Home Theatre

IHS: High Hopes for European Netflix Expansion

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IHS: High Hopes for European Netflix Expansion

IHS predicts international customers will make 20% of overall Netflix subscribers as the video streaming service is set to be available in Belgium France, Luxembourg, Austria, Switzerland and Germany by end 2014.

According to the analyst the move will see the addition of 5-6 million new subscribers.

"Between the expansion of Netflix and its growing popularity in markets such as the UK, Ireland, Netherlands and Scandinavia, we anticipate that the company will add a total of 8m new subscribers to its European tally by the end of 2018,” IHS says.

Further on the analyst says the Netflix rollout should propel the W. European online subscription market to a 35% CAGR over the next 5 years.

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Further European Expansion for Netflix

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Further European Expansion for Netflix

Netflix announces "significant" expansion into 6 European countries-- Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg will get access to the video-on-demand service sometime later this year.

The above mentioned countries will join the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and the Netherlands in access to subscription-based on-demand programming on multiple devices. Little else is known, since the company says it will provide "further details, including pricing, programming and supported devices at a later date."

Currently Netflix has 48 million subscribers in over 40 countries, and says it serves over 1 billion hours of programming per month. In Europe it will get to compete against the likes of Sky Deutschland's Snap, Vivendi's Watchever, ProSiebenSat.1's MaxDome and Amazon Instant Video.

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Meet Robo-Projector!

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Meet Robo-Projector!

An ex-Google product manager invents the "Robo-Projector." He calls it Keecker and it is a rolling robot with a video projector that can sync with smartphones to turn any wall into a screen for watching movies, checking email, and more.

This is R2D2 if designed by Apple. Keecker frees the screen from its fixed spot. Keecker lets home users watch content anywhere there's enough wall space and no stairs (robots can't climb, yet).

Bill Gates has invented his own home system that allows him to control the photos on screens throughout his home, like a personal digital signage system. Now anyone with Keecker can bring video or photo content to any room, any place, any time.

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Amazon Reveals STB, Calls it Fire TV

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Amazon Reveals STB, Calls it Fire TV

So Amazon was truly working on a console-slash-STB after all-- the online retailer turned hardware maker reveals a spearhead in the invasion of the world's living rooms with the Fire TV.

Rumours on the Amazon STB have been going on since April 2013, with Bloomberg first reporting of a Roku/Boxee-style device in development at the company's Lab126 hardware division.

The finished products looks like a small matte black box adorned with a simple Amazon logo. It runs on the latest version of Amazon's forked Android build (aka "Mojito") and carries a quad-core processor, Adreno 320 GPU, 2GB RAM and dual-band dual-antenna wifi. Pushing output are HDMI and optical audio ports.

Media content comes via Amazon's own Instant Video and Prime services, as well as Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Pandora and iHeartRadio, among others. An interesting-sounding "ASAP" feature predicts the shows users are most likely to watch, pre-caching them for instant viewing.

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WSJ: Amazon STB to Ship in April

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WSJ: Amazon STB to Ship in April

Rumours on the supposed Amazon STB continues to trickle in-- "people familiar with the company's plans" tell the Wall Street Journal the long-awaited device ships on "early" April 2014 to retailers such as Best Buy and Staples.

According to the WSJ the STB carries a "forked" Android version allowing it to run not only Amazon streaming services but also the likes of Netflix, Hulu and even games.

TechCrunch also joins the Amazon STB rumour game, saying the device features a Chromecast-style dongle/stick design and OnLive-style PC game streaming capability. Reportedly "top-tier games" are to be streamed at 30fps-- a lofty goal, but one has to keep in mind Amazon is (probably) equipped to power such intensive cloud-based offerings.

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TiVo Co-Founders Put Online Video on TV

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TiVo Co-Founders Put Online Video on TV

TiVo co-founders Michael Ramsay and Jim Barton launch what they claim is a truly hassle-free way of viewing online video on HDTVs-- QPlay, a combination of cloud service, TV adapter and iPad app promising to be "like TV, but better."

