?”

Other than the owners forum of this projector I have not seen one blogger comment that said: I like my 4K display.

Why? Perhaps because...

HDTV Tuners (Satellite)

Review: Dish Network Hopper

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Oct 2 2012, 2:43pm

After reading the rosy articles from other reviewers about the Hopper system this may come as a splash of cold water to Dish fans, or as a “yes, we know, it has been always that way” to some satellite service history followers, why?

I reviewed primarily the image quality side of the system, as I would do with other HD video provider service or media, and I concluded that it should be better, and it could be if Dish wants.

None of the other publications said a word about the subject of Dish’s image quality, they rather concentrated in admiring the Hopper’s impressive feature set and functionality, which, do not take me wrong, I fully concur with the reviews in that area, the features are great, but to me the image quality should be the main requirement of any video service contract/package, not just a sophisticated set-top-box or a mile-long channel lineup.

Technology

A Relative Twist to TV Calibration

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 24 2012, 2:46pm

There was a recent article by Andrew Robinson of Home Theater Review Magazine about TV calibration that touched a nerve with ISF and THX calibrators. I actually thought the article was on the spot but Andrew followed it up with a second article that gave a different perspective, not necessarily contradicting the first article, but apparently intended to make peace with calibrators that still had tension on their shoulders even after their massage sessions.

I have a different twist about this subject...

OLED HDTVs

How Much for an OLED?

By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jun 13 2012, 2:02pm

In this article I addressed the basic differences between LG and Samsung’s 55” OLED panels, which were announced to be released later this year. Before CES 2012 a price range between $8,000 and $10,000 was rumored to be the most likely for both sets. Some said that the OLEDs may be offered for even lower than that, venturing a $5,000 figure taken from a hat while the rabbit was sleeping, which I never thought OLED would be offered for that low price upon introduction in 2012.

Then DisplaySearch declared that they expected the price to be around...