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European Custom Installer

System Integration for the Connected Home

TVs, Displays and Mounts

Broader European Rollout for Sky Q

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British broadcaster Sky plans to launch the Sky Q service to more European countries, starting from Italy on the holiday season before moving to Germany and Austria sometime during H1 2018.

Sky QAnnounced as part of the broadcaster's fiscal Q1 (ending 30 September 2017) earnings report, the rollout of Sky Q in the rest of Europe follows the early 2016 release of the service in the UK and Ireland. In fact, Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch says Sky Q "continued to grow well" in the UK, with customer numbers growing by 23% Q-o-Q during fiscal Q1, reaching 1.6 million households.

The broadcaster cites the success of the system on its support for 4K content. It currently offers over 1000 hours of 4K resolution content, including sports, movies and TV shows. More 4K content should be on the way as well, thanks to a reductions in production costs.

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The "Entry-Level" Loewe Bild 3 TV

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Germany's Loewe presents what it describes as an "entry-level" 4K TV range-- the Bild 3, offering sets in 43-, 49- and 55-inch sizes at lower costs than the high-end Bild 7 and Bild 9 ranges.

Loewe Bild 3The 43-inch (model 3.43) and 49-inch (3.49) models feature LCD panels with support for HDR 10 and Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG). The 55-inch version ups the ante with an OLED panel and the addition of Dolby Vision HDR.

All models offer an integrated 80W with 4 drivers, 2 passive radiators and a bass reflex port, together with access to streaming services such as Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Prime TV, BBC iPlayer and Tidal. Bluetooth support is also included for wireless music playback.

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Roku Presents 4K Streaming Stick

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The Roku streaming device lineup gets a refresh-- one complete with no less than 5 new players, ranging from low-cost options for first-time customers to a 4K-capable Streaming Stick.

Roku refreshAimed at first-time streamers or as addition to another room, the 2nd generation Roku Express and Roku Express+ promise a 5x power boost compared to the previous version. The Express+ is also ideal for use with older TVs, since it includes composite AV connectivity.

On the streaming dongle side side, Roku offers two options. The first is an updated Streaming Stick, now featuring a quad-core processor, 802.11ac dual-band MIMO wireless connectivity and a voice remote complete with TV power and volume to control compatible TVs as well as the stick. Owners of 4K TVs get the Streaming Stick+, with a more powerful processor able to handle 4K HDR 60fps streaming.

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Futuresource: STBs Remain Household Fixture

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Traditional pay-TV STBs remain a fixture in consumer homes worldwide, Futuresource Consulting reports, as operators add new features to counter the enhanced functionality of media streamers.

Pay TV STBThe analyst says global media box shipments (combining STBs and media streamers) total 339 million units in 2016, with STBs making 86% of the total. The total value of the 2016 media box market is up to $21 billion.

However, while the share of STBs making the media box market is "unlikely" to dip in 2017, the traditional STB is under threat by many competing connected devices-- such as media streamers, games consoles and smart TVs-- all able to access content from a variety of sources. Thus more desirable features are being added to STBs, including SVoD services, voice search and smart home functionality, as well as 4K/UHD upgrades.

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Sharp Readies 8K TV at IFA

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The current TV technology of choice might be 4K, but Sharp is set for the future with the announcement of the first commercially available 8K resolution TV, which will arrive in European markets from March 2018.

Sharp 8K TVThe TV in question is a 70-inch Aquos model revealed at IFA 2017. Dubbed the LC-70X500, it offers 7680 x 4320 resolution and promises  “ultimate reality, with ultra-fine details even the naked eye cannot capture." It is also compatible with the Dolby Vision HDR and BDA-HDR (for Blu-ray players).

However, while rolling out an 8K TV might be nice there isn't much content one can appreciate on it-- at least outside of Sharp's home Japan, where public broadcaster NHK does regular 8K satellite broadcasts through a "Super Hi Vision" test channel. Set up in preparation for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, it shows a mixture of arts, sports, music and documentary programming reminiscent of test HDTV transmissions.

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Salamander Design Intros Milan Style

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Milan designResidential and commercial A/V furniture maker Salamander Design presents a design addition of C-Frame System-- Milan, a custom cabinet style with a future forward geometric 3D diamond pattern.

The C-Frame System is a selection of A/V cabinets blending art and technology able to fit with any decor. The Milan style is finished in gleaming white, and complemented by either black or white solid surface tops or black or brown glass tops. It is made using eco-friendly materials, engineered to perform and available in a variety of configurations.

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IFA Hosts BeoVision Eclipse

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Bang & Olufsen presents the first results of its partnership with LG at IFA 2017-- the BeoVision Eclipse, a combination of the design B& O is famous for and Korean OLED technology.

Beovision EclipseThe Danish TV maker announced the "strategic technology partnership" with LG back in March 2016. The BeoVision Eclipse is the kind of TV one would expect from the company, built out of a mix of metal and fabric. It sits on top of a motorised floor stand (which can move across the floor, as well as swivel) and offers a 55- or 65-inch 4K resolution OLED panel promising “absolute black and infinite contrast ratio" together with HDR capabilities.

Customers can replace the floor stand with a motorised or manual wall bracket, while control comes through the BeoRemote One BT remote. On the audio side, it carries a 450W 3-channel soundbar customers can customise with a choice of aluminium or different coloured fabrics. One can also add other BeoLab loudspeakers, with the TV speaker acting as centre channel.

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