Tag: 4K

Nvidia thinks it can make a billion from the cloud

nvidiaMaker of chips that help you see things, Nvidia, expects its cloud computing revenue to hit $1 billion in the next two to three years.

It says that demand for big data analysis drives growth in graphics chips.

CEO Jen-Hsun Huang told reporters a day before the Taipai Computex show that cloud computing is the company’s fastest-growing segment, with revenue increasing at about 60-70 percent a year.

Cloud computing allows people to play graphics-heavy games over the Internet, Huang said. He also noted that the company’s GPUs can now be used for a wide variety of applications, such as voice commands like those used by Microsoft’s search engine.

However he warned that it is going to be a while before people can start playing streamed games at the 4K resolution.

While it is possible to stream 4K movies from online services like Netflix to PCs, TVs and set-top boxes, streaming games from the cloud requires many infrastructure changes, said Jen-Hsun Huang said.

Nvidia can currently stream 1080p games at 60 frames per second from its Grid online gaming service, but the technology needs to be developed for 4K streaming and a lot of fine-tuning is needed at the server level, Huang said.

“It’s going to be a while,” Huang said.

The cloud is not the only area that Nvidia has also been moving into. Lately it signed up for an automotive chip programme with automaker Tesla Motors.

HDMI 2.0 is official with 4K support, insane audio

The HDMI 2.0 spec has been in the works for years but as of today it is finally official and very impressive to say the least. 

Just a few years ago the HDMI 2.0 feature list would have looked like science fiction. The bandwidth capacity is a massive 18Gbps, hence it can cope with 3840×2160 video at up to 60fps, handling eight times as much data as 1080p at 30fps. 

But it’s not all about pixels, either. HDMI 2.0 also supports 32 audio channels. It also features dynamic auto lip-sync and extensions to CEC. 

The new spec does not define any new cables or connectors, which means it will be backwards compatible with existing HDMI gear. 

The downside? Well, 4K displays still cost a fortune and they won’t replace 1080p monitors or tellies anytime soon.

However, people are being spoiled by ultra-sharp tablet screens, so we wouldn’t be surprised if we see faster development on this front over the next couple of years.

Sharp to slash 5,000 jobs

Sharp is planning to let go 5,000 workers over the next three years. Most of the cuts are expected at overseas plans in China and Malaysia. 

The Japanese tech giant currently employs around 51,000 souls and most of the cuts will affect its TV business. The company will also halve the number of workers at its head offices and halve the number of its board members. 

The cuts are just part of Sharp’s three-year plan to recover from the effects of the global economic downturn. It will also revise its strategic approach, shifting its focus to the production of smaller panels for smartphones and other devices, as they have more added value than big TV panels. However, it will increase production of 4K panels for big UHD TV sets, reports The Asahi Shimbun.

In the grand scheme of things, Sharp hopes to concentrate its efforts on more profitable products and boost revenue. It is looking to recover its credit rating, making it possible to issue corporate bonds. However, its revenues and sales are still going down and it is expected to post a net loss in excess of 500 billion yen.

Part of the problem is that prices of TV sets and LCD panels are declining faster than expected.

World's smallest 4k screen unveiled

While Sony and LG have recently announced gigantic 84 inch 4k TVs, one manufacturer has revealed its plans for releasing a 9.6 inch 4k screen.

4k, also beginning to be known as UltraHD, is so named after its enormous resolution 3840×2160 resolution. So far, manufacturers have strongly veered towards the larger end of the spectrum, and manufactures are charging equally large prices for the nascent technology.  

Both Sony and LG Display have announced 84 inch TVs using the technology, and both come with price tags that break right through the $20,000 mark. Panel manufacturer AUO has also announced it will be bringing out 65 inch and 55 inch panels. 

But Japanese manufacturer Ortus Technology  has taken a different approach, producing a 9.6 inch screen, though they will not be made for consumer electronics.

At 458 pixels per inch (ppi) it is way ahead of the likes of Apple’s Retina Display, with the iPhone 5 reaching 326 ppi, though the manufacturers note that such resolutions “exceed [the] discrimination limit of human eyes”.  However, the viewing angle is lower than an iPad, with the 4k TV device managing 160 degrees compared to Apple’s 178.

The screens, which are ready to ship in November, are not targeted at mainstream use.

According to the manufacturers, the screens are more likely to be used in applications such as professional video equipment or medical equipment, where such resolutions are either a strict requirement or highly beneficial. This could mean, for example, use as a 4k TV camera monitor screen.

