TV & Home Cinema

By September 3, 2014 Read More →

Panasonic unveil the X940 Ultra-Large Screen 4K TV

vieraPanasonic has today announced the new ultra-large X940 series, which boasts an 85 inch screen and an exceptionally fast panel for stunning 4K images. The new European VIERA 4K Ultra HD (UHD) model combines its large screen size with supreme motion picture quality, cutting-edge design and intuitive features to provide incredible home entertainment experiences. Ultra HD LED TV with 2000Hz (BLS) offers exceptionally fast panel for impressive motion picture quality and 3D. It’s Quad Core Pro5 is a powerful processor, with HEVC decoder, for next-generation 4K entertainment and ultimate images. Featuring “Local Dimming Pro” allowing the user to enjoy added dynamics with robust blacks and delicate gradation, a 4K Studio Master Drive for more accurate colour and richer, smoother gradation at virtually any brightness. 

Another feature is TV Anywhere for your entertainment, from the TV to your Web-enabled mobile device, even outside the home, alongside My Stream helping the user to enjoy content recommended to match your preferences, easily via an intuitive interface. Finally an Info Bar will see the user walk by the TV in standby and immediately get the time, weather and more. Add this up and you have one of the most rich feature sets available on the market. 

Full press release follows:

4K Ultra HD Picture Quality on an Ultra-Large Screen

With UHD resolution of 3,840 x 2,160 pixels, four times as many pixels as a conventional Full HD device, the X940 series stands out with its superior image sharpness, showing every nuance in perfect detail.

Due to a powerful 2000Hz Back Light Scanning (BLS) panel and the ‘4K Intelligent Frame Creation’ technology, it guarantees breath-taking sharpness and smooth, clear images, even when watching fast action scenes.

 

The high-end Local Dimming Pro in the X940 offers an excellent class of dimming to boost contrast performance, enabling dynamic images with the deepest blacks and ultra-whites. This system provides additional details in both dark and bright areas, by analysing and optimising the individual image areas in real-time. This achieves the Supreme Contrast, underlining the stunning picture quality.

 

The X940 employs Panasonic’s new original high-performance image-processing engine, the Quad Core Pro5 super-high speed processor. This immaculately renders highly intricate and detailed 4K images as well as achieving beautifully elegant 4K quality with precise noise reduction and motion image compensation.

 

With 4K Studio Master Drive, the X940 is able to deliver more accurate colour; richer, smoother gradation, and more shadow detail at virtually any brightness. This is due to a 3D Colour Management System (Super Chroma Drive), in addition to the Black Gradation Drive which looks for and applies brightness compensation to low-brightness image elements. To deliver colours which are truly faithful to the original source, the X940 uses LCD panels equipped with a newly developed, high-colour-space LED backlight. In particular, the Studio Master Colour enables the X940 to reproduce colours accurately even at low saturation and brightness levels, greatly enhancing the picture quality of dark scenes.

4K content, today

Panasonic’s 2014 UHD 4K TVs all feature the widest range of inputs to ensure you have an extensive spectrum of 4K content at your fingertips. The X940 is equipped with the new 4K 60p-supporting HDMI terminal, which is compatible with the High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) 2.2 protocol, allowing 4K content to be transmitted at high frame rates. With input signals of up to 60 frames per second, the line-up provides the ultimate choice for consumers looking to access the next level in home entertainment, as well as professionals – such as those working in small TV studios – for whom picture quality is imperative.

In addition to the 4K 60p-supporting HDMI terminal, the X940 is equipped with a DisplayPort 1.2a terminal which can transmit 4K signals at 50/60Hz without any reduction in colour or frame rate performance. PC gaming enthusiasts can easily connect their PC via the 60p-capable DisplayPort and enjoy the latest blockbuster games in incredible detail and with extremely high motion clarity. The advanced upscaler also enables you to enjoy your favourite Full HD Blu-ray Disc movie or TV show with stunning motion clarity.

 

Photography enthusiasts can also enjoy their pictures on the 4K Photo Viewer or via the 4K Swipe & Share function accessed by the Panasonic TV Remote 2 App on their tablet or smartphone. The X940 also supports 4K video playback from USB, SD card or online sources as they are compatible with the new HEVC (High Efficiency Video Codec) format, which is ideally suited for ultra-high resolution video content.

