15 DVDS AND BLU-RAYS THAT ARE STILL EXTREMELY VALUABLE

Marvel

Written by: Matt Singer

Date: August 19, 2019 –

The future, supposedly, is streaming. Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Criterion, Shudder, Tubi, and many more with HBO Max, Disney+, and Apple TV+ all on the way every day it gets easier to watch a wide array of movies and TV shows at home.

But even with all those choices, there are many movies and television shows throughout the history of media that are not available for streaming anywhere (at least not legally). Some of those movies and shows are available on home video — or at least they were at some point. And when those discs went out of print, they became pretty valuable.

Curiosity about the state of the collectible home video market in the age of streaming led me down a deep eBay rabbit hole recently, at which point I spent hours tracking recent completed auctions for collectible Blu-rays and DVDs. Despite our streaming future, people are still paying hundreds of dollars — and, in some cases, upwards of four figures, for rare box sets and discs. Here are 15 examples that went for top dollar on eBay just in the last few months. Do you own any of them? If so, you’ve got a valuable item on your hands.

MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge Vol. 4 & 5

Remember this mid-2000s Spike TV series that took clips from Japanese game show Takeshi’s Castle and overdubbed snarky English language commentary? Well, clearly someone does, and they were willing to pay a boatload for this DVD collecting a bunch of episodes. This DVD recently went for $197.95 on eBay. The picture of the DVD attached to the eBay listing has the original price sticker on it: $30.

The Killer, Criterion Collection DVD

John Woo’s The Killer was one of the very first Criterion Collection DVDs; it’s Spine #8. But the disc quickly fell out of print. While you can buy a Blu-ray of the film on Amazon right now for less than $10, if you want the Criterion DVD, it’ll cost you. The last time one sold on eBay, it went for $199.99.

The History of Beavis and Butt-Head

In 2002, MTV made a DVD called The History of Beavis and Butt-Head. With that title, it sounds like a definitive collection — but it was actually a bunch of cherry picked episodes chosen completely without show creator Mike Judge’s input. Even worse, Judge had “absolute approval rights” over any Beavis and Butt-Head home video releases, which he then used to have the set canceled. Before he could, though, a few copies snuck out into the wild, which is why they are now collectibles. One recently sold on eBay for $225.

Hellraiser: The Scarlet Box

The gurus at Arrow Video have released many highly coveted box sets through the years. This limited edition “Scarlet Box” from 2016 included the first three Hellraiser films, a slew of extras, and an exclusive 200-page book. It retailed for $124.95 but now can fetch upwards of $230 online.

The Complete Sartana

Speaking of Arrow: Their recent box set compiling the films in the Sartana series — a spaghetti Western about a cowboy shrouded in mystery and fond of gadgets — was limited to just 2500 copies. They were first made available at $100 a pop. This summer, one sold on eBay for $243.95.

Kung Fury

This crowdfunded cult short was only released on Blu-ray as a reward for people who donated to the film’s Kickstarter. Those Blu-rays now fetch a heavy price on eBay. Someone paid $249.95 for a disc recently. Kung Fury’s only about 30 minutes long, which means whoever this is was paying about $8 every minute to watch it.

The Vincent Price Collection Vol. 1

Shout! Factory has several collections of Vincent Price horror films on Blu-ray, but the first Volume has gone out of print — and is now highly sought after by collectors. Someone recently paid $280 for Vol. 1 and 2. (If you’re curious, the set includes The Pit & the PendulumThe Masque of the Red DeathThe Haunted PalaceThe Fall of the House of UsherThe Abominable Dr. Phibes, and Witchfinder General.)

Friday the 13th: The Complete Collection

A common theme among very collectible DVDs and Blu-rays: Dedicated fanbases who feel compelled to own the best version of their favorite movies — or sometimes multiple versions. This Friday the 13th set, which has sold online for $279.99 includes all the films in the franchise, plus an exclusive book, and a Camp Crystal Lake patch. Plus: Several of these movies are pretty good!

Halloween: The Complete Collection

There have been a bunch of Halloween Blu-ray and DVD box sets through the years, but the most desirable among collectors is this massive 15-disc set which includes tons of new extras across many of the films, and a book. Going rate on eBay: Just under $300. And some folks are asking more for their copies.

The Real Ghostbusters: Complete Collection

How much would you pay for 25 discs of Ghostbusters cartoons? Someone paid $350 not that long ago. In their defense, it does come in this very handsome box that looks like the team’s firehouse.

Marvel Cinematic Universe Phase One Briefcase Box Set

Who needs a firehouse when you have a Tesseract and briefcase? Not surprising, this limited edition box set of Phase One of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that comes in a recreation of one of the films’ more famous props remains a pricy item among home video enthusiasts. If you want one, expect to pay upwards of $350.

The Third Man, Criterion Blu-ray

You can watch Carol Reed’s The Third Man right now on the Criterion Channel, or even on Netflix. But if you want to watch it on Criterion Blu-ray, don’t expect to do it for cheap. The discs routinely sell for hundreds of dollars. (A sealed copy recently sold for $384.94. But hey, free shipping!)

Battles Without Honor and Humanity: The Complete Collection

Arrow Video’s most highly coveted set might be this limited edition from 2015 that collects Kinji Fukasaku’s five-film yakuza series with exclusive extras like a 224-minute compilation cut of the first four movies that’s super rare. How rare? Try $489 rare.

Dragon Ball Z: Dragon Box Set

The “Dragon Box” sets of Dragon Ball Z are the crème de la crème, as far as DBZ fans are concerned. A complete set of all seven sets recently went for (no we’re not making this up) $800 on eBay. And complete collections routinely go for upwards of $500.

The Monkees: The Complete Series

Originally priced at $199.98, this box set, limited to 10,000 copies, included all 58 episodes of The Monkees, the Monkees’ movie Head, and an exclusive disc of extras including rare screen tests, outtakes, and Monkees guest appearances on other TV shows. Someone was asking $1200 for their set on eBay, then accepted a “Best Offer.” So we don’t know what the final price was, but we do know that for whatever this person paid, you could practically buy the last train to Clarksville.

Source: https://screencrush.com

New Mutants Co-Creator Blasts Film for Misspelling His Name and Whitewashing a Character

Date: 8/28/20 –

Written by: Phillip Martinez

New Mutants - Courtesy of 20th Century Studios.
New Mutants – Courtesy of 20th Century Studios.

New Mutants is finally out in theaters after years of development limbo and re-shoots. But while many comic book fans may be excited to see Magik, Wolfsbane and the film’s other mutants on the big screen, their co-creator isn’t so happy with the adaptation.

Bob McLeod, the artist and inker who co-created the characters alongside writer Chris Claremont for Marvel Comics in the 1980s, went on social media on Friday to voice his displeasure over the changes that the studio and director Josh Boone made to the source material.

In a lengthy Facebook post, and in several tweets, McLeod explained his issues, which include stylings of the characters, a misspelling of his own name and even an accusation of whitewashing.

“I was very excited when I heard they were making a New Mutants movie. I thought making it into a horror movie was perhaps an interesting idea, but not at all how the characters should be introduced to the public at large. But, hey, my characters in a movie!” McLeod wrote on Facebook. “I never would have thought that would actually happen. But then, I was disappointed when they didn’t give Dani braids, although I like [actress] Blu Hunt. I was disappointed when Rahne wasn’t a redhead with spiky hair, although I adore [actress] Maisie Williams. I was disappointed that Sam isn’t tall and gawky, although I do like [actor] Charlie Heaton.

The biggest problem with casting and styling, though, involves the Afro-Brazilian character of Roberto da Costa, a.k.a. Sunspot. In the film, he’s played by a light-skinned Brazilian actor, Henry Zaga. “Mainly I was very disappointed that Roberto isn’t short and dark-skinned. Yet another example of Hollywood white-washing. There’s just no excuse,” McLeod wrote. “So basically, [director] Josh Boone erased everything I contributed to the way the characters look.”

Perhaps most insulting of all to McLeod is the fact that, even though this movie has been stalled and sitting on the shelf for a very long time (filming took place way back in 2017), his name is misspelled in the movie’s credits. He wrote on Facebook: “And now, the movie has come out at last, and apparently they’ve credited someone named Bob Macleod as co-creator. They couldn’t even be bothered to check the spelling of my name sometime in the last three years. And that can’t be fixed. That will be on the movie forever. I think I’m done with this movie.”

Newsweek reached out to 20th Century Studios regarding the mistake, but did not receive comment in time for publication.

Date: 8/28/20 –

Written by: Phillip Martinez –

Source: https://www.newsweek.com

Samsung Rolls Out Filmmaker Mode For The 2020 QLED LCD TVs.

Date: 13 Jul 2020 –

Written by: Rasmus Larsen –

Samsung has started rolling out Filmmaker Mode via a firmware update for its 2020 QLED LCD TVs. It is available now in the US but still pending in Europe. Update: Now also available in Europe.

FILMMAKER MODE FOR SAMSUNG TVS:

Filmmaker Mode was announced in August 2019 by the UHD Alliance. It is a new picture mode for TVs that aims to preserve creative intent by disabling things like motion smoothing and respecting the frame rate, colors, more. The initiative is backed by directors such as Christopher Nolan, Ryan Coogler, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron.

Filmmaker Mode is available as a new picture mode from the picture menu on Samsung 2020 QLED LCD TVs after installing firmware update 1301.5. The update is compatible with Samsung Q950T, Q900T, Q850T, Q800T, Q90T, Q80T, Q70T, and LS03T (The Frame), according to the release notes.

Samsung rolls out Filmmaker Mode for 2020 QLED LCD TVs.
Samsung Rolls Out Filmmaker Mode For 2020 QLED LCD TVs.

FlatpanelsHD has yet to try Filmmaker Mode on Samsung TVs but we have examined it on LG CX and Panasonic HZ1000 where it is largely identical to the already available Cinema Professional picture modes in the two TVs, respectively. Vizio and Philips are also launch partners but have yet to enable it.

Samsung notes that Filmmaker Mode can be enabled manually or automatically if it detects the corresponding flag in the content. This flag has not yet been implemented on discs or streaming services so at this time Filmmaker Mode remains a manual option. It works with both SDR and HDR content.

The update is rolling out now in the US but still pending in Europe. Update: now also available in Europe as firmware ver. 1304. If you are not seeing it via the TV’s built-in update function you can go to Samsung’s support page here to download it manually onto a USB thumb drive. USA: Firmware version 1301.5 can be downloaded from Samsung support.

Vinyl outsells CDs for the first time since the 80s.

Date: 14 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Dan Sung –

Leg Warmers to outdo socks next?

Image credit: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/98327
Image credit: https://pxhere.com/en/photo/98327

Break out your crimpers and Transformers collection, records have outsold CDs in the US for the first time since the 1980s.

Despite physical media sales dropping by 23 percent in the first half of 2020, compared to the previous year, vinyl continues to buck the trend with a rise in sales of 2.3 percent. That may not sound like much but, compared to the drop in CDs by 43.2 percent, and in the face of the pandemic, that’s a positive bonanza for the groovy plastic disc.

According to RIAA, total music sales (digital and physical) still managed a climb of 7 percent overall in the face of the closure of music retail outlets, music venues and the cancellation of festivals and other music-based gatherings all over the world. That’s a slight slow down compared to 2019’s 9 percent growth but certainly nothing dramatic.

As for the humble LP/EP, sales so far in 2020 total an impressive 8.8 million records in the US at a value of $232.1m. To do CDs their dues, there were more units shipped (10.2 million) but sales were only $129.9m. Let’s see how long before that record falls.

Break out your crimpers and Transformers collection, records have outsold CDs in the US for the first time since the 1980s.

Despite physical media sales dropping by 23 percent in the first half of 2020, compared to the previous year, vinyl continues to buck the trend with a rise in sales of 2.3 percent. That may not sound like much but, compared to the drop in CDs by 43.2 percent, and in the face of the pandemic, that’s a positive bonanza for the groovy plastic disc.

According to RIAA, total music sales (digital and physical) still managed a climb of 7 percent overall in the face of the closure of music retail outlets, music venues and the cancellation of festivals and other music-based gatherings all over the world. That’s a slight slow down compared to 2019’s 9 percent growth but certainly nothing dramatic.

As for the humble LP/EP, sales so far in 2020 total an impressive 8.8 million records in the US at a value of $232.1m. To do CDs their dues, there were more units shipped (10.2 million) but sales were only $129.9m. Let’s see how long before that record falls.

Date: 14 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Dan Sung –
Source: https://www.whathifi.com

Xbox Series X Could Hammer PS5 on Audio and HDR Thanks to Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Date: 11 Sep 2020 –
Written By Roland Moore-Colyer –

Image credit: Microsoft Xbox.
(Image credit: Xbox)

Microsoft’s Xbox Series X and Xbox Series S will be the first consoles to come with both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos tech, promising high-end high dynamic range HDR and powerful immersive audio. 

Dolby posted an update on its website that noted how the upcoming next-generation Xbox console will launch with Dolby Atmos support and then get Dolby Vision in 2021. That’s pretty exciting stuff, especially when we consider how the Xbox Series X will already be bringing 4K resolution gaming at 60 frames per second as well as immersive ray-tracing capabilities. 

For the uninitiated, Dolby Vision is one of the more exacting HDR standards, in that it demands a certain level of brightness and color reproduction. And Dolby Atmos is an audio format that delivers immersive sound, with physical or virtual systems building upon surround sound by having overhead audio channels. Modern cinemas have Dolby Atmos seeker systems, so you can consider the audio format as one of the best around for immersive sound. 

Bringing all that to the Xbox Series X and Xbox Series means games that support HDR will have “10x deeper black levels” and “40x brighter highlights.” Combined with a touted 12-bit color depth, future Xbox games, as well as those that have basic HDR support, are set to look very impressive.

Image credit: Dolby.
Image credit: Dolby

And Dolby Atmos will ensure that gaming on the Xbox Series X and Series S isn’t just a visual treat but an aural one as well thanks to high-end immersive sound. 

But there’s a rather large caveat in that you’ll need to ensure you have a TV and sound system that are rated for Dolby Vision and Atmos. Such hardware can be rather expensive. But it’s good to know that if you have such Dolby-grade tech available that the upcoming Xbox consoles will be able to tap into it when they arrive November 10. 

As far as we know, the PS5 won’t have Dolby Vision, which could be a big blow for the console in appealing to gamers with high-end TVs or monitors. But on the audio front, Sony is delivering its own take on 3D audio in the form of the Tempest 3D AudioTech. 

Sony’s audio tech will aim to deliver 3D sound not only through the optimized Pulse 3D wireless headset, but also existing TV and speaker setups. As such, the PS5 could deliver high-end audio without relying on expensive sound-and-vision kit. 

All in all, the next-gen consoles look set to deliver the most immersive gaming experiences yet. The leap in graphics fidelity might not be as significant as it once was, but games are promising to be more detailed and realistic in sight and sound. 

Date: 11 Sep 2020 –
Written By Roland Moore-Colyer –
Source: https://www.tomsguide.com

Panasonic Unveils its First Android TVs for Europe.

Date: 10 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –

With HX700 and HX710, Panasonic will for the first time in Europe offer TVs based on Google’s Android TV platform instead of its own Firefox My Home Screen platform.

Image Credits: Panasonic. 
Panasonic Unveils its First Android TVs for Europe.
Image Credits: Panasonic

PANASONIC ANDROID TVS:
As reported exclusively by FlatpanelsHD in December 2019, Panasonic had plans to introduce its first-ever Android TVs in Europe this year. Here they are in the form of the mid-range HX7 series; 43-inch to 65-inch LCD TVs with 4K Resolution.

While the TV hardware is pretty basic, the move is noteworthy because Panasonic like LG and Samsung has spent years developing and refining its own TV platform. First alone and later in collaboration with Mozilla and its Firefox OS. After Mozilla threw in the towel, Panasonic renamed Firefox OS to MyHomeScreen and continued development.

Is this an acknowledgment from Panasonic that it needs a partner like Google to stay competitive against the likes of Samsung’s Tizen, LG’s webOS, and Apple’s tvOS? We would not go as far. From our sources, we have heard it described as an experiment. If it turns out to be a big seller, Panasonic may decide to implement Android in more of its TVs but there is no guarantee that it will happen.

APPS, CHROMECAST AND MORE:
Nevertheless, it still raises interesting questions. For example, why would a buyer pick the more expensive but very similar (in terms of display technology) HX800 or even HX900 when HX700 comes with the full Android TV platform?

