By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 23 2016, 7:00am
At Consumer Electronics Show (CES) LG Electronics introduced on January 5, 2016 four new lines of 4K OLED UHDTVs, from the 55” to the 77” sizes, I was told at the show that one line was available for pre-order, and more recently (one month later) the company announced pre-order availability of other models.
I must comment that this is not as most manufacturers do at CES, they typically show new models or even just prototypes and then take months for consumers to been able to purchase them, and in many cases the products never get to market.
The unveiled lines were all 4K HDR-enabled OLED TVs.....
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 20 2016, 3:00pm
Today a 4K movie from the Sony 4K Entertainment service takes about 40GB of space on the Sony 4K player and takes long hours to be downloaded even with my Internet fiber-optic line of 100 Mbps.
Certain ISP providers may make more difficult the delivery of high resolution content such as 4K, for example, a subscriber of Comcast ISP has data-caps on the range of 300GB per month and is charged $10 per each 50GB exceeding that cap.
The total cost of ownership of downloading a 4K movie that already cost $30 from Sony could grow another $10 for just receiving the movie over the Internet if the monthly data-cap was already exceeded.
When I compared with other ISP competitors...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 19 2016, 3:00pm
Consumers often ask what they could buy with some reasonable level of future proof in light of how expensive many components are.
We all know that the A/V industry never stops, but now is moving much faster in both fronts of audio and video (and connectivity), to the point that not even recently announced 2016 top-of-the-line UHDTVs that are not yet available for purchase would be able to provide some future proof comfort longer than a few months after they will be released, why?
For example, some known features that are part of the UHDTV phased standard will create obsolescence, such as...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 17 2016, 3:00pm
The implementation of HDR is also impacting HDMI connectivity.
HDMI has to be able to recognize the metadata that tells the display and source device what to do with the HDR signal, this prompted the release of the HDMI 2.0a version, making HDMI 2.0 obsolete because UHD video is moving rapidly toward HDR, which also makes obsolete the A/V Receivers/Pre-pros/HDMI switchers in the system that have HDMI but not version 2.0a because they would be blocking the path of the HDR metadata before reaching an HDR capable display, which would degrade the original HDR image to an non-HDR quality.
HDMI standard-speed cables and HDMI 2.0 chipsets may...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 16 2016, 1:30am
I started this "Living With 4K" series of articles back in 2012.
As you may recall, after Infocomm 2015 in Orlando in June, I covered with interest the evolution of 4K projector technology from the commercial industry in the hope that soon consumers could have more options than Sony 4K projectors, and the faux-4K projectors from JVC, Epson, Panasonic, Wolf, and others.
Several years ago I thought that introducing faux-4K projectors at a lower price...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 15 2016, 3:00pm
The first article of this series was about audio, this article is about video, the following articles will cover connectivity, not-too-distant-future, Internet and Broadcasting, and the Final thoughts.
Streaming and downloading SD, HD, UHD content with various compression algorithms (MPEG-4, HEVC, VP9, etc.) and various levels of image quality affected by the ISP connection is a concept that is generally accepted by consumers primarily due to convenience; more details are covered in the part-5 article regarding Internet and Broadcasting.
UHDTV started over 3 years ago as...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 12 2016, 3:00pm
Regardless what A/V gear you buy today it is already obsolete for some functionality or feature, primarily due to HDMI and 4K with HDR, but audio is not as innocent as it seems compared to the former.
Consumers know that manufacturers want them to buy again and replace components that are still perfectly functional for the legacy content they already have, but there is not a single component on a home theater that maybe fully compatible with the rapidly changing features and standards that are continuously emerging and most components are not upgradeable.
Most consumers may resist the urge of upgrading, and continue with...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 12 2016, 7:45am
As part of the "Living with 4K" series of articles I started in 2012 I cover equipment, content, services, etc.
and today I am just introducing the arrival of a much awaited Set-top-box system from one of the main players of video services, now in 4K, Dish Network.
A few years ago, in October 2012, I reviewed the Dish Network Hopper on this article.
I compared its functionality and user interface with my current cable service but my primary objective was to compare and evaluate Dish Network's HD image quality, which was a notch inferior to my cable service.
Dish Network has just made available...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 24 2015, 5:30pm
Are you ready to enjoy some 4K content for your precious 4K TV/projector?
Some 4K content is starting to be made available to consumers, such as streaming sources like Netflix, received by the UHDTV directly using the included TV app (if you have the app, and if your Internet connection is faster than 15Mbps).
Sony and Nuvola 4K players have been also around for quite some time to download or stream 4K content and movies.
The difference between streaming from these players with streaming directly from the UHDTV is...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 24 2015, 4:28pm
If you are a true home theater technology enthusiast having a large screen, powerful projector, speakers up to the neck, hi-end preamps and amps, black curtains, screen masks, a dark cave to improve contrast and visual concentration for the best possible image, etc., in other words, a priority based in quality technology for the best possible sound and video, rather than investing mostly in seating, starlight ceilings, light sconces, movie posters, and pop corn machines, which is what most people do when thinking about their home theaters, then, keep reading, this piece is for you.
Recent InfoComm 2015 and east coast AV conferences reminded me that there is a light at the end of the true 4K-home-projector tunnel, laser or otherwise, that may compete in today’s Sony’s-only-4K-land.
I am talking about projectors that do not play tricks faking 4K images with e-shift/wobulated solutions using 1080p DLP or LCD HD imagers.
True 4K Cinema projectors at home, without being a Quentin Tara ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • May 6 2015, 4:19pm
Which is simpler to you as consumer, using the term UHDTV or call it 4K?
The audio/video industry has been increasingly complex since the introduction of the home theater concept, and grew excessively complex with digital TV and connectivity.