 

Additionally, the 4K web browser further enhances web pages and with Panasonic’s 4K Channel you can access a wide range of high resolution content at any time.

Flexible networking options

In addition to the wide 4K networking capabilities, the X940 is equipped with the widest range of input signals so you can get content from virtually any source to be viewed on your ultra-large screen. Its Twin HD Tuner can simultaneously receive two separate HD programmes via cable, satellite or terrestrial broadcast and in parallel record one of those channels on an external USB hard drive. You can start watching a show that was previously saved while recording another one, or watch a live broadcast while recording a second programme and send it via the internet or a private network to your tablet or smartphone.

 

For even more entertainment possibilities, HbbTV connects your favourite TV programming with the internet, providing supplementary programme information as well as the media libraries of many broadcasters. With integrated Wi-Fi and DLNA capability, you can surf the internet and access an ever-increasing number of Internet Apps, all from the comfort of your couch, as well as enjoy multimedia content such as photos, movies or music that are stored on a home network device or USB media.

 

TV anywhere you are

With brand new features including TV Anywhere, my Stream and Info Bar, the X940provides a whole new level of TV entertainment.

 

With TV Anywhere you can access your TV’s content from anywhere you are in the world. Using the Panasonic TV Remote 2 App and connecting to the Panasonic Cloud, you can stream live TV shows or movies on your tablet or smartphone wherever you are, as well as recorded content from a USB hard disk drive connected to your TV. If you are travelling, TV Anywhere enables you to begin watching a movie at home, start recording before you leave the house and then continue to watch from where you left off when you reach your hotel. If you forget to start the recording, you can still do this on the road thanks to the Panasonic TV Remote 2 App.

 

Furthermore, my Stream totally redefines the TV viewing experience. The service provides individualised channels of personalised content for you and your family members, aggregated from a variety of sources. You have access to films and TV shows from cable, terrestrial broadcast, and Video on Demand (VOD) sources based on your viewing preferences, allowing you to easily access the content you love, without spending the time searching for it. Recorded content, home movies, family photos and online videos are also seamlessly included in the my Stream interface.

 

Voice Print recognition technology, available via the touchpad remote and the Panasonic TV Remote 2 App, is used to identify which member of your household is using the TV and automatically calls up their my Stream profile. In addition, the innovative voice interaction and control functions not only understand individual words, but also whole sentences. Additionally with more integrated voice commands available, you can easily find the content you are looking for.

 

The X940 series has also been designed and built to ensure easy operation, even for the most non-technical of users. This includes an optimised My Home Screen, VIERA’s start-up screen that can be personalised to the individual preferences of each family member.

 

A new and innovative Info Bar automatically displays useful information for the whole family, quickly and conveniently. A proximity sensor coupled with Face Recognition technology via the built-in camera work together to recognise your presence and automatically display relevant information, such as the weather forecast, time and notifications. This all happens without even turning on the TV. 

 

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By September 2, 2014 Read More →

LG and Swarovski create a Premium OLED TV

LG Swarovski OLED TV 2

LG Electronics, with design support from Swarovski, the renowned Austrian jewellery brand and world-leading manufacturer of high-quality crystals, will unveil a one-of-a-kind CURVED OLED TV at IFA Berlin. Featuring a streamlined stand studded with shimmering crystals complemented by the brilliant, precise colours of the OLED’s self-lighting pixels, this advanced TV exudes elegance beyond compare.
 
With a paper-thin depth of just 4mm and a weight of only 16kg, the LG CURVED OLED TV is the perfect showcase for Swarovski’s finest. Featuring LG’s stylish crystal stand, the ergonomically curved display appears to float on thin air, a breathtaking effect that helps to increase viewer immersion. To create this totally unique stand, approximately 460 luminescent Aurora Borealis crystals of three different sizes (SS8, 10 and 12) were applied by hand using specially made stencils. The result is a subtle but elegant sparkling pattern that turns a cutting-edge television into a work of art.
 
