“Contact,” “The Court” and “Inspector Falke” Among Six “Walter Presents” Foreign Series Streaming on PBS Masterpiece Prime Video in March

PBS Distribution in March will begin streaming six new series from the “Walter Present’s” library on the PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel –– “Contact,” “The Court,” “Dead Beautiful,” “Flight HS13,” “Framed” and “Inspector Falke.”

“Walter Presents,” which launched in January 2016 in the United Kingdom as a video-on-demand service and is a joint venture between Channel 4 and Global Series Network, partnered with PBS Distribution on Amazon Prime Video in October 2018. The PBS Masterpiece Prime Video Channel is available to Prime members for $5.99 a month after a seven-day free trial.

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Eight episodes of the French series “Contact” will be available March 4. The series follows Thomas Jouannet, who was sentenced to life after avenging his parent’s brutal murder and the kidnapping of his sister. He is freed after serving only 15 years when he makes a deal with the FBI to use his extraordinary ability — psychometry — to solve crimes. When he touches an object, he feels the “psychic footprint” of its owner, envisioning its owner’s memories, emotions and secrets. However, there is one stipulation — he cannot leave the United States. But, once he receives a mysterious package containing an object that shows his brother in trouble, Thomas heads for France. Having broken the arrangement, he now has the FBI on his tail while trying to save his brother’s life.

Also streaming beginning March 4 are six episodes of the Icelandic series “The Court.” The legal drama follows the professional and personal lives of three Reykjavik lawyers. Logi is one of the country’s most brilliant legal minds and the most troubled. He’s determined to uncover the truth about what really happened one night in his youth — an incident that left a man dead and Logi in prison for manslaughter. But his internal demons threaten to send him spiraling into alcoholism. Standing between Logi and self-destruction are his colleagues — two lawyers, Brynhildur and Hordur, whose own private lives are far from simple.

Streaming beginning March 11 are nine episodes of the French crime drama “Dead Beautiful,” It centers on the self-loathing police commissioner Martin — a compassionate investigator who is dedicated to solving some of the most shocking crimes against women. While trying to solve these crimes, Martin also juggles the three women in his life: his ex-wife, the police psychiatrist and his girlfriend, journalist Marion. Each episode pits Martin against a new killer.

Streaming beginning March 18 are 10 episodes of the Dutch thriller “Flight HS13,” which follows Liz and Simon, a seemingly happily married couple who have everything they could possibly want ‚ a lovely son, a beautiful home and successful careers. But their perfect life is over when Simon boards a plane — flight HS13 — to attend a conference in Barcelona.  A few hours later, Liz’s world collapses when she hears Simon’s plane has crashed. No one survived. Very quickly her grief turns to shock and disbelief when she finds out that Simon never actually checked in for the flight. His name was not on the passenger list.

Streaming beginning March 25 are 10 episodes from another Dutch series “Framed.” Communications consultant Michael Bellicher has just received a promotion at his software firm and a party is being held in his honor to announce it. When an ex-lover appears, however, he lapses back into his unfaithful ways and things begin to spiral out of control. His wife is sick of it and packs her bags. Things suddenly get even worse when that ex-lover suddenly turns up dead. His identity is stolen, and he is forced to become a fugitive when he is framed for the murder.  Though family and friends doubt his innocence, Bellicher eventually forms an alliance with his newly transgender sister and a computer hacker, Vince. Together, they set out to uncover what is really going on.

Also streaming beginning March 25 are seven episodes of the German series “Inspector Falke.” Thorsten Falke is a devoted police officer who has traded in a family and a social life in the name of justice. Having grown up in the throes of Hamburg’s grimy underbelly, he is now proud to take a stand against crime in his hometown. Falke and his partner, Katharina Lorenz, work to bring down the ruthless criminal gangs threatening Hamburg.

LG Rolls Out Roll Up TV

LG Electronics literally rolled out what SVP of marketing David Vanderwaal called the “ultimate future TV”; it’s a TV that rolls out of the sound bar box below.

To oohs and aahs from the crowd, the company unveiled its LG Signature OLED TV R, which “magically rolls up,” senior director of product marketing Tim Alessi added during a Jan. 7 press conference at the CES show in Las Vegas.

The TV “brings freedom of design to a space,” Vanderwaal noted.

The TV can roll up only partway in the box, which includes a Dolby Atmos soundbar, to become a control console to check the weather and perform other functions.

In what is called the “zero view,” the TV is hidden completely and can be used to play music.

The company also announced LG’s first 8K OLED TV, device compatibility with Amazon’s Alexa (in addition to Google’s Assistant announced last year) and the addition of Apple AirPlay to the 2019 TVs.

In partnership with Qualcomm, LG phones will include the Snapdragon 5G mobile platform.

“5G will be a reality in 2019,” said Jim Tran, SVP and GM of handset products for Qualcomm Technologies, adding “you will be able to download a 4K movie in seconds.”

Season One of ‘The Purge’ to Hit Disc Jan. 8 From Universal

Season one of USA Network’s “The Purge,” based on the film franchise, will come out on Blu-ray and DVD from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment Jan. 8.

