Ericsson Media Solutions Launches MediaFirst UHD

Ericsson Media Solutions has launched its MediaFirst End-to-End Ultra High Definition (UHD) solution, the industry’s first software-based, multi-application media processing and encoding platform to deliver UHD content from camera to consumer, across the entire media delivery landscape, according to the company.

The solution combines Ericsson Media Solutions’ MediaFirst Video Processing, MediaFirst Content Processing and AVP System Encoders to deliver a holistic UHD solution, according to Ericsson.

The new platform is making its global debut at NAB Show 2018 (Booth #SU720).

Ownership of HDTVs has increased from around 75 percent in 2012 to almost 85 percent in 2017, while 4K UHD TVs are now present in over a fifth of all homes, according to Ericsson.

“The MediaFirst End-to-End UHD solution addresses this growing need, enabling consumers to enjoy a better and more immersive viewing experience, even on larger TV sets,” according to the company.

The new solution is designed to enable contribution workflows, leveraging algorithms for encoding UHD content to be delivered across contribution networks, further delivered to consumers for an immersive experience across rich client interfaces, according to the company. With the freedom to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology, as well as a cloud-agnostic choice of private, public or hybrid clouds, the solution “offers the ultimate flexibility for formats and deployment,” according to Ericsson.

“As ownership of 4K UHD and HDR ready TV sets increases, each generation of portable device is pushing the limits of screen resolutions,” said Boris Felts, head of products and solutions at Ericsson Media Solutions, in a statement. “There is a huge opportunity for operators to differentiate by delivering more immersive and high-quality viewing experiences. Our innovative and complete End-to-End UHD processing solution is the first on the market to unlock this potential. It enables operators to use elements of the Ericsson MediaFirst Video Processing platform to provide greater flexibility, superior low latency, and the ability to repurpose processing functions to efficiently deliver new and increasingly immersive UHD video experiences.”

Enabling TV service providers the capability to differentiate even further with this End to End Ultra High Definition solution, Ericsson Media Solutions can combine the Ericsson Video Storage and Processing Platform (VSPP) and MediaFirst TV Platform powering a unified solution for cloud DVR, on-demand and time- and place-shifted TV services, supporting all media and screens, up to Ultra HD resolution, according to the company.

Globally, Ericsson Media Solutions serves more than 900 operators, service providers, broadcasters, content providers and aggregators. To find out more about Ericsson Media Solutions’ MediaFirst End-to-End UHD solution, visit its dedicated NAB Show website through April 12.

Vizio Unveils 4K HDR Smart TV Collections

Vizio April 10 unveiled its new 2018 P-Series 4K HDR Smart TV collection and value-priced D-Series and E-Series 4K HDR Smart TV collections.

The latest P-Series collection features a bezel-less industrial design, a blend of 4K HDR picture quality enhancements and smart TV and smart home capabilities. The series also includes Dolby Vision HDR and up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness and more than 1 billion colors thanks to Ultra Color Spectrum, according to Vizio. Also, the 2018 SmartCast OS offers streaming options and smart home controls with the integration of voice-control support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Offered in 55-, 65- and 75-inchs sizes, the 2018 P-Series 4K HDR Smart TVs are now available on Vizio.com and are coming soon to retailers such as Amazon, Best Buy, Costco and Sam’s Club, according to Vizio. The TVs retail at $899.99 for the 55-inch set, $1,299.99 for the 65-inch and $2,499.99 for the 75-inch.

Active Full Array Pro backlight combines a full array backlight with up to 120 local dimming zones, according to Vizio. UltraBright 1000 features up to 1,000 nits of peak brightness, and Clear Action 720 features a 240Hz effective refresh rate achieved with backlight scanning.

“Picture quality technologies like Ultra Color Spectrum, Dolby Vision HDR and UltraBright 1000 enable the P-Series to take 4K HDR performance to the next level,” said Vizio chief technology officer Bill Baxter in a statement. “Incredibly, realistic on-screen imagery is complemented by cutting-edge smart TV features to round out the collection’s entertainment experience. Vizio SmartCast OS not only expands discovery and streaming options so consumers can watch content they love from their favorite apps, but also serves as an ideal centerpiece to any smart home with easy-to-use voice-control support through Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.”

Through the 2018 SmartCast OS, apps such as Netflix, Prime Video, Vudu, iHeartRadio, Crackle and Xumo can be instantly accessed on the TV screen using the included remote, according to Vizio. Users can also download the free SmartCast Mobile app to turn their smartphone into a touchscreen remote. The SmartCast OS also features Google Chromecast built-in and offers voice-control support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. By utilizing speaking commands, users can turn their TVs on and off, change channels or adjust volume — and for Google Assistant users, stream content to the TV, according to Vizio.