Toshiba and Sony seek to rescue TV sales with 'ultra-definition' sets

Among the announcements  at German trade show IFA this week has been the release of new ‘ultra-definition’ 4K TVs from Sony and Toshiba, as vendors look away from 3D to boost sales.

Both firms have unveiled 84-inch screens featuring the latest technologically wizardry intended to entice customers into shelling out on new sets, with Sony’s Bravia version slated for a UK release this autumn.

The two 4k LCD sets have high resolutions of 3840 x 2160. 4K is not necessarily new, but Sony has decided to market its mammoth TV around its increased resolution, making less noise about its 3D capabilities.

The price tag is likely to be suitably astronomical when the first devices hit the UK later this year.

So are Sony and Toshiba onto a money spinner that will help the beleaguered TV business? Hardware retailers could certainly do with a new gimmick to spur on sales in a way that 3D has failed to achieve on a large scale.

Nigh on all TV vendors are operating at losses, and most have been for some time – even the seemingly unstoppable Samsung has been struggling with its TV sales.  Part of the reason is that consumers in markets such as the UK have, in many cases, already upgraded to flat screen LCDs, so replacement sales remain slow.

According to display market analyst, Bob Raikes, who is present at IFA, the superlative technology should firmly grasp the attention of gamers and film buffs, but mass market appeal could be hampered by difficulties in receiving 4K signals

“4K will not be a big driver of purchases for watching broadcast content because of the barriers to transmissions,” Raikes said, speaking with TechEye. “Even carriers that have plenty of bandwidth will need new set top boxes and transmission equipment and the new generation of codecs such as the new H.264 HEVC will need time to mature and be built into lower cost chips.”

However, Raikes points out that Toshiba is already showing some 4K game content from PCs using native 4K content at IFA, and describes them as “simply stunning”.

“The feeling is so immersive that I found I was getting genuine motion sickness watching a driving game,” Raikes said.

He added that using Blu-ray discs using content shot on 4K cameras works well when upscaled onto 4K sets.

“So, Sony is probably thinking more about Blu-ray and the next generation PlayStation,” he said, adding “if that ran at 4K natively, I’d be very tempted to upgrade my TV”.

DisplaySeach analyst Paul Gray, also at IFA, highlights one of the of the major drawbacks with 4K at this time – the lack of available content – and he does not anticipate 4k sets seeing major sales, at least in the short term.

“We do not anticipate them tunneling rapidly down the product ranges,” Gray said.  “The critical issue is no content in 4k2k at present. If the PC industry starts a pixel war (Apple are already increasing Mac resolutions) and the next generation of games machines have higher resolutions then they could catalyse growth.”

“However there are some unsolved steps in panel technology that need to be fixed first. For example, 4k2k displays currently have a limit on refresh at 120Hz,” Gray said.

4K restoration challenges 3D as Blu-Ray money spinner

Sony continues to team up with cinemas across the world to screen films remastered with or shot with its 4K technology, which the company boasts offers over 8.8 million pixels on the screen.

Six years on from 4K’s launch, Sony is keen to highlight its initiative in remastering and restoring films for sale on Blu-Ray.

Speaking at a press event this week at the Everyman Screen on the Green cinema, Islington, a panel told journalists that we probably won’t need to progress beyond 4K, ever. Because the human eye just can’t see resolutions that high.

Watching the re-mastered classic, Dr Strangelove, touched-up with 4K technology there was a very visible difference in quality. Scratches on the original film were no longer there, and the deep contrast in black and white was, the panel promised us, exactly how Dr Strangelove was intended to be seen in the first place. A younger hackette admitted the improved quality helped keep her engaged, though film purists may spit blood at such claims.

It’s not about completely digitally remastering old cinema, though. The Sony spokesperson said the team’s intentions were never to take the character out of films – we all know in our hearts that Han shot first – but to clean up and restore them so that they have the character they were originally shot with.

A spokesperson for Everyman Cinema said watching films is an inherently social experience, and because it is, there will always be a demand for remastered or classic films to be shown on the big screen.

4K offers other possibilities which can be valuable culturally. A journalist asked the panel about its uses in restoring near-destroyed, unwatchable relics of film that are culturally significant. It is possible.

TechEye asked whether 4K Blu-Ray retouches or 3D Blu-Ray would be a bigger money spinner. The answer was as ambiguous as we expected. Consumers will vote with their Sterling and there will always be terrible films, in 3D or otherwise. However, looking at 4K restoration, it’s easy to see where the bigger catalogue lies – Sony has restored other films, like Taxi Driver, and is continuing to do so.