Anyone interested in Ultra HD TVs (4K TVs) now is probably also griping a little about the almost complete lack of content and compatible video sources for the TVs. While I expect that to change quite a bit next year, especially at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show (CES) I was a bit surprised to come across this.
The Nuvola NP-1 is, according to Nanotech, a 4K streaming media player that can output 3840x2160 resolution.
How is it a 4K player if there’s nothing in 4K to stream? Well, first, it includes Netflix, which has done some toying with 4K streaming (more about that here). Second, it apparently comes with its own 4K streaming service, called Ultra Flix which will offer streaming 4K video. According to a report, the content will include some documentaries commissioned by Nanotech. The NP-1 is said to come with 10 free 4K video rentals.
Nanotech says the NP-1 supports Ultra HD video using H.264 compression. The unit will download an update to the newer H.265 (HEVC) codecs when they become available.
The device, when bundles with an accessory TV tuner, the TV-U1, can receive and record ATSC and clear QAM digital TV signals and upscale them to 4K.
If you use it for music, it can play AAC, FLAC, MP3, WAV.
It will come bundled with a variety of streaming audio and video apps (Netflix, Amazon, Youtube, Pandora, Skype, plus several games).
The box has a fair amount of muscle built into it. It runs on Android 4.2 and can access the Google Play store. It’s powered by an nVidia Tegra 4 processor with a quad core Cortex-A15 processor plus 2GB DDR RAM and 16GB internal store. You can add a USB drive for more recording room.
But… as far as 4K goes, it only includes HDMI 1.4, which means you get none of the benefits of the recently announced (but not really deployed) HDMI 2.0.
Except for the HDMI issue, this looks like a product that’s planning for the future. I have to assume that Roku will eventually come out with a player that supports 4K, and Apple too.
The Nuvola NP-1 media streamer is priced at $299 while the TV turner accessory is $99. The combination sounds like a great solution for cable TV cord-cutters.
Also check out:
Ultra HD Holiday Gift Guide
Netflix Starts Testing Ultra HD 4K Streaming
Is Ultra HD’s Future in a Hard Drive Server?
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.