China’s Hisense Bows First 8K Roku TV

Chinese consumer electronics giant Hisense Dec. 9 announced the availability of the first 8K U800GR Hisense Roku TV. Certified by the 8K Association, the U800GR Series TV model claims to deliver 33 million pixels and four times more depth and clarity than a 4KTV.

The 75-inch U800GR is available for $2,699.99 MSRP at Amazon and BestBuy.com.

“Alongside growing screen sizes, the prospect of enjoying the best possible picture continues to intrigue many consumers,” David Gold, president of Hisense USA, said in a statement.

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Long a trade show lure, 8K is slowly emerging from the promotional front to retail. While 8K remains an early adoption for most consumers, due to price and lack of 8K-specific content, the move signals a continuing push by CE manufacturers to improve the television in the home.

“We’re proud to combine our high-performing and high-quality products with Roku’s massive selection of free, live, and premium TV, and be at the forefront of premium TV offerings,” Gold said.

Hisense’s latest ULED Series TV model combines 8K streaming and display, three-dimensional Dolby Atmos sound and the Roku operating system. The U800GR Series also features Quantum Dot technology, Dolby Vision, and 180 local dimming zones to bring a new depth of realism to the TV-watching experience.

Video game players can experience smoother gaming sequences and scenes with the TV’s 480 motion rate, native 120Hz panel and auto low latency game mode and “variable refresh rate.” With the 8K upscaler, the TV analyzes content frame-by-frame and automatically adjusts the displayed image to deliver greater clarity and depth, regardless of the content resolution.

The U800GR Series ships with the new Roku Voice Remote Pro, Roku’s best remote to date, featuring a rechargeable battery, lost remote finder, customizable personal shortcut buttons, and hands-free voice commands to play entertainment, control your streaming and power up your TV.

LG to Bow Expanded 8K TV Lineup at CES

LG Electronics will introduce its expanded 8K TV lineup next week at CES 2020 — eight TVs with new 77- and 65-inch class models joining LG’s existing 88- and 75-inch screen sizes.

The 2020 lineup includes premium 88- and 77-inch class LG Signature OLED 8K TVs (models 88/77 OLED ZX) and advanced LG NanoCell TVs (models 75/65 Nano99, 75/65 Nano97, 75/65 Nano95). Every model exceeds the industry’s official new 8K Ultra HD definition set by the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), according to LG.

LG 8K TVs deliver “Real 8K,” according to the company, and they are future-proofed, supporting the widest selection of 8K content sources from HDMI and USB digital inputs, including codecs such as HEVC, VP9 and AV1, the latter being backed by major streaming providers including YouTube. LG’s 8K TVs will support 8K content streaming at a rapid 60FPS and are certified to deliver 8K 60P over HDMI.

LG’s latest 8K TVs also feature α (Alpha) 9 Gen 3 AI Processor. By leveraging deep learning technology, the 2020 lineup delivers optimized picture and sound quality for all types of content through AI-based 8K upscaling. Based on an intelligent deep learning network, AI 8K Upscaling delivers vivid and accurate 8K images by analyzing the content and applying Quad Step Noise Reduction and frequency-based Sharpness Enhancer to increase lower resolution content to near 8K, according to LG.

The α9 Gen 3 processor’s AI Picture Pro is capable of recognizing faces and text on screen, fine-tuning and sharpening each to produce more natural skin tones, well-defined facial features and clearer, more readable characters, according to LG. In addition, its Auto Genre Selection recognizes the type of content being watched and automatically applies the ideal picture settings, guaranteeing the best image quality among four genres: movie, sports, standard and animation.

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LG’s AI Sound Pro analyzes and classifies the audio of content among five categories — music, movies, sports, drama or news — for clearer voices and richer, more textured background sound. Spoken words are isolated and their volume increased, making it distinctively easier for viewers to understand while background noises are identified and the scene up-mixed to virtual 5.1 surround for a heightened level of viewer immersion.

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LG 8K TVs offer a new level of convenience made possible by AI technology, according to LG. Users can monitor and control compatible IoT devices directly from the TV’s Home Dashboard, while Hands-Free Voice Control allows viewers to easily control multiple connected devices with just their voice, even from across the room. Available in 144 countries, ThinQ voice recognition is built into every LG 8K TV. And with LG’s popular smart TV platform, webOS, the new TVs support Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit as well as both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, with Amazon Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice compatibility in the future.

Report: 55% of 4KTV Homes Watch 4K Content

It is almost impossible not to buy a 4KTV in today’s consumer electronics market. Yet, new data from Hub Research found that just 55% of 4KTV households actually watch 4K content.

Citing an online survey of 5,131 domestic consumers, 47% said they had at least one 4K set, but almost half of respondents said they watched non-4K programming.

In addition, 68% of households have a smart TV, with 69% streaming video-on-demand content. Another 14% of those with a Smart TV haven’t connected the unit to the Internet.

Notably, 54% of Smart TV owners also use streaming media devices such as Roku, Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV.

“With 4K TV sets, we see the classic case of capability leading content, similar to what was seen with high definition and 3D sets,” David Tice, co-author of the study, said in a statement first reported by Advanced-Television.com.

“With 8K TV sets and ‘Next Gen TV’ broadcast sets soon to debut, manufacturers must be careful that their technological ambitions don’t outstrip the ability of content creators and distributors to serve new platforms — otherwise consumers will tune innovation out.”

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Among respondents planning to buy a 4KTV in the next 12 months, 32% will do research at a retail store, with 42% purchasing at a store. Another 22% said they would purchase online and pick it up at the store.

Separate 27% said they would purchase the 4KTV online and have it shipped to their home.

“People still want to see and touch before they buy, even though they often don’t intend to use new features,” analyst Jon Giegengack said. “This suggests retail partnerships, like the one between Amazon and Best Buy on TV sets, might be a real opportunity for content providers to drive adoption and content.”