At the heart of the QPlay concept is the cloud service. It provides what the company calls "Qs," video streams generated from a number of sources (YouTube, Vimeo and social networks, although the company says it is looking to include Hulu and Netflix). Users can create own Qs from channel subscriptions or browser bookmarklet, or simply watch auto-generated TV-style channels from sources such as CNN, MSNC and Al-Jazeera.

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Kaleidescape's Cinema One at ISE 2014

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Kaleidescape's Cinema One at ISE 2014

Kaleidescape shows off its lineup of media servers at ISE 2014-- including the recently launched Cinema One, the company's first entry into more mass market home theatre products.

The Cinema One combines CD, DVD and Blu-ray players with a 4TB HDD and access to the Kaleidescape online movie store. It stores either up to 600 DVDs or 100 Blu-ray quality movies, and starts playing without any trailers, menus or ads getting in the way of the experience.

The system also connects to home automation systems to dim automatically dim lights once a movie starts playing. Linking a second Cinema One unit doubles storage capacity and enables combined library viewing on a second TV.

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BDA Confirms 4K Blu-ray Discs

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BDA Confirms 4K Blu-ray Discs

In good news for early adopters Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) confirms it is working on Blu-ray discs with UHD/4K support, having recently approved a draft extension to the standard.

As it stands the Blu-ray standard is limited to HD video, meaning it is not good enough for the UHD TVs seen at CES 2014 and any of the trade shows to take place during the year. UHD streaming of select content is available on the likes of Netflix, but such services require high-bandwidth internet connections.

According to The Hollywood Reporter the technical blueprint for UHD Blu-ray should be available by end 2014. Such work involves 17 companies, including Sony, Technicolor, Dolby, Fox and Disney.

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AudioControl Launches 4K Receivers

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AudioControl Launches 4K Receivers

The AudioControl Concert AVR-6 and AVR-8 are home theatre receivers capable of handling UHD/4K resolutions (3840x2160) with 3D support, 7 HDMI inputs and 2 ARC-compatible HDMI outputs, among other connection options.

The AVR-8 features an amp with 200W per channel, while the AVR-6 offers 100W per channel. Both output at 8 ohms, and can be configured as either a full 7.1 system or a 5.1 system with 2 channels serving a second zone.

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The 4K Streaming Player

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The 4K Streaming Player

Nuvola claims the NP-1 is the first streaming media player able to handle content in 4K/UHD resolutions, allowing customers to stream higher-resolution content from a variety of sources, including a bundled NanoFlix UHD channel.

The player gets content via ethernet or wifi from networks with 6Mbit/s speeds or higher. It runs on Android 4.2 and carries a Tegra 4 processor inside a compact (9x10cm) package.

UltraHD/4K video support comes through H.264 compression, with upgrades to higher (H.265) codecs following availability. Video format support includes MP4, MKV, AVI, MOV and OOG (H.264), whuile audio includes AAC, FLAC, MP3 and WAV.

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Sharp Prepares WiSA-Certified Player

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Sharp Prepares WiSA-Certified Player

The Sharp WiSA Universal Player receives CES Innovations 2014 Design and Engineer Honoree status as the first home theatre player to making use of WiSA (Wireless Speaker and Audio) wireless technology.

The player pushes uncompressed 24bit/96kHz audio (as well as HD video) to WiSA-certified speakers via the 5GHz Unlicensed National Information Infrastructure (U-NII) frequency band.

“Unlike previous sound systems that compressed the sound, the Sharp WiSA Universal Player reproduces the source signal without compromise, achieving high fidelity in sound and delivering Full HD resolution in video, while also eliminating the need for expensive and inconvenient wires,” Sharp claims.

Bang & Olufsent recently launched the first WiSA-certified wireless speakers-- the BeoLab 17, BeoLab 18 and BeoLab 19, all using the technology WiSA revealed back at CEDIA 2013.

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