Sony First out of the Gate with a Home Server Delivering 4K Content
In just a matter of hours, RED should be unveiling the final shipping model of REDRAY, its compressed 4K playback machine, as well as a brand new 4K distribution network. While details on that have been scarce at best, Sony has been planning their own delivery method for 4K, which coincides with the release of their flagship $25,000 84" Bravia TV -- that also features an advanced upscaler to get your 1080p interpolated up to 4K. Click through to read what the company has up their sleeves.
Ray Hartjen, on the Sony Blog, had this to say:
Last week I sort of shot off my mouth and suggested 4K content was going to be availablein the home. Today, that 4K dream came true as Sony officially introduced the 4K Ultra HD Video Player. Bundled exclusively as a special value add loaned to purchasers of Sony’s XBR-84X900 4K LED television, the player is a hard disc solution that comes preloaded with the following full-length feature films:
- The Amazing Spiderman
- Total Recall (2012)
- Bad Teacher
- The Karate Kid (2010)
- Battle Los Angeles
- The Other Guys
- That’s My Boy
- Taxi Driver
- The Bridge on the River Kwai
But, that’s not all. The Video Player also has a gallery of other 4K content, including shorts from cool contributors like Red Bull Media House and others.
So what about future content? Well, since the 4K Ultra HD Video Player will basically be a home server, you'll be able to update it with future content (presumably) over the internet. It would be interesting if that material was compressed in any way if it needed to be sent over a network, as I'm sure the size of the files could get a bit unwieldy -- though with a fast connection, you can download 20-30GB or more in no time. It would, however, probably come down to data caps limiting you in the long run if you were getting new movies frequently enough.
The other solution will be 4K content sent by mail on Blu Ray discs. It's unclear whether that means they will be playable discs or just data discs, but since the new 1.4 HDMI spec includes 4K support, and Blu Ray already has support for 4K built-in (though not in most current players), it seems like this server could also be able to play 4K Blu Ray discs -- but we'll have to see come January when it gets a full introduction at CES along with other products from Sony.
Many have talked about the lack of 4K content, but I have a feeling it's going to be very similar to the way HD began. It will be slow going until the TVs get cheaper (and computer screens finally hit 4K), but there very well may be an explosion in new content just as there was with HD. TV stations may take a bit longer to convert, but with how competitive the landscape for content and subscribers has become, don't be surprised if a few major stations or a cable provider (like DirecTV or Comcast) jumps at the chance to have something their competitors don't.
What do you guys think about Sony's home server? Do you think this is the best way to do it, with a combination of server downloads and Blu Ray discs? Does this interest you at all or are you happy with HD for the foreseeable future?