Archive for the ‘4K’ Category

Roku Announces New Devices Including $70 ‘Streaming Stick Plus’ With 4K HDR Support

Monday, October 2nd, 2017

Roku today announced five new streaming devices that are available for pre-order now, and will launch in stores around October 8. One of the notable unveilings surrounds the "Streaming Stick Plus," which allows viewers to stream 4K Ultra HD and HDR video content up to 60 frames per second for $69.99. This marks one of the cheapest entry points for a 4K streaming device on the market, and is over $100 cheaper than Apple's lowest-cost 4K box at $179.99.

The Streaming Stick Plus comes included with a remote control that supports voice control and TV power functionality, as well as a boost to wireless streaming performance thanks to an advanced wireless receiver built directly into the power cord. This helps the Streaming Stick Plus offer "up to four times the wireless range" of the Roku Streaming Stick from 2016. There's also a new version of the lower-cost Streaming Stick for HD streaming at $49.99.

“Our new streaming player line up provides performance, price and features to meet our users needs so they can sit back, relax and enjoy their TV viewing experience even more,� said Chas Smith, general manager of Roku TVs and players. “Consumers will love our new sleek Roku Streaming Stick+ with an innovative advanced wireless receiver that gives up to four times the wireless range and a remote that controls TV volume and power. It makes 4K and HDR streaming simple.�
Other announcements included a second-generation "Roku Express" and "Roku Express Plus," which are five times more powerful than their predecessors. The Roku Express Plus is a Walmart exclusive, similar to the previous iteration of the device, and includes options to connect to classic TVs through composite A/V ports. Roku Express costs $29.99 and Roku Express Plus costs $39.99.

The top-of-the-line "Roku Ultra" device is getting updated as well, with improved wireless performance, HD, 4K, and HDR streaming up to 60 fps, a port for an ethernet cable, and a micro SD card slot. The Roku Ultra comes with the company's voice-enabled remote control, which includes a headphone jack for private listening similar to previous generations. Roku Ultra is priced at $99.99.


Each new streaming device announced by Roku today can be pre-ordered now from Roku, Walmart, Best Buy, Amazon, and a few other retailers, while in-store availability is said to be coming around October 8. Those who purchase a Roku device in October will receive a $10 Vudu credit so they can rent or purchase a film or TV show on the streaming service. This offer ends on October 31, but the company wasn't specific as to whether the deal will be available at all retailers.

Tags: 4K, Roku

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Start Expanding Your 4K Movie Collection Today With $100 Worth of iTunes Credit for $85

Thursday, September 21st, 2017

If you're waiting for the new Apple TV 4K to arrive tomorrow, Apple has already opened up the ability for you to purchase 4K HDR movies on iTunes as of last week. Although any movie you own in HD will be automatically upgraded to the enhanced 4K HDR format, Amazon is offering customers the chance to increase their iTunes film collections this week with a discount on the $100 iTunes gift card tier, being sold at $85 right now with free shipping (limited to one per customer).


That'll let you purchase five full-priced movies on iTunes for nearly the price of just four, and you can of course still use the gift card to buy any app, game, song, album, TV show, or book sold by Apple. There isn't currently a discount on the other price tiers of iTunes gift cards, so $50 and $25 cards on Amazon are priced at their respective levels.

Studios currently supporting 4K movies on iTunes at $20 include 20th Century Fox, Lionsgate, Paramount, Sony, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures. New releases available to purchase today include Wonder Woman, Baby Driver, Alien: Covenant, The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, and many more. Currently, Disney is the only studio holding out from releasing its films in 4K on iTunes.


Head over to our Deals Roundup to discover more recent and ongoing discounts, including sales on Jaybird and Jabra headphones at Best Buy, over 50 percent off a Thule Stravan Deluxe Attache for 13" MacBooks at B&H Photo, and an updated roundup of Qi inductive wireless chargers.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, Apple Deals
Tag: 4K
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Buy Now)

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Apple Wants to Sell 4K Movies for $20 in iTunes, While Film Studios Want $25 to $30

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017

Apple is said to be "scrambling" to strike deals with movie studios in Hollywood regarding the exact prices of 4K movies in the iTunes Store, taking places just weeks ahead of the rumored debut of the new 4K Apple TV in mid-September.

While the talks have been ongoing for some time, discussions have been recently hampered by disagreements over the pricing of 4K movie purchases, according to sources close to the talks (via The Wall Street Journal). Apple wants to charge $19.99 for 4K movie purchases in its digital iTunes Store, the same price it currently charges for newly-released HD films.