Besides a much wider selection of apps and games, Android TVs offer built-in Chromecast, Google Assistant, and more. Also worth noting; HX700 will probably be Panasonic’s first TVs with Disney+. On the other hand you will not Panasonic’s advanced tuner features like TV Anywhere and in-house streaming. The remote control relies on Bluetooth and has a built-in microphone for Google Assistant.

Panasonic Unveils its First Android TVs for Europe.
Image Credits: Panasonic

The TVs support HDR with three formats; HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. However, adjust your expectations. The LCD TVs are not equipped with LED zone dimming or similar technologies required to deliver the HDR picture experience. HX700 has a black frame while HX710 has a silver-colored frame. They are otherwise identical and will both be available in Europe in 43-inch, 50-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch sizes starting from October/November, depending on your region.

Date: 10 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Sharp Unveils New 120-Inch 8K Display: Up To 120Hz, HDMI 2.1, 2048 Dimming Zones.

Date: 11 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Anton Shilov –

Sharp’s next-generation 8K LCD has HDMI 2.1 & 120Hz refresh rate.

Image credit: Sharp
Image credit: Sharp

Sharp has announced its next-generation ultra-large display featuring an 8K resolution, advanced backlighting with 2048 local dimming zones, and an HDMI 2.1 input. Given its dimensions, the Sharp 8M-B120C is designed primarily for commercial applications, but users with large homes and deep pockets can certainly use it for gaming and home entertainment. 

The Sharp 8M-B120C is based on a 120-inch UV2A II LCD (presumably IPS/IGZO) panel featuring a 7680×4320 resolution, 600 nits typical brightness (i.e. peak brightness in HDR mode is considerably higher), a 3500:1 contrast ratio, a 6 ms GtG response time, an up to 120 Hz refresh rate (albeit only for 4K content), and 176 degree / 176 degree horizontal / vertical viewing angles. The display uses a direct LED backlight featuring 2048 LEDs for enhanced contrasts. Given the display’s vast dimensions and power consumption, the unit is rated for up to 16 hours of continuous operation. 

Sharp says that the 8M-B120C monitor can reproduce 1.07 billion colors and is designed to cover a significant portion of the ITU-R BT.2020 color gamut. Meanwhile, to make the colors look more vivid, the 8M-B120C has a little better representation of red than defined by the BT.2020, according to the company. The display supports HDR technologies, such as HLG. 

Being the first company to release its 8K display over five years ago, Sharp has been gradually improving its panels featuring a 7680×4320 resolution as well as displays and televisions. When compared to predecessors, the Sharp 8M-B120C supports a higher typical brightness (600 nits vs. 400 nits), a faster response time (6 ms vs. 8 ms), and an HDMI 2.1 input that will make the unit compatible with upcoming consoles, players, and other equipment.

Image credit: Sharp
Image credit: Sharp

While the Sharp 8M-B120C is not a television, it does support the company’s super resolution technology used on the company’s Aquos 8K TVs that upconverts content to the panel’s native resolution as well as enhancing its quality. Furthermore, the display can also playback music and video files. 

As far as connectivity is concerned, the Sharp 8M-B120C is equipped with an HDMI 2.1 input which supports 4Kp120 and 8Kp60 formats over a single cable, four HDMI ports, a D-Sub (VGA) connector for a PC, and a 3.5-mm stereo audio input. The device also has a 100 Mbps Ethernet as well as two USB 3.0 ports. 

Premium video quality offered by the Sharp 8M-B-120C is accompanied by a Dolby Audio-badged audio subsystem featuring four 10-W speakers as well as two 15-W speakers. The LCD also has analogue and optical audio outputs. 

Featuring a 120-inch diagonal size, the Sharp 8M-B120C is enormously large and measures 107 x 32 x 78 inches (2717 × 805 × 1979 mm). It is also heavy: it weighs 454 pounds 206 kg with it stand. 

Sharp plans to start taking orders on its 8M-B120C display in late September and at least initially will make them to order. Recommended pricing of the product has not been announced, but we are certainly dealing with a premium LCD that will be priced accordingly.

Date: 11 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Anton Shilov –
Source: http://m.sharpusa.com

Xbox Series X and S first consoles with Dolby Vision + Atmos gaming support.

Date: 10 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –

With Xbox Series X and S, Microsoft and Dolby are for the first time bringing Dolby Vision support, in addition to Atmos, to console gaming. The first Dolby Vision games will arrive in 2021.

DOLBY VISION AND ATMOS GAMING:
Current Xbox One consoles support HDR10 and Dolby Vision for apps, but gaming support is limited to basic HDR10. Xbox Series X and Series S will be the first consoles to support the Dolby Vision HDR format with dynamic metadata for gaming. – You’ll also experience the same great audio on Xbox Series S that you will on Xbox Series X”.

With Spatial Sound, including support for Dolby Atmos. What’s more, support for Dolby Vision via streaming media apps like Disney+, Vudu and Netflix will be available across Xbox Series S and Xbox Series X at launch, and Dolby Vision support for gaming will come first to our next-gen Xbox consoles in 2021,” announced Microsoft.

Microsoft and Dolby have not provided details on the implementation but we expect it to be based on the same ‘low latency’ version of Dolby Vision that is currently supported on Xbox One for apps. With the low latency version the console/player takes over the heavy lifting (Dolby Vision processing) from the TV. The challenge with the low latency mode is that it is not universally supported by all Dolby Vision-compatible TVs; examples of excluded TVs being 2016 LG OLED models and 2016-17 Vizio models. As a result, Dolby Vision officially became a fragmented format last year.

If you own a more recent Dolby Vision-compatible TV you should be ready for the action, but the big question of course is whether there will be any benefit over standard HDR10 format that already offers expanded luminance and color range? We will not know for sure until we try it but the scene-by-scene or frame-by-frame dynamic metadata of Dolby Vision may improve the HDR presentation on TVs with less capable display hardware.

CYBERPUNK 2077' WILL SUPPORT DOLBY ATMOS ON XBOX SERIES X AND S. PHOTO: DOLBY.
CYBERPUNK 2077′ WILL SUPPORT DOLBY ATMOS ON XBOX SERIES X AND S. PHOTO: DOLBY.

FIRST DOLBY VISION GAMES IN 2021:
We will have to wait a little longer for games with Dolby Vision support to be announced. The first ones should arrive sometime in 2021.

“With support for Dolby Atmos games at launch and Dolby Vision games coming in 2021, the Xbox Series X and Series S will be the first consoles ever to enable gaming in both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos,” said Dolby.

Dolby confirmed that titles like Cyberpunk 2077, F1 2020, Gears 5, Call of Duty: Warzone, and Ori and the Will of the Wisps will support Atmos sound on Xbox Series X and Series S. Current Xbox One consoles also support Atmos for gaming.

Sony has yet to confirm if it will support Dolby’s video and audio formats for gaming although we expect it to support at least Dolby Atmos for apps and UHD Blu-ray. For immersive audio in gaming, Sony has developed its own object-based 3D audio format called ‘Tempest Audio’ that it claims to be better than Atmos in part because it supports more audio objects.

Date: 10 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Apple TV App Arrives on Vizio TVs with 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos Support.

Date: 09 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –

Apple and Vizio are rolling the Apple TV app with access to Apple TV+, iTunes movies, and channels and with a free 3 month trial. Content is available in up to 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos.

APPLE TV APP ON VIZIO TVS:
After the launch on select Samsung TVs, LG TVs, Roku, and FireTV, the Apple TV app is now rolling out to Vizio TVs from 2016 or later powered by the SmartCast platform. It will be available in the US and Canada. The app provides access to the Apple TV+ subscription service with titles like Greyhound, The Morning Show, Ted Lasso, and Central Park. It also offers access to the iTunes movie library where users can rent or buy over 100,000 movies and TV shows, including titles available in 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos, which is supported on compatible Vizio TVs, the company noted.

Apple TV app arrives on Vizio TVs with 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos support.
Apple TV app arrives on Vizio TVs with 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos support.

“With the Apple TV app coming to Vizio SmartCast TVs, customers can enjoy an even Broader range of exciting entertainment, including the popular and award-winning Apple TV+ service,” said Mike O’Donnell, Chief Revenue Officer, Vizio. The app supports channels meaning subscription content from partners including Showtime, Starz, and CBS All Access. In addition, Vizio TVs support Apple’s AirPlay 2 and HomeKit systems. The companies said that new customers in the US can sign up for a free three month trial to Apple TV+ after which it will renew at the standard $5 per month rate. The Apple TV app will also launch on select Sony TVs later this year.

Date: 09 Sep 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

LG’s entry-level BX is its most affordable OLED of 2020.

Written by: Kob Monney 
Date: September 7, 2020

LG’s BX OLED has finally gone on sale, and it’s the South Korean manufacturer’s cheapest OLED set for 2020.

LG’s BX OLED has finally gone on sale.
LG’s BX OLED Has Finally Gone on Sale.

LG’s entry-level B series OLED TV is usually the last of its OLED TVs to go on sale, and LG has confirmed that the BX is available to purchase from retailers such as Currys and John Lewis & Partners.

EVERY LG OLED AND NANOCELL EXPLAINED:
The B series OLEDs tend to use a less advanced picture processor (hence the more affordable price). Rather than use the α9 Gen 3 processor seen on the CX OLED and GX OLED, the BX opts for the α7 Gen 3 processor that’s used on LG’s premium 4K NanoCell sets.

The list of features is effectively the same as what’s on the premium OLEDs. There’s support for Dolby Vision IQ and Dolby Atmos sound, the former tailoring Dolby Vision HDR to suit the lighting conditions for your room; the latter providing higher-quality TV audio. Filmmaker Mode is also included, though there’s literally no content been made available in the format yet.

LG’s ThinQ AI tech turns the TV into a central smart hub for the home with support for Google Assistant and built-in Amazon Alexa. Connections are downgraded from the CX and GX. Instead of all the HDMI ports supporting the 2.1 spec, there are only two, with the other two supporting the HDMI 2.0 spec. You still get eARC compatibility for piping through Dolby Atmos content.

LG’s webOS interface has nearly all the apps you’d want in Apple TV, Disney+ and Netflix. There’s still no Freeview Play, but there is the BBC iPlayer app, which arrived at the beginning of September. We’re still waiting on word for the rest of the UK catch-up apps.

And the BX continues LG’s approach to gaming with NVIDIA G-SYNC compatibility, as well as VRR and ALLM for slicker gaming responses and auto-switching into Game Mode. There’s 120fps support, which may make this an ideal OLED if the next-gen consoles are confirmed to cost a pretty penny.

The LG BX is available to purchase in 55-inch for £1299 and the 65-inch for £1999 sizes now.

Written by: Kob Monney 
Date: September 7, 2020
Source: https://www.trustedreviews.com

48″ OLED TVs in high demand, especially among gamers.

Date: 27 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –


Bringing OLED technology to smaller TV sizes has proven to be a success, according to industry sources in Korea via Pulse News. Especially with Gamers.

ALTERNATIVE TO LCD MONITORS:
Earlier this year, LG launched the first 48-inch OLED TV. Previously, OLED display technology was reserved for 55 inches or larger, while LCD technology spans to full spectrum.

The TVs have reportedly been in high demand since launch, the article claimed based on industry sources and research firm Omdia formerly IHS Markit. Sales were boosted by the general stay-at-home entertainment boom from the global coronavirus pandemic.

“The LG 48-inch CX 4K OLED TV sold out in one minute during the South Korean electronics maker’s three pre-order events held locally since its domestic release in late July, according to industry sources on Thursday. The model also had gone out of stock in just one week of its release in some European markets,” the report said.

48" OLED TVs in high demand, especially among Gamers.
48″ OLED TVs in High Demand, Especially Among Gamers.

The report notes that LG has seen high demand from especially gamers. 48-inch OLED is not cheap but smaller LCD gaming monitors with similar features, and subpar picture quality, can often cost the same or more. 4x-inch LCD TVs typically lack advanced features to keep costs down. LG’s 48-inch CX OLED TV on the other hand offers HDMI 2.1, HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync, and Nvidia G-Sync Compatible.

Sony also recently launched a 48-inch OLED TV but it lacks many of the gaming features found in LG’s model. Additional TV makers are expected to launch 48-inch OLED models later this year.

Date: 27 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Yamaha launches first AV receivers with multiple HDMI 2.1 inputs.

Date: 26 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –


Yamaha has unveiled its first AV Receivers with HDMI 2.1 inputs for 8K60, 4K120, VRR, and more. The RX-V receivers are also the first to feature multiple HDMI 2.1 inputs.

YAMAHA HDMI 2.1 RECEIVERS:
Marantz and Denon introduced the first AV receivers with HDMI 2.1 but Yamaha’s new RX-V AV receivers will be the first to feature more than one HDMI 2.1 input.

“In fact, no other AV receiver on the market offers as many 8K HDMI inputs as Yamaha, with three on the RX-V6A (7 inputs total) and all four inputs on the RX-V4A,” the company said.

This may prove useful if you are planning to invest in both PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X or a next-generation game consoles plus a next-generation video player in the future. HDMI 2.1 is required for 4K120 (4K at 120fps) and 8K signals. Having HDMI 2.1 in your receiver ensures that it does not become a bottleneck (for pass-through to a TV) in a HiFi setup.

new Yamaha AV Receiver RX-V6A. Photo Credits by: Yamaha
Yamaha RX-V6A. Photo: Yamaha

The receivers also support optional HDMI 2.1 features such as Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable Refresh Rates (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT), and Quick Media Switching (QMS), said Yamaha. All HDMI 2.1 features will require a firmware update.

Furthermore, the company has included support for Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Dolby Vision pass through all inputs, AirPlay 2, Spotify Connect, multi-room audio, and voice control.

The Yamaha RX-V6A. Photo Credits: Yamaha
The Yamaha RX-V6A. Photo: Yamaha

The alternative to upgrading to an HDMI 2.1 receiver is to connect next-gen game consoles and players directly to an TV with HDMI 2.1 plus support for HDMI eARC, which can then return full-quality audio back to an HDMI 2.0 receiver with eARC support.

Yamaha’s new RX-V4A and RX-V6A will be available in August and September 2020 for $440 and $600, respectively.

YAMAHA RX-V RECEIVERS – SPECIFICATIONS:

RX-V6A AT A GLANCE:
– 7.2-ch., 100 Watt AV Receiver with Zone 2.
– 8K/60Hz & 4K/120Hz*, HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 and eARC 7-in and 1-out.
– Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization*.
– YPAO Multi-Point automatic room calibration.
– Voice control with Amazon Alexa, Siri via AirPlay 2 and Google Assistant.
– MusicCast multi-room app control with optional wireless surrounds.
– $599.95 MSRP, available Sept. 2020.


RX-V4A AT A GLANCE:
– 5.1-ch., 80-Watt AV receiver.
– 8K/60Hz & 4K/120Hz*, HDMI 2.1 with HDCP 2.3 and eARC 4-in and 1-out.
– YPAO automatic room calibration.
– Voice Control with Amazon Alexa, Siri via AirPlay 2 and Google Assistant.
– MusicCast multi-room app control with optional wireless surrounds.
– $439.95 MSRP, available Aug. 2020.

* Available via Firmware Update…

Date: 26 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Google Play Movies Now Offers Movies in HDR10+

Date: 20 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –


Google’s Movie Service, Play Movies, now offers movies in 4K and HDR10+ in 117 Countries. Samsung is a launch partner but additional platforms will follow.

Google Play Movies now offers movies in HDR10+
Google Play Movies Now Offers Movies in HDR10+

HDR10+ MOVIES:
As promised at CES 2020, Google now offers movies in HDR10+, the dynamic metadata HDR format developed mainly by Samsung. Google also recently added support for Dolby Vision, meaning that some of its movies are available in a total of three HDR flavors.

Some of Google’s first titles in HDR10+ include The Joker, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Shazam, and Crazy Rich Asians. Additional titles will be added over time.

Samsung is a launch partner and it was confirmed that Google’s HDR10+ titles will be made available on “other additional platforms in the future as well”

“The HDR10+ service is now available on Samsung Smart TV in 117 countries including North America, Europe and Korea,” said Samsung. “Users can now enjoy high-resolution HDR10+ 4K HDR content on the Google Play Movies.”

