You may have heard the rumors that the new game consoles from Microsoft and Sony will be pathways for 4K video content. But what do you do if you have an Ultra HD TV now (or plan to buy one right away)?
Aside from the fact that you can still play anything on it that you can play on a 1080p TV, there’s actually a 4K player you can buy now. The RedRay player from Red is available for pre-order now on the company web site, and delivery is expected around March.
In case Red doesn’t sound familiar to you, that’s the company that makes 4K digital cameras for filmmakers (Hollywood and otherwise). Peter Jackson employed a lot of Red cameras for The Hobbit, and many other movies you’ve probably seen were made on Red cameras. Now the company is completing the circle by offering a player that can be used to show those movies in both home and professional settings.
The RedPlayer was actually in use at CES at Toshiba’s booth. The gorgeous 4K content showing on Toshiba’s new Ultra HD TVs came from Red’s device.
The RedRay (not Blu-ray—get the joke?) is not just a player; it’s part of a whole infrastructure. It plays media in a proprietary .RED format (Red supplies the application for content holders to convert their files to .RED). There will be a Cloud-based delivery system powered by a company called Odemax, and that’s expected to launch in March. Content can be stored on a built-in 1TB hard drive, and storage can be expanded with eSATA drives. Users will download files at a data rate of 2.5 MB/S (20Mb/s) with 12-bit color and a 4:2:2 chroma sampling rate. Red says the files will fit on a USB thumb drive. In addition to downloads, video can also be played off SD cards and USB drives.
The RedRay includes 4 HDMI 1.4 connectors and can output 7.1 audio. It can deliver 3D up to 60 frames-per-second for each eye.
In addition to serving up Ultra HD movies for your home theater, the RedRay can be used in commercial settings for digital signage and will show 1080p on 4 TVs at once.
This all sound pretty cool. $1,450 isn’t too much too ask for a first generation player connected to a $20K television. But what about the content? Right now neither Red nor Odemax are saying much, but there are a lot of movies being made with Red cameras right now, so we’re hoping those translate easily into RedRay movies. I have questions out to both Red and Odemax and will update this story when I hear back.
You can place your order for one now for $1,450. Hopefully we’ll get one in to Electronic House for review.
The company is also working on a 4K laser projector.
Read Electronic House reviews of the LG Ultra HD TV and the Sony Ultra HD TV.
More on 4K content developments.
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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. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.