However, many Hollywood studios it has talked with are pushing back on that price point and are looking to charge customers a premium for the new 4K content: $25 to $30 for a 4K movie in iTunes.
Apple wants to have major Hollywood films available in ultra-high definition on the new device, expected to go on sale later this year. However, it wants to charge $19.99 for those movies—on par with what it sometimes charges for new HD movies, the people with knowledge of the discussions said. Several Hollywood studios want to charge $5 to $10 more for 4K movies, the people said.
Apple is said to be trying to finish these discussions well before September 12, the currently rumored date that will see the unveiling of the new 4K Apple TV, iPhone 8, iPhone 7s, iPhone 7s Plus, Apple Watch Series 3, and more software-related announcements. As iTunes loses market share to companies like Amazon and Comcast, Apple is hoping that a revitalized Apple TV streaming box with 4K content -- which many rival devices have already supported -- will help boost iTunes sales into the last half of 2017 and the new year.

In other Hollywood-related talks, earlier this month it was reported that multiple studios were pushing forward with a plan to offer digital movie rentals mere weeks after they appear in theaters. Studios like Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. were said to be in talks with partners, including Apple, to offer movies in iTunes as early as 17 days after their theatrical debut for about $50, or four to six weeks from release for $30.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tag: 4K
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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Apple TV tvOS Simulator Shown Running in 4K Resolution

Tuesday, August 8th, 2017

Developer Steve Troughton-Smith today shared the spoils of his latest hacking efforts by tweeting screenshots of Apple's tvOS Simulator running in 4K – the screen resolution said to be supported in a rumored fifth-generation Apple TV.

tvOS is officially made to run in the standard 1920x1080 HD resolution, but what Troughton-Smith's hack shows is that the Apple TV operating system is perfectly suited to running at double the pixel density (3840x2160), commonly referred to as 4K resolution, thanks to user interface assets like text and icons that are made to scale cleanly given the same aspect ratio.


The simple scale doubling is reminiscent of the 2x iOS asset resolution requirement that Apple introduced back in 2010 with the arrival of Retina displays, and comes at a time when Apple is rumored to be readying a new, fifth-generation Apple TV capable of streaming 4K video.

Just last weekend iOS developer Guilherme Rambo discovered a reference to a 4K HDR display mode in the HomePod's firmware, which has proved a trove of hints related to Apple's upcoming hardware releases. MacRumors subsequently discovered the string J105a in the HomePod firmware, consistent with the fifth-generation Apple TV's internal codename first revealed by Bloomberg in February. Additional strings unearthed in the code also suggest a forthcoming Apple TV could support both the Dolby Vision and HDR10 color formats for high-dynamic range video.

tvOS Simulator scaled to 2x resolution for 3840x2160

Adding further fuel to rumors of an imminent 4K-capable Apple TV, Apple recently listed selected movies as 4K and HDR in iTunes purchase history. While the content is still only playable in standard definition or HD, the change suggests Apple is preparing to offer the higher definition formats for a new TV box.

The launch date is unclear for a possible new Apple TV, which has been rumored since December 2015, but given the recent uptick in references to 4K resolution by Apple, it's not unreasonable to suggest the company could be readying a release for the new TV box before the end of the year.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tag: 4K
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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HomePod Firmware Possibly Reveals Apple Watch With LTE and 4K Apple TV With HDR10 and Dolby Vision

Saturday, August 5th, 2017

iOS developer Guilherme Rambo‏ has discovered a reference to a 4K HDR display mode in the HomePod's firmware, lending credence to rumors of Apple testing a fifth-generation Apple TV capable of streaming 4K resolution video.


HomePod doesn't have a display, and iOS devices lack the resolution for native 4K playback, so the discovery likely pertains to the Apple TV.

Rambo also discovered strings kCADisplayModeDolby and kCADisplayModeHDR10, suggesting that a 4K Apple TV could support both the Dolby Vision and HDR10 color formats for high-dynamic-range video.


Apple has also listed select movies as 4K and HDR in iTunes purchase history, at least in Canada and the United Kingdom. The content is still only playable in standard definition or HD, which varies from 720p to 1080p, but Apple could be preparing to offer iTunes content in 4K HDR for its new Apple TV.

Another developer Jeffrey Grossman‏ also spotted a possible reference to an Apple Watch with LTE support. The string, which refers to GizmoPreservingeSIM, lends credence to a report yesterday that claimed Apple Watch Series 3 models will feature cellular connectivity for use without a paired iPhone.


