Audio News for September 9, 2014

UHD Blu-rays Coming in 2015 – The struggle between physical discs and downloads/streaming goes on. The Chairman of the Blu-ray Association Global Promotions Committe has announced specifications for the Blu-ray discs to deliver UHD video to consumers who have UHD displays should be finalized by June of next year and the new software to arrive in time for the holiday season. The Blu-ray format will upgraded on more than just the number of pixels. While it is at this time undecided if the storage capabity will be increased to 66GB or 100GB (but still requiring two discs for some movies, as DVD now do), but the frame rate will be increased from 24 fps to 60 fps, the color gamuts will expand and have a higher dynamic range, and the encoding forat will allow greater compression efficiency so more frames can be accomodated. No mention was made of an upgrade to the Blu-ray audio format.  All sorts of new surround technologies are being promoted, of which Dolby’s Atmos surround is in the lead. So let’s hope there will also be an audio upgrade.

The Film Detective to Reissue Restored Classic Titles – The Film Detective restores and distributes broadcast-qaulity, digitally remastered classic film programming for TV, DVD, Blu-ray, VOD and other digital platforms. They play to release 10 to 20 DVD and Blu-rays monthly starting this month, and they will launch in the fall a classic movie subscription service on a VOD platform, with a veteran movie host. The Film Detective has a library of over 3000 titles being remastered for today’s new media. Original artwork will be available for most titles and all will be region-free. Visit them online at www.TheFilmDetective.com

Summer Rebound for Consumer Electronics at Costco –  The No. 1 warehouse club had a nearly 18-month-long stretch of soft CE sales but is now seeing net sales rising 10% for the four weeks of August. Traffic was up over 4.5% year over year.

Samsung Unveils 360-Degree VR System – At the IFA Show in Berlin, Samsung announced its Oculus-based VR headgear which they call Samsung Gear VR Innovator Edition. The head-worn wireless virtual reality headset uses the company’s Galaxy Note 4 screen, with a 360-degree 3D video experience. The phone’s quad HD display and Qualcomm quad-core processor provide the immersive video images. The headset will include a number of apps from content partners and will provide a range of movies and other videos, video games and educational content.  Partners include Disney, DreamWorks, IMAX, Technicolor’s M-GO and Vevo.  The Gear VR will ship with a 16GB microSD card preloaded with 360-degree videos and 3D movie trailers from major studios, including IMAX films and DreamWorks animation. Adjustable head straps allow a comfortable fit but it doesn’t do well with glasses. There is a focus knob on top of the headset and a touchpad on the right side, with a back button and a volume control. The audio requires a pair of quality headphones and uses 3D Spatial Sound. It’s so far available in the UK on preorder at £150.

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