4K Announcements Highlight CES Opening8 Jan, 2013 By: Chris Tribbey
LAS VEGAS — TVs that respond to hand gestures, new OLED sets and new 3DTV sets all played second fiddle to the unveiling of new 4K sets during the opening of the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES).
And among all the 4K announcements, it was perhaps Sony Electronics that stood out the most.
The company not only announced two new Ultra HD sets at 55 inches and 65 inches, but also announced a 4K movie download service that will debut this summer. No further details were given on the service.
Additionally, starting this spring, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment will begin releasing Blu-ray Discs mastered in 4K, a first for the industry. Initial titles include The Amazing Spider-Man, The Karate Kid and The Other Guys.
The "Mastered in 4K" Blu-ray titles will be sourced from 4K masters and presented in 1080p resolution. These discs will be playable on all existing Blu-ray players and, when paired with the Sony Ultra HD TVs, will allow consumers to view a near 4K picture quality.
“The electronics industry’s groundbreaking launch of 4K Ultra HD TV has given us reason to even further elevate our Blu-ray offering,” said David Bishop, president of SPHE. “This spring, Sony Pictures Home Entertainment is excited to deliver a complementing lineup of ‘Mastered in 4K’ Blu-ray titles, offering consumers the best possible picture and sound quality to be experienced on the latest HDTVs.”
The initial wave will see the release of more than 10 "Mastered in 4K" titles in the United States, with a rollout to select international territories thereafter.
“4K is not the future — it’s now,” said Kazuo Hirai, president and CEO of Sony Corp.
Sony was one of several companies to unveil 4K sets, which are four times the resolution of today’s HDTVs, with Samsung, LG, Sharp and Hisense among those streeting sets this year.
“LG continues to lead the way in the Ultra HD TV segment,” said Havis Kwon, president and CEO of LG Electronics Home Entertainment Co. “In response to expected demand for a range of screen sizes, LG is adding a 55- and 65-inch model to its Ultra HD TV lineup. We are extremely proud of this series as a whole and the ‘Best of Innovations’ award bestowed on our 84-inch UHD TV by the [Consumer Electronics Association].”
Although the actual CES does not officially begin until Jan. 8, all the major consumer electronics companies came out with their big home entertainment announcements Jan. 7.
HD, 3D, 4K LED, connected devices … you name it, Sony Electronics has it for 2013. The consumer electronics giant unveiled a slew of new sets and Blu-ray players during their press event.
“We have many exciting new products at CES, combining that magical mix of science and wonder, design and function, usefulness and elegance, technology and entertainment content to create an emotional experience that only Sony can deliver,” Hirai said.
Sony also came out with a 56-inch prototype 4K OLED TV, with both the 4K and OLED sets also carrying 3D functionality. For 3DTV, Sony has a slew of Bravia sets, both passive and active shutter, set for this spring.
Sony also has several new Blu-ray players in the wings, from the BDP-S1100 to the Wi-Fi and 3D enabled BDP-5100.
Dish Network’s controversial Hopper digital video recorder, which features ad-skipping technology and has been slammed and litigated by the major networks, is getting an upgrade. The new Hopper lets users move TV recordings from the DVR to an iPad for viewing, without an Internet connection.
“Hopper Transfers completes the TV Everywhere equation by giving Dish customers the ability to take their recorded television programs and watch them even when no Internet connection is available, such as on a plane,” said Vivek Khemka, VP of product management for Dish. “For the first time, customers can truly enjoy their DISH service anytime, anywhere.”
Recordings are transferred from Hopper to an iPad via the home’s Wi-Fi connection, and each recording transferred includes digital rights management and is limited to one mobile transfer per recording.
Samsung’s annual CES press event is one of the best attended at the show, and in 2013 the company again showed why. The company’s F8000 LED HDTV can do voice-enabled recommendation and allows users to control their sets with hand gestures.