LG’s OLED TV offers unrivalled visual precision thanks to the company’s advanced pixel-dimming system and the inherent advantages of OLED technology. Viewers can see every pixel come alive and will enjoy the incredible realism of sharp, natural colours and infinite contrast ratio. A singular product that combines the best of technology with the best of design, the luxurious LG CURVED OLED TV with Swarovski crystals glitters and shines in more ways than one.
 
“We are excited to showcase this one-of-a kind TV — our first collaboration with designers from Swarovski — to visitors at IFA,” said Hyun-hwoi Ha, president and CEO of LG’s Home Entertainment Company. “The epitome of luxury and refinement, Swarovski crystals and LG’s premium OLED TV complement each other perfectly. The crystals help to create an aesthetic that is, quite simply, gorgeous, while our OLED technology ensures a level of picture quality that is every bit as stunning as one could imagine.”
 
The limited edition LG OLED TV will be on display at IFA 2014 in Hall 11.2 of Messe Berlin from September 5-10 and will roll out to European customers in the fourth quarter of this year. 
Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By August 3, 2014 Read More →

Panasonic announce refreshed VIERA series for 2014

17271_TX-47AS802BToday at an all access event Panasonic announced their impressive family of Viera LCD panels. Ultra HD and Full HD TVs combining their  premium image quality and full network connectivity. Coupled with integrated features like my Stream, a camera based identity system to personalise TV content and recommendations, an info Bar for popup updates in standby mode utilising the built in camera and some important home entertainment features such as TV Anywhere and Remote Sharing. 

Mid-range Full HD provide state-of-the-art networking and include the TV Anywhere and Remote Sharing. 

A new entry-range series offer “beyond smart” TV features, a variety of screen sizes and a wide range of connectivity options.

In addition, we were treated to a little inside information on the AX902 demonstrated in CES earlier this year. The AX902 doesn’t have price or release information at the moment however it will be seen again at IFA in Berlin and we will be there to keep you up to date on it.  

AX902 Series

Panasonic announced that it will introduce the AX902, a further 4K UHD series TV in autumn of this year. The AX902 will include several as yet undisclosed picture quality and ‘beyond smart’ advances.

 Here is breakdown of the range available now:

AX802

  • Superb 4K Images meet Cutting-Edge Connectivity Options. 
  • Ultra HD LED TV with 2000Hz (BLS) – exceptionally fast panel for impressive motion picture quality and 3D
  • my Stream – enjoy content recommended to match your preferences, easily via an intuitive interface
  • 4K Studio Master Drive – for more accurate colour and richer, smoother gradation at virtually any brightness
  • Info Bar – walk by the TV in standby and immediately get the time, weather, any new messages and more
  • Hexa Processing Engine PRO – fast processing power, with HEVC decoder, delivers thrilling 4K entertainment
  • Freetime built-in

AS802

  • Full HD IPS LED TV with 1800Hz (BLS) – high-performance panel for stunning motion picture quality and 3D
  • my Stream – enjoy content recommended to match your preferences, easily via an intuitive interface
  • Local Dimming – revel in entertainment with more depth thanks to deep blacks and fine dark gradations
  • Hexa Processing Engine – fast processing power delivers a thrilling entertainment experience
  • Advanced Colour Spectrum – means more intense viewing with a natural colour range and brighter images
  • Freetime built-in.

AS740

  • Full HD LED TV with 1200Hz (BLS) – high-speed panel for brilliant, smooth motion picture quality and 3D
  • my Stream – enjoy content recommended to match your preferences, easily via an intuitive interface
  • Built-in camera – take Skype video calls, or get your personalised My Home Screen from Face Recognition
  • TV Anywhere – your entertainment, from the TV to your Web-enabled mobile device, even outside the home
  • Freetime built-in

AS650

  • Full HD LED TV with 1200Hz (BLS) – high-speed panel for brilliant, smooth motion picture quality and 3D
  • my Stream – enjoy content recommended to match your preferences, easily via an intuitive interface
  • TV Anywhere – your entertainment, from the TV to your Web-enabled mobile device, even outside the home
  • Wide viewing angle – spectacular colour, contrast and brightness for best viewing from virtually any seat
  • Freetime built-in

