CES 2014 – New Products/Technologies
The 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) kicks of Jan 6, 2014 with a few press conferences and the trade show floor opens the following day. This blog is focused on any new video projectors announced at CES plus announcements related to Ultra High Definition (UHD) products and technology. I’ll especially be watching out for any news related to 4K UHD video sources.
(1/7/2014 update) A new model W7500 DLP projector was introduced by BenQ replacing the popular w7000. Specs are similar to the W7000 with a specified 2000 lumens and 60,000:1 contrast ratio.
Wolf Cinema -
(1/7/2014 update) Wolf introduced 3 new projector models SDC-6, SDC-20 and the SDC-25. The SDC-25 uses an LED light source while the two other models are conventional UHP bulb-based.
(1/7/2014 update) DarbeeVision is demonstrating a new video processor with support for native 4K UHD input and output. They are showing their new DVP-5100CIE video processor inn their booth at CES. DarbeeVision also announced their “Darbee Visual Presence” enhancement technology is being incorporated in new projectors from Wolf Cinema.
Tim Alessi, of LG USA, discussed some of the new LG products for 2014. Nothing was announced related to consumer video projectors. A new flagship Blu-ray player for 2014 will include 4K video upscaling. 56% of new LG TV models will feature the WebOS with the enhanced user interface and the “magic remote”. LG expands 4K UHD TV lineup with 12 models ranging from 49” to 105” and these UHD TVs will support HDMI inputs based on HDMI 2.0 with HDCP 2.2 and support for the HEVC codec. the 105” model features a 21:9 aspect ratio and a curved LCD/LED tv and a 77” OLED UHD TV (coming to the US in June 2014). There will 5 OLED curved screen models from 55” to 77” with 55”, 65” and 77” UHD models as well at two HD models. There will also be a flat “Gallery” series of OLED TV models that will display art images when in screen saver mode. Reed Hastings, CEO Netflix, was introduced and he discussed his company’s cooperative efforts with LG. With new 2014 models of LG UHD TVs (that are powered by WebOS) will support Netflix’s new streaming 4K video service with will include the Netflix show “House of Cards”, which if shot in 4K UHD video
John Harrington of Sharp Electronics Marketing Co. USA discussed their TV products. For their 2014 product line, Sharp is introducing a completely redesigned product line for 2014 with new HD and UHD models in the size range of 60” to 90” sizes. There will be 4 series of large screen LCD/LED TVs for 2014. Entry level Aquos HD, flagship Aquos 4K UHD and in between the Quattron (i.e., ‘Q’)-series of HDTVs, and a new Q+-series with additional sub-pixels that plays 4K content without having an actual 4K display resolution (i.e., not true 4K, but perhaps with additional resolution on just one axis when provided a 4K video input). Most of the 2014 Sharp HDTVs will be available within a few weeks. Jim Sanduski, Sharp USA VP, discussed the Sharp TVs in some more detail. He said the Q+ TVs will sell for about one half the cost of the Sharp Aquos 4K UHD TVs. The Aquos 4K UHD TVs will have THX certification and will have HDMI 2.0 inputs and HEVC codec support, will be available in 60” and 70” screen sizes, and will be in stores this summer.
Rance Poehle, President of Panasonic Systems North American, said “while many companies are focused on 4K for the consumer, we are focused on bringing 4K technology to our business customers.” Among his discussion of 4K related products for business customers, he said there is a 4K projector coming to market later this year with pixel quadrupling that is “beyond 4K”.
Note: Perhaps this is along the lines of what JVC does with their eShift technique where JVC projectors use 1080p display chips to produce a pseudo 4K display – OR – IF Panasonic is using a 4K native resolution display chip, they may be producing a pseudo 8K display. Hope to have more info on the specifics within a day or two. In any case, this is NOT a home theater projector, rather it is a business-class projector.
