‘Dark Knight’ Tops FandangoNow 4K Survey

The Dark Knight, directed by Christopher Nolan,topped a FandangoNow survey of more than 1,500 film fans with 4K Ultra HD TVs asking which streaming movies they say require 4K viewings.

Avengers: Infinity War, Thor: Ragnarok and Dunkirk, also directed by Nolan, were the next in line that fans said were a must see in the highest resolution possible, according to the FandangoNow survey.

According to the FandangoNow survey, more than 60% of respondents indicated they are more likely to watch a movie at home if it is available in 4K Ultra HD.

“Our 4K survey reveals that fans are still excited about experiencing The Dark Knight at home in the highest resolution and with the best sound available 10 years after the film’s release,” said Fandango managing editor Erik Davis in a statement. “Watching a movie in 4K just enhances the entire viewing experience exponentially, and it’s no wonder that audiences are navigating toward the films of Christopher Nolan, because he is one of the top filmmakers to fully embrace the technology in every way.”

Filmmaker Nolan, who directed five of the movies (in addition to The Dark Knight and Dunkirk, The Dark Knight Rises, Interstellar and Inception) among the top 44 FandangoNow 4K titles, will be honored at the 4K Ultra HD Summit with the DEG Vanguard Award Nov. 6.

The full list of Top 44 4K films in the FandangoNow survey is:

  1. The Dark Knight
  2. Avengers: Infinity War
  3. Thor: Ragnarok
  4. Dunkirk
  5. The Avengers
  6. The Dark Knight Rises
  7. Black Panther
  8. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
  9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  10. Interstellar
  11. Mad Max: Fury Road
  12. Inception
  13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
  14. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them
  15. Saving Private Ryan
  16. Wonder Woman
  17. Jurassic World
  18. 2001: A Space Odyssey
  19. Deadpool 2
  20. Incredibles 2
  21. The Matrix
  22. Spider-Man: Homecomng
  23. The Martian
  24. Solo: A Star Wars Story
  25. Ready Player One
  26. Blade Runner 2049
  27. Life of Pi
  28. Ant-Man and the Wasp
  29. Deadpool
  30. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2
  31. Logan
  32. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1
  33. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
  34. John Wick
  35. It
  36. Kingsman: The Secret Service
  37. Baby Driver
  38. The Incredibles
  39. The Fate of the Furious
  40. A Quiet Place
  41. The Fifth Element
  42. Arrival
  43. Atomic Blonde
  44. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Vizio Adds Features to Smart TV Experience

Vizio announced the rollout of new features to its smart TV experience, SmartCast Home, adding such entertainment apps as CBS All Access and allowing users to personalize their SmartCast Home experience via the app sorting feature.

The latest iteration of SmartCast Home is rolling out via free cloud-based updates to Vizio SmartCast 4K Ultra HD TVs and displays, as well as select HD and Full HD models.

“Vizio continues to fulfill consumer demands by way of free, rolling cloud-based updates that enable new, intuitive smart TV features via Vizio SmartCast,” said Vizio chief technology officer Bill Baxter in a statement. “With versatility, simplicity and value in mind, Vizio SmartCast is an ever-evolving entertainment solution. Everyday users, cord-cutters and smart home enthusiasts alike are able to continuously receive new features, the latest apps and other beneficial enhancements that help ensure they are getting the most out of their viewing experience.”

With the update, Vizio SmartCast Home users can sort and position their favorite and most frequented apps on the home screen. To change the order of apps within the app row at the bottom of the SmartCast Home screen, users scroll to the end of the app row and select the “Sort App Row” icon. From there, they will be prompted with on-screen cues that guide them through the process of highlighting and selecting various apps to customize their position.

New to Vizio SmartCast Home is the CBS All Access app, offering such programs as “NCIS,” “The Young and the Restless” and “Madam Secretary”; exclusive original series such as “Star Trek: Discovery” and “The Good Fight”; and streaming of local live broadcasts. YouTube TV — which allows SmartCast users to watch and record live TV from more than 60 networks — Baeble and Toon Goggles, among other apps, have also been added to the SmartCast lineup.