The series plays off the plot of the well-known Blumhouse movies, where several unrelated people discover what measures they are willing to take in order to survive a night where all crime is legal for 12 hours.

Bonus features include deleted scenes.

Series Finale of ‘A Chef’s Life,’ Season One of ‘Poetry in America’ Coming to DVD and Digital Jan. 8 From PBS

Two explorations of American culture, the series finale of “A Chef’s Life” and season one of “Poetry in America” will come out on DVD and digital Jan. 8 from PBS Distribution.

“A Chef’s Life” has taken viewers on a journey to meet unsung farmers, home cooks and chefs, and elevate quintessential Southern dishes to new modern classics. After five seasons of the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series, only a handful of dishes remain on host and author Vivian Howard’s bucket list. She tackles them all with the help of some friends in this series finale, The Final Harvest, which features some of the show’s most beloved personalities along with memorable flashbacks. Howard’s parents, Mrs. Scarlett and Mr. John, share intimate moments and reveal how their daughter’s success has changed their family. Her husband describes the impact of the series on his family and community.

“Poetry in America” gathers personalities from all walks of life to interpret, explore, and debate 12 American poems. Show host and Harvard professor Elisa New meets with athletes, poets, politicians, musicians, architects, scientists, actors and entrepreneurs to experience and share the power of poetry. Season one follows Carl Sandburg to Chicago and Emily Dickinson to Amherst. Along the way notable personalities such as actor Cynthia Nixon, former Vice President Joe Biden and architect Frank Gehry share their reflections on poems from Gwendolyn Brooks to Allen Ginsberg to Nas. Highlights include sports superstar Shaquille O’Neal reading “Fast Break” by Edward Hirsch and musician Herbie Hancock and former President Bill Clinton sharing their thoughts on Langston Hughes’ “Harlem.” The 12 American poems explored in season one are are “I cannot dance upon my toes” by Emily Dickinson, “Fast Break” by Edward Hirsch, “Those Winter Sundays” by Robert Hayden, “Hymmnn and Hum Bom!” by Allen Ginsberg, “Skyscraper” by Carl Sandburg, “Harlem” by Langston Hughes, “Musée des Beaux Arts” by W.H. Auden, “Shirt” by Robert Pinsky, “To Prisoners” by Gwendolyn Brooks, “The Gray Heron” by Galway Kinnell, “N.Y State of Mind” by Nas and “The New Colossus” by Emma Lazarus.

Research: Number of Global UHD TV Homes Passes 200 Million

The number of homes worldwide using an Ultra HD TV has now passed the 200 million mark, according to the latest research from Strategy Analytics’ Connected Home Devices service.

The report, 4K and 8K Ultra HDTV Global Market Forecast, predicts that 222 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by the end of 2018, an increase of nearly 50% over the past twelve months. The report also forecasts that more than 600 million homes will own an Ultra HD TV by 2023. The vast majority of these homes will have a 4K display — only 3% of Ultra HD TVs in use will be 8K-ready by this time.

Other key findings from the report include:

  • North America will continue to lead in adoption of Ultra HD TVs, with 71% of homes owning one by 2023;
  • The largest market in terms of annual sales of Ultra HD TVs is the Asia Pacific region, where they will reach nearly 46 million units this year;
  • Sales of 8K Ultra HDTVs will reach more than 400,000 units in 2019 and more than 11 million by 2023, which will represent a 6% share of the total Ultra HD TV market; and
  • By 2023 3.9% of Ultra HDTV homes in North America will own 8K displays, compared to 4.1% in Asia Pacific and 1.7% in Western Europe.

“The success of Ultra HDTV has been driven by technology adoption rather than content and services,” said David Mercer, principal analyst and the report’s author, in a statement. “4K video and TV services are now becoming more widely available, meeting the expectations of 4K Ultra HDTV owners for the best quality TV experience. But our expectations for 8K services should be cautious: while Japan has now launched 8K TV in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, the rest of the world will be slower to follow suit, given that the number of homes with 8K-ready TVs will remain low until the mid 2020s.”

“Owners of 8K TVs will primarily be watching 4K and HD content, while the TV’s image processors will do a good job of scaling most content to give impressive images,” said David Watkins, director at Strategy Analytics, in a statement. “Amidst the excitement surrounding 8K TVs, it is important to remember that image resolution, whether native or otherwise, is only one element in perceived video quality, and TV vendors and content players alike should not lose focus on other important drivers of consumer satisfaction, such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) and High Frame Rate (HFR).”

‘The Shield’ Series Set Coming to Blu-ray From Mill Creek Entertainment

The entire series set of “The Shield” will come out on Blu-ray Dec. 18 from Mill Creek Entertainment.

The collection includes all 88 fully restored episodes in high-definition from the series’ seven season run, which ended in 2008. Packaged in a digi-book with 18 Blu-ray discs, the set retails at $229.98.

