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Old Jul 4, 2013, 04:02 AM   #1
Michael CM1
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The Sony 4K box: Black-ray!

http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/07/...ilable-for-699

I know 4K is still new, but you know eventually it'll be part of every TV. It might be 3 or 4 years, but increased resolution isn't the gimmick that 3-D is.

So this is the first actual content-delivery device I have heard of. Sony does some stuff decently, so I had hoped that it might have promise. Instead, I'd call it a $700 dud.

First of all, it looks like a black optical disc stack. I know I'm in love with the Mac Pro design, but it being round seems to have way more of a purpose than this 4K box. Round and short means you're wasting space in some fashion since almost every computer part is rectangular. But that's just personal taste.

Then comes the stupid. It has 2TB of internal storage. I guess that seems OK, but that also probably means a hard drive. I guess it's a tradeoff to make it more affordable, but wouldn't flash speed be quite useful for these gigantic files?

The really stupid, to me, is the pre-loaded movies. If it has 10 4K videos that will "start" at $29.99, that means almost half the price of the device is pre-loaded movies. I mean are these really "free" gifts to 4K owners, or added cost? There's not an option without the movies, so it's hard to tell.

But then the clincher is the "this only works with Sony 4K sets" thing. Hence "Black-ray." I have no problem with Blu-ray, but it was so loaded with DRM and licensing issues that it never made it to Macs. But at least with BD your player works with any HDTV. With this box, you're a slave to Sony. It sounds a lot like MiniDisc, which was a great technology killed by being Sony-only.

Digital movies, TV shows and books are hamstrung so much by "you must use our devices" DRM, and Sony just continued that with this box. Why? I don't know.

It's just sad, because this is an obvious move signaling that 4K video isn't going to exactly be stocked on shelves like DVD and BD. So that's the way the game will go. I've kind of leapt in through iTunes on it all, but there are still tons of issues, again mostly around DRM and owner rights, keeping it from being DVD without the disc.

Thoughts?
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 05:11 AM   #2
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...Then comes the stupid. It has 2TB of internal storage. I guess that seems OK, but that also probably means a hard drive. I guess it's a tradeoff to make it more affordable, but wouldn't flash speed be quite useful for these gigantic files?

The really stupid, to me, is the pre-loaded movies. If it has 10 4K videos that will "start" at $29.99, that means almost half the price of the device is pre-loaded movies. I mean are these really "free" gifts to 4K owners, or added cost? There's not an option without the movies, so it's hard to tell...

Thoughts?
It's proprietary and only works on Sony UHDTV's.

How does Flash speed help with gigantic file sizes?


The preloaded movies are NOT part of the price and must be bought or rented. They are just preloaded because of the amount of time/bandwidth required to download a UHD file. There is some "free" sample video on the player.

The BDA is currently working on a UHD standard. Also appears HDMI 2.0 draft is close with UHD support also.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 08:51 AM   #3
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Couldn't really watch the video here at work - but a media player that'll only work with their own TVs? Sounds like something Apple would do.

To me, that product is deader than a dead parrot in a Monty Python sketch. I think consumers are getting more and more sensitive to vendor lock-in, DRM, and media format incompatibilities; they just want to buy a TV and player/streamer and for them to just work.
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Old Jul 4, 2013, 08:23 PM   #4
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Why is 3d a gimmic? And 4k not?
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 12:44 AM   #5
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Why is 3d a gimmic? And 4k not?
OK, technically you could call both of them gimmicks since neither one is useful for most of the population right now. 3-D just has more limited uses because it requires glasses on top of the other stipulations. 4K isn't very useful unless you have a gigantic TV, which most of us don't have. I don't think most people will ever have TVs big enough to benefit from 4K because you've gotta fit that into a home. For people with apartments and smaller homes, that's an issue. Most TVs sold are going to be smaller than 55 inches.

