4K movies and TV shows arrive to Prime subscribers via Amazon Instant Video

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 9, 2014

Joining Netflix which offers 4K (or Ultra HD) video and video sharing websites like Google’s YouTube and Vimeo that offer streaming in 4K resolution, Amazon on Tuesday said its Prime subscribers can stream select television shows and movies in the high-quality 4K picture resolution.

These Ultra HD movies and TV shows are accessible through the Amazon Instant Video app on compatible Ultra HD smart TVs, including models from LG, Samsung and Sony, with more added next year.

The online retail giant did not say when Prime customers can expect to stream 4K content through mobile Instant Video apps. Read More

 

Five reasons the iPhone 6’s ability to handle 4K video is a big deal

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 24, 2014

While some photography apps in the App Store — such as the $49.99 Vizzywig 8xHD — make shooting film-like 4K footage on an iPhone a reality by taking a series of individual eight-megapixel images in rapid succession, the general public and techies alike are totally unaware that the latest iPhones are actually capable of rendering 4K 3,840-by-2,160 pixel video.

And who could blame them? After all, Apple’s been conspicuously mum about it. But as it turns out, the A8 chip ticking inside the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus provides enough oomph to seamlessly handle 4K content playback.

The surprising discovery was made public last week by Softorino (via TUAW), the developers of WALTR, a new Mac app which makes it easy to upload and convert any video or audio file to an iOS-friendly format for native playback on iPhones, iPads, iPods and Apple TVs.

While it makes little sense to render massive 4K videos on the 1,334-by-750 and 1,920-by-1,080 pixel resolution screens of the respective iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus smartphones due to inevitable downsampling, the very fact that the A8 processor can handle 4K content is important on many levels. Read More

 

Apple rumored to launch Retina iMacs and ultra high-resolution 5K Thuderbolt Display by year-end

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 12, 2014

Apple is said to be releasing a 27-inch iMac with Retina display and a new high-resolution 27-inch Thunderbolt Display by the end of the fourth quarter of 2014, Taiwanese trade publication DigiTimes reported Friday citing a report from Taiwan-based display researchers WitsView.

The upcoming Thunderbolt Display should feature a 5K resolution of a whopping 5,120-by-2,880 pixel versus the 2,560-by-1,440 pixel resolution on the current Thunderbolt Display. Read More

 

Upgrading to a 4K monitor: enjoy Retina quality graphics on an external display

By Jeff Benjamin on Jul 26, 2014

As many of you know, I’m rocking a 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, and I love it. The screen is killer, it’s fairly fast, and it’s portable.

But as I begin to take on more “intense” projects, I’m starting to realize that I simply don’t have enough screen real estate to be the most productive I can be. I need an external monitor.

The problem is, and if you’re a current Retina MacBook owner you’ve no doubt faced a similar conundrum, most of the popular external displays pale in comparison to the Retina display. Even Apple’s mighty Thunderbolt Display, with its 27″ screen and 2560×1440 native resolution, looks downright grainy when placed side-by-side with the Retina screen of a MacBook Pro.

So what to do? You could hold off until Apple finally decides it wants to get with the program and offer a Retina capable Thunderbolt Display, or…or…or! You could get a ultra-HD 4K capable monitor right now and enjoy a “Retina” experience.

That’s exactly what I decided to do. Inside, I’ll break down some of the pluses and minuses of my latest pickup, Dell’s ($799 on Amazon) 24″ ultra-HD display, the UP2414Q. Read More

 

Apple details 4K hardware support in OS X 10.9.3

By Christian Zibreg on May 16, 2014

Perhaps the key headline feature of the newly-released OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 is proper support for external 4K monitors. Previously, Mavericks would render text, icons and other user interface elements as-is, so everything appeared tiny due to the densely packed pixels on 4K monitors.

OS X 10.9.3 uses pixel-doubling to enable a true Retina experience where the size of the user interface does not change, it’s just a lot sharper because OS X has a lot more pixels per square inch to work with.

Apple has now refreshed its support document with detailed information regarding compatible 4K monitors, display modes, video interfaces and Macs… Read More

 

First OS X 10.9.3 beta includes new ‘Retina’ resolution option for 4K displays

By Cody Lee on Mar 7, 2014

Late yesterday, Apple seeded the first beta of OS X 10.9.3 to Mac developers. The beta seemed insignificant, with no mention of any changes or new features; just a brief request that devs focus their testing on audio and graphics.

But as it turns out, there is at least one notable difference in the beta: a new ‘Native’ Retina resolution option for 4K displays. This enables users with compatible displays to use OS X in a noticeably sharper Retina mode at 60Hz… Read More

 

Google to demo 4K YouTube streaming at CES via its new royalty-free VP9 codec

By Christian Zibreg on Jan 3, 2014

Google’s hasn’t enjoyed much success with VP8, a video codec it developed back in 2010 as a H.264 replacement for efficient video streaming. The Chrome browser supports VP8 codec out-of-the-box (so no plug-in required), but Google’s plans for VP8 domination were shattered by literally non-existent support from major industry players.

