Xgimi Showcases Aura 4K Short-Throw Laser Projector at CES 2022

Xgimi at CES 2022 is showcasing its new 4K ultra short-throw laser projector, the Aura.

Launched in October 2021, Aura “reimagines home entertainment” utilizing ultra short-throw technology to project 4K images at up to 150 inches, while only being inches away from the screen, according to Xgimi.

The Aura features HDR10 resolution, is powered by 2,400 ANSI lumens of brightness, and includes an Android TV 10 user interface that runs major streaming services such as Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime. It also includes built-in Chromecast functionality; three HDMI ports for external devices such as game consoles, cable boxes and Blu-ray players; and four 15W Harman-Kardon built-in speakers with two tweeters and two subwoofers with Dolby Audio support. 

Eight-point keystone correction technology makes focusing “a breeze,” according to an Xgimi release.

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The Xgimi Aura 4K UST Laser Projector joins the Horizon series, Elfin and Halo & MoGo series in the Central Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

‘Dolittle’ Coming to Digital March 24, Disc — Including 4K — April 7

Dolittle will arrive on digital March 24 and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD and on demand April 7 from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

Robert Downey Jr. plays Dr. Dolittle, a man who can talk to animals. The cast also includes the voice talents of Emma Thompson, Rami Malek, Selena Gomez, John Cena and Tom Holland, among others.

After losing his wife, Dolittle he locks himself away behind the high wall of his manor but is forced to set sail on an epic adventure when the queen falls gravely ill. Helping Dolittle in search of a rare cure are his animal friends — including Chee-Chee (Malek), an anxious, self-conscious gorilla; Dab-Dab (Octavia Spencer), an enthusiastic but bird-brained duck; the bickering duo of cynical, neurotic ostrich Plimpton (Kumail Nanjiani) and the polar bear Yoshi (Cena); and a headstrong parrot named Polynesia (Thompson).

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The film earned $161.7 million at the global box office.

The 4K disc includes HDR+.

Bonus features include:

  • “Talk to the Animals,” a peek at the fun the cast had giving each of the animals their unique voice;
  • “Robert Downey Jr. & Harry: Mentor and Mentee,” about the unique bond the two actors formed on-set, and how Downey took the film’s young co-star under his wing;
  • “Becoming the Good Doctor,” about how Downey transformed into the iconic Dolittle;
  • “Antonio Banderas: Pirate King,” in which Banderas discusses what attracted him to the project, his experiences working with Downey and what he brought to the role of King Rassouli;
  • “The Wicked Dr. Mudfly,” about the nefarious villain Dr. Blair Müdfly with Michael Sheen diving into his character’s motivations for being Dolittle’s foil; and
  • “A Most Unusual House,” about the unique rooms and modifications that allow Dolittle to house anyone or anything, big or small.

 

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‘It: Chapter Two’ Stalks to Digital Nov. 19, Disc Dec. 10 Including 4K

The horror sequel It: Chapter Two will arrive on digital Nov. 19 and 4K UHD combo pack, Blu-ray combo pack and DVD Dec. 10 from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

Evil resurfaces in Derry as director Andy Muschietti reunites the Losers Club in a return to where it all began with the conclusion to the highest-grossing horror film of all time. The sequel made $209.9 million at the domestic box office.

It: Chapter Two, based on the novel by Stephen King, stars James McAvoy as Bill, Jessica Chastain as Beverly, Bill Hader as Richie, Isaiah Mustafa as Mike, Jay Ryan as Ben, James Ransone as Eddie and Andy Bean as Stanley. Reprising their roles as the original members of the Losers Club are Jaeden Martell as Bill, Wyatt Oleff as Stanley, Jack Dylan Grazer as Eddie, Finn Wolfhard as Richie, Sophia Lillis as Beverly, Chosen Jacobs as Mike and Jeremy Ray Taylor as Ben. Bill Skarsgård returns in the role of Pennywise.

In the sequel, set 27 years after the Losers Club defeated the shape-shifting clown Pennywise, he has returned to terrorize the town of Derry once more. Now adults, the Losers have long since gone their separate ways. However, people are disappearing again, so Mike, the only one of the group to remain in their hometown, calls the others home. Damaged by the experiences of their past, they must each conquer their deepest fears to destroy Pennywise once and for all.

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The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray disc of It: Chapter Two will feature Dolby Vision HDR and HDR10+, both sporting dynamic metadata for better picture, as well as Dolby Atmos sound.

Special features on the Blu-ray and 4K release include five featurettes and commentary with Muschietti. The DVD includes the five featurettes.