As far as the comment from another poster about Apple selling a proprietary media device, the Apple TV works on any HDTV. Apple may or may not eventually make its own TV. Either way, I still think there will be an Apple TV box because people buy TVs much less often than they do phones or computers. If you're like me and spent $1300 on an LED TV a couple of years ago, you're not planning on replacing it for about 80 years. OK, at least 10.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 10:45 AM   #6
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$700 for a streaming box, no thanks. I will stick with my ATV3 for $89-99. This way I can easily and cheaply upgrade when I want. For $700 I would need to keep it for a few yrs before wanting to upgrade so I get my money's worth out of it.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 11:18 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Michael CM1 View Post
http://www.ign.com/articles/2013/07/...ilable-for-699Then comes the stupid. It has 2TB of internal storage. I guess that seems OK, but that also probably means a hard drive. I guess it's a tradeoff to make it more affordable, but wouldn't flash speed be quite useful for these gigantic files?
Not really, no. You're still constrained by your download speed for getting web content on to the device and by the required bit rate when playing back. Flash wouldn't bring any substantive benefit and cost an absolute fortune compared to a 2Tb hard drive.

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But then the clincher is the "this only works with Sony 4K sets" thing. Hence "Black-ray." I have no problem with Blu-ray, but it was so loaded with DRM and licensing issues that it never made it to Macs. But at least with BD your player works with any HDTV. With this box, you're a slave to Sony. It sounds a lot like MiniDisc, which was a great technology killed by being Sony-only.

Digital movies, TV shows and books are hamstrung so much by "you must use our devices" DRM, and Sony just continued that with this box. Why? I don't know.

It's just sad, because this is an obvious move signaling that 4K video isn't going to exactly be stocked on shelves like DVD and BD. So that's the way the game will go. I've kind of leapt in through iTunes on it all, but there are still tons of issues, again mostly around DRM and owner rights, keeping it from being DVD without the disc.
Ultimately this device is a stop gap measure and you shouldn't read too much into it. 4K sets are still in their infancy and content is sparse to put it mildly. Right now only very early adopters with more money than sense are buying them and this device is Sony addressing what it knows full well is currently a very small market. By making it compatible with just their TV's they're providing a very attractive offering to that market but it won't be this way once the prices come down and the average consumer gets their hands on them. Frankly I'd expect this to be replaced by the PS4 in short order.

Actually the big problem facing 4K sets is going to be content delivery. 4K media is bloody huge, somewhere in the region of 100GB per film! I'm on a 120Mb fibre connection with no bandwidth cap and even then I'd struggle with downloading that much data in a reasonable time. Considering I'm in a tiny minority with those sorts of speeds and lack of restrictions 4K is going to run headlong into infrastructure issues from day one. Even if they manage to cut that down for streaming purposes or come up with better codecs you're still looking at a huge amount of data and it's hard to see bandwidth expanding quickly enough to cope.

That's a long winded way of saying I wouldn't be surprised to see a physical format come along in a few years that's designed for 4K. It'll all depend on customer demand and if broadband speeds are determined to be a limiting factor on that demand. If it is then expect someone to glue a couple of Blu-ray discs together pretty quickly
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 02:25 PM   #8
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Why is 3d a gimmic? And 4k not?
4k allows you to sit closer to your display without seeing picture structure. 3d is a gimmick.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 04:12 PM   #9
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That's a long winded way of saying I wouldn't be surprised to see a physical format come along in a few years that's designed for 4K. It'll all depend on customer demand and if broadband speeds are determined to be a limiting factor on that demand. If it is then expect someone to glue a couple of Blu-ray discs together pretty quickly
I expect a 4K version of Blu-Ray a lot sooner.

H.265 has been approved, which halves the data rate needed, so you get 4K at twice the size of 1080p. That means you would need 100GB for a 4K disc compared to the 50GB of Blu-Ray. There are 100GB Blu-Ray blank discs available to buy, it just needs a standard for that size to be used for movie playback.

Another standard awaiting finalisation is HDMI 2.0, which will transmit 4K at higher than 30 FPS, which is the current HDMI 1.4 limit. Then TV broadcast frame rate playback will be possible.

I wouldn't be surprised if Sony announce at the last minute that the PS4 will play a new 4K Blu-Ray standard.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 04:35 PM   #10
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I expect a 4K version of Blu-Ray a lot sooner.

H.265 has been approved, which halves the data rate needed, so you get 4K at twice the size of 1080p. That means you would need 100GB for a 4K disc compared to the 50GB of Blu-Ray. There are 100GB Blu-Ray blank discs available to buy, it just needs a standard for that size to be used for movie playback.