The Joker is now available in HDR10, HDR10+ And Dolby Vision on Google Play Movies.
The Joker is now available in HDR10, HDR10+ & Dolby Vision on Google Play Movies.

HDR10+ STILL STRUGGLING:
In 2017, Samsung, Panasonic and 20th Century Fox formed the HDR10+ alliance but HDR10+ has been struggling to build momentum against Dolby’s HDR format, Dolby Vision, which is more widely adopted.

Panasonic now supports Dolby Vision in addition to HDR10+ in its TVs while 20th Century Fox has been swallowed by Disney who has seemingly abandoned HDR10+ for Fox titles. Samsung is the sole holdout.

Google’s launch cannot be seen as a win for HDR10+ either as the company is also offering content in Dolby’s HDR. Samsung said that there are now 108 HDR10+ partners worldwide, although only a handful of these are consumer-facing companies. The company added that it remains committed to the format.

Date: 20 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

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Samsung Takes Lion’s Share of Global TV Market in H1

Date: August 19, 2020 –
Written by: Korea Bizwire –

This Photo Shows Customers at a TV Store in Seoul. Photo Credits: Yonhap
This Photo Shows Customers at a TV Store in Seoul. Photo Credits: Yonhap.

SEOUL, AUG. 19 KOREA BIZWIRE:
Samsung Electronics Co. remained the top TV vendor in the first half of the year, a report showed Wednesday, despite a contraction of the global TV market due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Samsung accounted for 31.3 percent of the world TV market in terms of value in the first six months, according to market tracker Omdia, up 1.3 percentage points from a year ago.

By shipment volume, Samsung’s market share reached 20.7 percent in the first half of the year, up 1.7 percentage points from a year ago.

The South Korean tech giant shipped 19.07 million TVs in the first six months of the year, compared with 19.02 million TVs a year earlier, Omdia said.

Brisk sales of QLED TVs and strong performances in North America and Europe in the second quarter of the year helped Samsung maintain its status.

Samsung’s QLED TV sales jumped 28 percent on-year to 1.4 million units in the April-June period. Its market share of 75-inch TVs reached 65.5 percent in North America and 54 percent in Europe.

In the first half of the year, global TV shipments reached 91.87 million units, down 7.7 percent from a year earlier, as the pandemic subdued consumer spending.

In terms of value, the market contracted 17.8 percent on-year to US$39.7 billion, according to Omdia.

LG Electronics Inc. was the runner-up to Samsung with a 17 percent market share in the first half of the year, up 1 percentage point from a year ago, Omdia data showed.

In terms of shipments, LG was also second with an 11.7 percent market share after delivering 10.79 million TVs. However, when it comes to the second quarter alone, the company came in third behind China’s TCL.

Industry observers said TV sales in the second half are likely to be larger than the first half due to promotional events around Thanksgiving Day and year-end holidays, though a resurgence of virus cases in many countries could dampen their efforts.

Date: August 19, 2020 –
Written by: Korea Bizwire –
Source: http://koreabizwire.com

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Konka delays US launch of OLED as it launches Android LCD TVs.

Date: 19 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –


Konka is launching new Android LCD TVs starting from $140, or $240 with 4K resolution. The OLED TVs announced at CES will be delayed to 2021.

KONKA REENTERS THE US:
China’s Konka is reentering the US TV market with three LCD TV ranges; H3, U5 and Q7 Pro. Ranging from 32 to 75 inches, all of the new LCD TVs feature direct LED without local dimming zones and either HD or 4K resolution.

All of the new LCD TVs also run Google’s Android TV platform, which offers access to streaming services such as Disney+, Netflix, and HBO.

“We’re very excited to announce that our high-performance Konka Android TVs are shipping now!” said Scott Ramirez, SVP of sales, Konka NA. “When consumers experience these Konka TVs, they’ll immediately see the difference, and everyone will know there’s a new player in town that’s offering a higher level of quality and value.”

Konka is a top-5 TV brand in its home country of China.
Konka is a top-5 TV brand in its home country of China.

Konka is a top-5 TV brand in its home country of China. It has previously tried to enter the US market without luck. At CES 2020, it announced that it will reenter the market, now with Google’s Android and a broad line-up of low to high-end TVs.

However, the 55- and 65-inch OLED TVs that Konka unveiled at CES 2020 as high-end TVs will not make it to the US this year as planned, the company confirmed to HDGuru, saying that the company decided to postpone our OLED TV launch until 2021 and instead focus on launching QLED TV as our advanced panel technology for 2020.

The new LCD-based Android TVs from Konka will start shipping in the US this month.

KONKA 2020 TV MODELS HIGHLIGHTED FEATURES:

H3 SERIES ANDROID TV MORE FOR YOUR MONEY:
Unlike many other TVs in their price class, the KONKA H3 Series TVs incorporate the stunning KONKA ZeroBezel  design and includes free the Voice Control Remote in the box. Combined with the powerfully smart Android TV system, KONKA H3 Series provides more for your money.  KONKA H3 Series TVs will be available in 32″ class 720p HD and 40″ class 1080p Full HD models, starting at $139.99.

KONKA U5 SERIES 4K ANDROID TV A NOTICEABLY BETTER TV:
The KONKA U5 Series is designed to be a noticeably better TV. In addition to the KONKA ZeroBezel design, KONKA XC3 Ultra HD Engine, AccuMotion enhanced motion rate and 4K HDR, the U5 Series also includes superior LED panel technology with ColorWave wide color gamut and HiBright Pro LED Backlight for 25% more brightness.  The result is incredible picture quality that everyone can appreciate. 

The U5 Series also has an enhanced Jack Pack with 4 HDMI Digital Inputs, 3 USB Inputs and much more.  KONKA U5 Series will be available in 43″, 50″, 55″, 65″ and 75″ class 4K Ultra HD models, starting at $239.99.

Q7 PRO SERIES QLED ANDROID TV A QUANTUM LEAP IN COLOR:
In addition to all of the incredible features found in the U5 Series, the Q7 Pro Series steps up to advanced QLED – Quantum Dot Technology and ColorWave Pro wide color gamut for 25% more color to create picture quality that is amazingly rich and shockingly lifelike illustrated in image. Because premium picture quality deserves a premium cosmetic design, the Q7 Pro Series also incorporates the KONKA ZeroBezel Pro metal design for the ultimate in TV styling. KONKA Q7 Pro Series will be available in 50″, 55″, 65″ and 75″ class models, starting at $369.99.

Date: 19 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

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Philips Launches its First 2020 OLED TVs With Android 9.0, DTS And Play-Fi.

Date: 14 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –


The first 2020 OLED TVs from Philips are rolling out now in Europe. The OLED805 and OLED855 feature 4K, Ambilight, Android 9.0 and for the first time DTS and Play-Fi. Additional OLED models for 2020 will be unveiled soon.

PHILIPS 2020 OLED TVS:
Like last year, OLED805 and OLED855 and in some regions OLED865 feature 4K Resolution, support for multi-HDR HDR10, HDR10+, HLG and Dolby Vision, Android TV version 9.0, and of course Ambilight.

New major features this year are DTS Play-Fi and an upgraded P5 AI video processor that has been optimised through machine learning to enhance the picture in five areas, the company explained; source, color, contrast, motion and sharpness. We will take a closer look in our upcoming review.

The First 2020 OLED TVs From Philips Are Rolling olOut Now in Europe.
The first 2020 OLED TVs from Philips are rolling out now in Europe.

As for DTS Play-Fi integration, the company says that it is the “first step towards building a complete wireless connectivity platform“. In addition to multiroom music support, DTS Play-Fi lets users connect speakers wirelessly to the TV in up to 5.1 surround sound.

OLED805, OLED855 and OLED865 are technical identical. The difference lies in design and the table top stand. Another new development worth highlighting is the revamped remote control in leather with backlit buttons.

The New OLED TVs From Philips Will Compete Head to Head With OLED TVs From LG, Sony, Panasonic And Other TV Brands in Europe.
The new OLED TVs from Philips will compete head to head with OLED TVs from LG, Sony, Panasonic and other TV brands in Europe.

GOOGLE, DOLBY & B&W PARTNERSHIPS:
The new OLED TVs from Philips will compete head to head with OLED TVs from LG, Sony, Panasonic and other TV brands in Europe.

Sony and Philips have both embraced Google’s Android TV platform that offers access to apps via the Play Store whereas LG is positioning its OLED TVs as console friendly by including HDMI 2.1 ports, and Panasonic has a customized, high brightness OLED panel in its flagship model.

Besides its partnerships with Google and Dolby, Philips has partnered with Bowers & Wilkins. These 8 Series OLED TVs will not come equipped with B&W speakers but the company has teased that it will soon unveil additional 2020 models with B&W speakers.

We expect to hear more in early September during IFA 2020. Philips OLED 8×5 models are rolling out now in Europe and will be more widely available in a few weeks.

Date: 14 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

TCL Launches Upgraded 6 Series 4K LCD TVs With miniLED and VRR.

Date: 12 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –


TCL has launched upgraded mid-range 6-series 4K LCD TVs starting at $650. The 2020 generation features miniLED dimming zones, Roku, and 120Hz plus VRR for gaming.

TCL 6-SERIES 4K LCD TVS:
The new TVs from TCL will compete with mid-range LCD TVs from the likes of Samsung, Vizio, and Sony. Like Samsung, TCL uses QLED technology to improve colors on its LCD TVs.

The New 6-Series models For 2020 4K LCD TVs With miniLED and VRR.
The New 6-Series models For 2020 4K LCD TVs With miniLED and VRR.

The new 6-series models for 2020 feature a VA LCD panel with 4K resolution and local dimming with up to 240 zones in 75 inches, which is significantly lower than the company’s 8-series but still more than most mid-range TVs.

TCL says that it is utilizing miniLED rather than standard LED in the backlight unit. Normally miniLED would allow a manufacturer to increase the number of dimming zones but here TCL is most likely using it to reduce energy consumption and ensure that the TV stays relatively slim despite its zone dimming capabilities.

The TVs are powered by the company’s AIPQ Engine video processor. It was confirmed that the TVs will support up to 120Hz input, although it did not specify at what resolution.

There was no mention of HDMI 2.1 ports either but it did say that variable refresh rate VRR for smoother gaming is supported. In addition, the TVs are the first to feature a THX certified game mode.

The TVs Support HDR High Dynamic Range.
The TVs Support HDR High Dynamic Range.

The TVs support HDR High Dynamic Range. Content presented in the wider luminance and color range is available through Netflix, Apple TV, and other apps on the Roku platform inside.

The three HDR formats supported are HDR10, HLG, and Dolby Vision. Dolby Atmos is supported although you will need an external sound system to take advantage of the object-based audio format.

TCL’s 2020 6-Series is rolling out now in the US. A 55-inch model 55R635 costs $650, a 65-inch model 65R635 costs $900, and a 75-inch 75R635 model costs $1400.

The TCL Company also launched the new 6-Series LCD TVs with 4K Resolution.
The Company Also Launched New 6-Series LCD TVs With 4K Resolution.

NEW 5 SERIES MODELS:
The company also launched new 6-Series LCD TVs with 4K resolution, quantum dots for an expanded color gamut, and local dimming with a limited number of dimming zones up to 80. The TV supports HDR including Dolby Vision but it remains to be seen if the LCD panel inside is capable of delivering actual HDR. TCL’s 5 series models are available in the US in sizes from 50 to 75 inches starting at 400 dollars.

Date: 12 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Philips Debuts New 4K LCD TVs with Ambilight.

Date: 05 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –


2020 LCD models from Philips are rolling out now in Europe. The new mid-range TVs feature Ambilight, 4K and DTS Play-Fi. They run either Android or Saphi.

PHILIPS 2020 LCD TVS:
In Philips’ 2020 line-up you get Ambilight from PUS7805 and up, and Android TV from PUS8505 and up. The more affordable models run the company’s own Saphi platform, which has a different selection of streaming apps.

The new LCD TVs launching now are mid-range models. An upgraded version of ‘The One’ (PUS8505) TV comes with all of the essential features of a modern TV, said Philips.

2020 LCD Models From Philips are Rolling out now in Europe.
2020 LCD Models From Philips are Rolling out now in Europe

A new feature this year is DTS Play-Fi from PUS8505 and up, which lets you connects compatible speakers wirelessly to the TV. In addition, it lets you connect a Philips TV to a DTS-powered multiroom system.

The TVs also support Dolby Atmos audio from apps such as Netflix, which can be transmitted to a sounder or receiver via HDMI.

Philips 2020 LCD TV Models.
Philips 2020 LCD TV Models.

HIGH-END LCD TVS COMING LATER:
Besides the new 7 and 8 series LCD TVs, Philips will soon introduce new high-end 9 series LCD TVs, including PUS9005 that reintroduces 4-sided Ambilight. The mood lighting system can be extended through Philips Hue. Ambilight also offers game and music modes.

Due to the market situation and dearth of content, the company is taking wait-and-see approach to 8K. All of the new mid-range models feature 4K resolution. A low-end 6 series model with HD resolution will be introduced only in select markets. Philips is not alone is in phasing out HDTVs.

The upcoming 9 series TVs will also feature Bowers & Wilkins speakers. We expect to hear more about the plans in early September at an online event. Usually, Philips would unveil its latest TVs at the IFA show in Berlin but IFA is more or less cancelled this year due to coronavirus.

The 2020 LCD TVs from Philips are rolling out now in Europe, with the 9 series models expected this autumn.

Date: 05 Aug 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Panasonic Launches New Flagship HZ2000 OLED TV for 2020.

Date: 31 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –


The successor to last year’s GZ2000, which received our Reference Award, has arrived. HZ2000 features the 2020 OLED panel with improved BFI, Filmmaker Mode, improved sound, and more.

HZ2000 REPLACES GZ2000:
Last year’s GZ2000 was the first TV to use a customized version of LG. Display’s standard OLED panel, which is used in all OLED TVs on the market today. This panel has higher average and peak brightness (up to 1000 nits) and we gave it our Reference Award.

Here comes the successor in the form of HZ2000. On top of improved brightness capabilities, the OLED panel features the improved BFI (Black Frame Insertion) system of the 2020 OLED panel.

Panasonic Launches New Flagship HZ2000 OLED TV for 2020.
Panasonic launches new flagship HZ2000 OLED TV for 2020.

In addition, Panasonic says that HZ2000 offers an improved 3.0.2-channel speaker system for Dolby Atmos as well as HDMI eARC. It also comes with Filmmaker Mode and Dolby Vision IQ – like HZ1000 that we recently reviewed.

Finally, the company says that version 5.0 of its MyHomeScreen TV platform has some user interface tweaks. There are still no plans to provide software updates for MyHomeScreen after purchase.

On the other hand Panasonic is not yet ready to move to HDMI 2.1, which means that HZ2000 may not be an ideal partner for next-generation game consoles and video players. LG, Samsung and Sony have all begun the transition to HDMI 2.1 in high-end 4K TVs.

On the other hand Panasonic is not yet ready to move to HDMI 2.1, which means that HZ2000 may not be an ideal partner for next-generation game consoles and video players. LG, Samsung and Sony have all begun the transition to HDMI 2.1 in high-end 4K TVs.

Panasonic HZ2000 is available now in Europe in 55 and 65 inch sizes starting at £3300 / €2900.

Date: 31 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Sony Unveils First Ready for PlayStation 5, 4K & 8K TVs.

Date: 29 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


The first ‘Ready for PlayStation 5’ TVs are the recently launched X900H (XH90) and Z8H (ZH8) models. The new program covers 4K120 support, a new Bravia Game Mode, and more.

READY FOR PLAYSTATION 5:
Sony’s TV and PlayStation division have jointly launched a new initiative to mark TVs that are ready for the next-generation video/audio features in PlayStation 5.

The company said that its X900H (XH90) 4K LCD TVs and Z8H (ZH8) 8K LCD TVs are the first models to receive the stamp of approval. Both will support 4K resolution at 120fps (frames per second) via HDMI 2.1. X900H (XH90) has input lag of just 7.2 ms (in 120fps mode). Z8H (ZH8) will support 8K from PS5 following a firmware update.

TV makers like LG and Samsung are also offering TVs with HDMI 2.1.

Sony 4K / 60fps and 4K / 120 fps TVs.
Sony 4K / 60fps and 4K / 120 fps TVs.

