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Sony First out of the Gate with a Home Server Delivering 4K Content

11.30.12 @ 1:57PM Tags : , ,

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)
  • Salt
  • 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?

Link: I Want My 4K TV: Sony introduces first collection of 4K Ultra HD content — The Sony Blog

[via Notes On Video & The Verge]


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Description image 31 COMMENTS

  • HD is great. I honestly don’t have any point of reference for 4K footage.. it seems like a ridiculous amount of resolution for most applications.. ie The Big Bang Theory. I assume it will eventually take hold, but until then HD is great. Living in a 1000 square foot apartment, an 84″ television is not an option. Apparently you need a tv that is 84 inches to take advantage of 4K signal.

    Cool. Not practical for everyone… ie. me.

    • Antoine Serviette on 11.30.12 @ 2:48PM

      Obviously the FIRST 4K TV will be really expensive and crazy, just like the first hard drives, DVD players (1000 bucks man) and so on. At CES they will announce a ton of more reasonably priced 4K sets, probably 3-4k range. And then by next year or so, you will see 4K LCDs going for sub 2k or 1500 prices, making them more accesible.

      Now all we need is the PlayStation 4K to democratize it and bring it into every household.

      • Before there is a 4K Playstation, real time rendering will have to be caught up as well: keep in mind that games will need to render four times as many pixels every frame, which doesn’t necessarily seem worth it at this point.

        • Antoine Serviette on 11.30.12 @ 5:13PM

          Resolution is something, at least in the gaming realm, that is always a top/sought after priority, along with frame rates. I stand by my assertion that a PS4k or whatever will happen within the next year or two, and 4K games and tv sets and monitors will follow. Don’t ever doubt the progress of technology, shit changes really fast.

    • I’m with you. It would seem pointless to have 4k if your tv was anything sub 84 inch, and I can’t see many people buying something like that unless they have specific made theater rooms to fit the thing. Also, professional installations anyone? Good luck with you and the wife putting that up.

  • It will be interesting to see what RED announces later today!!

  • joe was right after all… 4K is coming faster than we imagine! ;)

    fiew things I’ve learned from all this so far:

    1.James Cameron says that 3D was the salvation of Cinema, separating it from TV, but, oops, 3D came into TV very quickly, so it was not the salvation after all.

    2.RED prophets told us that, besides 4K being future proof. what makes same sense (not that film loves will forget for example “Zodiac” from fincher just ’cause it was shot in 1.9K, but they told us that 4K was what made the diference between TV and movies, but, agian, oops, if we can upscale more than 6 times with good quality into photoshop, now TV, probably can do the same real-time, it seems, and also 4K is not what makes cinema diferent from TV anymore.
    3. James Cameron and Peter Jackson say cinema will be better if with higher frame rates, but, even mister master Douglas Trumbull says higher frame rates is NOT for every kind of stories…

    Again, maybe what will make the diference between TV and cinema is at maximum, the big curved silver screen proposed by Douglas Trumbull, AND AS ALWAYS, great visions from singular individuals projected into it, or else cinema will die with the silver halogens, as it is already happening…

    But I’m not a big guy in the “bussiness” of making art, so probably I said caca as always! :D

    • Film isnt going anywhere. It will evolve

      • I’m not talking about the recording medium, but about the cinema as an experience at teather. I’m not a purist against digital ;). Anyway, hope you are right. :)

      • You mean photochemical film will evolve? I’d like to see that, actually. Where’s completely grainless film Kodak once promised, again?

        • Daniel Mimura on 12.8.12 @ 9:47PM

          Woah. Take a look at any kodak stock of any decade (excluding varieties of panchromatic film…aka b/w film which hasn’t changed) and then look at a stock a decade later. Night and day different! They have evolved their stocks just slightly slower than Moore’s “Law” has evolved digital cameras.

          Grainless is literally impossible if you are talking about silver halide emulsion.

  • “Hard disc solution”

    IE – this technology is not ready yet. It’s a server that has nothing to serve you with. This is just a rat race to get a new product out the door.

    We need better infrastructure in this country before this kind of product will be at all useful. FIOS has been “available” for years, but it feels like its still a beta product. I mean, only like 2% of Los Angeles even has access to it. Time Warner has a monopoly here and its garbage. Forget about 4k streaming until this gets fixed.

    Look at South Korea’s network. That’s where we need to be aiming, if not higher.