With the latest updates, the Vizio WatchFree free streaming service is now also included in the App Row.

SmartCast also now offers dedicated TV and Movie Detail pages highlighting the selected title’s trailer and synopsis, along with cast and director credits, running time, parental ratings, critic insights and more. The TV and Movie Detail pages will also soon allow users to browse seasons and episodes across multiple apps such as FandangoNow and Hulu, and then view on their app of choice.

IHS Markit: TV Shipments to Grow 3.6% in 2018 With UHD Models to Account for More Than Half of Shipments in 2019

After declining unit-shipment volumes in 2017, global TV shipments are forecast to grow 3.6% year over year in 2018, with additional 1.4% growth in 2019, according to a new report from research firm IHS Markit.

Of the 226 million TVs expected to ship in 2019, more than half will be ultra-high-definition (UHD) models, the majority of which are 4K. However, 8K TVs from major global TV brands will launch toward the end of 2018, kicking off the next wave of resolution transition, according to the report.

“Growth in the TV market typically is the result of more attractive retail prices for large-screen sizes and the continued commoditization of 4K resolution, driving TV replacements and upgrades,” said IHS research and analysis executive director Paul Gagnon in a statement. “However, this growth through price compression has a negative effect on profits, so TV brands are actively looking for more growth from advanced TV models to improve earnings.”
Technologies such as 8K, organic light-emitting diode (OLED) and quantum dot (QD) carry substantial premiums, and 4K TVs still carry premiums of more than 35 percent at screen sizes where 1080p resolution is still an option, such as 40-inch to 49-inch TVs, according to IHS.

IHS Markit forecasts that the 8K TV market will grow from less than 20,000 units in 2018 to more than 430,000 in 2019 — eventually approaching 2 million units by 2020. All of this growth will be centered on 60-inch and larger screen sizes, with 65-inch TVs accounting for more than half of the volume.

OLED TV is expected to grow more than 40% in 2019, rising to 3.6 million units. This growth is in line with previous forecasts, because demand is essentially matching industry production capacity, according to IHS. The size mix still favors 55-inch TVs, based on current prices, but it will transition to mostly 65-inch TVs by 2020, when new production capacity is optimized for larger screen sizes, and when substantial growth is expected in the OLED TV category.

Quantum dot LCD TV shipments are now forecast to exceed 4 million units in 2019, based on more aggressive pricing and the introduction of transitional quantum-dot-equipped LCD TV models, according to IHS.
“The high-end prices of non-QD-equipped LCD TV models and the prices of the low end QD-equipped LCD TV models have moved closer together,” Gagnon said in a statement. “This extension of the quantum dot LCD TV lineup into more moderate price ranges effectively reduces the quantum dot premium to less than 100 percent at mid-range sizes, opening up the category to a larger addressable market of consumers.”

Futuresource: 4K to Move Mainstream in 2018

2018 will be the year 4K UHD moves mainstream, accounting for nearly 50% of all TVs shipped worldwide by year end, according to a market tracking report from Futuresource Consulting.

The report, which includes TVs, broadcast coverage, STB installed base, Blu-ray players, Blu-ray software, digital transactional video and digital subscriptions, focuses on the latest key developments and future consumer trends in 4K UHD.

“As with HD before it, 4K UHD is being driven by TV display purchases,” said Tristan Veale, market analyst at Futuresource. “It’s a thriving segment, and by 2022 the installed base of 4K UHD TVs will be three times larger than today, achieving 37% global household penetration.”

Although there is a content gap, that gap is being filled, according to Futuresource. The amount of 4K UHD content available to consumers has grown significantly over the first half of 2018, with broadcast content helped along by a range of international sporting events with worldwide appeal, according to the consulting firm.

“February’s Winter Olympics in South Korea was broadcast in 4K UHD, thanks to the efforts of the Olympic Broadcasting Services and Japanese broadcaster NHK,” Veale said. “Over in Russia, all FIFA World Cup games were also shot in 4K UHD, delivered via satellite, cable, IP and OTT. These two sporting events proved to be ideal test beds for broadcasting the format and demonstrating its benefits.”

