Although the announced intent of the new write-once, dual-sided disc format is for professional use as a data storage format, there are definitely additional implications. The 300GB storage capacity of the new format is just the right size for possible use in an 4K Ultra HD "Blu-ray type" disc format - this is definitely a technology development worth watching - so stay tuned as more info becomes available.
For more details, including initial technical specifications for the new Archival Disc format, read the Official Announcement Issued By Sony. Image provided by Sony and Panasonic.
This year (2014), Final Four and Championship play will be held on April 5th and 7th, respectively, in Arlington, Texas (Cowboy Stadium). The entire tournament will be televised via several outlets (CBS, TBS, TNT, truTV). Check local listings for updated info. Also, extensive coverage via online streaming will be available.. In addition, Canadian viewers will be able to catch March Madness TV coverage on TSN, ESPN America will provide coverage for European viewers, and ONE HD will carry games for the Australian TV viewing market.
In order to fully appreciate Basketball's March Madness, you need an HDTV and Home Theater System. Check out some useful tips on how to prepare for the best homebound March Madness 2014 viewing experience.
At their core, the Aquos Q+ Series is the latest line of Sharp TVs to employ 4-Color Quattron technology, which produces vibrant color, but what make these new sets stand out even more is that they are the only 1080p TVs that can accept and display 4K content.
So, you are probably asking yourself at this point, "so what", these are 1080p sets so anything it receives can only be displayed in a maximum 1080p screen resolution. Well, not exactly.
With the Aquos Q+ Series, Sharp has done something quite innovative. Even though the LED/LCD panel on these sets is 1080p, Sharp's engineers have developed firmware that effectively splits all of the panel's subpixels vertically in half, thus enabling a Q+ set to display images in "higher-than-1080p resolution". Technically, the Q+ process adds up to 2.5 times number of pixels above 1080p (true 4K is about 4 times the number of pixels as 1080p).
This serves two purposes: First, Q+ can bring more detail out in 1080p source signals than a standard 1080p panel, and, more importantly, Q+ processing can approximate the detail that an incoming native 4K image contains, without the expense of manufacturing a true 4K Ultra HD TV.
For more details (including a side-by-side 1080p/Q+ Plus comparison), check out my previous eyes-on report from the 2014 CES.
The Aquos Q+ Series comes in two lines: SQ and UQ. Both lines feature edge lit LED/LCD panels, 240Hz screen refresh rate, 4 HDMI inputs, 2 USB inputs, 3D viewing, and Smart TV (Smart Central 3.0) features.
The UQ line ups the ante (and price) with THX certification, Active 3D with Bluetooth glasses included, 240Hz refresh rate augmented by Sharp's Aquamotion 960 backlight scanning, and Superbright technology.
I will conclude this post by saying that when I first heard about Sharp's Q+, I really had my doubts, but having taken to time to see a couple of demos at CES, I walked away impressed - So, whether you are shopping for a new 1080p HD or 4K Ultra HD TV, if you have the chance, definitely check out a demo of the Sharp Aquos Q+ sets and see what you think. Image Provided by Sharp Electronics Corporation.
TCL is actually the third largest TV manufacturer in manufacturer in the World, and currently owns the naming rights to the former Grauman's Chinese Theater in Hollywood, CA.
So, what does TCL have to offer U.S. consumers in terms of TV products? Well, one example is their just-announced 48FS4690 48-inch Direct-lit LED/LCD TV.
Additional features of the TCL 48FS4690 include 1080p native screen resolution, 120Hz CMI (Clear Motion Index - 60hz refresh rate with added motion processing), wide contrast ratio, and three HDMI inputs (including one HDMI/MHL input).
The TV does not have built-in 3D or Smart TV features, however, its HDMI/MHL input allows for connection of the MHL-version of the Roku Streaming Stick, which provides access to almost 1,000 internet content channels (some are free, but many require an additional paid subscription).
The current price for the TCL 48FS4690 is $448.00, and is available through Sam's Club (Check Price). The set comes with a 2-year limited parts and labor warranty.
With that in mind, Crestron, maker of custom home theater and home automation control products, has announced its HD-XSPA 7.1 channel receiver.