    • That where Google Fiber could be a godsend for these markets that have been taken over by these cable provider monopolies (ie Comcast).

      I would love to be able to upload HD footage to a client in an hour instead of 24 without having to pay hundreds for a business class cable subscription for my Home studio.

    • But if we had the other part ready before this then everyone will be wondering what that would be worth.

    • @dv sorry dude. I work at another huge cable company. fios is no longer expanding its network. It will only service areas where they have laid fiber. No more additional footprint.

  • I’m interested to see how The Amazing Spiderman will look in 4K when the effects were only done at 2K.

    “Our working pipeline was around 2K resolution with a ten percent pad and 16 bit DPX colorspace”

    So I guess they will up-res the 2K, giving a very slight resolution advantage? And it’ll be a little less compressed. And I guess the chroma resolution will be greater since the original files were 4:4:4 2K.

    Maybe they will also ditch the stupid, constricted 709 color space – since every 4K TV will likely be able to display a much wider gamut of colors, there’s no reason they should restrict content.


  • I just wanted to see a good HD delivery before all this 4k insanity, we barely have a good codec for broadcast, why would I want more pixels in a 47 inches tv? my blueray still looks great. This redray thing will be basically used for dailies.

  • Oh yeah. 4K has arrived! $25,000 ?!?!?!. Yeah my grandma’s finally throwing out her old flat panel HD and catching up with all of us. It’s only $25,000. Whatever. i spent that on Powerball tickets this week.

    4K is so far from being “Here”. Other than the small market of professional houses, there is no demand for 4K. The average consumer knows nothing about this and won’t for another 5 years.

  • I think the company best positioned to get out in front of the 4K era is…drumroll plez….


  • vinceGortho on 11.30.12 @ 5:54PM

    4k may take longer than bluray to take off.
    there is a lot of bluray content out there but not everybody has it.

  • BOOOORING. I’m waiting for my 8K set. With Smell-o-vision.

  • The Sony stores are actually displaying the 4k tvs in case any of you want to check it out. I saw the 80 something inch tv at the Sony store in Tyson’s Corner, Virginia a few weeks ago. Pretty impressive. I asked them whether it was real 4k footage and they said yes. Footage was sent from a PC. $24,999 + tax:p

  • Are Sony re-conformed Total Recall and Spidey in 4K? If not, this is very funny, because both films were finished in 2K for theaters.

  • I can hear it now: Canon fanboys howling about how the entire season finale episode of House was shot on a 4K DSLR…

  • I guess at the moment 4k TVs @ 84 inches would
    probably be restricted to Trial theatres for film makers,
    technicians and friends and/or Dubbing theatres.
    But what I am really waiting for is that grainless film
    from Kodak, which could outlast all the 2k, 4k or 8k digital
    improvements for my archival print. Technology is changing
    so fast, what about storing the material in some physical
    form which is easily readable and will not require a machine
    which outdates itself in 3 to 4 years? But can be scanned easily
    on any new innovation?

  • Steve Muulen on 12.7.12 @ 12:09AM

    Why assume the 4K movies would be streamed and so need a super speed connection? They wouldn’t need to be. Choose a movie at work and a few hours later it will be on a hard drive at home.

    Why assume 84″ is too big? In a 800 SF apt in NYC I had a projector with an 84″ screen. Just right for movies!

    Why assume the cost is too great. In 3 years 4K will just be HD in price. It has to drop fast because Japan has 8K in the labs for 5 years from now.

  • Daniel Mimura on 12.8.12 @ 10:06PM

    Does anyone remember Divx?

    Not the torrent format originally called Divx:)?

    The industry tried the server/locked into your TV, Big Brother style back in the 90′s. Thank god that lost and we went with DVD instead…

    …but it’s coming back! They would rather you rent than buy, that way you’re locked into their system, their content…

    In another way entirely, I don’t think we’re ready for 4k as far as the pipeline. I’m not convinced yet b/c I only stream stuff from Netflix to my laptop, not to my TV. I get blurays for watching content on my TV b/c the compression with streaming is awful. If you download it, it’s gonna take forever to download, which means a new faster than high speed internet, or all those flaws that make it take forever to download as it is today is just gonna be that much worse with the flaws presented 4 times larger. And lately, some netflix streaming films are starting to have that bleedy smoothing crap like people who set up their tv’s “wrong”. It makes everything look like a Michael Mann movie or that I’m tripping MAKE IT STOP ARGHHHH!!!