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System Integration for the Connected Home

TVs, Displays and Mounts

Google to Launch Chromecast Ultra?

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The Google event taking place on 4 October 2016 will surely see the search giant reveal a smartphone or two, but both Android Police and VentureBeat claim the company has another surprise in store-- a 4K-capable Chromecast.

Chromecast UltraReportedly dubbed the "Chromecast Ultra," the device will supposedly be sold alongside the current Chromecast dongle. Being 4K-capable the device carries more powerful hardware, allowing it to stream higher resolution content from mobile devices to HDMI-equipped displays. Android Police adds the 4K dongle was originally meant for a 2015 release, but the launch was scrapped for an unknown reason.

Interestingly, if one is to check the latest version of the Chromecast firmware (currently available in beta form to members of the Chromecast Preview program), the Chromecast logo appears no more in the software. Replacing it is the Google "G" logo, the same VentureBeat claims will adorn the Chromecast Ultra hardware.

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Samsung Showcases Quantum Dots at IFA 2016

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Samsung commits further to quantum dot technology at IFA 2016 as it announces the KS9800-- an 88-inch quantum dot SUHD TV the company claims is the largest in the world.

Samsung IFA 2016Capable of "the ultimate in picture quality and brilliance," the KS9800 is able to push up to 1 billion colours. It is actually just one of 19 SUHD TVs given a European launch at IFA 2016, available in sizes ranging from 43- to 88-inch and all produced in a cadmium-free manner using "the most stable and reliable display materials available anywhere."

In fact, Samsung is so confident in the reliability of quantum dots it offers a 10-year warranty covering against the effects of burn-in with all SUHD TVs featuring the technology.

Quantum dots also find use in PC monitors-- launched at IFA are the 34-inch CF791 and the CFG70, a curved monitor promising a 1 millisecond moving picture response time and 144Hz refresh rate.

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ITU’s New HDR-TV Standard

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ITU

ITU announces its new standard for High Dynamic Range TV.

ITU's Radiocommunication Sector (ITU-R) developed the standard in collaboration with experts from the television industry, broadcasting organizations and regulatory institutions in its Study Group 6.

"High Dynamic Range Television will bring a whole new viewing experience to audiences around the world," says ITU Secretary-General Houlin Zhao, welcoming the announcement. "TV programming will be enhanced with brighter pictures that add sparkle to entertainment and realism to news coverage."

"High Dynamic Range Television represents an important step towards the virtual-reality quality of experience to be delivered by future broadcasting and multimedia systems," notes François Rancy, Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau.

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Salamander Designs Creates Low Profile Wall Cabinets

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Salamander cabinetSalamander Designs announces an addition to the Chameleon collection-- Low Profile Wall Cabinets, with 30cm depth allowing for easy concealing of AV electronics and wiring in a low profile cabinet.

Available in an array of styles, the floor-standing shallow depth cabinets are designed to be easily affixed to the rear wall for added safety and stability, particularly when using the optional integrated TV mount. Each cabinet is constructed on an extruded aluminium frame enabling easy customisation for just about every applications.

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Better OLEDs Via "Molecular Tinder"

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The irresistible urge to swipe left or right between things might be key to improve the OLED displays of the future, Harvard researchers say-- a so-called "Molecular Tinder" process allows for easier discovery of blue-light emitting molecules.

Blue OLEDDeveloped in collaboration with MIT and Samsung, the process first combines chemistry, machine learning and cheminformatics to quickly identify molecules able to potentially produce blue light. Once the machines make their findings human beings take over, as a team of collaborators goes through the best results using a web application similar to the popular online dating app.

But why are the researches looking for blue light? OLEDs build images using red, green and blue subpixels, but blue is actually difficult to produce using current technology, so much so it requires the use of expensive metals such as iridium. If the colour can be produced solely through molecules, the researchers say, it can lead to cheaper and longer lasting OLEDs.

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Loewe Launches Bild 7 OLED TV

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Loewe presents a first OLED TV-- the Bild 7, a flagship set featuring a custom-made LG OLED panel, a result of the two companies' recent partnership agreement.

Loewe Bild 7The OLED panel is paired with proprietary picture processing technology, a combination Loewe calls "VantaVision" after VantaBlack, the darkest substance ever created. The display supports 4K/UHD and HDR on launch, with Dolby Vision to follow soon afterwards. In addition the TV features a minimalist design all of 7mm thick, an integrated 1TB HDD (expandable to 2TB), Freeview HD tuner and a range of connectivity options including Bluetooth and DLNA.

Audio is also enhanced through an integrated soundbar incorporating 6 high-specification active drive units coupled with 4 "racetrack"-style ABRs (Auxiliary Bass Radiators) and 120W amplification. On the surround sound processing side Dolby and DTS are on offer.

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NHK Starts 8K TV Broadcasts

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NHK, the Japanese public broadcaster, starts the first regular TV satellite broadcasts in 8K resolution-- with a "Super Hi Vision" test channel showing a mixture of 4K and 8K content.

NHK ForecastsThe format pushes content at 7680 x 4320 resolution and allows for 22.2-channel audio. The channel is set up in preparation for the launch of full-scale 8K transmissions in time for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and shows a mixture of arts, sports, music and documentary programming reminiscent of test HDTV transmissions.

On the current schedule are highlights from the Rio Carnival, the 2012 London Olympics opening, a concert by J-Pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and footage of the Aomori Nebuta festival. Of course, no consumer currently has the home hardware capable of receiving the channel, so NHK is installing viewing stations around Japan to hold public Rio Olympics viewings.

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