CES 2016 – Day 1

While the CES 2016 trade show opens on January 6th, there are press events on Jan. 4th and 5th where some information is being presented on the new products being introduced at the show.  I will be updating this blog a few times to add information from these press events.  The focus of this blog will be on the Ultra High Definition products and technologies being introduced at CES.

UHD Alliance

UHD Premium logo

The UHD Alliance was announced at last year’s CES and is make up of several of the major electronics manufacturers and most of the major Hollywood movie studios.  The UHD Alliance has produce three specifications for what they call “UltraHD Premium” and products that conform the applicable specification can use the UltraHD Premium logo, as shown above.  The three specifications cover:  1.  Devices including UHD Displays; 2.  Distribution systems/media; and 3.  Content.

1. DEVICES:  For displays the specification requires the capabilities as highlighted below:

  • Image Resolution: 3840×2160
  • Bit Depth: 10-bit signal
  • Wide Color Gamut
    • Signal Input: BT.2020 color representation (i.e., the envelope)
    • Display Reproduction: More than 90% of DCI-P3 colors
  • High Dynamic Range*
    • Based on SMPTE ST2084 EOTF
    • A combination of peak brightness and black level either:
      • More than 1000 nits peak brightness and less than 0.05 nits black level  -OR-  More than 540 nits peak brightness and less than 0.0005 nits black level

 *  It appears the two different levels for the required HDR peak brightness/black level came from an accommodation for OLED displays (which are less bright than what can be achieved with LED backlighted LCD displays but have lower black levels) and also to allow support for Dolby’s version of HDR which requires the higher peak brightness levels.

I would note that the HDR portion of the above specification is clearly oriented toward flat panel displays and it appears no consideration was given for projection systems, either for commercial cinemas or consumer home theaters.   While the most capable home theater projectors can provide a contrast ratio consistent with the high dynamic range requirements, it is simply not realistic for a projection system, when projecting a relatively large image, to produce the peak brightness levels that are included in the UltraHD Premium specification.

2.  DISTRIBUTION:  This includes both stream video services and disc media.

In order for distribution media to carry the UHD Premium logo it must support the distribution of video with the following characteristics:

  • Image Resolution: 3840×2160
  • Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal
  • Color: BT.2020 color representation
  • High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

3.  CONTENT:  The video Content Master is required to meeting the following requirements:

  • Image Resolution: 3840×2160
  • Color Bit Depth: Minimum 10-bit signal
  • Color: BT.2020 color representation
  • High Dynamic Range: SMPTE ST2084 EOTF

 

AUDIO:  While the above discussion is focused on the video requirements, the ULTRA HD Alliance has also offered recommendations for supporting immersive 3D audio formats.

LG Electronics

 

LG produces a wide range of products and the LG press event focused on LG new series of premium products that will be sold under the “LG Signature” label.   This includes everything form OLED TVs to major appliances. This includes a new top-of-the-line OLED TV that uses a panel that is just 2.57mm thick. This model uses an OLED panel with 10-bit color depth that covers 99% of the DCI-P3 color gamut and supports the display of High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. LG OLED TVs will be certified as “UHD Premium” conforming to the specification (discussed above) from the UHD Alliance and will also support Dolby Vision’s advanced HDR.

LG is also introducing a new line-up of LCD/LED UHD TVs including their new “Super UHD” LCD TVs with HDR capability that includes a new top-of-the-line 98 inch 8K LCD UHD TV.

There was no specific mention of UHD Blu-ray during the LG press event, but there will likely be some information on LG’s plans for a UHD Blu-ray player available at the LG exhibit booth that opens Wednesday (Jan. 6th).

Although n0t mentioned during the LG press event, LG previously put out a press release detailing new business class pocket projectors plus an ultra short throw home theater projector being displayed at the LG booth at CES.  The press release says, in part:

“…..three latest projectors in the LG Minibeam series (models PH550, PW1000, PW1500) feature both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity for unparalleled freedom and viewing convenience. Improving on the one-hand grip design of previous Minibeam projectors, LG’s 2016 models have also been slimmed down even further for easier portability.

“With more variety than ever before, LG Minibeam projectors offer enhanced portability with wireless connectivity for an enjoyable viewing experience anytime, anywhere.  We look forward to officially unveiling the newest LG Minibeam series at CES 2016,” said Brian Kwon, President and CEO at LG’s Home Entertainment Company. 

The all-new compact PH550 eliminates the need for all wires thanks to its triple wirefree connectivity. This feature provides users with the ability to send content from their smartphone or tablet to the projector using the Wi-Fi mirroring-enabled Screen Share.  Users can also connect to speakers wirelessly via Bluetooth and unplug from the wall for 2.5 hours of viewing using the rechargeable internal battery. These features offer consumers a new level of connectivity and freedom. What’s more, despite its small size, the PH550 is the brightest among LG’s battery-powered projectors at 550 lumens.

For consumers looking to achieve the best in picture quality, the new PW1500 is able to render images at an astounding 1,500 lumens, the brightest in the entire LG Minibeam series. Perfect for everything from slide show presentations to theater-quality movie viewing, the PW1500 is the ideal projector for viewers who consume a wide range of content. Additionally, the PW1000 with 1,000 lumens offers all the great features of the Minibeam PW1500 at a more competitive price. 

