Sunday, April 20, 2014
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Sony, Samsung and Stream TV deliver Gadget News at IFA

Philadelphia-based Stream TV Networks is hoping for some attention at this week's giant IFA electronics show in Berlin

Sony, Samsung and Stream TV deliver Gadget News at IFA

Philadelphia-based Stream TV Networks is hoping for some attention  at this week’s giant IFA electronics show in Berlin.

Sony has already stolen a lot of the thunder with the introduction  of its 84-inch 4K TV - an LCD panel that  delivers four times the resolution (3840x2160 pixels) of today’s “Full HD.”  How good is that? So capable that  Sony is willing to deliver the model with simple, non-powered passive 3D glasses. Even in that compromised 3D mode the XBR-84X900  will still deliver a 1080 line image –  at a staggering $30,000 introductory price.

Panasonic and Japanese national broadcaster NHK (which funds a lot of  the nation’s tech development ) are at IFA with a 145 inch 8K “Super Hi-Vision”  technology demonstration.  When first commercialized, that set will probably cost more than most people’s homes.

Local guys Stream TV are all about delivering 3D TVs that don't need glasses, with forthcoming 42 and 46 inch “Ultra-D” LED-LCD models. At IFA on Monday,  they’ll also be introducing  a prototype TV that bumps up the resolution to  2160. And they're claiming  their technology for upconverting today’s HD signals is more sophisticated than competitors.

 It will be curious to see if any “native”  4K resolution content emerges to drive sales of these super high def sets. (Sharp is also supposed to be putting out models this year – and may even be making the panels for the other manufacturers.)  The Blu-ray camp has said there’s room on a BR disc to offer a 4K movie (probably  by eliminating extras). And many a film and TV show is now shot in that format, brags professional 4K video equipment maker Sony.  Delivering super resolution content “live” would be very difficult for bandwidth-constrained cable and satellite TV services, but those guys could easily trickle-stream 4K  content over the internet to your DVR for recording and later viewing.

What else is popping at  IFA?

Samsung is showing off a new Android-powered Galaxy camera that links up to  3G or 4G mobile phone networks (at a cost) or Wi-Fi (for free) to instantly share high quality images on your favorite social network or photo site. The back LCD display looks like one on a smart phone.

 Google has already shelved (quietly) its proposed line of “whole home”  music streaming hardware, we hear, giving old established category players like Sonos and Logitech some breathing room. At IFA, Logitech has rebranded and revamped one of its Squeezebox internet radio/music service streaming boxes as  the Logitech UE smart radio, to sell for $179. Its’ new  user interface display looks like the color-block styled UI of current Microsoft mobile phones and Windows 8.  Older Squeezebox products and your mobile phone/tablet (used as a remote controller) will be upgradeable to work on the new UE platform, which is where Logitech is putting its R&D going forward.

Tablet News: Several new tablets and hybrid tablets are making an IFA splash. Samsung  is showing off a second generation version of its stylus-equipped “phablet” (phone + tablet), the slightly larger, 5.5 inch Galaxy Note II,  coming in October and billed as “the most powerful smartphone in the marketplace.”

Archos has introduced the GamePad Android tablet, merging a 7-inch screen with physical button controls to enhance  enjoyment of games. (Works with  “thousands” of titles available in the Android marketplace.)

Sony is  improving on its first generation   Tablet S with the new Xperia Tablet S – adding an IR blaster and “Watch Now”  software to make the device  highly functional as a home theater smart remote control. The Xperia tabs arrive September 7, with the most basic 16GB (but SD card upgradeable)  model going for $399.

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
About this blog
Jonathan Takiff covers all manner of high tech gadgets – and the entertaining stuff you play on them – for the Philadelphia Daily News, philly.com and the McClatchy Tribune News Service.

Jonathan Takiff Daily News Columnist
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