Beyond broadcast, 4K UHD presents a window of opportunity for Blu-ray, with up to 30 4K UHD Blu-ray discs released every month and player prices dropping into the sweet spot, according to the consulting firm. “Despite this, consumer uptake of 4K UHD Blu-ray players is slow, perhaps due to a lack of vendor initiatives and retailer support beyond the USA and Canada,” the firm stated.

The availability of 4K UHD content on SVoD services reinforces consumer perceptions that this delivery mechanism is at the cutting edge of entertainment technology, according to Futuresource.

“However, there is a very small, if any, additional cost for UHD via SVoD services which is contrary to positioning this as a premium product,” the firm stated.

Digital transactional models for 4K UHD are also experiencing “a period of turbulent pricing,” according to Futuresource.

“Service providers and rights holders alike are experimenting extensively with price points, content bundles and delivery mechanisms, creating a customer journey that could become disjointed and fragmented,” according to the firm.

Although UHD Blu-ray prices remains largely consistent, with a premium price, digital services are significantly undercutting this in an attempt to invigorate the format and drive a digital ownership mentality.

“With digital UHD it’s all about capturing a big slice of the audience as quickly as possible, attracting eyeballs and locking people in for the long-term,” Veale said. “As a result, we’re seeing some aggressive promotions out there, with 4K UHD content available to buy at prices in line with the purchase price of HD movies. However, companies need to keep an eye firmly fixed on consistency, ensuring confusion remains at a minimum.”

View Futuresource reports here.

Report: 4K Set-Top Box Global Installed Base Reached 31M units in 2017

4K UHD content available on pay-TV and broadcast may be limited, but that has stopped proliferation of 4K-compatible set-top devices by pay-TV operators.

According to new research from Dataxis, the global installed base for 4K set- top boxes has grown more than 900% to 31 million units, at the end of 2017, compared to only 3 million units in 2015. Operators around the world are deploying 4K boxes in response to sales of 4K-compatible televisions, which is reflecting in the global numbers, according to the report.

Notably, Europe is growing at the fastest rate accounting for 52% of the total 4K boxes in 2017, followed by Asia-Pacific excluding China (32%), North and Latin America (5%), Middle-East (4%) and Africa (1%).

Virgin Bowing First 4K UHD TV Channel in the U.K.

Virgin Media is launching the first dedicated 4K ultra high-definition (UHD) entertainment channel in the United Kingdom, beginning Sept. 17.

The channel will be available for Virgin TV Full House and VIP subscribers with a V6 set-top box and 4K TV. Content includes series “Start Up” with Martin Freeman, “Masters of Sex,” starring Michael Sheen and “House of Cards”; “Shut Eye” with Isabella Rosselini and “The Art of More” with Dennis Quaid, in addition wildlife and nature documentaries set in Zambia and Vietnam, plus gigs from the Rolling Stones, Sting and Imagine Dragons.

Virgin Media has also broadcast an array of sporting events in 4K UHD, including the Champions League Final, the 2018 French Open, Wimbledon Championships, as well as a selection of matches from this year’s World Cup in Russia.

“With the launch of Virgin TV Ultra HD, we’re giving our customers the ultimate entertainment viewing experience with must-see shows in incredible, crystal-clear picture quality,” David Bouchier, chief digital entertainment officer, said in a statement.

The V6 set-top box is Virgin Media’s fastest and smallest streaming media device offering access to YouTube and Netflix in 4K. The V6 is free to new customers taking one of Virgin Media’s bundles (TV, broadband and telephone). Nearly two million Virgin TV customers have a V6 box in the UK.

The new channel continues Virgin Media’s ongoing investment in 4K UHD programming, following the launch of BT Sport 4K UHD on Virgin TV in August.

 

 

Imax and DTS Form Home Entertainment Partnership

Imax Corp. and DTS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corp., have announced a new home entertainment partnership with the launch of the Imax Enhanced program.

The new certification and licensing program combines the high-end consumer electronics products with Imax digitally re-mastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technologies to offer consumers a new level of quality in immersive sight and sound experiences for the home, according to a press release from Xperi.