 AS600

  • Full HD LED TV with 100Hz (BLB) and Dual Core CPU – for great picture quality and seamless Smart features
  • my Stream – enjoy content recommended to match your preferences, easily via an intuitive interface
  • Internet Apps – browse the Web, access social sites, enjoy Skype video calls and big-screen entertainment
  • Voice Assistant1 – simply use your voice to control the TV, search through your media or browse the Web
  • Freetime built-in

Requirements for Voice Assistant: Smartphone or Tablet and the TV Remote 2 App. Voice Print functionality is not available. Voice Assistant: availability varies by location.

AS500

  • Full HD1 LED TV with 100Hz (BLB) – enjoy clear motion quality for fast-moving action or sports
  • My Home Screen – customise the start-up screen to quickly access your favourite apps or the App Market
  • Internet Apps – browse the Web, access social sites, enjoy Skype video calls and big-screen entertainment
  • Swipe & Share – use your mobile device with Panasonic TV Remote App 2 to stream media directly to the TV 

32“ and 24“ models are HD ready only 

A400

  • Full HD1 LED TV with 100Hz (BLB) – enjoy clear motion quality for fast-moving action or sports
  • Media Player – play back photos, movies and music on the TV easily from any USB storage device
  • High Contrast – delivers deep blacks and bright whites for more dynamic images with great colour
  • V-Audio – enjoy rich sound from high-quality two-directional speakers 

32“ model is HD ready only 2) Pedestal varies from displayed model

You can find out more from Panasonic at http://www.panasonic.com/uk/consumer/viera-televisions/led.html

By July 30, 2014 Read More →

Tronsmart T1000 Mirror 2 TV Unboxing

vlcsnap-2014-07-27-18h12m10s67Gareth has a look at a Chromecast alternative sent over by GearBest. At half the price of the Chromecast could this be an even bigger steal? Gareth thinks so! Tronsmart Mirror 2 TV (T1000) casts video, audio, photos, MS office files, PDF files, games, etc to HDTV or projector wirelessly. It can mirror whatever shown on the screen of your smartphone, tablet, notebook, PC to your HDTV or projector. Overall, it is a useful tools for your home multimedia entertainment, also a powerful tools for your office presentation.

Tronsmart T1000 Mirror 2 TV specification:

  • Multi-standard support: Miracast, DLNA, Airplay
  • Multi-platform support: Android phones/tablets, Apple iOS iPhone/iPad, Windows PC/Note, Mac ; PC/Notebook;
  • Can directly play and cast local video, music, game, MS Office documents/files
  • Extended cable with WiFi dongle to avoid big TV screen blocking wireless signal
  • Support screen mirroring, iOS currently under development
  • Display device: HDTV or projector with HDMI port
  • Simple installation, easy handling and configuration 
  • H.264 1080P full HD video decode, can be switched to 720p if your TV does not support
  • LPCM audio decode
  • Flexible power using TV standard USB port (no less than 400mA) or external USB power supply (not included)
  • Firmware can be upgraded via OTA technology (Over the Air), easy to upgrade
  • APP download by Play Store (for Android) Apple Store (for iPhone)

 

 

By July 18, 2014 Read More →

Could this be the coolest TV screen ever?

From HD resolutions to curved screens, the TV game is always changing. LG has recently announced the latest ground-breaking development in the market, which takes the form of rollable TVs, as the BBC reports.

Taking how we tune in to the next level, the paper-thin televisions are so slight they can be rolled into a 3cm-diameter tube. And the company is not stopping there: LG is hoping to produce a huge 60in rollable TV by 2017.

This new development means that the humble gogglebox can be used in ways like never before. In honour of this, we’ve decided to take a look at some of the coolest TVs to ever have graced our planet.

Projector screens

Watching sport simply wouldn’t be the same without the trusty projector screen that takes pride of place in your local bar. In fact, recent times have seen them creep into our homes too, as telly addicts swap the small screen for a significantly larger one.

Previously, projectors and screens were costly to buy. Nowadays, you can pick up a quality projector from brands like Epson for around £250. Throw in a £56 projector screen from Rapid, and this option becomes incredibly affordable.