The relevant bit of that string is the mention of a SIM, as the Apple Watch Series 3 would presumably have an embedded SIM card if it had cellular connectivity. Another string mentions GizmoRadioBundleIdentifier, which could refer to the Apple Watch Series 3's cellular radio, reportedly to be supplied by Intel.

For those unaware, in 2015, The New York Times reported the Apple Watch was codenamed Gizmo internally.
Inside Apple, members of the team that worked on the watch product, code-named Gizmo, say it was a difficult engineering challenge.

The Gift That Keeps on Giving


Last week, Apple seeded an over-the-air firmware file for the HomePod, revealing that it will run a slightly modified version of iOS. The pre-release software is said to correspond with iOS 11.0.2, and it contains references to several unreleased features that would normally be redacted before a public release.


The firmware contains a payload that can be unpacked into a filesystem using a few developer tools, giving anyone skilled enough the ability to search through thousands of strings in the software using Terminal commands and disassembly apps like Hopper. For the past eight days, that's exactly what's happened.

Since the HomePod firmware is based on a full iOS stack, many discoveries have been made not only about the smart speaker, but also potentially about the so-called iPhone 8, Apple TV, and Apple Watch.

Thanks to the HomePod firmware, we know that that the iPhone 8's front camera may record 4K video at 60 FPS, and that its infrared facial recognition capabilities may work with Apple Pay. The firmware also revealed a glyph of an iPhone 8 with a full-front display with a notch at the top for the earpiece and sensors.

As for the HomePod itself, it's been discovered that the smart speaker's multi-color LED waveform visible when interacting with Siri measures in at 272×340 pixels. HomePod also appears to have 1GB of RAM, and some of the speaker's sound effects were found buried in the firmware.

HomePod doesn't launch until December, so the firmware was likely released by accident, under the identifier AudioAccessory1,1.


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Apple Listing Select Movies as 4K and HDR in iTunes Purchase History

Friday, July 28th, 2017

MacRumors reader Tomas Jackson has discovered that Apple is listing select movies as 4K and HDR in iTunes purchase history.


In a discussion topic on the MacRumors forums, Jackson shared a screenshot of his iTunes purchase history with the 2016 film Passengers listed as "4K, HDR" in brackets. However, he said iTunes only presents the option to download the movie in HD quality, which is either 720p or 1080p depending on the content.


Another reader mentioned that the 2016 film Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is also listed as 4K and HDR. MacRumors rented the film to check, and we can confirm the film indeed has "4K, HDR" next to it in our iTunes purchase history. Nevertheless, iTunes lists the movie's video quality as 720p.

Not all movies are listed as 4K and HDR yet, and content is still in SD or HD for now, but this discovery may foreshadow what's to come.


In February, Bloomberg reported Apple was testing a new, fifth-generation Apple TV capable of streaming 4K video, adding that it may be released as soon as this year. The report also said the new Apple TV, allegedly codenamed "J105" internally, would display more vivid colors, suggesting HDR support.

A month later, developer Firi Games provided MacRumors with evidence of a device identified as "AppleTV6,2" and running "tvOS 11.0" connecting to its arcade game Phoenix HD for Apple TV in its logs. The IP address fell within a range linked to Apple's headquarters in Cupertino, California.

The current Apple TV has a model identifier of AppleTV5,3, and Apple TV6,2 does not correspond with any released model.

It's conceivable that Apple could launch 4K content in iTunes alongside a new Apple TV with support for up to 4K video output and HDR, or high dynamic range, which allows for sharper colors and lighting. The current, fourth-generation Apple TV has a maximum 1080p video output, and no support for HDR.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tags: 4K, HDR
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Don't Buy)

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Safari Users Unable to Play Newer 4K Video on YouTube in Native Resolution

Friday, January 13th, 2017

Reddit users have recently discovered that YouTube refuses to stream newly uploaded 4K video in its native resolution if the website is accessed through Safari web browser.

The issue was first raised almost a month ago by Reddit user GezimS, who wondered why the option to view 4K videos in 2160p was no longer available.

YouTube 4K
Other users soon chimed in to confirm the anomaly, noting that it only seemed to occur in recently uploaded 4K video and that accessing the same content in Chrome or Firefox still offered up the preferred 2160p resolution as a viewing option.

After some digging, user themcfly recently discovered that the issue is being caused by a change to the way YouTube encodes video and serves it through its website.

Specifically, YouTube appears to be storing video on its servers using either the more efficient VP9 codec or the older H.264 codec. Safari only supports the latter, which explains why recently uploaded 4K videos are only able to be viewed in up to 1440p.