Dynamic Enhancement and HDR

Dynamic Metadata, as opposed to static (HDR10), is considered by many to be the pinnacle of high dynamic range, adjusting the picture scene by scene.

Two forms of dynamic metadata enhancement are in the market, one licensed and one license-free.

Dolby Vision is a propriety licensed-based feature from Dolby, which also licenses the sound enhancement Dolby Atmos. There are now more than 500 movies and more than 1,500 episodes of original TV series available in Dolby Vision and more than 500 movies and more than 800 original TV episodes featuring Dolby Atmos, according to the company, and all major Hollywood studios have now released movies for home distribution in Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos. Titles released this past year in Dolby Vision and/or Dolby Atmos include Stranger Things 3 (Netflix), “Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan” (Amazon), Avengers: Endgame (Disney) and Alita: Battle Angel (Fox).

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Nine streaming services around the world are delivering the combined Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos experience, according to the company, and Disney recently announced that it will support both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos its upcoming Disney+ streaming service. Dolby Vision is available on more than 140 4K UHD Blu-ray discs.

As far as devices, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos devices are now widely available at prices between $200 and $300, according to the company, and more than 30 CE manufacturers have launched products featuring Dolby Vision. Apple recently announced it would support Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos on its latest iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple TV 4K devices. Amazon also launched its first product to support both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, the Fire TV Stick 4K, which is available at prices below $50.

“Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos continue to play a primary role in delivering the highest quality and value to the 4K consumer experience across content, platforms and devices,” said Ron Geller, VP of worldwide content relations at Dolby. “As consumers broaden their engagement with 4K content from a growing variety of sources, Dolby technologies are at the forefront to ensure a spectacular experience across transactional digital, disc and the growing list of direct-to-consumer offerings.”

HDR10+ is a royalty-free technology, which backers tout as a key advantage. A joint venture among 20th Century Fox, Panasonic Corp. and Samsung Electronics, the technology’s ecosystem includes 81 adopting companies globally. In September, the consortium released an updated technical specification to respond to the industry’s request for new device categories and codecs expanded to include AV receiver/soundbar and VP9 compatibility via WebM.

The HDR10+ logo and certification program currently supports displays, including mobile displays; distribution devices, including UHD Blu-ray player and OTT streaming devices; and content, including UHD Blu-ray Disc and OTT.

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment debuted HDR10+ on UHD Blu-ray with The Secret Life of Pets 2 and Godzilla: King of the Monsters, respectively, adding to the UHD Blu-ray discs already released from 20th Century Fox and others.

On the mobile side, Samsung announced the Galaxy S10 as the first mobile device featuring HDR10+ playback and recording. Other mobile devices followed, such as OnePlus 7, Samsung Note 10, and Galaxy Tab S6, which is the first HDR10+ tablet device.

“All our latest media products such as the Galaxy S10 line-up, the WALL Pro & Lux and all our UHD TVs include HDR10+ support to provide the best HDR image from Amazon Prime to major studio UHD Blu-ray releases,” said EVP Hyogun Lee from Samsung Visual Display. “Samsung is working with the HDR10+ LLC and the industry to continuously increase this ecosystem.”
Globally, companies such as Rakuten TV, Chili, The Explorers, Megogo, DT, Molotov, Videociety and Enteractive from Europe will feature HDR10+ technology.

Supporting companies also include TCL and Shout! Factory.
While dynamic metadata adds to quality viewing, consumers aren’t so keen on the competing technologies, which each require different hardware.
“I think a lot of people are frustrated by it,” said Bill Hunt of The Digital Bits.

Home Theater Forum’s Adam Gregorich bought equipment that supported Dolby Vision before the advent of HDR10+.

“I’m in no rush to upgrade really expensive displays,” he said, adding “if I had to buy one today I’d consider it.”

Dolby Vision Making Inroads at Fox After Disney Acquisition?

A byproduct of Disney’s acquisition of Fox may be more Dolby Vision titles, if the most recent announcement of a Fox home entertainment release is any indication.

Previously, Fox was a supporter of HDR 10+, a no-license-fee competitor to Dolby Vision, but Fox’s recently announced Alita: Battle Angel will be available in 4K UHD Blu-ray with HDR 10, HDR 10+ and Dolby Vision, according to press release. Dolby Vision and HDR 10+ employ dynamic metadata, allowing the picture to adjust scene by scene.

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“Twentieth Century Fox aims to deliver the best possible viewing experience for consumers,” according to a Fox statement provided to Media Play News on the subject. “The formats for each title release are determined on a case-by-case basis in partnership with the filmmakers.”