Piccadilly Circus

It would be difficult to install the next screen on our list in your home, but it definitely deserves a place in our run down. Piccadilly Lights, found near London’s Piccadilly underground station, is one of the city’s most famous landmarks.

Back in 2013, the advertising platform was brought into the 21st century with the installation of a new 24.6m by 4.8m SMD LED screen. Boasting 774,144 pixels, the screen is certainly a sight to behold — often by some 71,760,000 pedestrians a year.          

By July 13, 2014 Read More →

Screen casting from Android to Chromecast

cast_screenThose lovely people at Google are currently packing in the ultimate feature for the Chromecast, screen casting. Now, anything on your Android device can appear on the TV. Google are pushing sharing features more so than gaming and apps by saying “You can share photos stored on your phone with a group of friends, or scope out the scenery for your next family vacation together on the big screen using Google Earth.”

This feature is currently in beta and will roll out on popular Android phones or tablets from Samsung, HTC, LG, and others over the next few days. Look out for the 1.7 update of the Chromecast app on Google Play store to use this new feature. 

By April 4, 2014 Read More →

Qualcomm powering Amazon’s Fire TV

AmazonFireTV-FireStandingIt feels like it came out of no where, Amazon have announced a new set top entertainment system called Fire TV. This will run a customized version of Android, just like the Kindle Fire tablet. Here are a few hardware specs of the device:

  • Quad-core processor (supposedly is three times more powerful than Apple TV and other rival devices)
  • 2GB of RAM
  • Dedicated graphics processor
  • Will ship with a tiny, plastic remote control that has only seven buttons and a directional pad
  • Voice command search queries
  • Support for Android gaming ( Amazon has launched a studio internally to develop in-house games)

This is a new device that plugs into your television and lets you stream video content from the Internet. Much like Apple TV, and Google TV before it Fire TV is more of a lounge/living room solution than the Chromecast however it essentially fulfills the same goals. The primary focus of Fire TV will be Amazon Prime Video however it will also support third-party content, like Netflix and Plex. As per usual this is geared towards the US market with Hulu and HBO being some of the touted apps. There is little news as to when we can expect to see it on UK shores and there will have to be negotiations with likes of BBC and Sky over their delivery services before it arrives. According to Amazon, more third-party apps will be coming to the Fire TV in May. This includes music apps like TuneIn, Pandora, & iHeartRadio.

amazon-fire-game-controller-image_1280

In addition to TV and movie content the little black box is boasted as a gaming platform also. We will see some rather tasty games, obviously the finest Android can provide. The Fire TV is being powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 processor. As the first product of its kind to go live with a Snapdragon 600 processor, the Fire TV will utilize the processor to enable new and improved user experiences, essentially redefining the living room experience. Multimedia performance with 1080p HD video, 7.1 Dolby surround sound, a graphics accelerated UI and console quality gaming. The Qualcomm processor also provides the Wi-Fi connectivity.

The device will be available to buy today for $99, and a gaming controller for it will cost $39.99, Stateside of course.

By March 16, 2014 Read More →

Chromecast here on Wednesday?

Chromecast-peeking-630x348Sundar Pichai recently mentioned the Chromecast would come to other markets within weeks. The Chromecast app was updated with new languages and we even had a nice leak of the Chromecast being prepared for launch here in the UK. We just needed one more detail – when?.

The latest leak comes from Android Police. It’s an internal document that states a “new Google product” will be released this Wednesday, March 19th. This document is said to come from Dixons. It’s also labeled as “one of the biggest products this year from Google.”

Now, this document doesn’t specify it’s talking about the Chromecast, but we have been seeing many rumours and news about the HDMI dongle lately. We can’t imagine this being about any other product.

Price continues to be unspecified. The only details we know came from the last rumour, which suggests the price will be £30. Regardless, we will learn all this information very soon. Circle this coming Wednesday in your calendars, guys! March 19th is looking like the day we see the Chromecast arriving!