The XH90 displays gameplay images of up to 4K resolution at 120 fps with a very low input lag of 7.2ms. The ZH8 is capable of displaying incredibly detailed 8K resolution images 4 while also showcasing 4K resolution gameplay images at super-smooth 120 fps (supporting spec varies by PS5 game). Both TVs will provide extremely smooth gaming experiences with the PS5 console,” said Sony.

The company indicated that some future models will also be labeled ready for PS5. It should be noted that Sony’s new 4K LCD flagship X950H (XH95) and new 2020 OLED models (A8H/A8 and A9) are not part of the program. These TVs lack HDMI 2.1 ports.

BRAVIA GAME MODE:
The initiative also covers a new ‘Bravia Game Mode’ that automatically puts the TV into game mode after a game loads on PS5. It sounds like HDMI ALLM, which is also supported in TVs from other manufacturer, although Sony refrained from mentioning ALLM by name.

Furthermore, this feature lets the TV wake from stand-by together with PS5. It will also be possible to control the PS5 console via the TV remote control.

Lastly, the company highlighted ‘immersive sound’ without providing any further details as to what level of support is required by the TV. With PlayStation 5 Sony has developed a new ‘Tempest’ object-based audio technology to provide more immersive game audio – similar to Dolby Atmos. With object-based technology each sound can be encoded as an object rather than pre-mixed to surround channels.

Sony released this graphic as part of its announcement.

Ready for PlayStation 5 Bravia HX90 TVs
Sony Ready for PlayStation 5 The Bravia HX90 TVs

Sony’s First 48″ OLED TV Will Cost €1900 / £1800

Date: 24 Jul 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen

Sony’s first 48-inch OLED TV will be available in Europe starting from August for €1900 and £1800. It is a new high-end A9 model.

48″ HIGH-END TV FROM SONY:
Over the last decade, we have seen TV makers push their best picture quality and most advanced features up into larger screen sizes. First 46 inches, then 55 inches, and now even 65 inches for some TV brands.

That changes in 2020 with the launch of the first 48-inch OLED TVs. The smaller panel is, besides higher pixel density, identical to the larger 55 to 77 inch panels, so you will get the same great picture quality. This includes 4K resolution, 100Hz, pixel-level luminance and color control for HDR as well as accurate colors in up to DCI-P3.

LG was the first manufacturer to launch a 48 inch OLED model and starting next month, August, Sony will also offer a 48 inch OLED TV in Europe, with availability in other regions including North America to follow later. It is a new high-end A9 model with Android TV, Acoustic Surface sound, Dolby Vision, Dolby Atmos, AirPlay 2, and more.

Sony’s First 48-inch OLED TV Will Be Available in Europe.

Sony UK and Sony Germany have today announced that the 48-inch model will cost £1800 and €1900 at launch. It will start shipping in Europe in late August. This puts it approximately 200 to 300 Euro or pounds higher than LG’s 48 inch model, which unlike Sony’s model features HDMI 2.1 ports and features.

Sony has confirmed only a 48-inch A9 model for 2020 but it may have more to share in early September during IFA. We expect to see 48 inch OLED TVs from other TV makers announced at the same time.

At launch, a 48 inch OLED TV will be significantly more expensive than a 46 to 50 inch LCD TV but in terms of picture quality it is night and day.

Date: 24 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

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Peacock Launches Without 4K, HDR and Dolby Atmos.

Date: 15 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –

NBCUniversal’s Peacock launches today in the US, with free and premium tiers. The new streaming service will not offer 4K HDR or Dolby Atmos at launch. It will not be on Roku or FireTV either.

PEACOCK UNFOLDS ITS FEATHERS:
Peacock will have a free, ad-supported tier with limited access to 13,000 hours of content, a $5/month tier with 20,000 hours of content and ads, and a $10/month tier with full, ad-free access. That is the good news.

The bad news is that, like WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, Peacock is not offering 4K HDR video or Dolby Atmos audio at launch. Movies and TV series are available in up to HD resolution. There is no word on when to expect it either. Up to 3 simultaneous streams are allowed.

It is not because NBCUniversal lacks movies in 4K HDR. Universal Studios is one of the most prolific studios when it comes to releasing UHD Blu-ray discs and 4K HDR movies through video-on-demand services such as iTunes and Vudu.

Peacock Launches Without 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos

Peacock will roll out today on Apple TV including the Apple TV app, Android TV, Chromecast, Xbox One, Vizio SmartCast TVs version 2.0 or later, and LG webOS TVs version 3.5 or later. It effectively means that many owners of recent Vizio and LG TVs will not be able to download the app.

Again like HBO Max, Peacock will not be available on Roku and Amazon FireTV at launch. These TV platforms are, according to most estimates, the biggest two in the US. Negotiations have reported stalled over terms for revenue sharing from ads.

With Peacock, you will have access to new originals from NBCUniversal as well as popular catalog titles from Universal, Focus Features, DreamWorks, and Illumination such as Jurassic Park, E.T., Meet the Parents, Shrek, Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, Saturday Night Live, King of Queens, Everybody Loves Raymond, Two and a Half Men, and Frasier. Coming soon are titles like Trolls World Tour, The Office, and new original TV shows.

NBCUniversal is the latest to enter the streaming wars after Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, and Quibi. Peacock will launch in the US today and later internationally. You can check it out on peacocktv.com.

Date: 15 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Marantz Unveils its First Receivers with HDMI 2.1.

Date: 14 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Marantz has unveiled its first line of 8K ready receivers with HDMI 2.1 for 4K 120 fps and 8K 60 fps passthrough. However, only a single input port is HDMI 2.1 compatible.

MARANTZ HDMI 2.1 RECEIVERS:
Marantz new SR series of AV receivers SR5015, SR6015, SR7015, and SR8015 are its first 8K ready models, or more specifically its first with an HDMI 2.1 port.

HDMI 2.1 enables the receiver to pass through 4K 120fps and 8K 60fps signals from a next-generation game console or video player. The company added that the receivers also support pass-through for optional HDMI 2.1 features such as Dynamic HDR, QMS Quick Media Switching, VRR Variable Refresh Rate, ALLM Auto Low Latency Mode and QFT Quick Frame Transport.

Like Denon’s first HDMI 2.1 receivers, the new Marantz receivers are equipped only with a single HDMI 2.1 input 40 Gbps. Additional HDMI 2.1 players or consoles should be connected directly to the TV that can feed lossless audio back to the receiver via HDMI eARC.

Marantz Has Unveiled its first line of 8K Ready Receivers.

The new 2020 SR-Series AV receivers represent the next major step forward in home theater, not just for Marantz, but the entire home entertainment industry, said Jake Mendel, global brand manager, Marantz. Marantz fans will be some of the first to experience new levels of incredibly sharp image quality, remarkably fast gaming and immersive surround sound. But more importantly, superior Marantz HDAM-SA3 amplification based on decades of extensive tuning transports the listener ever closer to their music.

TVs with HDMI 2.1 are already available in the market and the first players and consoles are expected to launch later this year. With HDMI 2.1 capable receivers starting to emerge the pieces for next generation of video and audio are starting to fall into place.

The receivers support Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, Auro 3D, and IMAX Enhanced along with many other features that are listed in the table below. Marantz’s new receivers will be available in the US and Europe starting from August to September.

Date: 14 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

LG Releases FreeSync Premium Update for its CX, GX OLED TVs.

Date: 13 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


LG has released the promised firmware update to add support for FreeSync Premium (with HDR) on its 2020 CX and GX OLED TVs. The same update enables ATSC 3.0.

FREESYNC PREMIUM WITH HDR:
LG has released firmware version 03.10.20 in the US and Europe. The new firmware includes support for AMD FreeSync Premium, which LG had promised to add to select 2020 OLED TVs as reported first by FlatpanelsHD at CES 2020.

While PC monitors require the FreeSync Premium Pro tier to support HDR together with FreeSync, TVs only need to support the FreeSync Premium tier for HDR. AMD and owners confirm that HDR is working correctly together with FreeSync on LG’s CX and GX OLED TVs.

LG 2020 TVs already offered support for HDMI VRR and Nvidia’s G-Sync Compatible. With AMD FreeSync the TVs now support three VRR flavors – the widest support found in any TV. Samsung has been offering FreeSync in its TVs for a few years now but only recently added HDMI VRR. Sony just launched its first TV with HDMI VRR although it will require a future firmware update.

VRR provides smoother gameplay with a compatible PC or game console such as Xbox One S/X. VRR also reduces input lag and tearing.

AMD FreeSync Premium in LG 2020 TVs

The supported frequency range for AMD FreeSync Premium in LG 2020 TVs is 40-120Hz. Below that range, LFC (Low Framerate Compensation) kicks in. LG’s 2020 TVs support up to 4K at 120fps with maximum 4:2:0 and 8-bit over HDMI 2.0. Exact VRR support over HDMI 2.1 remains unclear as there are no HDMI 2.1 players/consoles available. LG has only said that 40-120Hz will be supported for 4K over HDMI 2.1.

LG’s 4K BX OLED and 8K ZX OLED TVs ranges will also gain support for FreeSync. Firmware updates for these sets are still pending.

A couple of caveats here. Users are reporting that if you enable FreeSync detection on a specific HDMI port, this HDMI port will no longer accept Dolby Vision signals; even if FreeSync is not engaged. It has also been reported that LG’s FreeSync implementation suffers from the same black level fluctuations as its HDMI VRR implementation.

Firmware version 3.10.20 also includes Apple AirPlay improvements, Sport Alert improvements, and support for ATSC 3.0 WX/GX only, meaning the new nextgen TV standard in the US. The firmware is available now in the US and Europe.

Date: 13 Jul 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Sony Launches X900H and XH90, its first 4K TVs with HDMI 2.1.

Date: 03 Jul 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen

Sony X900H in the US and XH90 in Europe is now available in 55 to 85-inch sizes. It is Sony’s first 4K TVs with HDMI 2.1 ports and VRR, although it will require a firmware update.

THE PLAYSTATION 5 TV?
In 2011, Sony launched the PlayStation 3D monitor for PlayStation 3. Fast-forward to 2020 and the company has announced PlayStation 5. For users who want to pair up PS5 with a Sony TV, X900H (XH90) could prove to be the PlayStation 5 TV.

X900H (XH90) is Sony’s first 4K model with HDMI 2.1 ports, and its first TVs with VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode) period. Previously, Sony offered HDMI 2.1 ports only in 8K TVs.

Why is that important? Well, the company has confirmed that PlayStation 5 will support gaming in up to 4K120 as well as VRR for much smoother gameplay with lower lag. This will require an HDMI 2.1 connection between PS5 and the TV.

Sony is not the first manufacturer to offer HDMI 2.1 ports in its 4K TVs. LG has been offering it since 2019 in its high-end LCD and OLED TVs. Samsung recently launched its first 4K TVs with HDMI 2.1 as part of its 2020 line-up. Sony is specifying a 48-120Hz frequency range for VRR in X900H, which is in line with Samsung’s implementation but less than LG’s 40-120Hz VRR in its OLED TVs.

The Sony X900H HDMI 2.1 TV.

HDMI 2.1 REQUIRES FIRMWARE UPDATE:
Besides HDMI 2.1, X900H features a full array local dimming (FALD) system behind the LCD panel, HDR support, Android TV, Dolby Atmos, AirPlay 2, and HomeKit. It is also equipped with the company’s new Acoustic Multi-Audio speaker system from 65″ and up.

We will not know how well Sony X900H performs as next-generation gaming TV before we get a chance to hook it up to PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, and we are not even sure that the firmware update required to enable HDMI 2.1 input and VRR will make it in time, but we sure hope so.

The company has yet to announce 4K OLED TVs with HDMI 2.1 but we suspect that it has more planned for the second half of 2020.

Sony XH900 in the US and XH90 in Europe is available now in 55 to 85 inches.

Date: 03 Jul 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

tvOS 14 Enables YouTube 4K – iOS 14 Enables YouTube 4K HDR via VP9

Date: 25 Jun 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen

Apple confirms that tvOS 14 will enable YouTube in 4K on Apple TV 4K. YouTube in 4K HDR is also enabled in iOS 14 on some iOS devices, via Google’s VP9 codec that Apple has resisted for years.

YOUTUBE 4K HDR ON APPLE DEVICES:
Three years after the launch of Apple TV 4K, the box will finally stream YouTube in 4K resolution starting this fall with the release of tvOS 14. Although not highlighted on stage at WWDC20, the company confirmed the news on its website.

Watch the latest YouTube videos in their full 4K glory. Your favorite music, slo‑mo, outdoor, and vlog footage never looked better,” announced Apple.

Another surprising twist is that iOS 14 also enables YouTube in 4K, 60fps, and HDR on recent iPhone and iPad devices, according to users on reddit and social media. The twist is that iOS 14 is delivering YouTube’s 4K HDR via Google’s VP9 video codec that Apple has resisted for years.

YOUTUBE 4K 60FPS HDR ON IPHONE WITH IOS 14 BETA. PHOTO: REDDIT USER SQUID04


APPLE CAVES IN:
It is a strange turn of events and ultimately Apple has caved in. To be clear, Apple could have enabled Google’s VP9 on iOS / tvOS and macOS several years ago. That is why the news of YouTube 4K support led to speculation that Apple had instead started its transition to the newer AV1 codec, developed by the Alliance for Open Media of which both Apple and Google are founding members. But that does not seem to be the case – at least not yet.

A quick summary: There are, roughly speaking, two ways to bring 4K streaming to your devices. Via the industry standard HEVC format or via Google’s royalty-free VP9 format. Google has resisted using HEVC on YouTube, causing pains for some partners and users.

Apple had resisted using VP9 in any form on any device, affecting video quality on YouTube. The third option is to use the next-generation AV1 format that Apple, Google and many others are backing. YouTube has already started transitioning to AV1 for 4K streaming as well as 8K streaming to 8K TVs.

VP9 was already supported on Android, recent Smart TVs, and in some PC browsers.

There are a couple of questions that remain unanswered. While some iPhone/iPad devices with iOS 14 support 4K HDR via VP9-2 (VP9 profile 2), it is not yet clear if Apple TV 4K will too. As you can see from its statement above, Apple mentions 4K for YouTube but makes no mention of HDR for YouTube on Apple TV 4K.

The functionality is not yet enabled in the tvOS 14 beta either so we cannot check. Perhaps it will show up in a later tvOS 14 beta or perhaps it will require an update for the YouTube App.

Date: 25 Jun 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Source: reddit, twitter –
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

LG Installs its First LED Cinema Screen

Date: 16 Jun 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Following in the footsteps of Samsung, LG is getting into the cinema market. Not with projectors, but rather gigantic modular LED screens.

LED CINEMA SCREENS:
Samsung installed the “world’s first” LED cinema screen in July 2017 and Sony has been exploring the concept for years. LG has now installed its first LED cinema screen. It was installed in Taiwan in partnership with Taiwan’s Showtime Cinemas and Dolby. The installation includes a full Dolby Atmos system.

LG LED Cinema Screen

By replacing the conventional projector with huge, modular LED screens, LG says that the projector room can be repurposed as seating space. The company claims that its LED cinema screens have 100,000 hours of lifetime (LED brightness half-time).



We are excited about our collaboration with LG Electronics to bring our combined expertise to movie goers in Taiwan,” said Jed Harmsen, CPof Cinema & Content Solutions at Dolby Labs. “With the lifelike images created by LG’s LED Cinema Display and the immersive audio delivered by Dolby Atmos, moviegoers will be able to enjoy an elevated and thoroughly captivating cinematic experience.

LED cinema screens can get much brighter than projectors and have far superior contrast to let cinemagoers experience HDR for the first time in cinema. Like OLED, LEDs are self-emitting meaning that each pixel emits its own light for pixel-level luminance and color control. The price of the system was not disclosed.

Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Date: 16 Jun 2020

Panasonic HZ980 OLED TVs Join 2020 Line-Up

Date: 15 Jun 2020 –
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Panasonic has taken the wraps of yet another range of 4K OLED TVs that will be part of its 2020 line-up for Europe. HZ980 features HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Atmos.

FOUR OLED TV RANGES:
In addition to the flagship HZ2000 and the more affordable HZ1500 and HZ1000 ranges, Panasonic will this year offer HZ980 OLED TVs in 55 and 65 inches. HZ980 will be Panasonic’s most affordable OLED TVs in 2020 but the TVs still come with 4K resolution, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HDMI eARC, and Dolby Atmos support. New features for 2020 such as Filmmaker Mode and Dolby Vision IQ are also included.