To start off, the HD-XSPA has what you would expect to find on most home theater receivers, such as up to a 7.1 channel speaker configuration, four HDMI inputs and one output, one digital optical, two digital coaxial, and three analog stereo (two RCA, one balanced) inputs, a subwoofer line output, analog stereo audio output. Of course, just as with most current home theater receivers, the HD-XSPA also supports most Dolby and DTS audio decoding and processing formats, as well as 3D and 4K video pass-through.
However, this is only the tip of the iceberg. For example, the HD-XSPA, subwoofer output capabilities also include a self-powered output connection that can be used with passive subwoofers, in addition to its standard subwoofer line output that requires the use of a powered subwoofer. Also, it important to note that speaker connection terminals on the HD-XSPA are not the standard screw or push-in type, but are 2-pin 7.62mm 15A detachable terminal blocks (x8).
In addition, HD-XSPA has extensive whole house audio/video distribution capabilities via a variety of Crestron options, such as connection to Crestron's line of Digital Media switchers, as well as full control integration via Ethernet/LAN, USB, Crestron Digital Media switchers, HDbaseT, and HDMI-CEC.
For complete details on the Crestron HD-XSPA, first check out the Crestron's Official Announcement, then, to dig deeper, check out the Official Product Pages, and finally, for pricing and installation details, contact your local Authorized Crestron Dealer/Installer. Images provided by Crestron
For Disney, their program content will not only continue to be available to the large audience of Dish subscribers, but at the same time Dish agrees to limit how Disney content is accessed by AutoHop.
For Dish, not only do they keep their subscribers happy (the agreement not only includes Disney films, but ABC TV, ESPN, and other networks), but Dish also gains the right to add more Disney content to its Video-on-Demand and On-the-Go streaming services via its Dish Anywhere App for compatible devices.
For all the details, read the Official Announcement issued by Dish Network.
It will be interesting to see if other high-profile content providers will seek the same type of agreement with Dish.
Now, in the lead-up to the April 22nd, 2014 hearing date, it looks like two noted copyright experts, the U.S. Justice Department, and even a Canadian content group have added their opposition to Aereo's side of the argument by filing briefs with the Court.
Also, in a weird twist of events Cablevision has indicated opposition to both Aereo and TV broadcasters!
So far, it doesn't look good for Aereo going in...
For additional terms and definitions, check out my Home Theater Glossary
First a little background: Back in 2012, Roku came out with an innovative product, the Streaming Stick, which took all of the functions of a Roku Box and compressed them into a form factor about the size of a USB flash drive. The only additional requirement is that your TV had to have an MHL-compatible HDMI port, in order to provided both power and operating access for the stick. However, only a small (but increasing) number of TVs made since 2012 have such a port, whereas there are millions of TVs that have standard HDMI ports.
As a result, Google's Chromecast (which came out this past year) is a device that is similar in concept to the Roku Streaming stick, but is compatible with any TV that has a standard HDMI port (no MHL-compatibility required) and can plug into either a TV's USB or via AC adapter for power.
So, it is probably not much of stretch to conclude that Roku took look at the Chromecast as a threat to its streaming device market share and, as a result, has decided to counter with a new standard HDMI version of its Streaming Stick that can also use either a USB or AC adapter power source.
Also, to add to Roku's possible competitive advantage, the Google Chromecast does not have access to anywhere near the 1000+ content channels that the Streaming Stick has - and Roku does not require the use of a compatible smart phone or tablet to operate the Streaming Stick.
Also, to make the new HDMI version Streaming even more enticing, Roku is offering it up at a $49 price point (the previous MHL version was priced at $99), placing it in range of those that might be considering a Google Chromecast.
As for the fate of its current MHL-version, Roku has indicated that it will be bundled with TVs and other devices that are "Roku-ready" - meaning they are already equipped with HDMI-MHL connectors. In addition, the Roku operating platform is also being incorporated into some new select TVs, some of which were on display at the 2014 CES.
The question is, will Roku be able to stop the Google Chromecast in its tracks - or is there room enough for both? - stay tuned! Images provided by Roku.