IFA 2014: The installer’s viewpoint

posted on Tuesday, 9th September 2014 by David Slater

IFA 2014  4K  Events 

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By far the biggest European tech show of the year, IFA 2014 was a must visit for Inside CI. The many halls were packed and the event did not disappoint. All the big guns had amazing kit on display, with Sony, Panasonic, LG and Samsung fighting to present the best stand of the show.

One key IFA product launch was the Sony VPL-VW300ES: this is going to be a big hit in the Install market; retailing for £5,500 it has the potential to make 4K UHD projection a mass market proposition. I was keen to make a beeline to the Sony demo room where they were showing clips from the FIFA World Cup and a concert. The UHD picture quality was sublime, with colours and detail jumping out of the screen. 

The VPL-VW300ES uses the same Triluminos colour processing and Digital Reality Creation engines as the VPL-VW500ES, and shares identical optics. With 1,500 lumens brightness you will be guaranteed an exceptional picture, even in well lit rooms. If you want to demonstrate 4K resolution it can be partnered with a Sony FMP-X5 player, which will stream Netflix 4K content, albeit only with a fast fibre broadband connection. As usual, the American market gets the better deal with the FMP-X10 version being able to store downloaded movies on the player too. Sony weren't the only company to show off a 4K media solution at the show. Philips also had its compact new UHD 880 device which will stream HEVC encoded content to all 2013 and 2014 Philips Ultra high-def TVs.

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Moving around the Sony stand there was an abundance of 4K LED screens on display together with a plethora of extreme sport 4K head cameras (pictured above), so at least while we wait for 4K content from the movie houses we can record our own for play back on these new screens.

I was transported back to my teenage years on hearing that the Technics brand is back in business. Panasonic, Technics' parent company, announced the comeback at the show, revealing two ranges of premium hi-fi products: the Reference Class R1 Series and the Premium Class C700 Series. The new portfolio includes speakers, streamers, stereo amplifiers and a single CD player.

It was also interesting to hear the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) announce that 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray discs and compatible hardware are destined to become a reality by Christmas 2015. The plan is to put 4K Blu-ray discs on shelves by Christmas, and it's also hoped that compatible 4K Blu-ray players will be released at the same time.

Panasonic unveiled its latest high-end television, with the 85-inch X940 leading the way. This model utilises a panel from Panasonic's pro division, and has the requisite 3,840 x 2,160 resolution as well as Panasonic's 200Hz Back Light Scanning and 4K intelligent frame creation tech to make things sharp and smooth. Personally though, I still prefer the look of the big Samsung TVs and the control of the Samsung commercial screens, when coupled with systems like Crestron and Control4.

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With a well earned fuel stop at the German sausage stand, it was off to the Samsung hall in the all-new CityCube complex to get hands-on with the new Samsung Galaxy Note Edge. The device takes advantage of the Korean company's impressive bendable OLED technology. Taking the same 5.7-inch display found on the Samsung Galaxy Note, the screen has one edge of the display curved over to the side of the device and Samsung suggest this will have far reaching new uses for the device. Naturally there were also all the 4K TVs first seen at CES 2014, together with the usual offerings of bending screens and curved offerings.

This year's IFA was a great event, well organized and packed to the rafters with international visitors.  By far the star of the show was the Sony VPL-VW300ES projector, which I predict will have a great impact on the CI industry. Order yours now if you want to see it by Christmas.

For more from IFA 2014, fire up our photo gallery below...

David Slater

David Slater started his writing career with SVI writing a
popular column, he has also guested on publications like Home Cinema Choice and
Living North

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