Another key model in LG’s projector lineup is the Ultra Short Throw LED Home Theater Projector (model PF1000U). Honored with a CES 2016 Innovation Award, the versatile PF1000U delivers high-definition picture quality with 1920 x 1080 resolution and brightness up to 1,000 lumens for clear visibility, sharp contrast and rich blacks, even in viewing environments with abundant ambient light. Featuring Ultra Short Throw (UST) Technology, the PF1000U is able to project a screen of up to 100 inches when placed only 15 inches from a wall or screen. Viewers no longer need to worry about installation or walking in front of the projection beam. The PF1000U is the world’s first UST projector to weigh less than 4.85 pounds.   Even with its Full HD resolution and 1,000 lumen brightness, the PF1000U consumes roughly a third of the power of competing units. For consumers, this projector offers the utmost convenience while providing unparalleled picture quality, similar to many TVs.

LG’s new 2016 Minibeam models are planned for introduction in the United States and key European markets in the first quarter of 2016. LG’s award-winning Ultra Short Throw LED Home Theater Projector (model PF1000U) is available now at U.S. retailers. All models will be on display in LG’s booth at CES 2016 from Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas.”

 Also LG is participating in the first US public demonstration of over-the-air broadcast 4K/UHD TV based on the proposed ATSC 3.0 standard.  A LG press release says, in part:

Of special significance to the global adoption of next-generation television broadcasting, LG receivers based on ATSC 3.0 Candidate Standards will receive 4K Ultra HD HDR content from KHMP-18, a Las Vegas broadcast television station, during the show.  Developed by the Advanced Television Systems Committee, ATSC 3.0 broadcasting leverages HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) video compression technology and improved transmission technology to deliver HDR 4K UHD signals over the air for the first time. LG technology is included in the majority of the ATSC 3.0 Physical Layer transmission system Candidate Standard, underscoring LG’s key role in next-generation broadcast standards for the United States, South Korea and other countries.

 

Panasonic

Panasonic announced a new TX-65DX900 LCD/LED UHD TV, which was said to be the first TV certified as UltraHD Premium by the UHD Alliance. A point and shoot 4K still and video camera was announced along with two new 4K camcorders plus a 4K wearable video camera.

At last year’s CES Panasonic became the first manufacturer to display a engineering prototype Ultra HD Blu-ray player. This year Panasonic announced their first consumer Ultra HD Blu-ray player will be launched in 2016. No other details were provided during the press event other than the Ultra HD Blu-ray player will be on display at the Panasonic booth.

Samsung

Samsung is another company that manufacturers a very wide range of products including appliances, smart phones, computers, cameras and of course audio and video products. Samsung announced their new 2016 line-up of SUHD TVs and indicated that for this past year Samsung had more than half of the US UHD TV market. Samsng’s flagship SUHD TV has a curved design with no bezel. The new SUHD TVs will feature quantum dot technology for displaying a wider color gamut and these new TV models will provide a brighter picture. All of the 2016 SUHD TV models will be “Ultra HD Premium” certified by the UHD Alliance.  A lot of Samsung’s discussion during their press event focused on the enhancement to their smart TV functions with improved integration of streaming, cable TV and broadcast TV services.

The Samsung Ultra HD Blu-ray player, model UBD-K8500, will be launched in March.   Pre-orders for the UBD-K8500 start today for $400.  Fox and Warner Brothers will together offer more than 100 movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs, with 4K/UHD resolution and with HDR, during 2016.  Several blockbuster movies will be available from Fox and Warner Brothers when the Ultra HD Blu-ray player launches in March, including such titles as “The Martian”, ”San Andres”, “The Peanuts Movie”, “Kingman”, “Mad Max Fury Road“, and “The Lego Movie”.

Sony

Sony introduced a new 4K Handycam that uses a new 20X zoom lens and a new imaging sensor for improved image quality and better performance in low light situations.

Sony announced a small portable ultra short throw projector that will be available by mid-2016.  This is a home entertainment class model rather than for use in a home theater.

Sony was been working with Youtube and Lucas Watson, a VP from Youtube, talked about how Youtube is supporting 4K and how demand for 4K video is rapidly growing.

Sony is strongly backing High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. Sony unveiled a new “4K HDR” logo they will be using with their HDR capable UHD TVs. Sony announced a new X93D series of UHD LCD/LED flat panel TVs with “slim backlight drive” as their new flagship series. Sony is demo’ing at CES a prototype UHD HDR TV with a new backlight master drive, with backlight boosting technology, that can provide upto 4000 nits of brightness.

Sony Picture Home Entertainment is introducing a new App called “Ultra” that allows users to stream 4K video with HDR to Sony Android equipped smart UHD TVs.

There was no mention of Sony’s plans for Ultra HD Blu-ray produces during the press event. However, information on this subject is expected to be available on Wednesday when the Sony exhibit booth opens.

Check Back on Wednesday, Jan. 6th, as this will be the first day the CES 2016 trade floor exhibit booths are open.

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