Panasonic HZ980 4K OLED TVs that will be part of its 2020 line-up for Europe.

In the other hand you are not getting the swivel stand of HZ1000 and the ‘Smooth Motion Drive Pro’ system gets a downgrade to non-Pro. Further specifications are available by following the link below.

Like LG and Philips, Panasonic now has a wide line-up of OLED TVs. Sony, Toshiba, Grundig, Bang & Olufsen and other brands are also selling OLED TVs in Europe. Panasonic HZ980 will be available in Europe from July starting at €1800 / £1700 for a 55-inch model.

Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com
Written by: Rasmus Larsen –
Date: 15 Jun 2020

Denon announces first HDMI 2.1 Receivers for 8K60, 4K120 Pass-Through.

Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Date: 05 Jun 2020

Denon has announced its new range of 8K ready receivers, which are the first to support HDMI 2.1 for pass-through of 8K60 and 4K120 signals from next-generation consoles and players.

HDMI 2.1 RECEIVERS:
We do not usually cover receivers but in the transition to HDMI 2.1 in 8K and 4K TVs there are some important factors to take into account. With HDMI 2.1 players and TVs you must either take advantage of the TV’s eARC port or buy a HDMI 2.1-capable receiver, if you want the best video and audio. Earlier this year, Yamaha’s plans to launch new receivers with HDMI 2.1 leaked. However, Denon is the first company to officially announce “8K ready” HDMI 2.1 receivers. Denon’s AVR-X6700H ($2,499), AVR-X4700H ($1,699), AVR-X3700H ($1,199) and AVR-X2700H ($849) will be available from later this month.

Denon 2020 AVR-X6700H AV Receiver

Besides HDMI 2.1 ports for 8K60 and 4K120 pass-through from example from PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X you are getting support for optional HDMI 2.1 features such as VRR, QMS, and ALLM. However, it is worth noting that only a single HDMI input is HDMI 2.1.

“It also supports the latest video technologies such as 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz pass-through, Dolby Vision, HDR10, HDR10+, Dynamic HDR, HLG,” Said Denon.

The receivers support Dolby Atmos, DTS:X and Auro 3D along with a bunch of other features. We refer to the specifications table below. More details can also be found on denon.com. TVs with HDMI 2.1 are already available in the market and the first players/consoles are expected to launch later this year. With HDMI 2.1-capable receivers starting to emerge we are not starting to see a more solid foundation forum under the next generation of video/audio experiences.

DENON 2020 AVR-X6700H – SPECIFICATIONS:

PREMIUM-PERFORMANCE DISCRETE 11-CHANNEL AMPLIFIER IN A MONOLITHIC DESIGN:
Delivers a precise and powerful 140W per channel 8 ohms, 20Hz-20kHz, THD: 0.05%, 2 ch. drive, to provide trusted, precise and powerful Denon sound.

FULL 8K/60HZ AND 4K/120HZ SUPPORT AND UPSCALING:
With the latest technology in HDMI support, you can enjoy 8K quality video from your 8K source devices with the highest quality available, with 1 supported 8K input and 2 outputs allowing for 8K/60Hz and 4K/120Hz pass-through. 8K upscaling is available on all 8 HDMI inputs.

THE LATEST IN HDMI SUPPORT:
With 8 advanced HDMI inputs with full HDCP 2.3 support and 3 HDMI outputs connect to all your favorite media devices and output up to 3 monitor displays so you can enjoy from any room.

ENJOY YOUR FAVORITE IMMERSIVE 3D AUDIO: Enjoy immersive, 3D audio from sources like Dolby Atmos, Dolby Atmos Height Virtualization, DTS:X, DTS Virtual:X™, DTS:X Pro and Auro-3D.

DTS:X PRO SUPPORT:
With the latest in DTS technology, enjoy DTS:X Pro that can process up to 13 channels via future firmware update.

IMAX ENHANCED TECHNOLOGY:
Delivers a true IMAX theater experience at home. Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) HDMI support: Through the main HDMI output, connect your TV with eARC HDMI support to allow uncompressed and object-based audio formats like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X directly from your smart TV app to your AV receiver.

THE LATEST IN VIDEO COMPATIBILITY:
The latest HDR format support including HDR10, HDR10+ (New in 2020), HLG, Dolby Vision, as well as Dynamic HDR (New in 2020), to provide the greatest picture quality for brightness, clarity and contrast.

THE NEXT GENERATION IN MOVIE IMMERSION: With 8K/60Hz pass-through and upscaling, Dynamic HDR and Quick Media Switching (QMS), enjoy crystal clear and smoothest picture in the highest quality available.

THE LATEST IN GAMING EXPERIENCES:
With 8K/60Hz pass-through and upscaling, Dynamic HDR and Quick Media Switching (QMS), enjoy crystal clear and smoothest picture in the highest quality availableWith 4K/120Hz pass-through, Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Quick Frame Transport (QFT), enjoy your gaming experience with amazing imaging, as well as reduced lag and latency.

NEW DSP FOR MORE PROCESSING POWER:
With 13.2 ch. max audio processing, connect external power amplifier to the AVR-X6700H to power two additional channels to enjoy a 13.2 ch. home theater setup.

Works with your favorite voice assistants: Use your voice to control the AVR-X6700H and wireless music services hands-free, works with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, Apple Siri and Josh.ai.

WIRELESS STREAMING FROM THE MOST POPULAR MUSIC SERVICES:
Enjoy all your favorite music services like Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music HD, TIDAL, SiriusXM, Deezer and more to have limitless music listening enjoyment. The AVR-X6700H also lets you enjoy your music via AirPlay 2, letting you stream your favorite tracks from Apple Music.

ROON TESTED CERTIFIED:
Get more out of your digital music library with searchable, surfable information about your favorite artists and songs. Find lyrics, concert dates, photos, bios, reviews and more.

FRONT WIDE SPEAKERS SUPPORTED FOR DOLBY ATMOS AND DTS:X PRO UP TO 13 CHANNEL SETUPS:
Supports front wide speakers for a more seamless front surround stage reproduction either in 9.1.2 or 9.1.4 speaker setup.

PHONO INPUT:
With its included phono input, the AVR-X6700H lets you connect your turntable and play vinyl records. Enjoy your collection with exceptional quality and sound.

DUAL SUBWOOFER OUTPUTS:
Smooths out low frequencies for better bass dispersion.

HEOS BUILT-IN WIRELESS MULTI-ROOM MUSIC STREAMING TECHNOLOGY:
Listen from any room for a connected, whole-home audio experience. The AVR-X6700H also works with the newly introduced Denon Home speakers to let you enjoy a whole-home audio experience. High-resolution audio streaming for Hi-Fi enthusiasts: Enjoy your favorite Hi-Res quality file playback with FLAC, ALAC, and WAV support, as well as DSD 2.8/5.6MHz.

ALL ZONE TV AUDIO:


Play the audio from your TV to another zone for your favorite shows without losing fully discrete surround sound in the main zone.

BUILT-IN BLUETOOTH AND WI-FI WITH 2.4GHZ AND 5GHZ DUAL BAND SUPPORT:


Solid wireless network connectivity even in congested environments.

BLUETOOTH AUDIO TRANSMITTER:


Enjoy your favorite audio through your Bluetooth headphones late at night or with your family member who is hearing impaired. This feature supports Bluetooth-only playback as well as simultaneous playback with connected speakers.

AWARD-WINNING DENON GUIDED SETUP ASSISTANT AND GRAPHICAL USER INTERFACE:

Easy and intuitive out-of-box and setup experience.

SMART TV CONNECTIVITY:


Control the Denon AVR-X6700H with your TV remote via HDMI CEC.

AUDYSSEY MULTEQ XT32, DYNAMIC VOLUME, DYNAMIC EQ, LFC AND SUB EQ HT:

Delivers the ultimate equalization for your individual room including subwoofer EQ.

OVRC AND DOMOTZ PRO REMOTE SYSTEM MONITORING AND MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGY AND RS232 CONTROL:

Lets custom integrators monitor and troubleshoot remotely, drastically reducing downtime.

CUSTOM INSTALL READY:

The Denon AVR-X6700H features external control and IP control capabilities for easy customization and compatibility with third-party integration solutions.

EQUIPPED WITH TWO 12V TRIGGER OUTPUTS:

Connect up to two other devices such as a cooling fan or projector and operate on standby power.

AMAZING AUDIO BUILT ON 110-YEARS OF INNOVATION:

Denon is the defining audio company of Japan. Founded in 1910, we enable the moments that matter through the relentless pursuit of quality, innovation and audio performance.

Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Date: 05 Jun 2020

First Dolby Vision Titles Appear in Google Play Movies

Date: 19 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Joker and A Simple Favor are the first two movies available in Dolby Vision HDR through Google Play Movies. The company is also planning to add support for HDR10+.

DOLBY VISION AND GOOGLE:
Earlier this year, Google announced that it would start offering movies in HDR10+ format later in 2020. The company made no mention of the other dynamic HDR format Dolby Vision so it is surprising to see Dolby Vision titles arrive first.

Joker and A Simple Favor are the first movies available in Dolby Vision through Google Play Movies. FlatpanelsHD first spotted them yesterday on the Nvidia Shield 2019 device. Joker is available in Dolby Vision in the US and Europe.

If you search for ‘Dolby’ in the app you also see ‘Top Dolby Vision movies’, which suggests that Google is in the process of rolling out support.

Joker is Available in Dolby Vision in Google Play Movies.

The company is rumored to be planning a new Android TV device in a stick form factor similar to Chromecast Ultra. Support for Dolby Vision (and Dolby Atmos?) could be announced officially at the same time.

Google Play Movies is not the first online storefront to offer movies in Dolby Vision. Apple TV (iTunes) and Vudu have been offering movies in the premium HDR format for some time, and Apple currently offers a total of 616 Dolby Vision titles so Google has some catching up to do.

A Simple Favor is Available in Dolby Vision in Google Play Movies.
Joker and A Simple Favor are Available in Dolby Vision in Google Play Movies.

Date: 19 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

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Panasonic 2020 LCD TVs Now Available

Date: 02 Jun 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Panasonic has launched its 2020 HX models in Europe. The new LCD TVs in 40 to 75 inch sizes feature 4K resolution and the latest version of My Home Screen.

PANASONIC 2020 LCD TVS:
Panasonic’s new LCD TVs for 2020, unveiled in February, are now rolling out in Europe. The company will also launch new OLED TVs soon.

HX940, HX900 and HX800 are edge-lit LCD TV ranges with 4K resolution. The TVs are powered by the company’s HCX video processor (HCX Pro in HX940) and feature HDR support. However, due to the TVs’ edge-lit LCD panels you should step up to the OLED models if you seek the HDR picture experience.

The TVs are also capable of decoding and outputting Dolby Atmos to an external soundbar or receiver system. Apps such as Netflix are accessible via Panasonic’s My Home Screen platform that has reached version 5.0 in the 2020 models.

Panasonic 2020 TV Line-Up HX900 and HX940

HX900 and HX940 feature a switch stand that can be adjusted between wide and narrow position. Panasonic says that the narrow configuration lets users buy a larger TV without having to also replace furniture at home.

Panasonic’s TVs will compete with mid-range LCD TVs from brands such LG and Samsung. Unlike its competitors, Panasonic has no LCD TVs with zone dimming capabilities this year.

Panasonic HX800, HX900 and HX940 are rolling out now in Europe.

Date: 02 Jun 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

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Netflix Has Started Reverting Streaming Quality Back To Normal



Date: 13 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen


Many users in Europe are reporting that Netflix has reverted streaming quality back to normal with 4K HDR up to 15 Mb/s bitrate. The company says that it is working with ISPs to increase capacity.

NETFLIX STREAMING QUALITY:
In mid-March Netflix lowered its streaming quality in Europe in response to a request from the EU to help ease strain on the internet infrastructure in these times of nationwide lockdowns.

Netflix subscribers in Denmark, Norway, Germany and other European countries have contacted FlatpanelsHD or taken to forums to report that streaming quality has been restored, meaning 4K HDR streaming at up to 15 Mb/s bitrate. HD bitrates are also reverting back to normal.

However, the changes do not apply universally yet. On 2020 TVs that we are currently testing, Netflix’s 4K HDR streaming quality is still capped to maximum 7.62 Mb/s.

In a statement to FlatpanelsHD, Netflix says that it is working with internet service providers to increase capacity. Netflix said that it added four times the normal capacity in April. So depending on your device, ISP, and perhaps other factors, you may not be seeing Netflix’s normal streaming quality just yet. But the process has started. –

Please note, we are working with ISPs to help increase capacity. In the last month alone we have added four times the normal capacity. As conditions improve we will lift these limitations,” Netflix said in a statement to FlatpanelsHD.

Date: 13 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

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Samsung Upgrades 2020 TVs with Unmatched Video App Offerings

Written by: Editor –
Date: 31 May 2020


Aiming to allow its products to feature what it calls the most competitive content app offerings, Samsung Electronics UK has announced that all TVs in the 2020 line-up now feature app offerings such as Netflix and NOW TV.

The new upgrade is now live across all models for 2020 which includes the Q950TS QLED 8K and also Samsung’s 2020 Full HD range. Samsung says that ‘unique’ to the company, its 2020 Smart TV owners will now have ‘unrivalled’ access to the best collection of app platforms available in the UK, ensuring endless entertainment options.

Users will have access to over 50 app offerings from streaming firms including the likes of Netflix, Prime Video, Rakuten TV and Disney+, in addition to local players BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, NOW TV and BT Sport.

This is a proud moment for us at Samsung. Not only do our 2020 TVs guarantee access to the UK’s leading app platforms, an offer that is currently unique to Samsung, but we’re pleased to also be in a position to offer this upgrade across our full range. ,” said Guy Kinnell, Vice President, TV and AV, Samsung Electronics UK. “Traditionally, upgrades like this happen in phases for the various TV models, but new for 2020 is that this upgrade reaches every Smart TV in our range from the get go – meaning that the very best entertainment offerings are accessible for all.

Written by: Editor
Date: 31 May 2020
Source: https://www.rapidtvnews.com

LG Gallery and Wallpaper 2020 OLED TVs Now Available

Date: 29 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen

LG is rolling out its new Gallery TV and a refreshed version of the Wallpaper model. The OLED TVs are available in 55 to 77 inches with HDMI 2.1, webOS, Apple features, and more.

GALLERY AND WALLPAPER OLED TVs:
LG has phased out its E series of picture-in-glass OLED TVs and introduced GX, a new line of TVs designed to hang flush on the wall. The company has also refreshed the design of its Wallpaper OLED TV WX.

The Gallery GX screen not as slim as the Wallpaper WX screen, which has a separate electronics speaker box that has been redesigned for the 2020 version. On the other hand all ports, speakers, and electronics are built-in. GX comes bundled with a slim wall bracket solution. An optional soundbar SNX7 for GX will also be available, said LG.

LG GALLERY GX OLED

With self-emitting OLED technology, LG is promising excellent picture quality including pixel-level control for HDR. GX and WX support three HDR formats (HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision). The TVs also feature 4K resolution, HDMI 2.1 ports, Filmmaker Mode, and the Alpha 9-3 video processor.

LG GALLERY GX OLED

Both new TV models feature HDMI 2.1 ports with support for up to 4K120 inputs from next-generation game consoles and video players. In addition, GX supports three variable refresh rate systems: HDMI VRR, AMD FreeSync and Nvidia G-Sync.

The company’s webOS platform offers access to streaming apps, including the Apple TV app and Disney+, but not HBO Max that launched earlier this week. New streaming services are increasingly prioritizing platforms like Apple’s tvOS over Smart TV platforms.

LG WALLPAPER WX OLED

Like Samsung with its Serif TV and ‘The Frame’, LG has aspired to create unique TVs that can set it apart from the competition. GX is a step up from CX, while WX is a unique TV that no other manufacturer can offer at this time. Later this year, the South Korean company will introduce the world’s first rollable TV (RX).

LG GX and WX are available now in the US and Europe, with broader availability expected next month. Further details about pricing and availability can be found in the table below.

Date: 29 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen
Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

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HBO Max is Live – Without 4K HDR

Date: 27 May 2020
Written by: Rasmus Larsen

WarnerMedia has today launched HBO Max, its new stand-alone streaming service that will compete with Netflix, Hulu and others. 4K HDR is not supported at launch but it is “part of the roadmap”.