“The Shield” stars Michael Chiklis as antihero Detective Vic Mackey, who runs his elite Strike Team under his own set of rules as he tries to maintain balance in the criminal ecosystem on the streets of Los Angeles.

The set is “the exclamation point to the legacy of ‘The Shield,’” said series creator Shawn Ryan in a statement. “A high-definition restoration was not possible until now,” he stated.

A new patented process allowed the entire series to undergo a 4K transfer and restoration from the 16mm film elements, “preserving the intentional grit and raw texture that’s unique to this series,” according to a Mill Creek release.

“We are thrilled to be able to present ‘The Shield’ in its entirety, available for the first time on Blu-ray having been masterfully restored in widescreen, high definition,” said Barrett Evans, VP of marketing and product development for Mill Creek Entertainment, in a statement. “The series had a monumental impact on television when it debuted, and its themes and subject matter are still poignant and relevant today.”

Bonus features include an all-new cast reunion, writers panel featurette, and a retrospective on the landmark series. For the release extras, Mill Creek Entertainment is orchestrating a reunion with the principal cast and crew, including Shawn Ryan, Michael Chiklis, Catherine Dent, Walton Goggins, Jay Karnes, Benito Martinez, CCH Pounder, Cathy Cahlin Ryan, Kenny Johnson, David Rees Snell, Paula Garcés and David Marciano. Also included on this special Blu-ray release will be a writers’ panel from the ATX Festival, featuring Ryan, Kurt Sutter and Glen Mazzara, plus interviews with the executives and critics who framed and followed the show as it changed the television landscape.

“’The Shield’ redefined cable television and paved the way for a new level of hard-hitting shows that followed,” says J.W. Starrett, director of product development for Mill Creek Entertainment, in a statement. “Getting the cast and crew back together 10 years after the final episode aired gives some really interesting insight and fascinating stories about their experience working on the show.”

Additional special features will be included from previous DVD releases, as well as new features currently in development. A complete listing will be announced in the coming weeks, according to Mill Creek.

“The Shield” originally aired on FX from 2002-2008.  It won two Golden Globe awards, including Best Television Series – Drama, a Primetime Emmy award and two AFI Awards for “TV Program of the Year.”

This story originally posted July 27, 2018, has been updated to reflect a change in street date from Nov. 6 to Dec. 18.

Season Two of ‘The Deuce’ Coming to Digital Dec. 3, Disc Feb. 5 From HBO

The Deuce: The Complete Second Season will come out on digital Dec. 3 and Blu-ray and DVD Feb. 5 from HBO Home Entertainment.

The Deuce: The Complete Second Season continues to trace the evolution and power dynamics of the porn industry in New York’s Times Square neighborhood in the 1970s. Picking up in late 1977, five years after season one, The Deuce’s backroom massage parlors and hotels have exploded into sprawling emporiums, while the New York Mafia’s grip on the porn business is beginning to slip as talent migrates to the West Coast. Season 2 also captures the disco era in all its excesses before developers, crack cocaine, AIDS and videotapes conspire to end the scene.

The cast includes James Franco (The Disaster Artist), first season Golden Globe-nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal (Crazy Heart), Margarita Levieva (“Revenge”), Lawrence Gilliard Jr. (“The Wire”), Dominique Fishback (HBO’s “Show Me a Hero”) and newcomer Luke Kirby (“Rectify”).

Bonus features include “The Deuce Season 1 Recap”; “Candy’s Back,” showing viewers where Candy (Gyllenhaal) is headed in season two; and “Height of Porn,” which explores the proliferation of porn in late ‘70s New York.

Complete ‘Rescue Me’ Series Available on Blu-ray Disc From Mill Creek

All seven seasons of the Emmy- and Golden Globe-nominated “Rescue Me” are available in one Blu-ray box set from Mill Creek Entertainment.

From series creators Denis Leary and Peter Tolan, “Rescue Me” was an uncompromising portrayal of the New York City firefighters of 62 Truck, whose duty to save lives puts their own in constant turmoil — on the front lines, in the firehouse, and at home.

The series stars Denis Leary (The Amazing Spider-Man), Andrea Roth (Netflix’s “13 Reasons Why”), Daniel Sunjata (ABC’s “Notorious”), Callie Thorne (USA’s “Necessary Roughness”) and Steven Pasquale (CBS’s “Doubt”).

The 16-disc special edition Blu-ray set, with all 93 episodes, retails at $149.98.

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.

‘Nathan for You’ Complete Series Coming on DVD Dec. 11 From Paramount

The Comedy Central series “Nathan For You” arrives in a complete series set on DVD Dec. 11 from Paramount Home Media Distribution.

Comedian Nathan Fielder uses his business degree and life experiences to help real small businesses turn a profit. Because of his unorthodox approach, Nathan’s genuine efforts to do good often draw real people into an experience far beyond what they signed up for.

The nine-disc DVD set includes all four seasons and more than 30 episodes. It also includes audio commentary on select episodes and extras such as the full “Dumb Starbucks” press conference and deleted scenes from “Finding Frances.”