Julie Bauer, president of Panasonic Consumer Electronics talked about consumer 4K UHD TVs. and introduced the “Life + Screen” in their flat panel smart TVs with new interactive video and audio features that will be used on all of their new HD and UHD TVs. Panasonic has the goal of delivering Plasma-level video qualtity on their 2014 LCD/LED TVs. They will begin shipping a 85” 4K UHD model later this year. Panasonic is also introducing new 4K camcorders.
Joe Stinziano, exec. VP of Samsung Electronics America, talked about Samsung’s plans for UHD. He showed a 105” curved screen UHD TVs, which was said to be the world’s largest UHD TV. He said the U9000 UHD TV offers the twice the contrast ratio of their flat screen TVs. Samsung is launching a full line of UHD TVs for 2014 in sizes from 50” to 105” and these support the “UHD Evolution Kit” in order to support future upgrades to UHD technology. A “UHD Video Pack” with movies/programming from Paramount and Fox Studios is to released this spring to bring UHD content to consumers via various steaming service providers, including Amazon, Comcast and Directv.
Michael Fasulo, the new President and COO of Sony Electronics, introduced many new products across the varied Sony electronics product lines. He lead off by talking about 4K. He said that “content is king” and he discussed Sony’s role in 4K content creation and a noted that the 4K content download service, first announced at last year’s CES, is now offering 140 titles including major movies and the TV shows, such as “Breaking Bad”. He also said that Sony has been working to expand the availability of 4K content. To the end Sony has been working with Youtube on a new 4K encoder to support their upcoming 4K service. He then introduced the Netflix CEO who talked about working with Sony to a create 4K delivery services. Netflix is working with content providers to develop 4K content for their streaming service. Netflix will need less than a 15 Mbps internet download data rate to deliver 4K streaming video using the HEVC codec. The new Sony Bravia UHD TVs will support the new Netflix 4K service. He introduced a new 4K Handycam FDR-AX100. This is a moderate size handheld camcorder that uses a 1 inch 4K image sensor. It will retail for about $2000.
Sony is introducing a new lineup of 4K UHD TVs. These UHD TV will go up to 85” in size and the new flagship series, SBR-X950B, will offer improved dynamic range with brighter whites and deeper blacks. There are 9 new models in 3 series of Bravia UHD TVs with sizes from 55” to 85”. All of the new 4K UHD Bravia TVs include a 4K hardware HEVC decoder built-in.
Today during a keynote address, Sony CEO Kasua Hirai mentioned that Sony plans to release a very short throw 4K projector in mid-2014 that will project a 147 inch image when placed just in front of the screen or wall. No price nor any further details were announced other than the projector will be included in the new Sony “Life Space UX” series of products. The Sony press release indicates the price will be in the $30, 000 to $40,000 range.
Sony also introduced a new Blu-ray Disc player, model BDP-S6200, that includes 4K upscaling. This new model will sell for $179.99.
Vizio was showing a P-series and a “Reference” series of 4K UHD TVs that include HDMI 2.0 inputs with HDCP 2.2. The P-series have very aggressive pricing at $999 go $2599 in sizes from 50 inches to 70 inches. These are smart TVs that support a number of steaming video services, and (apparently) the upcoming Netflix 4K video service. These budget 4K UHD TVs should go a long way toward getting UHD into the homes for many consumers. Vizio also showed a prototype 120 inch 4K UHD TV as the flagship of their upcoming “Reference” series
Blu-ray 4K Technology -
There were no demos at CES 2014 of Blu-ray 4K players nor any formal announcements of upcoming players. However, at least two different industry executives indicated the first products will probably make it to market at the end of 2014. Two specific area of the Blu-ray 4K standard that appear to have not been be fully agreed upon are the specific 4K video codecs to be supported (i.e., just HEVC or to also support Google’s VP9) and if the new Blu-ray 4K player should be more media centers with build-in hard drives to store videos/audio/photos and connectivity to move such media files to & from the player and other devices, including mobile devices.