Offered in sizes 43 inches and above, both the D-Series and E-Series collections also feature the 2018 SmartCast OS experience with Google Chromecast built-in. They support HDR10 and HLG high dynamic range formats and full array LED backlighting. The E-Series collection also supports Dolby Vision HDR content. Prices for the D-Series range from $349.99 (43-inch) to $999.99 (70-inch). Prices for the E-Series range from $349.99 (43-inch) to $1,549.99 (75-inch).

The 2018 D- and E-Series 4K HDR Smart TVs are now available on VIZIO.com and coming soon to retailers such as Best Buy, Sam’s Club, Target and Walmart.

“VIZIO believes all consumers — including those on a budget — should be able to enjoy the growing library of 4K and HDR movies and shows available to them,” said Baxter in a statement. “Packed with picture quality benefits that are oftentimes reserved for pricey, high-end TVs, our all-new 2018 D-Series and E-Series 4K HDR models were engineered to bring the benefits of 4K HDR to the masses. The entertainment experience is rounded out by our easy-to-use, on-screen smart TV experience that grants access to thousands of popular streaming apps.”

HBO to Release ‘Games of Thrones: Season 1’ on UHD Blu-ray June 5

Game of Thrones: The Complete First Season will debut on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision high dynamic range June 5 from HBO Home Entertainment.

“Game of Thrones” is the first HBO series released by HBO Home Entertainment in 4K.  (HBO’s “Westworld” got a 4K release, but it was distributed by Warner.)

The first season release includes all 10 episodes in the 4K format with extras in HD.

In the season one of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning series, trouble is brewing in a land where summers span decades and winters can last a lifetime. From the scheming south and the savage eastern lands, to the frozen north and the ancient wall that protects the realm from the darkness beyond, powerful families are engaged in a deadly cat-and-mouse game for control of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. As betrayal, lust, intrigue and supernatural forces shake the four corners of the Kingdoms, their bloody struggle for the Iron Throne will have unforeseen and far-reaching consequences. Winter is coming.

Season 1 bonus features (in HD) include:

  • “Animated Histories,” about the mythology of Westeros as told from the varying perspectives of the characters themselves;
  • “Anatomy of an Episode,” an in-episode experience that explores the creative minds and colossal efforts behind episode six, “A Golden Crown”;
  • cast auditions, with rarely-seen footage of the cast auditioning;
  • “Making Game of Thrones,” an exclusive 30-minute feature including never-before-seen footage from the set and interviews with the cast and crew;
  • profiles of 15 major characters as described by the actors portraying them;
  • “Creating the Show Open,”an inside look at the creation of the Emmy-winning opening title sequence for “Game of Thrones”;
  • “From the Book to the Screen,” in which executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss along with author George R.R. Martin talk about the challenges of bringing Martin’s epic fantasy novel to life on HBO;
  • “The Night’s Watch,” an in-depth look at the unique order of men who patrol and protect the wall, a 700-foot ice structure that separates the Seven Kingdoms from the darkness beyond;
  • “Creating the Dothraki Language,” a glance into the comprehensive language created for the Dothraki people in the series;
  • seven audio commentaries with cast and crew, including David Benioff, D.B. Weiss, George R.R. Martin, Emilia Clarke, Peter Dinklage, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Mark Addy, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Isaac Hempstead Wright, Bryan Cogman, Harry Lloyd, Daniel Minahan and Alan Taylor; and
  • a digital download code for the ten-episode season in HD.

 

Lionsgate to Mount ‘Escape Plan’ on 4K UHD

Lionsgate will release Escape Plan (2013), starring Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger in a first-time pairing, in a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray and digital copy) June 5 from the Summit Entertainment label at $22.99.

The thriller also stars Jim Caviezel, Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson, Sam Neill, Vinnie Jones, Vincent D’Onofrio and Amy Ryan. In the film, one of the world’s foremost authorities on structural security agrees to take on one last job: breaking out of an ultra-secret, high-tech facility called “The Tomb.” Deceived and wrongfully imprisoned, Ray Breslin (Sylvester Stallone) must recruit fellow inmate Emil Rottmayer (Arnold Schwarzenegger) to help devise a daring, nearly impossible plan to escape from the most protected and fortified prison ever built.

The 4K disc will feature Dolby Vision HDR and Dolby Atmos audio.

Combo pack special features include:

  • audio commentary with director Mikael Håfström and co-writer Miles Chapman;
  • the “Executing the Plan: The Making of Escape Plan” featurette;
  • the “Maximum Security: The Real-Life Tomb” featurette;
  • the “Clash of the Titans” Featurette; and
  • deleted scenes.