Disney has been a supporter of Dolby Vision.

Samsung and Universal in Content Pact on Next-Gen HDR10+

Samsung Electronics and Universal Pictures Home Entertainment will bring to market titles mastered with HDR10+, according to a Samsung press release.

HDR10+ is an open source-based, next-generation high dynamic range video standard led by Samsung. HDR adds brightness and contrast dynamically for each scene, delivering brighter brights and deeper darks, according to the release.

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Samsung and UPHE will collaborate on a wide selection of new release and catalog fare with HDR10+ technology, according to the release.

“We are delighted to team with Samsung Electronics on HDR10+ to deliver this striking, cutting-edge technology to entertainment consumers, providing them the opportunity to enjoy unparalleled, state-of-the-art movie-watching experiences across an array of Universal physical and digital titles,” said Michael Bonner, EVP, digital distribution, UPHE, in a statement.

“We have launched a new era of picture-quality technology with HDR10+, providing an amplified vivid viewing experience for consumers” said Hyogun Lee, EVP of the R&D team, visual display business, at Samsung Electronics. “Based on Samsung Electronics’ unique technology and proficiency, we will continue to expand our alliances with premier partners like Universal to provide consumers with the best HDR content possible.”

Samsung Electronics has been collaborating with various companies such as movie studios and OTT operators since the formation of the HDR10+ LLC in August 2017, according to the release. In addition to efforts in Korea, Japan and the United States, Samsung will continue to strengthen the HDR10+ logo and certification program partnership in other territories around the world, according to the release.

Additional details on the HDR10+ certification/logo operating program can be found at www.hdr10plus.org. Logo and technology fees are free.

Dolby also has a dynamic metadata, scene-by-scene, next-gen HDR format, Dolby Vision, requiring a licensing fee.

Panasonic 4K OLED TV Designed With Hollywood Help

Panasonic Jan. 7 announced the launch of the GZ2000, featuring a Professional Edition 4K OLED panel tuned in Hollywood that incorporates custom hardware improvements by Panasonic.

“Optimized by a leading Hollywood colorist, the new panel highlights unparalleled color accuracy and significantly better than average brightness levels,” according to a Panasonic press release.

Panasonic announced it is the world’s first TV to support the high dynamic range formats HDR10+ and Dolby Vision, as well as the HLG Photo format, the new still image format which brings still photography into the HDR world.

“Together, Dolby and Panasonic are bringing best-in-class audio and imaging technology to Panasonic’s TVs,” said John Couling, SVP, commercial partnerships, in a statement. “Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos perfectly complement the GZ2000’s advanced display, transforming it into an entertainment powerhouse.”

The GZ2000 is also “the world’s first TV with built-in upward-firing speakers capable of delivering Dolby Atmos immersive audio with total ease and convenience,” Panasonic announced. “The total audio system has also been tuned by Technics engineers.”

Supporting both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, the GZ2000 can integrate with a smart home setup.

Available in 65-inch and 55-inch screen sizes, the GZ2000 OLED features the color-tuning skills of Stefan Sonnenfeld. Sonnenfeld, founder and CEO of Company 3, is “a trusted collaborator of some of the world’s best filmmakers,” Panasonic announced, applying his skills as a colorist to such features as A Star Is Born, Wonder Woman, Man of Steel, Beauty and the Beast, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Jurassic World and 300. He uses Panasonic OLED screens as large-format client reference monitors in his daily workflow, according to the release.

The TV’s average brightness level has been boosted significantly and contrast handling improved, resulting in increased dynamic range, the release stated.

“HDR content now looks even more impactful, with the GZ2000 effortlessly able to reproduce tricky scenes of variable brightness and contrast — often found in live sports broadcasts and in action movies,” the release stated. “Because of this level of customization, combined with the exceptional color-optimizing skills of Sonnenfeld, Panasonic has created some of the most accurate, cinematic images ever seen on a TV.

“Additionally, in response to requests from Hollywood’s professional users, Panasonic has extended the range and reduced the interval between calibration steps at the darkest end of the RGB and gamma scales.”

The GZ2000 is also compatible with Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), an HDR format expected to be widely adopted by TV broadcasters, the release stated.

The GZ2000 also features Panasonic’s new My Home Screen 4.0, which allows viewers to tailor the TV user interface to their own preferences, the release stated. The layout of the home screen can be reconfigured to allow customized layouts. Access to VOD and broadcast content is also easier thanks to a redesigned GUI that includes icons for decks that provide shortcuts to live TV, connected devices and apps such as Netflix, Amazon and YouTube. Viewers can even add frequently watched TV stations to the home screen.