Another standard awaiting finalisation is HDMI 2.0, which will transmit 4K at higher than 30 FPS, which is the current HDMI 1.4 limit. Then TV broadcast frame rate playback will be possible.

I wouldn't be surprised if Sony announce at the last minute that the PS4 will play a new 4K Blu-Ray standard.
i agree here. once HDMI 2.0 is out, a 4k blu-ray disk will be out shortly, or at least i hope. sony can really push 4k with the ps4, kinda like the ps3 did with blu-ray, once there are cheaper tvs out there.

now there's this cheap 4k tv by seiki that looks interesting.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 05:56 PM   #11
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I expect a 4K version of Blu-Ray a lot sooner.

H.265 has been approved, which halves the data rate needed, so you get 4K at twice the size of 1080p. That means you would need 100GB for a 4K disc compared to the 50GB of Blu-Ray. There are 100GB Blu-Ray blank discs available to buy, it just needs a standard for that size to be used for movie playback.

Another standard awaiting finalisation is HDMI 2.0, which will transmit 4K at higher than 30 FPS, which is the current HDMI 1.4 limit. Then TV broadcast frame rate playback will be possible.

I wouldn't be surprised if Sony announce at the last minute that the PS4 will play a new 4K Blu-Ray standard.
While H.265 has been approved there are several aspects to UHD that need to be settled (and will require more data). We need a larger color space than Rec 709. Rec. 709 (the current HD color space) only covers about 40% of the colors the eye can see. Also color sampling needs to be increased to 4:4:4. Plus we need to move to 10 bit (or 12 bit) channels. These additions would be FAR more beneficial in PQ improvements that just moving to UHD at current Rec. 709, 4:2:0, 8 bit. Also Blu-ray/HDTV are limited to a max of 30 frames (60 fields) per second and the next UHD standard should allow for at least 60 frames per second.

All of these will of does mean that UHD will require larger file sizes but we should not limit UHD based on todays average bandwidth speeds.

The PS4 way to far in the R&D cycle to add UHD support that is not even finalized yet.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 06:03 PM   #12
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Why is 3d a gimmic? And 4k not?
Off the top of my head - because you don't have to wear special glasses to appreciate 4K. As I write this, I'm sitting on the sofa typing on my MBA, watching video streamed to my TV through my Apple TV.

3D means I have to give the TV my full attention - and since I'm watching Catfish I sure don't want to do that!

I've watched my fair share of 3D movies in the theatre - and it's always kind of a distraction. It enhances the experience, but it also calls attention to itself. When they have glassless 3D TV I'll be interested, but not before.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 07:00 PM   #13
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The PS4 way to far in the R&D cycle to add UHD support that is not even finalized yet.
I agree it is too late in the R&D cycle to add it. If 4K Blu-Ray is included, it would have been there for a while, but they have kept it quiet. The later they leave it, the less chance there is for Microsoft to respond, and the greater the PR impact.

I'm not saying it will happen, but it wouldn't surprise me if it did.
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Old Jul 5, 2013, 09:08 PM   #14
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H.265 has been approved
Yeah, I gave it the green light a few weeks back. Enjoy.
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Old Jul 6, 2013, 12:07 AM   #15
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i agree here. once HDMI 2.0 is out, a 4k blu-ray disk will be out shortly, or at least i hope. sony can really push 4k with the ps4, kinda like the ps3 did with blu-ray, once there are cheaper tvs out there.

now there's this cheap 4k tv by seiki that looks interesting.


Base Model of said company's 4K display is: 39" 4k model = $699.00
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Old Jul 6, 2013, 01:32 AM   #16
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Base Model of said company's 4K display is: 39" 4k model = $699.00
now that seems like the perfect computer monitor. i just don't want to be the first to buy it.
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Old Jul 6, 2013, 07:11 AM   #17
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now that seems like the perfect computer monitor. i just don't want to be the first to buy it.
Sorry but NO. Lack of UHD native INPUTS. That is the problem with *all current UHD displays. They upscale 1080 content to UHD. So they can't be used for a monitor. Until HDMI 2.0 comes out or someone (ASUS has one announced and Apple will likely make one for the new Mac Pro) releases a DisplayPort (won't be consumer TV grade UHD's) you are out of luck.

*HDMI 1.4 allows up to 4096x2304 (REAL 4K) but at only 24Hz/8bit/YCbCr 4:2:0 which is not computer compatible.