Funnily enough, the same videos can be streamed by Safari in native 4K as long as they're embedded in another website, suggesting that the VP9 codec support requirement only applies to videos viewed directly on YouTube's website.

Until Apple updates Safari to support the VP9 codec, Mac users who want to access newer 4K video on YouTube in native 2160p resolution are advised to use a different browser.

Tags: YouTube, Safari, 4K

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YouTube Adds 4K Live Streaming Support to its Content Infrastructure

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

YouTube has announced it now supports 4K live streaming at 60 frames per second, enabling content creators to live broadcast both 360-degree and standard video in the high resolution standard.

Viewers with screens equipped to take advantage of the resolution shouldn't have to wait long to tune in to regularly streamed 4K broadcasts. YouTube said the first event to be live streamed in 4K will be the Game Awards, which takes place today at 9pm EST (6pm PST).

youtube logo
For creators this means the ability to take advantage of an incredibly clear picture for recorded and now streaming video. It’s the kind of thing that can help to push their hardware (and their talent) to create the most beautiful or just plain crazy-looking images and videos possible. And with 360 4K live streams, the sky is (literally) the limit. Get ready for 360 concert and event streams that look sharper, cleaner, and brighter than ever before.
4K video uploading has been supported on YouTube since 2010, but the high resolution content has only gained steam more recently as the technology gradually approaches the mainstream. Today's upgrade to the Google-owned service also potentially opens the door to 4K live streamed events like sports and concerts being included in YouTube's forthcoming "Unplugged" web-based TV streaming service, which is close to being finalized.

Unplugged is said to include a "skinny bundle" of channels from the four major U.S. networks, along with a few popular cable channels priced at around $35 per month. YouTube has been in talks with major media companies like 21st Century Fox and Disney, and signed up CBS to be included in the subscription package in October.

Last month also saw Google debut the Chromecast Ultra, a 4K version of its popular streaming device. Set to be released this December, the Ultra can stream 4K content from YouTube, Netflix, and Vudu, and 4K movies from Google Play Movies.

The latest announcement offers another sign that Google is pulling ahead of Apple in the race to offer a high-resolution streaming television service. Apple's plans to offer a TV package subscription service of any sort have stalled in recent years because of its "hard-nosed" negotiation tactics with content providers and an inability to allay fears about the interruption of traditional revenue streams.

As for 4K, the latest Apple TV does not support the UltraHD resolution and iTunes has yet to offer the content.

Related Roundups: Apple TV, tvOS 10
Tags: Google, YouTube, 4K
Buyer's Guide: Apple TV (Caution)

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PhotoFast 4K Video Capture and Storage Kit Now Available at Apple Stores

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Gigastone recently announced its MFi-certified PhotoFast 4K Video Capture and Storage Kit is now available exclusively through Apple's online storefront and at select Apple retail locations in the United States.

photofast-4k-video-kit
The kit includes a Lightning to microSD card reader, 64GB microSD card with U3 speeds, SD card adapter, and keychain leash, ideal for capturing 4K video and high-resolution images from an action camera or drone and saving or viewing the content immediately after on an iPhone or iPad.

The kit requires using an app, namely the PhotoFast LIFE app, available for free on the App Store [Direct Link], as is always the case with external storage accessories. If needed, the MicroSD-to-SD adapter connects the reader to SD card slots on most MacBook Pro models for transferring 4K videos and photos to the desktop.

Gigastone's PhotoFast 4K Video Capture and Storage Kit is $79.95 on Apple's website.


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PhotoFast 4K Video Capture and Storage Kit Now Available at Apple Stores

Monday, October 3rd, 2016

Gigastone recently announced its MFi-certified PhotoFast 4K Video Capture and Storage Kit is now available exclusively through Apple's online storefront and at select Apple retail locations in the United States.

photofast-4k-video-kit
The kit includes a Lightning to microSD card reader, 64GB microSD card with U3 speeds, SD card adapter, and keychain leash, ideal for capturing 4K video and high-resolution images from an action camera or drone and saving or viewing the content immediately after on an iPhone or iPad.

The kit requires using an app, namely the PhotoFast LIFE app, available for free on the App Store [Direct Link], as is always the case with external storage accessories. If needed, the MicroSD-to-SD adapter connects the reader to SD card slots on most MacBook Pro models for transferring 4K videos and photos to the desktop.

Gigastone's PhotoFast 4K Video Capture and Storage Kit is $79.95 on Apple's website.


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