HBO Max is Live:

HBO Max has arrived in the US. For $15 per month you get access to 10,000 hours of content, including Warner Bros and New Line movies, HBO series, and more. Movies include The Matrix, Gremlins, The Lord of the Rings, Casablanca, The Wizard of Oz, and DC titles.

WarnerMedia is the latest player to enter the ‘streaming wars’ after Apple and Disney entered the arena in late 2019 and NBCUniversal soft-launched its new streaming service Peacock in mid-April, with a full launch in the US planned for mid-July 2020.

HBO Max is – or will soon be – available on Apple TV, Android TV, select Samsung TVs, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Chromecast, and AirPlay. For more details see the table below.

The service is launching in the US first, with international availability to follow at some point in the future.

HBO MAX IS LIVE WITHOUT 4K HDR

4K HDR is “part of the roadmap”

At launch, HBO Max delivers HD resolution and 5.1 surround sound. We have yet to gain access (update: we’re in!) but the existing HBO Now and HBO Go services have often been under fire for offering low-bitrate HD streaming. It is not clear if HBO Max will offer increased bitrate. With so many great movies and TV shows, many of which already mastered in 4K HDR, it is disappointing to see HBO Max launch without support for 4K resolution and HDR of any flavor. The company’s official statement on the matter is that 4K HDR is part of the product roadmap. It has not commented on its plans for Dolby Atmos.

“4K HDR is a part of the HBO Max product roadmap but we don’t have any additional information to share at this time,” said WarnerMedia. You can check out HBO Max on hbomax.com where you can sign in with your existing HBO account or create a new. It costs $15 per month after a free 7-day trial.

HBO Max – Supported TV Platforms:

Android TV:
Android TV (with Android OS 5 or later) This includes most Sony Android TVs (2016 models and later) as well as the AT&T Streaming TV box.

Apple TV:
Apple TV (4th gen or later) with the latest tvOS software. If you have an Apple TV (2nd or 3rd gen), see Other ways to stream on your TV.

Samsung TV 2016 Models and Later:
Download the HBOMax app on your Samsung TV and sign in. Or, if you need to sign up, see How do I sign up?

Not all Samsung TV models are supported. For a list of compatible TV models, go to HBO Max on Samsung TV and choose Compatible devices. If your TV model is not listed, see Other ways to stream on your TV.

PlayStation 4:
Xbox One:

Other Ways to Stream on your TV:

Chromecast:
Cast HBO Max from your phone or tablet to your TV.

Airplay:
Share HBO Max with your Apple TV (2nd or 3rd generation).

HDMI cable:
Connect your computer, phone, or tablet to your TV.

HBO Max Launching on May 27

Philips Hue Box Gains Support For Dolby Vision and HDR10+

Date: 29 May 2020

Written by: Rasmus Larsen

The Philips Hue Sync box that lets you sync Philips Hue lights to the action on-screen now works with Dolby Vision and HDR10+ content. The update also adds support for voice assistants.

Philips Hue Sync Box updated

The ‘Philips Hue Play HDMI Sync Box’ was launched in February 2019 but at the time it lacked support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+, meaning that it could not produce any light effects from a HDMI signal with Dolby Vision or HDR10+ passed through it.

The latest update adds just that.

From now onwards you can enjoy synchronized surround lighting effects from your Philips Hue lights when watching Dolby Vision or HDR10+ content with compatible TVs, the company announced.

Not all devices are compatible:

However, be aware that not all TVs and playback devices are supported, seemingly due to variances in Dolby Vision profiles. A list of compatible devices is included in the table at the bottom. The software update also adds support for popular voice assistants, including Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Siri. This lets you power on/off, start or stop light sync, switch HDMI, and switch between sync modes via voice commands to an external compatible device. Lastly, the box can now be configured to work with infrared commands from your TV remote control or Harmony universal remote. The software update is free and can be installed via the Hue Sync mobile app. The Philips Hue HDMI Sync is available for 230 dollars in the US and 250 Euro in Europe from meethue.com.

Philips Hue Sync – Compatible Dolby Vision devices:

TV models that support Dolby Vision from these brands have been tested:

TVs:
LG – Only 2017 and later
Sony – All
Vizio – All
TCL – 2018 and later
Panasonic – All
Philips – All

The following HDMI Sources that support Dolby Vision have been tested:

Sources:
Apple TV 4K – Yes
FireTV 4K – Yes
Chromecast Ultra – Yes
Nvidia Shield (2019 models) – Yes
Xbox One S/X (only apps) – Yes
Blu-ray players – No

Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Written by: Rasmus Larsen

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Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light – Live Stream

Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light – Live Stream

Following the cancellation of the Eurovision Song Contest 2020, the EBU and its Dutch Members NPO, NOS and AVROTROS have produced a new show, ‘Eurovision: Europe Shine A Light’, to air in place of the Grand Final on Saturday 16 May at 21:00 CEST.

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Nvidia Shield TV gets Prime Video update to fix ongoing 4K issues.

Written by: Ben Schoon
Date: Apr. 22 2020

nvidia shield tv pro

The best Android TV set-top box for a while now has been Nvidia’s Shield TV. The box is typically great at displaying 4K HDR content, but lately, some users have been trouble with that. Specifically, Amazon Prime Video hasn’t been playing 4K on the Shield TV, but a fix is now rolling out.

Confirmed by Nvidia staff on the company’s forums, Amazon is rolling out an update to fix 4K issues. For a few weeks, users have been experiencing issues with 4K playback, especially on the 2019 Shield TV Pro. Content that would normally be 4K HDR — such as Amazon’s Originals — would instead be played in 1080p SDR.

While the exact cause of this isn’t clear, it does seem that Amazon has figured out a solution through an app update. It’s important to note that this is not a system update.

Rolling out over the past couple of days, an update to Prime Video is designed to fix the 4K issues Shield TV owners have been experiencing. Based on some users who have already updated the app on their TVs, it seems to do the trick. This update will be available to all users within the next 3 days.

Source: https://9to5google.com

HFR The One UHD Technology You Rarely Hear About

Date: 08 Apr 2020
Written by: Yoeri Geutskens

If you’ve been keeping up with Ultra HD TV technology, you may recall that there are essentially six pillars to it:

UHD or Ultra HD spatial resolution 4K or 8K.
HDR or High Dynamic Range.
WCG or Wide Color Gamut.
Deep color resolution.
HFR or High-Frame Rate.
NGA or Next-Generation Audio.

Most of these we’ve got by now. You can go to an electronics store and buy a 4K TV with HDR, WCG, 10-bit color and a Dolby Atmos sound bar or AVR, and they’re not even expensive anymore. The one piece that’s missing? HFR, or High Frame Rate. It’s probably the least understood in terms of benefits and how it works – by consumers but likely also by the creative industry. Even science is still lacking. It’s probably the most controversial of all UHD technologies. Many misconceptions abound, so here’s an attempt to shed some light on what we know and what we don’t know. Many misconceptions abound, so here’s an attempt to shed some light on what we know and what we don’t know.

HFR FOR MOVIES:
What do we mean by HFR? That depends what we are talking about. When it’s about film, anything above 24fps (frames per second) will be called HFR. It’s not very common. The number of high-profile movies with HFR you can count on one or two hands. First we had Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, shot in 3D at the double frame rate of 48fps. Since then, we’ve had director Ang Lee taking things further with Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk shot at 120fps and Gemini Man starring Will Smith, both shot at 120fps and in 3D. Latter movie was screened in different ways: 2D theaters showed it in 24fps; 3D theaters showed it at 60 or 120fps, depending on their capabilities. And with good reason: Ang Lee pursued high frame rate in order to overcome issues inherent to projection of 3D images at 24fps – strobing and flicker, just like Peter Jackson did. James Cameron has a slightly different approach but prefers to use 120fps in certain parts of 3D movies to avoid judder in shots that pan or have lateral movement across the frame. But HFR for movies is a very divisive technique. Some people love it, a majority of people seem (I don’t have any hard numbers here) to hate it. 24fps is sacred.

DIRECTOR ANG LEE FILMING ‘GEMINI MAN’. PICTURE CREDIT: PARAMOUNT

But why? Well, part of the reason is that’s what we’re used to. This video does a good job explaining why we’ve got 24fps, and why we’ve kept it. But if more pixels and more colors and more bits per color and more audio channels are good, why would more frames per second be bad? Doesn’t it add more realism? Yes, it does, and that’s exactly why it’s bad for movies. Realism is not the point – quite the contrary. It’s very similar to the discussion around analog, chemical film grain: Some people dislike it, but like 24fps frame rate it’s something our brains have been conditioned for since almost 100 years. Although most of us will not consciously notice it, our brains register it subconsciously and know we’re watching a proper film, a possibly epic story. It helps with our suspension of disbelief and puts our brains into ‘movie watching mode’ and immerses us, pulls is into the story. Some refer to 24fps as a ‘dream-like cadence’. Heightened realism takes away from that. It breaks the magic spell. As one moviegoer succinctly put it: “I didn’t see Gandalf et al – instead I saw a load of actors dressed up in some odd costumes.” Billy Lynn and Gemini Man triggered many of the same type reactions, as you can see on social media. Some compare it to a home video shot on a GoPro or a smartphone, looking “hyper-real” or “like a videogame”; others refer to the “Soap Opera Effect” as it’s called (a bit of a misnomer), and the dreaded motion interpolation that their in-laws have enabled on their TV.

Ian Mckellen As Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies. Picture Credit: Warner Brothers

Much however is unknown about how our brains process frame rates and motion perception. More scientific research into this area would probably be justified.

How come we (most of us at least) subconsciously perceive 24fps frame rate without being bothered by judder?

Are our brains really conditioned into seeing 24fps as ‘epic’ yet when we see 60i or 60p this mechanism shuts down and we go into ‘soap opera’ mode?

And yet for videogames, which nowadays are also a lot about storytelling, High Frame Rate has evident benefits that gamers appreciate apparently. So do people who play videogames at high frame rates (120fps and above) perceive movie frame rates differently?

Also, provided the Soap Opera Effect is real, there must be an Inverse Soap Opera Effect whereby TV content converted from 60fps to 24fps suddenly starts to look epic? What points to this is a common technique in sports news shows, where they cut the frame rate to 24, 25 or 30fps, crop the picture to get a wider aspect ratio (adding black bars at the top and bottom) and add dramatic music when they want to make a game summary look epic.

Does frame rate matter for traditional cel animation movies, and if so, how?

At what frame rate above 24fps does the magic stop working? 25? 30? 48? 60? Anecdotal evidence (the three Hobbit movies) suggests 48fps is already guaranteed to blow it, but where is the border?

Although soap operas are never in 3D, 3D does not seem to help with suspension of disbelief or make something more epic. Perhaps even contrary. Is this because 3D adds realism which, like HFR and absence of grain, breaks the spell rather than sustaining it?

Is this behavior learned? Would someone from another culture who’s never been to the cinema experience frame rates the same way?

So many questions, so few answers. With the advent of Filmmaker Mode and this insistence of accurately reproducing 24fps frame rate, it’s easy to forget that before Ultra HD Blu-ray, the original Blu-ray Disc and HD-DVD were the first home media ever able to handle this frame rate. Broadcast TV, all consumer videotape formats, LaserDisc and even DVD used interlaced video. Yes, DVD was the first format to offer Progressive Scan, but not at 24fps. An important lesson from the history of Hollywood that’s perhaps easy to forget because most of it happened so long ago is that every major technology transition also led to new movie genres and significantly shifted the balance between existing movie genres. HFR is a powerful new tool for movie making in a larger toolbox, so exploration is required. The old ways will not work with HFR, simply because they are built on different assumptions about movie making. Maybe HFR will give rise to entirely new genres, maybe it will take computer animation to heights that we can’t yet imagine. Combined with computer animation HFR may give rise to CGI actors that are more convincing than live actors. We just don’t know yet. What we do know based on past experience though is that every time a major innovation presents itself this discussion flares up: “Who wants to hear actors talk”, “No one wants color film”, and so on. This line of thinking is usually a losing argument over time. It’s not a given that 24fps is going to last forever. So what’s going to happen next? These transitions take many years, sometimes even decades when you have a firmly established structure such as the Hollywood studio system with its worldwide cinema distribution system but innovation never stops, also in the film industry. New secondary tools for movie making are implemented into current workflows and embraced by the industry. Helicopters? Awesome, let’s do flyover shots. Drones? Cool. Large LED screens? Using giant LED screens showing rendered virtual environments instead of green chromakey walls, like they used for shooting The Mandalorian? Absolutely. Anyway, it’s too early to draw conclusions. We’ve had fewer than ten HFR movies, from only a handful of directors. All of these have been conceived as a way to do 3D better. Meanwhile 3D itself has taken decades for Hollywood to get it right, become mainstream and get accepted as more than a novelty feature. For now, the best advice is to go see HFR with your own eyes (and an open mind) to form your own opinion and not accept any dogmas as absolute truth.

CONVERGING TECHNOLOGIES:
It’s important to bear in mind that Hollywood movies are still made and optimized for cinema. The technical capabilities of cinema guide movie production and as such many of the ‘truths’ in Hollywood are based on this system. Things could change if suddenly home entertainment becomes a much bigger market for Hollywood, which was actually already happening in 2018 and 2019, and perhaps much more dramatically so in 2020. Movie production optimized for TVs would most likely look different from film production optimized for cinema. After all, what works well at the cinema doesn’t necessarily work well on a TV set. Research by Dolby Labs found that higher brightness makes judder more apparent, as does higher contrast. What looks good in SDR judders too much in HDR, so colorists end up grading HDR darker to avoid this, which defeats the whole purpose. The study also showed that at 50 nits – the typical brightness with traditional theatrical projection – 24fps is the ideal frame rate whereas at 1000 nits – achieved on now fairly common and not too expensive HDR TVs – 32fps would be preferred. Although television came several decades later than cinema, the two technologies have been on parallel paths, going through many of the same innovations. Film went from silent movies to sound, from black & white to color, from mono to stereo to digital surround sound Dolby Digital, DTS, SDDS, initially all on optical film with an ever-growing number of channels. These changes have been noticeable but followed an evolutionary approach. But more recently the cinema business has seen some innovations that are major technical changes but entirely behind the scenes and very subtle if at all noticeable to the viewer: from chemical film to digital projection, with movies distributed on HDDs in cartridges and soon possibly online. The next major step in cinema is probably going to be the most drastic one in a century: from projection on a silver screen to ‘direct view’ displays. Of course, no CRT, no plasma, no LCD, no OLED but real LEDs. These bring far greater brightness, contrast and dynamic range, and will bring cinema screens back on par with home cinema – where they are now essentially running behind on spatial resolution, dynamic range and brightness – only way bigger. It will also add the flexibility to use higher frame rates though whether this will be used is doubtful, given the above considerations and the generally conservative nature of the movie business. This switch will also bring new entrants to the market. Samsung, which has never been in the cinema projection business, has launched its ‘Onyx Cinema LED Technology’ – 34-feet (10-meter) diameter screens with true 4K 4096 x 2160 resolution. The first cinemas rolling this out since 2017 were Lotte Cinema World Tower in Seoul, Paragon Cineplex Theatre in Bangkok, Pacific Theatres Winnetka in Chatsworth, California, just north of Los Angeles, Pathé Beaugrenelle in Paris, Sambil Leganés in Madrid, and the Shoudu Cinema in Beijing.

Samsung’s Onyx Cinema Led Direct View Display.

This transition is going to take years. This stuff isn’t cheap, and the technology it’s replacing isn’t cheap either. It’s a capital investment. But cinema and TV technology are converging further than ever. In the future, a cinema screen will basically be a very large TV set – typically with a far superior Dolby Atmos system. Expect this transfer of TV technology to the cinema to feed back into the home. The first signs are already here. If you’ve got deep enough pockets, you can buy Samsung’s ‘The Wall’ micro-LED display. It’s a modular system, which means you can construct various screen sizes and resolutions. One module measures 16×18 inch and counts 360×360 pixels. An HDTV will use 18 modules, a 4K display 76 and an 8K one 288. There’s no limit, really. 16K displays are also possible. The only constraint is basically money. A single module will set you back about $10,000 so you can do the math.

Size Options for Samsung’s The Wall Micro-Led TVs.