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
By February 4, 2014 Read More →

Presenting the Chromecast SDK

Chromecast SDKAfter a long and gruelling 6 months the SDK for Google’s Chromecast officially became available for purchase, so we can now expect to see a wave of apps pouring through the floodgates for Google popular TV plugin. At this point in time there are only a handful of services available for the Chromecast out of the box and with several similar devices coming to market it makes total sense for Google to launch the SDK to increase the Chromecast’s standing in the home entertainment market.

Check it out here!

Posted in: News, TV & Home Cinema
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By February 1, 2014 Read More →

Apple TV or Roku? 5 Considerations for Buying a Set-Top Streaming Box

Apple TV or RokuIn 2007, around two million American homes were without cable or satellite television. A 2013 Nielsen study found that today more than five million homes have embraced an existence without traditional TV. But that doesn’t mean they’re staring at their four walls. More than three-quarters of these homes rely on the internet for their entertainment. If you’re ready to join them, just one question remains: Apple TV or Roku?

Roku Offers More, Easy-to-Use Channels

In June 2013, Apple TV offered just 18 channels compared to more than 750 on the Roku box. In late 2013, Apple expanded its library with some more crowd-pleasing channels, including ABC, Crackle, and Bloomberg, but Roku users have been enjoying these for years. Roku now offers more than 1,200 channels on offer, but quantity doesn’t always equate to quality. Many users insist they only watch a small percentage of Roku’s offerings, so in actuality your viewing experience might not be too different.

Roku is the clear winner when comparing the bare bones systems, but canny Apple fans have found ways to expand their viewing options. For example, many compare the price of a standard internet service with a FiOS bundle, which allows them to stream or download movies. If you’re going to spend money on additional entertainment, this package may end up being more cost effective. 

Roku’s extensive channel list could get unwieldy without its universal search. Tech bloggers have suggested Apple would do well to incorporate this feature, which allows users to search for the title of the movie or television program they’ve been dying to see. The Roku interface displays the installed apps that can show the content, and how much streaming will cost on each.

Roku Has Headphones

It sounds like a small point, but if you’re one of the many people who enjoys binging on television while the rest of your household sleeps you’ll love the Roku’s headphone functionality. Its remote control has a headphone jack to make private viewing easy. Just pop in the included earbuds and you can watch your favorite shows without disturbing your loved ones. The quality of the earbuds isn’t outstanding, but audiophiles can easily use their own.

Apple TV Feels Familiar for Brand’s Fans

Apple’s familiarity will give it an edge for many consumers discovering internet television for the first time. Its interface resembles Apple’s popular iOS system, with rectangular channel icons which resemble apps. It also integrates with iTunes so users can use their existing account to purchase television series and movies.

It’s not that Roku is difficult to use, but it can’t capitalize on brand loyalty the way that Apple can. A 2013 study found 81 percent of Apple smartphone customers stuck with the iOS platform over a 12-month period, compared to 68 percent remaining loyal to Android. Another 2013 report by international brand consulting firm Interbrand ranked Apple as the world’s number one brand, ahead of Coca-Cola, Google, and IBM. When it comes to brand loyalty, Roku simply can’t compete.

Apple TV Offers AirPlay

Apple appeals to the loyalty of its faithful followers with AirPlay, a feature which lets you wirelessly stream photos, music, and videos from your iOS device or iTunes to your television set. This innovative device also integrates with key third-party apps including Pandora and Spotify. 

To be fair, Roku has attempted to mimic AirPlay’s success with the release of its new Roku 3. This latest streaming set-top box features Play on Roku, which allows users to stream the photos, music, and video files stored on their favorite Android or iOS device. However, unlike AirPlay, Play on Roku doesn’t allow device mirroring, so it’s still got some way to go.

Roku is Often More Affordable

Both units have comparable recommended retail prices, with Apple TV selling for $99 and Roku 3 costing $99.99. However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Apple knows it can count on customer loyalty, so it rarely discounts its streaming television. In contrast, the latest Roku set-top streaming box is regularly sold online for around $10 less than its nearest rival. If you’re still not certain which unit is best, then the price could sway you.

Apple TV and Roku both have their merits, so it’s worth thinking carefully before committing to your preferred device for streaming internet entertainment.