As a result, VP8 has never gained hardware-acceleration because chip makers opted to stand firmly behind H.264, an industry-standard video codec Apple’s devices support natively and on the silicon level.

At next week’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the Internet giant will be showing off YouTube streaming in a 4K resolution of 3,840 pixels by 2,160 lines via its brand new royalty-free video codec, VP9.

This time around, Google has lined up an impressive list of industry players who will back the new format. Notably absent: a certain fruity company… Read More

 

Apple optimized Final Cut Pro, Compressor, Motion and Logic Pro apps for Mac Pro and 4K

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 19, 2013

When Apple teased its new Mac Pro at WWDC a few months ago, the company’s marketing honcho Phil Schiller put up a slide showing a guy in an editing room in front of three huge 4K monitors, all hooked up to the machine. “You could be that guy,” he quipped, provoking a laughter from the audience.

Schiller also said Apple was working on a Final Cut Pro update optimized for the Mac Pro’s powerful dual AMD FirePro graphics and he wasn’t lying: just as the new Mac Pro launched on the online Apple Store this morning, Apple followed up by pushing updates to Final Cut Pro, Compressor, Motion and its other pro apps, all optimized for the Mac Pro’s hardware and with 4K content, 4K monitoring support via Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI on select Mac computers and a whole bunch of additions and performance enhancements… Read More

 

Apple now selling 4K Sharp displays in its European web stores

By Cody Lee on Dec 6, 2013

Apple has begun offering a 32-inch Sharp Ultra HD LED monitor in its European web stores. The 4K monitor, which retails for £3,499.00 (or roughly $5,700 USD), has been available since November, but this is the first we’ve heard of Apple selling it.

The display uses Sharp’s IGZO technology (Indium gallium zinc oxide) and has a resolution of 3840 x 2160. It offers a 1.07 billion color palette, an 800:1 contrast ratio, and comes with DisplayPort support (though it doesn’t include the Mini DP adapter)… Read More

 

New panels from AU Optronics may hint at upcoming 4K Apple displays

By Cody Lee on Nov 26, 2013

The new Mac Pro, which Apple first introduced at WWDC, is capable of driving up to 3 4K displays simultaneously. This is something the company has mentioned several times, leading to speculation that it has a 4K-flavored display on the way.

Although such a product hasn’t materialized yet, some new evidence has surfaced this week that could indicate it’s still on the way. Apparently, Apple supplier AUO is currently making 27-inch and 33-inch 4K thunderbolt-compatible display panels… Read More

 

Netflix begins testing 4K videos, plans to launch in 2014

By Cody Lee on Nov 4, 2013

During a recent quarterly earnings call, Netflix’s Reed Hastings spoke about his ambitious plans for the company’s future. The CEO hopes the streaming service will be “one of the big suppliers” of 4K (or Ultra HD) video by next year.

And this weekend it began testing the waters. GigaOM noticed that Netflix recently added a handful of 4K HD videos to its catalog. It’s mostly test footage—people riding bicycles, etc.—but it gives you a good idea of what to expect… Read More

 

HDMI 2.0 launches in time for next-gen Retina TVs

By Christian Zibreg on Sep 4, 2013

The upcoming Mac Pro is the first Mac to make possible ultra high-definition images and video, also known as Ultra HD or simply 4K. We’re talking native video at a minimum of 3,840-by-2,160 pixel resolution. That’s four times the pixels of your regular full HD 1,920-by-1,080 movies on Blu-ray discs and iTunes – and consequentially four times the clarity.

Just in time for the new generation of Ultra HDTVs – and possibly that rumored full-on Apple television set – the HDMI Licensing group has now taken the wraps off the updated HDMI standard, version 2.0… Read More

 

Gullible analyst says no iTV this year because Apple finds 4K display too costly

By Christian Zibreg on Mar 12, 2013

An analyst with a terrible track record wrote in a note to clients issued Tuesday that Apple won’t release a standalone HD TV set in 2013 after all. As much as Apple wanted to, the report has it, the company has allegedly found ultra high-resolution 4K panels to be prohibitively expensive.

You should take this particular analyst’s observations with a healthy dose of skepticism: the same guy called for an Apple-branded HD TV announcement at last year’s WWDC, later mulling full iTV production for August 2012. He repeatedly said iTV was “imminent” (calling it the iPanel), having also missed with an Apple TV related media event (and a bunch of other things that never came to be)… Read More

 

Sharp launches a 32-inch Retina monitor that cries for an Apple HD TV

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 28, 2012

Sharp, the struggling Japanese consumer electronics maker, is finally taking its low-power IGZO (indium gallium zinc oxide) panels off the ground, announcing Wednesday a 32-inch monitor built around this proprietary display tech. And with 4K resolution of 3,840-by-2,160 pixels, it’s a marvel of cutting-edge display engineering.

That’s four times the pixels of the current full HD standard which maxes out at 1,920-by-1,080 pixels. In addition to low power consumption, the new monitor achieves the industry’s thinnest profile by adopting a specially designed edge LED backlight that’s only 35mm deep… Read More