The specs and sizes for Sony’s Canvas or Cledis Crystal LED Integrated Structure or Display System are very similar. This technology is of course aimed mainly at professional applications but Sony explicitly says it’s also available for living rooms. Now for this to become something for the mass market, we need a price reduction of about 99%. That sounds very steep, but we’ve witnessed exactly that in the 4K TV market over the past seven years. Great news: like the cinema product, the home product offers strong HDR (perfect blacks and 1000 nits peak brightness), wide viewing angles, great 3D, and 120fps HFR.

HFR FOR OTHER TV CONTENT:
So if it is only for scripted, acted content that low frame rate matters, are higher frame rates better where realism matters i.e. nature documentaries and live sports? Evidence suggests so. HFR adds to the sense of ‘being there’ in a good way. But before we go into that, back to the definition of HFR. Broadcast TV comes in a range of resolutions now. The trend is upward but very slow. A related trend is that slowly but surely we seem to be getting rid of interlaced video, where ‘fields’ (half frames with only the odd picture lines or the even ones) are displayed successively. Sure, at 1080 HD resolution there’s still a lot of 50i and 60i content but at Ultra HD resolutions only Progressive Scan with full frames is permitted. Various frame rates are allowed (including fractional ones), but 50p and 60p are not considered HFR – they’re Standard Frame Rate. When organizations like the Ultra HD Forum speak of High Frame Rate they mean at least double that – 100 or 120fps and beyond. What drives the (very slow) move to higher frame rates? Is it a silly numbers race, like some would argue the move to higher spatial resolution (4K, 8K) became? Not quite. Even if we don’t need or want it for movies, there are definite upsides. First, why are we moving to higher screen resolutions? Just because TV makers can, and they see TVs with higher resolutions having higher margins? No, there’s more behind it than technology push. Since many decades, TVs are getting bigger and bigger. It’s a pretty constant trend, and the average diameter grows by about 1 inch per year across all territories, even if these averages vary from region to region. In the meantime, our viewing distance does not change much. Living rooms (also varying in average size geographically) did not get significantly bigger. That’s why we need more pixels. Now with higher resolutions, the risk of motion blur increases. With 8K, this is particularly visible. 8K sports content, like the Olympic Games, you probably do not want to watch at frame rates lower than 100fps. Although Japanese public broadcaster NHK has announced quite some time ago they’ll shoot and transmit many parts of the Olympics in 8K, they have not yet said at what frame rate.

THE DIFFICULTIES WITH HFR:
While shooting, recording and transmitting HFR may be relatively straightforward (arguably more so than HDR), there is a complication: How to achieve backward compatibility with Standard Frame Rate TV sets and transmission systems? At the moment there are two approaches to this, and DVB and ATSC solve this in different ways. Here it’s going to get a little more technical. What the two have in common: Both use a technique called temporal sublayering for backward compatibility of HFR with SFR. ATSC includes optional temporal filtering for enhancing the standard frame rate picture when temporal sublayering is used,

HFR: DVB and ATSC – temporal sublayering:
How does this work? In ATSC and DVB both, PID (program ID) = 0 is the SFR version, and PID = 1 is the HFR enhancement element, to be used along with PID 0 to reproduce the HFR version. In DVB, it actually wouldn’t matter which PID you viewed, they are just the odd and even frames, so each represents a half-frame rate feed, with just a slight timing offset. In ATSC, the frames are a bit different. The frames in PID 0 are a weighted sum of the odd and even frames of the HFR signal. The result is that the PID 0 content has an artificial motion blur. The HFR camera needs a 360 degree shutter (i.e., photons are being captured essentially 100% of the time; the camera doesn’t blink). The contents of the PID 1 frames are the weighted difference between the two signals. The trick here occurs in the receiver: As in DVB, if you don’t know better, show PID 0, you’ll get a usable SFR signal with full motion blur (depending on the weightings). If you do know better, you recover consecutive HFR frames by summing and differencing the two PIDs frames to reconstitute the original odd & even frames of the HFR.

In HFR demos the Ultra HD Forum has given over the last few years, they showed the DVB technique and sometimes, in earlier demos, done it poorly: The camera didn’t have a 360-degree shutter, it was more like 180, so the camera was capturing 100fps, but the exposure was 1/200th second in duration. Odd frames went to PID 0, even to PID 1, and when viewing only one of those, the play-out was 50fps, but the shutter was effectively 90 degrees (still a 1/200th of a second exposure), giving a very staccato, strobe-like presentation which was hard to watch. Eventually, they got a HFR camera with a 360-degree shutter, so the SFR playout appeared as if having a 180 degree shutter, which looks acceptable.

High Frame Rate is Especially Beneficial for Sports Content. Picture Credit: Ultra HD Forum.

To be sure, these two flavors are not competing in the same market, can coexist in software or silicon in the same TV set, probably do not involve any license fee and are not a matter for a future format war, just in case anyone gets worried. The ATSC and DVB solutions can be used for terrestrial TV, DTH satellite TV, cable TV and (multicast) IPTV. So what about (unicast) OTT streaming? There this compatibility is not an issue at all. The VoD provider just plays out the version that matches the capabilities of the viewer’s system. That can be 60 or perhaps 120fps (in the future, that is – current products such as Apple TV, Roku, ChromeCast and Amazon Fire TV don’t go beyond 60fps) but different frame rates will simply be different versions of the same asset, in the same way that a HD and 4K resolution are different version of the same asset.

HFR IN PRACTICE:
So can you go to a store and buy a HFR TV or monitor? One area where this will come in handy is gaming. Current gaming PCs as well as the upcoming PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X, the ninth generation of consoles, are (going to be) capable of HFR output. PC/gaming monitors already cater to that. High Frame Rate is one of the few feature areas where monitors are ahead of TVs. Most don’t do a too impressive job in terms of high dynamic range, contrast, peak brightness, wide color gamut, resolution, etc. But while TVs currently don’t exceed 60fps (claims about 120Hz, 240Hz, etc. are often marketing overstatement), gaming monitors can now routinely handle 144fps, 165fps and even 240fps. They’re locked in a numbers race, trying to keep up with graphics cards output capabilities. To what extent the human eye can appreciate the difference between 144fps and 240fps remains a question. Mark Rejhon, founder of Blurbusters, argues in favor of a “retina refresh rate” of over 1000fps based on quite extensive research that he’s been doing.

HFR demo with HLG HDR BY LG / EBU / 4 EVER PROJECT AT IFA 2016.

LG has given HFR TV demonstrations as far back as 2016, and more recently in 2018, when they announced sets for 2019. On 2018 models HFR support is still limited: They can play HFR files from USB, as proven in this LG OLED C8 test. Since 2019 LG high-end TVs have had HDMI 2.1 ports with 4K at 120fps via FRL (Frame Rate Link – HDMI 2.1’s new signalling system for 48Gb/s bandwidth), LG says. 2020 LG high-end TVs have the same HDMI 2.1 support with 4k120p via FRL. Here’s how they promote that on their website:

4K HFR GAMEPLAY ON A 2020 LG OLED TV.

It’s a feature that few reviewers pay attention to, probably because there’s so little HFR content out there, but it’s one of the things that makes LG’s current high-end UHD TVs intriguing. They are ready for 4K HFR from PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X (even if they may require a firmware update to fully enable HDMI 2.1 after certification). Very few other TVs are. LG is also specifying VRR with 4K 40-120Hz frequency range. Actually it’s also possible to do 4K120 (limited to 8-bit SDR and 4:2:0 chroma) over HDMI 2.0 bandwidth, but it is out of spec. Samsung has been doing it however since 2019 (in high-end TVs) and LG since 2020 (at least in OLED TVs). Several generations of TVs have 1080p120 support, even sometimes 1440p120. This is well within the HDMI 2.0 bandwidth. Test site Rtings has been certifying 1080p120 and 1440p120 in their reviews for some time now, as in this 2017 Sony A1E OLED TV review (check ‘supported resolutions’). There may even be older TVs out there. It could be going to take some time before we start seeing HFR content available, especially live content. There’s a good chance with HFR that, like with 4K resolution, streaming platforms will take the lead over broadcasters. So maybe look to DAZN rather than ESPN. But the chicken and egg situation that so often exists when the hardware makers or content providers need to innovate first you don’t need to worry about. The TV manufacturers have already done their part. Once 120fps TVs become common, broadcasters may begin shooting sports matches in HFR. This does not necessarily have to be in 4K. A program in 1080p at 100 or 120fps with HDR will look quite stunning. Until they’re ready for that, you can use motion interpolation to do the job.

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. Picture Credit: 20th Century Fox.

If you want to experience HFR for yourself, at home, you can buy the 4K HDR Ultra HD Blu-ray of Billy Lynn or Gemini Man. Both are authored at 60fps HFR, as the UHD BD standard doesn’t handle 120fps. In fact it also doesn’t handle 48fps, so you’re out of luck if you wanted to watch The Hobbit Trilogy at the proper frame rate. The regular 1080p HD SDR 2D Blu-rays and 3D Blu-rays contain the movie at 24fps. There is no Ultra HD Blu-ray of this yet but when it does arrive it’s surely going to be 24fps, too. A 3D Blu-ray of Billy Lynn comes bundled with the 4K disc, if you buy the right edition (linked above). Gemini Man was not released on 3D BD in most markets, but it was in Germany. The 3D discs are also 24fps. Unfortunately, the HFR format doesn’t support 3D and the 3D format doesn’t support HFR. VoD/streaming services do not offer any 3D or HFR content at the moment.

RECOMMENDED READING:
You can read more facts about and impressions of The Hobbit here on FlatpanelsHD, or read about the aftermath. There is plenty of coverage for Ang Lee’s movies but long before the days of internet, Douglas Trumbull – Visual Effects Supervisor for classic movies including 2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Star Trek and Blade Runner – did many experiments with HFR. This article about his movie Brainstorm offers a great summary of that. Trumbull and Cameron were speakers at a 2012 Siggraph panel session on HFR cinema, a report of which you can read here.

STANDARDS REFERENCED:
DVB UHD-1 Phase 2 (ETSI TS 101 154 v2.3.1)

ATSC 3.0 (A/341) Many thanks to Bill Redmann, Director of Standards, Immersive Media Technologies at InterDigital, for his explanation of the DVB and ATSC approaches to HFR/SFR compatibility and his contribution to this article.

Date: 08 Apr 2020
Written by: Yoeri Geutskens

Source: https://www.flatpanelshd.com

Make Your Business More Accessible With New Blocks.

From booking and scheduling to events and embeds, these six new blocks for your blog or business website help you to grow your audience, connect with more clients, and reach more customers.

Date: April 2, 2020

Written by: Cheri Lucas Rowlands

From our support sessions with customers each month, we know that growing your brand or business is a top website goal. And in this unprecedented time in which more people around the world are staying at home, it’s important to promote your products and services online to reach a wider audience and connect with more people.

Our team has been hard at work improving the block editor experience. We’ve launched six new blocks that integrate WordPress.com and Jetpack-enabled sites with popular services — Eventbrite, Calendly, Pinterest, Mapbox, Google Calendar, and OpenTable — enabling you to embed rich content and provide booking and scheduling options right on your blog or website.

Whether you’re an online boutique, a pilates studio, an independent consultant, or a local restaurant, these blocks offer you more ways to promote your brand or business. Take a look at each block — or simply jump to a specific one below.


Promote online events with the Eventbrite block

Looking for a way to promote an online event (like your museum’s virtual curator talk or your company’s webinar on remote work), or even an at-home livestream performance for your fans and followers? Offering key features of the popular event registration platform, the Eventbrite block embeds events on posts and pages so your visitors can register and purchase tickets right from your site.

Quick-start guide:

  • To use this block, you need an Eventbrite account. If you don’t have one, sign up at Eventbrite for free.
  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Eventbrite Checkout block.
  • Enter the URL of your Eventbrite event. Read these steps from Eventbrite if you need help.
  • Select from two options: an In-page Embed shows the event details and registration options directly on your site. The Button & Modal option shows just a button; when clicked, the event details will pop up so your visitor can register.

Learn more on the Eventbrite block support page.


Schedule sessions with the Calendly block

Want to make it easier for people to book private meditation sessions or language lessons with you? The Calendly block, featured recently in our guide on moving your classes online, is a handy way for your clients and students to book a session directly on your site — eliminating the time spent coordinating schedules. You can also use the Calendly block to schedule team meetings or group events.

Quick-start guide:

  • To use this block, you need a Calendly account. Create one for free at Calendly.
  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Calendly block.
  • Enter your Calendly web address or embed code. Follow these steps from Calendly if you need help.
  • Select from two styles: the Inline style embeds a calendar directly onto your site; the Link style inserts a button that a visitor can click to open a pop-up calendar.
  • This block is currently available to sites on the WordPress.com Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans. It’s free on Jetpack sites.

Learn more on the Calendly block support page.


Up your visual game with the Pinterest block

Strong visuals help to provide inspiration, tell your stories, and sell your products and services. Pinterest is an engaging way for bloggers, influencers, and small business owners to enhance their site content and expand their following. With the Pinterest block, you can embed and share pins, boards, and profiles on your site.

Quick-start guide:

  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Pinterest block.
  • Paste the URL of a pin, board, or profile you’d like to display and click Embed. Note that you can only embed public boards.
  • Pro tip: in the block editor, go to Layout Elements and select Layout Grid to create a visually striking layout with pins, boards, and profiles, as shown above.

Display locations with the Map block

A map on your site is a quick visual way to display a location, like your restaurant’s takeout window or the drop-off spot for donations to a local food bank. Powered by mapping platform Mapbox, the Map block embeds a customized map on your site. Show the location of your business, a chain of boutique hotels, the meeting spots for your nonprofit’s volunteers, and more.

Quick-start guide:

  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the Map block.
  • In the text field, type the location you want to display and select the correct location from among the results that appear.
  • Click on the red marker to edit the title and caption of the marker.
  • Explore the toolbar for block-specific settings. Add more markers, for example, by clicking the Add a marker button.
  • In the sidebar, customize your map’s appearance (including colors, height, and zoom level).

Explore more settings on the Map block support page.


Share your calendar with the Google Calendar block

Are you an author planning a book tour (or a series of online readings)? A digital marketing consultant hosting social media workshops? A neighborhood pop-up bakery? With the Google Calendar block, you can display a calendar of upcoming events or your hours of operation.

Quick-start guide:

  • In Google Calendar, click the three dots next to your calendar name and select Settings and sharing.
  • Under Access Permissions, ensure Make available to public is checked.
  • Click on Integrate calendar on the left and copy the code under Embed code.
  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button, search for and select the Custom HTML block, and paste the code you copied in Google Calendar.
  • Publish your post or page. The next time you edit this post or page, you’ll see the code has been converted to shortcode.

Explore more settings on the Google Calendar block support page.


Streamline reservations with the OpenTable block

If you’re a restaurant or cafe owner, a primary goal of your site is to increase the number of bookings. Sure, people aren’t dining out right now, but you can be ready to take reservations in the future. With the OpenTable block, people can reserve a table directly from a post or page instead of calling or booking through a different reservation service.

Quick-start guide:

  • To use this block, your restaurant must be listed on OpenTable. Create an OpenTable listing now.
  • In the block editor, click the Add Block (+) button and search for and select the OpenTable block.
  • Enter your OpenTable Reservation Widget embed code. Check this OpenTable guide if you need help.
  • Explore the block’s toolbar and sidebar settings. For example, choose from four different embed styles: StandardTallWide, and Button.
  • This block is currently available to sites on the WordPress.com Premium, Business, or eCommerce plans. It’s free on Jetpack sites.
Learn more on the OpenTable block support page.

Which blocks are you most excited about? Stay tuned for more new blocks soon!

Sony 4K Demo – Sushi in Dolby Digital

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Sony 4K Demo – Sushi in Dolby Digital

Sony 4K Video – Sushi in Dolby Digital is a promotional 4k demo video made by Sony for the Sony 4K UHD TV.

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Pioneer 4K Demo – Black Hole in Dolby Digital

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Pioneer 4K Demo – Black Hole in Dolby Digital

Pioneer 4K Video – Black Hole in Dolby Digital is a promotional 4k demo video made by Pioneer for the Pioneer 4K UHD TV.

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Pioneer 4K Demo – Black Hole in DTS

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Pioneer 4K Demo – Black Hole in DTS

Pioneer 4K Video – Black Hole in DTS is a promotional 4k demo video made by Pioneer for the Pioneer 4K UHD TV.