Last edited by Julien; Jul 6, 2013 at 07:20 AM.
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Old Jul 6, 2013, 08:28 AM   #18
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Off the top of my head - because you don't have to wear special glasses to appreciate 4K. As I write this, I'm sitting on the sofa typing on my MBA, watching video streamed to my TV through my Apple TV.
What has streaming from your mac have to do with anything. Further, what has eyewear have to do with classifying something as a gimmick?

3d has a substantial library and ecosystem. How is that 4K library doing?
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Old Jul 6, 2013, 10:52 AM   #19
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What has streaming from your mac have to do with anything. Further, what has eyewear have to do with classifying something as a gimmick?

3d has a substantial library and ecosystem. How is that 4K library doing?
My point is that people sitting at home multitask - they read stuff online, they talk to their family, they do housework - all while watching television. Any system requiring glasses is not going to take off. And hasn't.

4K hasn't even started marketing yet. But no innovation in home video - not colour, not stereo, not HD has ever become the standard until it became the standard. No special, external equipment required. 3D becomes a mass product for the home when they have a 3D system that degrades gracefully to 2D on non-3D equipment and requires no glasses. And not a moment before.
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Old Jul 6, 2013, 02:12 PM   #20
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Sorry but NO. Lack of UHD native INPUTS. That is the problem with *all current UHD displays. They upscale 1080 content to UHD. So they can't be used for a monitor. Until HDMI 2.0 comes out or someone (ASUS has one announced and Apple will likely make one for the new Mac Pro) releases a DisplayPort (won't be consumer TV grade UHD's) you are out of luck.

*HDMI 1.4 allows up to 4096x2304 (REAL 4K) but at only 24Hz/8bit/YCbCr 4:2:0 which is not computer compatible.
no, people already are using the 50" as a monitor. yes, only at 30 hz, but is fine for normal web browsing/coding
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Old Jul 7, 2013, 05:04 PM   #21
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My point is that people sitting at home multitask - they read stuff online, they talk to their family, they do housework - all while watching television. Any system requiring glasses is not going to take off. And hasn't.

4K hasn't even started marketing yet. But no innovation in home video - not colour, not stereo, not HD has ever become the standard until it became the standard. No special, external equipment required. 3D becomes a mass product for the home when they have a 3D system that degrades gracefully to 2D on non-3D equipment and requires no glasses. And not a moment before.
3d movies are more of an event where you get the popcorn out. You would not watch one casually, but that does not classify it as a gimmick.
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Old Jul 7, 2013, 07:56 PM   #22
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3d has a substantial library and ecosystem. How is that 4K library doing?
There is already quite a lot of 4K content. That is how a lot of movies are shown at the cinema. It just needs a delivery system. The technology is there, it just needs a standard for delivering it. Unfortunately Sony has released the device this thread is about that is the opposite of an industry standard.
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Old Jul 8, 2013, 07:02 AM   #23
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*HDMI 1.4 allows up to 4096x2304 (REAL 4K) but at only 24Hz/8bit/YCbCr 4:2:0 which is not computer compatible.
It is not OSX compatible.

3840x2160@24p is the only thing you need at 4K (TV-shows will not be 4K for many years to come), and that is perfectly handled by current HDMI chipsets. Only OSX can't handle it (the HDMI 1.3 or higher spec, the resolution/refresh is no problem).
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Old Jul 8, 2013, 09:34 AM   #24
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The BBC has just decided to dump 3D too, so not sure how good the futures looking there.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2013/07...3d_tv_service/

Doesn't necessarily mean a high-bandwidth service is going to do any better, though I'd certainly be more willing to splash for a 4k tv than I was for 3d - just way I'd watch tv with more glasses on.
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Old Jul 8, 2013, 09:50 AM   #25
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It is not OSX compatible.

3840x2160@24p is the only thing you need at 4K (TV-shows will not be 4K for many years to come), and that is perfectly handled by current HDMI chipsets...
HDMI 1.4 will only support UHD at 24Hz, 8-bit, 4:2:0. UHD on BD (in draft) and other sources like downloads is speculated to have UHD at up to 60Hz, 10-bit (or 12-bit) and 4:4:4. This will require HDMI 2.0 which in in draft.
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