Kubrick’s ‘2001’ to Be Feted at Cannes and Released in 4K HDR for 50th

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, Warner Bros. Pictures will debut an “unrestored” 70mm print of the director’s groundbreaking science fiction epic at the 71st annual Cannes Film Festival and screen it in select U.S. theaters in 70mm beginning May 18.

The world premiere will be held May 12 during the Cannes Classics section of the festival, featuring an introduction by award-winning filmmaker Christopher Nolan. The screening is also scheduled to be attended by members of Stanley Kubrick’s family, including his daughter, Katharina Kubrick, and longstanding producing partner and brother-in-law, Jan Harlan.

Warner Bros. will continue the celebration later this year when Warner Bros. Home Entertainment releases 2001: A Space Odyssey for the first time in 4K resolution with HDR. Also produced in close collaboration with Nolan, the home entertainment release will be available in the fall of 2018.

For the first time since the original release, this 70mm print was struck from new printing elements made from the original camera negative. This is a true photochemical film recreation, according to the studio. There are no digital tricks, remastered effects, or revisionist edits. This is the unrestored film that recreates the cinematic event audiences experienced 50 years ago.

A longtime admirer of Kubrick, Nolan worked closely with the team at Warner Bros. Pictures throughout the mastering process.

“One of my earliest memories of cinema is seeing Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, in 70mm, at the Leicester Square Theatre in London with my father,” Nolan said in a statement. “The opportunity to be involved in recreating that experience for a new generation, and of introducing our new unrestored 70mm print of Kubrick’s masterpiece in all its analogue glory at the Cannes Film Festival is an honor and a privilege.”

“I’m delighted that 2001: A Space Odyssey will be reissued in 70mm, and that Cannes has chosen to honor it,” said Christiane Kubrick in a statement. “If Stanley were alive today, we know he would be in admiration of the films of Christopher Nolan. And so, on behalf of Stanley’s family, I would personally like to thank Christopher for supporting his film.”

Nolan will also participate in a Cannes Masterclass, set for May 13, during which he will discuss his filmography and also share his passion for the work of Stanley Kubrick.

 

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Sci-fi Classic ‘The Matrix’ Coming May 22 in 4K UHD Blu-ray Combo Pack and Digital

Sci-fi action classic The Matrix will be released in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo Pack and on digital May 22 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Directed by the Wachowski brothers and starring Keanu Reeves as Neo, Laurence Fishburne as Morpheus and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity, the 1999 film won four Academy Awards and revolutionized the sci-fi action film genre. The film was the first to sell more than 1 million DVDs and is included on multiple lists of the top sci-fi films of all time. In 2012, it was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress for being culturally, historically and aesthetically significant.

The Matrix 4K UHD release is from a new scan of the original camera negative and is the first remaster of the film in nearly 15 years. Bill Pope, the film’s director of photography, supervised the 4K UHD remaster. A remastered Blu-ray disc from the new 4K scan is also included in the combo pack.

The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of The Matrix will feature Dolby Vision HDR that dramatically expands the color palette and contrast range and uses dynamic metadata to automatically optimize the picture for every screen — frame by frame. The 4K UHD Blu-ray and Blu-ray discs will feature a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment.

The combo pack retails at $41.99 and features a UHD Blu-ray disc and digitally remastered Blu-ray disc.

The 4K, Blu-ray and digital versions of the film will include more than three hours of previously released extras. The 4K UHD disc and the digitally remastered Blu-ray will include the previously released written intro from the Wachowskis and four commentaries. The bonus disc will include the other previously released special features.

The Matrix Ultra HD Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

  • A written Introduction by the Wachowskis;
  • “Philosopher” commentary by Dr. Cornel West and Ken Wilbur;
  • “Critics” commentary by Todd McCarthy, John Powers and David Thomson;
  • “Cast & Crew” commentary by Carrie-Anne Moss, Zach Staenberg and John Gaeta; and
  • “Composer” commentary by Don Davis with the music only track.

The Matrix Blu-ray contains the following previously released special features:

  • “The Matrix Revisited”;
  • “Follow the White Rabbit”;
  • “Take the Red Pill”;
  • Marilyn Manson “Rock is Dead” Music Video;
  • A teaser trailer;
  • The theatrical trailer; and
  • TV spots.

The Matrix 4K UHD digital version ($29.99) will be available to own for streaming and download to watch anywhere in high definition and standard definition on favorite devices from select digital retailers including GooglePlay, Vudu, Xbox and others, and will be made available digitally on video-on-demand services from cable and satellite providers and on select gaming consoles.

