CES 2016 – Days 2 and 3

This blog is a follow-up to my Day 1 blog (HERE) reporting on news from the 2016 Consumer Electronic Show.  While the Day 1 blog reported on announcements from press events, Day 2 (Wednesday, Jan. 6th) is the first day the show’s trade floor, with its thousands of exhibit booths (i.e., over 3,000 exhibitors), will be open.  I’m generally limiting the discussion in this blog to just 4K/UHD related topics and any projector related news.  I will be updating this blog during the days of Jan. 6th and 7th, so check back.

Art is attending CES and he may be posting a blog (HERE) with his observations, but perhaps not until he returns from the show.

Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

As discussed in my Day 1 blog, Samsung announced a new Ultra HD Blu-ray player that will begin shipping in March 2016.  It is priced at $399 and is now available for pre-order from Samsung’s online store and from other online dealers.

As shown in the first gallery photo above, the player has a curved front panel, but existing home theater owners may be more interested on what’s found on the rear panel.   This player has dual HDMI outputs with one intended to provide the audio to legacy AV receivers (AVRs) with HDMI 1.3 or 1.4 inputs and the second HDMI from the player is intend to carry the 4K/UHD video to the UHD display.  That second HDMI output supports the latest HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 standards and supports the most advanced UHD related features including High Dynamic Range (HDR) video.  Of course, if you have one of the few available AVRs that also supports HDMI 2.0a w/HDCP 2.2 inputs and output then you will only need to use the Samsung player’s HDMI 2.0a output for both your video and audio.  In any case equipping the player with a extra HDMI output for connection to legacy audio systems will go a long way in easing the introduction of a Ultra HD Blu-ray player into an existing home theater system.

These Samsung disc players include a wide range of built-in Apps including those for the most popular 4K/UHD streaming services, such as Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and M-Go Plus.  In fact the Apps appear to be the same set as Samsung offers with their Smart UHD TVs.

The UBD-K8500 does have a cooling fan with rear panel vents as it is needed to keep the player’s 8-core processor running cool.

Panasonic DMP-UB900 Ulta HD Blu-ray Player

Panasonic-DRM-UBZ1

Panasonic’s new Ultra HD Blu-ray player, pictured above, is on display at their exhibit booth.  Of course it provides support for such enhanced features of HDR and up to Rec. 2020 color gamut.  Like the Samsung player described above, the Panasonic player provides dual HDMI outputs with one for connection to legacy audio systems (i.e., to AVRs with HDMI 1.3 or 1.4) and the other supporting the latest HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.2 standards for supporting all of the 4K/UHD features offered by this new disc format.  While it appears Samsung may be the first company to begin shipping Ultra HD Blu-ray players (i.e., set for March), Panasonic should begin shipping the DMP-UB900 just a little later.  It appears that the DMP-UB900 may ship without support for online streaming services, but Panasonic indicates these will be added via subsequent firmware updates (but no details yet about what services or when they may be added).

Panasonic has not yet announced the price nor the specific date they expect to begin shipping production units.  But given Samsung’s rather aggressive pricing (i.e., $399) and comprehensive feature set for their announced Ultra HD Blu-ray player, this will keep the pressure on the likes of Panasonic, Sony and LG to price their first generation players in the sub-$500 range.

Philips BDP7501 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player

Philips was another manufacturer to announce an Ultra HD Blu-ray player at CES.

Philips UHD Blu-ray

Like the offerings from Samsung and Panasonic, the Philips BDP7501 supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) videos.  This Philip player will also have dual HDMI outputs with one being a HDMI 1.4 version for connection to legacy audio systems and the other being a HDMI 2.0a w/HDCP 2.2 for connection to UHD displays.  Support for popular 4K streaming video services is included (e.g., Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, etc.).  Philips says the player will be available this spring and will sell for under $400.

Other Ultra HD Blu-ray News

Although it appears that Sony Pictures is preparing to roll out movies on Ultra HD Blu-ray discs this spring, Sony Electronics is not yet ready to announce or demonstrate their first Ultra HD Blu-ray player.  As a result Sony will not have a Ultra HD Blu-ray player at their CES exhibit booth.  That probably means that Samsung will beat Sony in getting an Ultra HD Blu-ray player into the hands of consumers.

Another piece of news is the Ultra HD Blu-ray discs will be “region free”.  Region coding on DVD and HD Blu-ray discs have long been an annoyance for certain consumers as, for example, discs purchased in North American would not play on players sold in Europe or vice versa.  It now appears this will not be limitation for Ultra HD Blu-ray discs.

4K DLP Projectors

Back at CEDIA Expo in Oct. 2015 Texas Instruments (TI) was privately showing an engineering breadboard projector capable of projecting a 4K image.  I reported on this in my blog from CEDIA Expo – HERE.  TI is using CES 2016 to go public with information about their new 4K DMD display chip (actually half resolution but with pixel shifting provides the full 8 Mpixel resolution required for 4K/UHD).  The DMD has a 0.67 inch display size and is designed for use in consumer projectors that use a single DMD chip.

TI_4K_DMD chip

The first projectors using these new DMD chips are being announced at CES.   The BenQ W11000 pre-CES and will be the first 4K model from BenQ that will be using the new TI DMD chip.  Optoma is also demo’ing a prototype 4K DLP projector at their exhibit booth.  Optoma’s projector uses a LED light source supplied by Philips and the projector is said to produce about 1200 lumens.  It is expected to begin shipping in the 3rd quarter of 2016 at a MSRP of under $10,000.

Ultra Short Throw Projectors

 

Sony is demo’ing a very compact ultra short throw projector at their both.  Sony’s press release included the following brief description:

Sony will also be launching the 10cm cubic Portable Ultra Short Throw Projector, equipped with internal speakers and battery. The projector is capable of throwing a 22″ to 80″ image onto walls, tables, or any other adjacent surface, in spite of its compact size.

Sony ultra short throw proj-2

Sony says this projector will be available in mid-2016 and price is not yet announced.

LG is displaying their new PF-1000U ultra short throw home theater projector with full 1080p resolution.  This model has a list price of $1399 and includes smart TV functions with support for the most popular streaming services.

LG PF1000U projector

This LG projector can produce a 100 inch image when the projector is placed just 15 inches from the screen (or other projection surface).  The PF-1000U is spec’ed by LG to produce 1000 lumens and have a contrast ratio of 150,000.  It uses a LED light source rated at a 30,000 hour life.  It has dual 3 watt internal speaker plus it supports a wireless connection for sending the audio to an external Bluetooth speaker or headphones.  It also support wifi for internet connectivity.

Check back for my future blogs

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