You may be alone if you never had any HDMI or HDCP issues.
The higher 4K bandwidth requirements and reinforced content protection of 4K (HDCP 2.2) bring instant obsolescence of perfectly functional home theater equipment including relatively new UHDTVs, most unable to be upgraded by the manufacturer.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Apr 26 2015, 1:53am
This headphone is for home theater installations not for mobile devices, it uses a base unit that serves as HDMI switcher as well, and it should appeal to movie viewers rather than video game enthusiasts.
The headphone plays multi-channel movies with an immersive field effect and reproduces surround sounds with relatively accurate localization.
It should be particularly suitable for living spaces that are not adequately insulated for the high volume levels of typical home theater speakers/subwoofers, such as apartments, dorms, and shared environments where a surround multi-speaker setup may bother others.
The headphones may be a solution to the hearing impaired, which is becoming a very high percentage of the US population, and who usually tend to increase the volume of the center channel speaker for better speech intelligibility on a movie, or all the channels, imposing his/her preferred higher volume to other viewers who maybe listening to the same source using the speaker setup in ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 17 2014, 3:30am
There is too much 4K inertia at trade shows and the effort is concentrated on the concept of displays with four times the pixel count, and less on better methods of improving image quality.
Other than the professional trade meetings I regularly attend, too little is said about the concept of better quality for 4K pixels, or better quality for even current HD pixels.
The industry has jumped into 4K without considering the possibility of improving the pixels of HD during 16 years of HDTV implementation since 1998.
Is it too late for that now that we have 4K?
At CEDIA, and at the yearly Society of Motion Pictures and Television Engineers (SMPTE) Technical Conference in Hollywood this past October, we discussed again how 4K pixels can be improved, the "better pixels" concept.
Ideas such as using more bits than the current 8-bit color depth, and pursue High Dynamic Range, less color compression than the current 4:2:0 chroma sub-sampling that discards 75% of the color data of the 4:4:4 un ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Dec 2 2014, 3:45am
This article follows the “Living with 4K” series of articles that I have been publishing during the past couple of years.
Currently a 4K display is more expensive than an HDTV and many use the excuse of “there is no 4K content available” to postpone buying a UHDTV.
In 2006 the first Blu-ray player Sony released to market was priced at about $900.
If I tell you how to get a 4K player and content now, how much would you say a 4K player is worth? How many 4K players are there? Most people do not know the answer to those questions.
At the moment there are two companies making 4K players for consumers...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 20 2014, 12:25am
This article is a continuation of the "Living with 4K" series of articles that I have been publishing over the past couple of years.
I just came back from CEDIA Expo 2014 and was very pleased with the event this year.
My primary objective was to evaluate the quality of the information provided on a couple of technical classes related to 4K, HDMI for 4K, and Home Theater Audio (including the new Dolby Atmos), and also to meet 4K equipment manufacturers and see demos of their new product introductions.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 4 2014, 2:38pm
This article is a continuation of the “Living with 4K” series of articles.
As I mentioned on my previous article regarding 4K players, I started with the idea of testing Sony’s FMP-X1 4K player offered as part of the upgrade of my VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector (to the newer VPL-VW1100ES model), which was covered on the previous article, and also evaluating the quality of the 4K content available for download from Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K Service, covered on this article.
Over a year ago (March 2013) I performed my first review of 4K content using my own 4K projector and a server Sony’s used to demo 4K on trade shows such as CES and CEDIA that Sony made available for my review.
Below is an excerpt from that article...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Sep 3 2014, 2:22pm
This article is a continuation of the “Living with 4K” series of articles.
I started with the idea of testing Sony’s FMP-X1 4K player offered as part of the upgrade of my VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector (to the newer VPL-VW1100ES model), and also evaluating the quality of the 4K content available for download from Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K Service.
This article covers 4K players and will be immediately followed by an article about 4K content.
However, a couple of weeks ago Nuvola confirmed the delivery of a review unit of their 4K player NP-1 (which I introduced on this article), and I plan to review their 4K content service as well, and compare with Sony’s 4K player and content, although the unit’s availability is being announced since May 29, 2013.
Additionally, Sony also announced the newer streaming/downloading FMP-X10 4K player that is now available to consumers for...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jul 12 2014, 4:25am
On my previous article of the "Living with 4K" series I described the upgrade program Sony offers for their VPL-VW1000ES 4K projector ($24,999).
This article covers the actual upgrade procedure, performance observations after the upgrade, and final comments about who may benefit in doing the upgrade and why.
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Jun 27 2014, 4:10pm
This article is a continuation of the "Living with 4K" series of articles I published on this magazine during the past two years, and is also a follow up of the last article regarding the subject of upgradeability of UHDTVs.
On that last article I highlighted the importance of selecting an upgradeable TV/Projector when choosing an UHDTV during these initial years of UHD introduction to consumers, due to the number of features from the standards that have not been implemented yet on the 4K/UHDTVs and on UHD content distribution channels (if they do), including pre-recorded physical media, such as 4K Blu-Ray, hopefully in the near future, with specs expected to be available by year end.
I also mentioned that Sony and Samsung were clear on their upgrade plans, while other manufacturers were more on the vague side, or issued unspecified promises, such as "we are looking into it".
To continue with the subject, this article is about the upgradeability of Sony's 4K two years old 4K proje ...
By Rodolfo La Maestra • Feb 20 2014, 2:50pm
Your next question then would be “an upgrade to what and why?”
Unfortunately in most cases the upgrade may actually be a replacement of a short lived TV, depending who manufactured the UHDTV.
Over the past couple of years 4K displays and projectors were made available to consumers and, although market introduction is better than expected and prices are rapidly coming down, many journalists continuously discourage consumers with negativism, such as...
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