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No need to Reduce Video Streaming Quality, Say Experts and ISPs

Date: 23 Mar 2020

Written by: Rasmus Larsen

There is no need to reduce video streaming quality, experts and internet service providers say after Amazon, Disney+, Netflix and YouTube have responded to a request from EU.

Amazon, Disney+, Netflix & YouTube:

Netflix was the first streaming service to reduce its bitrate for 4K HDR, HD and SD video streams while YouTube has made SD the default option (the user can still manually select higher quality) after European Commissioner Thierry Breton urged streaming services in Europe to “switch to standard definition when HD is not necessary” due to the coronavirus situation. Over the weekend, Amazon confirmed that it too will reduce its bitrate. Disney+ will deliver reduced bitrates in Europe for 30 days after launching in parts of Europe tomorrow. There are reports that Apple TV+ has also drastically reduced its streaming quality but the company has yet to comment on the matter. At this time, FlatpanelsHD is not seeing any impact to Apple TV+ streaming quality in Europe.

More than enough capacity:

Is it really necessary? Not at all, a leading internet expert told Decrypt after EU urged streaming services to act. – “That just tells me they don’t understand how the Internet works,” David Clark, senior research scientist at MIT, told Decrypt. Clark has been leading the development of the internet since the mid-1970s, according to his biography. He argues that it is a myth that the internet can reach a peak. For example, a corner of the internet in a local area may be experiencing congestion but “it is not a systemic failure”. Netflix and others are already automatically scaling down video quality in case of any congestion. – “It already does that automatically. You don’t have to tell them to. It just does it,” Clark added. His sentiment is being echoed by ISPs (internet service providers) in the UK, Nordics, and elsewhere. – “We have more than enough capacity in our UK broadband network to handle mass-scale homeworking,” Howard Watson, CTO of BT in the UK, told BBC. “Even if the same heavy data traffic that we see each evening were to run throughout the daytime, there is still enough capacity for work applications to run simultaneously.” – “We will NOT run out of bandwidth. Our broadband network is built for many times the data consumption that is being seen now,” Thomas Woldiderich, Branch Manager for telecommunications policy at the Danish Energy Association, wrote in response to the news. “Netflix’s action is most of all symbolism. The EU already has rules in place to deal with any potential pressure on networks.”

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Create With Confidence and Better Blocks.

The evolution of the block editor is packed full of features and UI improvements.

Date: March 26, 2020

Written by: Ramon

In the last few years, the teams working on the block editor have learned a lot about how people build sites now and how they want to build sites in the future.

The latest version represents the culmination of these discoveries, and the next stage in the editor’s evolution.

With better visuals and more advanced features, it’ll keep designers, developers, writers, and editors productive and happy, and — tension-building drumroll — it’s in your editor right now!

WHAT’S NEW:

With a comprehensive visual refresh, a plethora of new features, and dozens of bug fixes, the new block editor comes with a lot to unpack.

What follows is just a small (but delectable) sample of the many ways we’ve upgraded your editing experience. (You can get the full list of goodies in the release notes.) We hope you enjoy.

A REVAMPED EDITOR UI:

The first thing you’ll notice is the slick UI. Buttons, icons, text, and dropdowns are all sporting a contrast boost, with bolder colors and more whitespace between buttons, text labels, and menu items.

The world is made of blocks
The new block editor’s UI

As you navigate through the editor’s menus, individual items are clearly highlighted, allowing you to quickly identify what you’ve selected.

Active menu items have distinct highlights

The block toolbars are now simpler, displaying the most commonly-used features. For example, paragraph blocks show only bolditalic, and link formatting buttons. You’ll find all the extra options in the dropdown menu.

The block toolbar options are simpler and uncluttered

What’s more, instead of listing blocks within a fixed-height container, the block inserter now spans the height of the window. You’ll now see more blocks and block categories at once with less scrolling.

Block inserter spanning the full height of the window
The block inserter spans the full height of your screen

INTRODUCING BLOCK PATTERNS:

With the block editor as your canvas you can design almost any layout you can imagine – but building intricate page structures should never get in the way of your creative process.

Here’s where the blocks really shine: along with individual blocks, the editor now includes block patterns, a library of predefined and reusable block layouts, that you use on any page or post.

To check out the list of available patterns, click on the block pattern icon (on the top right) to reveal a collection of pre-built layouts:

Block patterns are groups of individual blocks combined to create elegant layouts

Pick the pattern you want to use, and it will appear in your editor ready for you to customize with your own content.

Right now, you’ll find a few introductory patterns – Two Columns of TextTwo Buttons, Cover, and Two Images Side by Side – but we’ll be adding more and more patterns as they’re available. When the block patterns API opens up to third-party authors, you’ll also be able to develop and share your own.

(Have an idea for a great pattern? The block editor developer community is actively seeking ideas. The more ideas they receive, the better your editor will be!)

COLORS, COLORS EVERYWHERE:

When it comes to words and columns, websites aren’t newspapers: things don’t have to be black and white.

Use the new Text Color selector tool to change the color of sentences, and even individual words and letters. Highlight the text you’d like to change, then click on the arrow dropdown and select “Text Color.”

Select “Text Color” from the options
Pick the color of your word or character

To change the background colors of your columns, select the column and head to the sidebar, to Color settings.

Columns get background colors too!

THE ROAD AHEAD IS PAVED WITH BLOCKS:

There’s still a long way to go, and the editor’s community of contributors hasn’t given its collective keyboards a moment’s rest. Work on polishing UI elements like the sidebar and dropdowns continues along with advancements to block patterns and other exciting features.

Are there ways we could improve the site editing experience even more? Please let us know! We’re always keen to hear how we can make the web a better place for everyone.

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5 Times More Coronavirus-themed Malware Reports during March

Date: March 20, 2020

Written by: Bitdefender Labs Teams

5 Times More Coronavirus-themed Malware Reports during March

Government, Hospitality, Healthcare, Education & Research, and Retail are among the verticals most targeted on the Coronavirus heatmap.

As the Coronavirus pandemic continues, cybercriminals have started piggybacking news of the crisis to deliver malware, conduct phishing, and even perform online fraud by preying on the panic caused by a dearth of medical supplies and reliable information about the pandemic.

The most recent Bitdefender telemetry shows unusual activity regarding Coronavirus-related threats: the number of malicious reports related to Coronavirus has increased by more than 475% in March, compared to February. And we still have about two more weeks to go until April.

These campaigns were likely mostly targeted at countries that have started suffering an increase in Coronavirus infections, leveraging the fear on everyone’s mind.

With officials struggling to come up with plans and quarantine procedures, threat actors seem to have mobilized quickly and started luring victims with the promise of new and exclusive information on protection procedures.

Malicious Reports Soar in March:

From 1,448 malicious reports in February to 8,319 reports until March 16th, the number has sharply increased, as the real COVID-19 virus spreads aggressively around the world.

Some of the most-targeted verticals seem to be government, retail, hospitality, transportation and education & research. While it may seem odd, it does make sense that these verticals are targeted as they actively interact with large groups of individuals and are most interested in learning more about measures to be taken to prevent a Coronavirus infection.

Consequently, one reason why cybercriminals have been actively targeting these verticals with phishing emails impersonating the WHO (World Health Organization), NATO, and even UNICEF is that employees likely expect official information from known, global organizations.

A breakdown into which Government institutions seem targeted most reveals that education ministries, health ministries and departments, and fire services have been attacked most.

In healthcare, hospitals & clinics, pharmaceutical institutions, and distributors of medical equipment, were mostly targeted, potentially with messages of procedures that need to be taken, drugs that could work on preventing or treating infection, and even medical supplies that were allegedly still in stock.

For example, the email above seems to target Healthcare services in Thailand judging from the title, which is translated from Thai (“Fwd: Re: CoronaVirus Express Information”), and the name of the attached file (“Ministry of Public Health Corona Virus Information Urgent 2020.gz”). It promises new and exclusive information to medical staff. To make the email seem more legitimate, it uses the official logos of the Thailand Establishment of National Institute of Health.

In rough translation, the email (seen above) urges citizens, schools, commissioners and business owners to follow the instructions in the attached document to stay “safe and free from the viruses.” It also claims the file contains a list of pharmacies that distribute “a qualified protective drug.” Needless to say, anyone opening the tainted attachment will be infected with a Trojan, specifically the NanoBot Trojan.

Education & Research verticals, where messages reached universities, schools, and technical institute, are all crowded places eagerly awaiting instructions on how to prepare for the Coronavirus outbreak. They too have been selectively targeted with spearphishing emails.

A look at some of the tainted documents received by government institutions shows all filenames, naturally, share the same “coronavirus” string and promise to offer new and exclusive information regarding the outbreak.

For example, popular document booby traps range from claiming the email attachments are PDF documents when in fact they’re everything from “.exe” to “.bat” files. That means that, unless users have the “File name extensions” option ticked in the View menu of File Explorer; they’ll likely fall for this double extension scam. Of course, the files are laced with malware and, as soon as they’re executed, they start deploying threats ranging from LokiBot and HawkEye to Kodiac and NanoBot (see the table below).

Most of these Trojans, including NanoBot, are designed to steal information, such as usernames and passwords, potentially for use by threat actors either for financial profit or to gain remote access to accounts, services, and even endpoints.

Below, you can see a table with examples of names for each malicious documents received by each vertical, along with each email subject (where applicable).

Going After Countries Aggressively Affected by COVID-19:

In terms of the geographical distribution for all malicious reports involving the Coronavirus, things escalated quickly between January and March. In January, reports were coming in only from some countries such as the United States, China, and Germany. By March, malicious reports came in from all around the world, and no European country was spared.

In fact, during March, the largest number of malicious reports was registered from countries such as Italy, the United States, Turkey, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain, Canada, Romania, and Thailand. All these countries that have been seriously afflicted by the COVID-19 outbreak, which is why it’s likely these malware campaigns have been focusing specifically on these regions.

As if having to deal with the Coronavirus in real life wasn’t enough, threat actors have been exploiting panic, misinformation, and confusion in an attempt to maximize their efforts in spreading scams and infections or generally profiting off of everyone’s fears.

Here’s what you should know:

With countries straining to find ways to contain and even stop the spread of COVID-19 infections, the average user/citizen is undoubtedly seeking help and information from any online source on how to stay safe. However, that information may not always come from a reputable source.

Malware is a dime a dozen and cybercriminals will stop at nothing to trick users into installing it. It may already be difficult to cope with the real-life virus, and dealing with cyber “viruses” is probably the last thing on anyone’s mind.

However, just like in real life, good (security) hygiene means you’re not only keeping yourself safe but you’re also helping those around you. So carefully read through emails to make sure they’re legitimate, don’t open attachments unless you’re absolutely sure they’re safe, and try using a security solution that can keep you safe from a wide range of threats, so you can focus on what matters: keeping your family safe!

Note: This article is based on technical information provided courtesy of the Bitdefender Labs teams.

Written by: Bitdefender Labs

Source: https://labs.bitdefender.com

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Philips 4K Demo – Downhill Darklight in DTS

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Philips 4K Demo – Downhill Darklight in DTS

Philips 4K Video – Downhill Darklight in DTS is a promotional 4k demo video made by Philips for the Philips 4K UHD TV.

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YouTube and Amazon Prime Video join Netflix in cutting your Streaming Quality

Date: Fri, Mar 20, 2020 –
Written by: David Snelling

YouTube and Amazon have both now confirmed that they will join Netflix by reducing the quality of streams. This change is being put in place in a bid to help networks cope with the increased demand as millions stay home during the coronavirus outbreak.

YouTube and Amazon Prime Video subscribers could see the quality of their boxsets and movies plummet as firms attempt to help networks cope with the millions of people staying at home to avoid the spread of the coronavirus crisis. Both streaming platforms have confirmed plans to join Netflix, which has announced plans to restrict the amount of bandwidth that will be available to those who pay for Ultra HD quality until things return to some form of normality.

This radical change is thought to offer a significant saving, which would reduce data consumption by around 25 percent allowing more people to stream at once during these unprecedented times. To put this into some perspective, an hour of standard definition video uses around 1 GB of data, while HD can use up to 3 GB an hour.

Now YouTube and Amazon have both agreed to follow Netflix with users about to getting lower quality streams sent to their devices. Explaining more about the decision, a spokesperson for YouTube said: “We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default.”

We are in ongoing conversations with the regulators including Ofcom, governments and network operators all over Europe. We will continue our work to minimise stress on the system, while also delivering a good user experience.

Amazon prime video netflix
YouTube Has Now Joined Netflix in Dropping Video Quality (Image: GETTY)

And a spokesperson for Amazon confirmed: “Prime Video is working with local authorities and Internet Service Providers where needed to help mitigate any network congestion, including in Europe where we’ve already begun the effort to reduce streaming bitrates whilst maintaining a quality streaming experience for our customers.”

Despite this news of networks coming under increased pressure, it seems the UK’s broadband firms are confident they can cope. BT says its networks are built to support “evening peak” network capacity, which generally equates to at least ten times daytime demand. As a result, the broadband company is confident it can handle mass-scale home-working in response to COVID-19.

Speaking about the challenges ahead, Marc Allera, CEO of BT’s Consumer division: “Even with a massive increase of people working from home, broadband traffic won’t reach the levels of peak times where millions of people stream HD video at the same time. That’s the kind of traffic we’ve built our networks to support. We’re making sure there’s plenty of capacity in the network and that critical services are supported, and our network has more than ten times the amount of capacity needed for normal everyday use.

Working from home won’t generate significantly more traffic across our network than working in the office, even with more video calling and conferencing. So if more people need to work from home, our network will keep up with demand.”

Date: Fri, Mar 20, 2020 –
Written by: David Snelling
Source: https://www.express.co.uk

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It’s a Terrible Time to Own a 4K TV as Netflix, Sky and YouTube make Radical Changes

4K TV Sky, Netflix Amazon
Why 4K TV Won’t Get as Much Content on its Screen (Image: GETTY)

Date: Sat, Mar 21, 2020 –
Written by: David Snelling

4K TV owners are being hit by some drastic changes with services such as Netflix downgrading the quality of its content and Sky not broadcasting any live 4K sport. These updates have been implemented in a bid to help networks cope with the increased demand as people are told to stay at home.

4K TV owners are being hit by some drastic changes with services such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube downgrading the quality of their content and Sky not broadcasting any live 4K sport. If you own a pin-sharp 4K TV then now is a disappointing time to be sat in front of it.

With the coronavirus forcing millions to stay at home, many of the world’s biggest broadcasters are currently reducing the quality of their content to help broadband networks cope under the increased strain.

Earlier this week, Netflix confirmed that it would now start lowering the standard of its streams in a bid to help reduce data consumption by 25 percent.

Speaking about the changes the streaming company said: “Following the discussions between Commissioner Thierry Breton and [Netflix chief executive] Reed Hastings, and given the extraordinary challenges raised by the coronavirus, Netflix has decided to begin reducing bitrates across all our streams in Europe for 30 days.”

Netflix has now been joined by YouTube and Amazon Prime Video who also say they are temporarily stopping consumers watching in HD and 4K.

In a statement, YouTube confirmed: “We are making a commitment to temporarily switch all traffic in the EU to standard definition by default.

And Amazon added: “Prime Video is working with local authorities and internet service providers where needed to help mitigate any network congestion.

As a quick guide, an hour of standard definition video uses around 1GB of data meanwhile, HD can use a staggeringly higher 3GB an hour.

BT recently announced that its networks could cope under the increased pressure with the firm saying, its networks are built to support “evening peak” network capacity, which generally equates to at least ten times daytime demand.

However, it seems streaming services are now trying to help soften the load especially for areas with ageing copper cables.

Along with these streaming services, Sky Sports fans are also seeing a huge drop in the content they can view in 4K.

Sky broadcast a large number of events in this pin-sharp quality including some of its Premier League games and all of the F1 action from every race around the world. With all top-flight sports on hold, there’s less for people to watch in ultra HD.

The satellite TV firm is clearly aware that its offerings are currently much less attractive with the company now allowing subscribers to cancel their Sky Sports packages without facing any extra charges.

Of course, dropping the quality of streams makes perfect sense during these difficult times but your 4K TV certainly won’t offer the same stunning experience until things get back to normal.

Date: Sat, Mar 21, 2020 –
Written by: David Snelling
Source: https://www.express.co.uk

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The Best 4K Demo Video and 5K Demo Video in Dolby Digital and DTS.

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