Samsung also showed off its Smart Hub interface, which includes five panels to help users manage and navigate different types of content. Samsung also showed off its S-recommendation feature, which lets users search for TV shows, VOD, apps, social media and locally stored content.
“As the plethora of apps and content grow, consumers are faced with the overwhelming challenge of discovering quality content that appeals to their interests. They are looking for ways to experience converged content, and they want to do it easily,” said Kim Hyun-Suk, EVP and head of visual display business at Samsung Electronics. “We have simplified the process with TVs that offer more intuitive features, endless connectivity and content options, and larger screen sizes with true-to-life picture quality. Consumers can now enjoy the ultimate lean back experience, which is richer and easier than ever before.”
Samsung also showed off its S9 UHD Ultra High-def TV, as well as a F9500 OLED screen.
Sharp Electronics presented two new Ultra HD sets, along with a new Aquos line of LED HDTVs.
“Whether in your home or in your hand, display technology is everywhere,” said Toshi Osawa, CEO and chairman of Sharp Electronics Corp. “From game changing IGZO (Indium Gallium Zinc Oxide), to stunning Ultra HD products, and large-screen televisions, the introductions we are making at CES 2013 will advance people's lives at home, work and everywhere in between.”
IGZO allows for more data to be shown in a display, up to four times that of conventional 1080p LCDs, according to Sharp.
Sharp demonstrated two large-screen Ultra HD sets, the ICC Purios and an AQUOS Ultra HD set. Sharp also showed off an 85-inch 8K set, featuring 7,680x4,320 resolution, the equivalent of 16 times the pixel resolution of current HDTVs.
Panasonic debuted 16 new plasma HDTV models, ranging from 42 inches to 65 inches. The 2013 Viera plasma line-up features My Home Screen, a function that allows each user in the home to create their own home screen; Swipe & Share 2.0, which turns the TV into a hub for streaming and sharing content with smartphones and tablets; voice controls features and more.
“Panasonic continually strives to surpass the previous year’s successes, and the new 2013 series of Viera Plasma HDTVs does just that,” said Henry Hauser, VP of the merchandising group for Panasonic Consumer Marketing Company of North America. “The series’ enhanced VIERA Connect IPTV functionality, superior picture and sound quality, and advanced connectivity capabilities have completely transformed the TV viewing experience. With the 16 new models, Panasonic has set the bar for years to come.”
LG showed off its new Ultra HD sets, debuting 55- and 65-inch models.
“LG continues to lead the way in the Ultra HD TV segment,” said Havis Kwon, president and CEO of LG Electronics Home Entertainment Company. “In response to expected demand for a range of screen sizes, LG is adding a 55- and 65-inch model to its Ultra HD TV lineup. We are extremely proud of this series as a whole and the ‘Best of Innovations’ award bestowed on our 84-inch UHD TV by the CEA.”
All three LG Ultra HD models include access to approximately 1,400 apps, feature Cinema 3D technology, two 10W speakers and two 15W woofers.
Hisense unveiled 50-, 58- and 65-inch models of Ultra HD sets, all featuring 3D functionality. The XT880 series include USB-mounted cameras.
“The XT880 series of televisions is truly at the cutting edge of television technology,” said Peter Erdman, VP of consumer electronics for Hisense. “Hisense has shown that it is not only capable, but ready to jump into the UHD market with televisions that offer every feature a consumer could ask for today, but at a price that won’t cause sticker shock.”
Hisense is also showing off glasses-free 3DFTV and a new “transparent” 3DTV.
Vizio revealed its first Ultra HD sets, which are part of the brand’s flagship XVT-Series Ultra HD Razor LED smart TVs with Theater 3D. The 55-, 65- and 70-inch units will hit retail later this year.
"Ultra HD is the latest must-have upgrade for the home theater, giving discerning fans of our flagship XVT-Series access to cutting-edge technologies and an unprecedented high definition picture," said Matt McRae, Vizio’s chief technology officer.