Final ‘Maze Runner’ Installment Due on Digital April 10, Disc April 24

Maze Runner: The Death Cure, the final installment in the series based on the books, will be released on digital and Movies Anywhere April 10 and 4K Ultra HD Disc, Blu-ray Disc and DVD April 24 from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film earned $57.4 million at the box office.

Fans who purchase Maze Runner: The Death Cure on disc will get an exclusive 24-page prequel origins comic book written by screenwriter T.S. Nowlin. The trilogy boxed set, also due April 24 on Blu-ray and DVD, includes the three films in the series and the exclusive comic book. The Blu-ray trilogy will include an exclusive bandana chosen by fans.

In the conclusion to the “Maze Runner” saga, Thomas leads his group of escaped Gladers on their final mission. To save their friends, they must break into the legendary Last City, a labyrinth that may turn out to be the deadliest maze of all.

Release special features include:

  • Four featurettes, “The Final Run,” “Dystopia,” “Allies Reunited,” “A Look Back” and “Going Out on Top” (Blu-ray and digital only);
  • Deleted and extended scenes with optional audio commentary by Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin and Joe Hartwick Jr. (Blu-ray and digital only);
  • A gag reel (Blu-ray and digital only);
  • Visual effects with optional commentary (Blu-ray and digital only);
  • Audio commentary by Wes Ball, T.S. Nowlin and Joe Hartwick Jr. (on DVD, Blu-ray, UHD, and digital, but not boxed set); and
  • Picture gallery of more than 300 images (Blu-ray and digital).

Steven Spielberg’s ‘Saving Private Ryan’ Due on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray May 8 for 20th Anniversary

Saving Private Ryan, the five-time Oscar winning World War II epic directed by Steven Spielberg, celebrates its 20th anniversary this year with a new 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Combo release on May 8 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Saving Private Ryan’s five Academy Awards included an award for Spielberg for Best Director. It also won two Golden Globes, Best Director and Best Motion Picture—Drama, and was named by the AFI as one of its 100 greatest American films. The film stars Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Edward Burns, Tom Sizemore, Ted Danson, Giovanni Ribisi, Vin Diesel, Paul Giamatti and Barry Pepper.

The film’s realistic recreation of the D-Day invasion is rendered in 4K Ultra HD with four times the resolution and more than double the number of colors available with full HD. The release also boasts a Dolby Atmos soundtrack remixed specifically for the home theater environment to place and move audio anywhere in the room (along with the original English 5.1 Dolby Digital mix), as well as Dolby Vision high dynamic range (HDR), which delivers greater brightness and contrast, as well as a fuller palette of rich colors.

The 4K Ultra HD/Blu-ray Combo pack includes the film on both 4K Ultra HDand Blu-ray Disc, access to a digital copy, and a second Blu-ray with more than three hours of previously released bonus features that offer viewers a look at the real-life events that inspired the film and behind-the-scenes footage.

 

Oscar-Nominated ‘The Post’ to Hit Digital April 3, Disc April 17

The Post, which earned Academy Award nominations for Best Picture and Best Actress (Meryl Streep), will come out on digital April 3, followed by DVD and 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray Disc April 17 from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.

The film will be available on digital locker service Movies Anywhere.

Based on a true story and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film stars Streep as Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham and Tom Hanks as editor Ben Bradlee as they wrestle with publishing the Pentagon Papers, government documents revealing secrets about the Vietnam War.

Special features include:

  • “Layout: Katharine Graham, Ben Bradlee & The Washington Post” (Blu-ray only), which explores the real-life characters at the heart of the story, Kay Graham and Ben Bradlee;
  • “Editorial: The Cast and Characters of The Post” (Blu-ray only), which covers the casting;
  • “The Style Section: Re-Creating an Era,” about the 1970s style of the film;
  • “Stop the Presses: Filming The Post,” with footage from filming; and
  • “Arts and Entertainment: Music for The Post,” in which Spielberg and composer John Williams talk about their 44-year partnership.

‘Hostiles’ Coming on Digital April 10, Disc April 24

Critically acclaimed western Hostiles will be released on digital April 10 and on disc and on demand April 24 from Lionsgate.

The title will be available on disc in a 4K Ultra HD Combo Pack (plus Blu-ray Disc and digital) and a Blu-ray Combo Pack (plus DVD and digital) as well as on DVD at $42.99, $39.99 and $29.95, respectively. All three include a three-part “making of” documentary.

Directed by Scott Cooper, the film stars Christian Bale and Rosamund Pike. Set in 1892, Hostiles tells the story of an Army captain (Bale) who, after stern resistance, reluctantly agrees to escort a dying Cheyenne war chief and his family back to tribal lands. On the way, the former rivals encounter a young widow (Pike), whose family was murdered on the plains.

Hostiles has earned more than $29 million at the domestic box office.