As 4K/UHD TVs become more and more popular, makers of Smart TVs need to add features to appeal to customers and reap decent profits. How will Apple TV be affected?
Recently, Facebook has suffered some difficulties that were caused by its very design. It’s clear now that one of the features of large, complex social services is that they contain within themselves the seeds of tragedy. Worse, thanks to the money at stake, there’s no remedy. Not even a tough one.
In 2008, the venerable cheese grater Mac Pro was designed for Apple customers who needed high end performance and expandability. In 2013, Apple shifted gears and saw the Mac Pro as an iconic desktop system with great performance if one shared the company’s vision for both industrial design and OpenCL. Now, it appears that Apple sees the Mac Pro as a platform that will support its future initiatives. Can Apple hold to that pattern? That abiding faith in high end computation and visualization? A new trademark filing suggests Apple now sees the light.
What happens when AI machine learning becomes so sophisticated and inscrutable that humans can no longer understand how an AI came to a decision? AI processes will go far beyond simple structured code that can be debugged and audited. Will we just shrug and accept? John maps out the major issues with advanced AIs.
Back in January, during CES, TMO wrote up a news story about Sony’s new XBR-A1E BRAVIA OLED 4K HDR TV. At the time, the product was not yet shipping, and we didn’t know what the prices would be. As a recap, Sony has embraced the OLED technology for its new line of 4K/UHD TVs, a market previously held only by LG. Now we know the details from the official press release for the two smaller models. For 55-inch: US$4999.99. For 65-inch: $6499.99. Sony says these TVs will be “available in stores beginning in April 2017.” OLED displays consistently win the picture quality battle against any kind of LCD, and so it’s important and timely for Sony to enter this market. No doubt, prices will be lower for the 2017 holidays.
Logitech announced BRIO earlier this month. I’ve been researching webcams for a video/podcast I’m developing with John “The Devil’s Advocate” Kheit, which led me to the Brio. It’s a 4K webcam aimed specifically at YouTubers and other vloggers, with support for multiple resolutions: 4K (Ultra HD) at 30 fps, 1080p (Full HD) at 30 or 60 fps, and 720p (HD) at 30 or 60 fps. BRIO also features a 5X digital zoom and a lightning feature Logitech calls “RightLight 3 with HDR.” On the Windows side (but not Mac), it supports Microsoft’s Windows Hello facial recognition technology. Logitech is sending me one for review, and I’ll be using on Pop.0 with John Kheit when we launch early in March. BRIO is scheduled to ship in March, and it retails for US$199/€239. It’s up on Amazon for pre-order now.
David Katzmaier is a CNET Senior Editor and TV reviewer, something he’s been doing for most of his career. He started at a small review website in New York and, later, a friend went to CNET and brought David on board where he’s been since about 2000. David is an expert on TV technology, and so we delved into the Retina effect, generic High Dynamic Range (HDR), Dolby Vision, 10-bit color, TV brightness levels, color gamuts, Hybrid Log Gamma, edge lighting (with light guides) vs. local dimming, the pros and cons of OLED vs. LCD, H.265 compression, 120 Hz refresh sample and hold, 4K streaming standards and the best time of year to buy a new TV. Phew! If you’re into UHD/TV tech, you’ll love this grand tour of today’s state-of the-art.
There are exciting new technologies coming with 4K/UHD TVs. But the basic problems persist in the connection, operation and content selection amongst all the different kinds of sources and boxes. The TV industry and parochial interests, even Apple’s, haven’t made things better. It’s going to require an independent company, deep thinking and brillant engineering to solve the problem. Caavo may be it.
Recently, Vizio agreed to pay the Federal Trade Commission and the state of New Jersey a total of US$2.2M to settle a complaint that it spied on its TV customers. It’s an unexpected and sorry state of affairs when a new, beautiful, expensive 4K/UHD TV is also reporting on your viewing habits. John offers some advice on how to put a stop to that spying.
LAS VEGAS — For a long time, Sony has had an excellent reputation for building great TVs. However, until yesterday, only LG was selling those magnificent OLED 4K/UHD TVs. Now, Sony has joined the fray with its own branded OLED 4K/UHD sets, and they’re amazing. And not only HDR but Dolby Vision to boot. The word is… wow.