The companies also announced that a number of global consumer electronics and entertainment market leaders have joined the program as launch partners, including Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Sound United – parent company to Denon and Marantz.

To be accepted into the program, which launches this fall, consumer electronics manufacturers must design top-of-the-line 4K HDR televisions, A/V receivers, sound systems and other home theater equipment to meet a carefully prescribed set of the highest audio and video performance standards, set by a certification committee of Imax and DTS engineers and Hollywood’s leading technical specialists, according to the release.

Imax and DTS developed the program “to make it easier for consumers to select the products and content that will deliver the highest-quality, sharpest 4K HDR images and powerful, immersive sound at home,” according to the release.

“The companies are designing an Imax Mode for the enhanced devices that will be meticulously optimized to play digitally re-mastered content as the filmmaker intended in the home,” the release stated.

Consumers can access content from Hollywood studios as well as select Imax documentaries through the Imax Home Entertainment division. The company will also work with its global studio and other content partners to make available enhanced versions of blockbuster movies and additional programming, according to the release.

“While the Imax theatrical experience continues to be the gold standard in blockbuster movie-going, today we are launching an exciting new program that applies components of Imax’s and DTS’ technology and expertise to deliver consumers a level of quality never before experienced at home,” said Imax CEO Richard L. Gelfond in a statement. “This is a natural extension of our core business in experiential entertainment. By partnering with a well-established consumer electronics licensing leader, we can leverage both our brand and key technology innovations through DTS’ global licensing platform, without having to make the direct investments often necessary to build a new revenue stream. DTS will build that new business and we will share in the benefits from the program. We’re encouraged by the strong interest from our launch partner companies and look forward to working with DTS to grow the program further over time.”

“DTS has a rich history in delivering premium entertainment experiences to the theater and at home, and the Imax Enhanced program is an exciting opportunity to stay at the forefront of home entertainment,” said Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner in a statement. “Through the combined engineering and licensing efforts of the DTS and Imax teams, as well as support from a number of the world’s leading device and content partners, the Imax Enhanced program will bring a completely new, enhanced experience to the home while also supporting the continued penetration of DTS decoders, bringing premium sound to consumers’ devices.”

The program will use a proprietary post-production process developed by Imax to digitally re-master content to produce more vibrant colors, greater contrast and sharper clarity, according to the release. The companies will also partner with Hollywood sound mixers to use a special variant of the DTS:X codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver an Imax signature sound experience.

NPD: Size Matters on New TV Purchases

The NPD Group June 18 reported that consumers looking to upgrade their television are focusing on larger screen size, in addition to enhanced picture quality.

Of consumers who purchased a 4K/UHD replacement television, 45% wanted a larger screen, 39% sought better picture quality, and 24% purchased because pricing became more affordable.

Port Washington, N.Y.-based NPD cited the data on a survey of 5,300 U.S. consumers, aged 18+ between Jan. 25 and Feb. 8.

The number of consumers that reported replacing an existing TV with a 4K/UHD TV grew from 23% in November 2017, to 28% in February. Desire for a high-quality TV in the living room has been a primary factor in the increase in demand for 4K/UHD, as nearly 62% of 4K/UHD replacement TVs purchased were installed in the living room.

“Approximately 90% of the installed base of TVs in the U.S. is not yet 4K/UHD, meaning there is tremendous opportunity to accelerate the replacement cycle with updated, quality TVs,” Stephen Baker, VP, industry advisor at NPD, said in a statement.

Through February, TV sales of 55-inch and larger screens have grown by 8%, now representing 33% of U.S. unit sales volume. Many of these big screen purchases are being made to replace smaller screens in the home – most notably in the living room.

According to NPD, the average size of a replacement TV intended for the living room was 52 inches. For all other household rooms, the average replacement TV screen size is 43 inches.

“While the number of installed TVs per U.S. household has shrunk slightly in recent years, consumers are continuing to spend on the primary TV in their home, upgrading it to the biggest screen and the best picture they can afford,” said Baker. “Despite the fact that content viewership is splintering among devices, it’s important to note that demand for a great TV to occupy a prominent position in home is not diminishing.”