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Top 4K TVs Compared

Both Netflix and Amazon stream in 4K. Cameras like the Sony a7S and the Panasonic Lumix GH4 can shoot in 4K. Even smartphones have been getting in on the act, with handsets like the LG G Pro 2 and Sony Xperia Z2 capable of recording 4K video. So with the amount of 4K content available increasing every day, you may have been thinking about buying a 4K set so you too can bask in the glow of 3,840 x 2,160 resolution. But 4K sets don’t come cheap, and you’re going to want to do a bit of research before dropping that much cash. While we don’t really review televisions here at Engadget, we’ve done the next best thing, compiling the opinions of trusted critics from across the web. Which set offers you the most bang for your buck? Do bells and whistles like a curved screen make a difference? Check out a few members of the 4K Class of 2014 below.

Panasonic Life+Screen AX800

At first blush, the Panasonic AX800 series has a lot going for it. It’s a nice-looking set that PC Mag says is “minimalist and unique,” suited for both TV stands and entertainment centers. Turn it on, and the picture is equally impressive, delivering what AVForums calls “rich textures and nuanced lighting,” while Reviewed.com thinks this LCD could stand toe to toe with a good plasma set, due to its “good black levels, accurate colors and reliable screen uniformity.” But if you’re looking to sit down and enjoy some House of Cards in beautiful 4K, you’ll be disappointed — Netflix on the AX800 is limited to 1080p (and lower). Given the relative scarcity of commercial 4K content, the inability to watch a major provider like Netflix is a big ding on an otherwise stellar UHD set.

Price: $2,300 and up

Samsung U9000

Walk into a room and the first thing you’ll notice about the Samsung U9000 is its curved screen, which CNET says adds a “unique, futuristic look” to a set that is overall “drop-dead gorgeous.” It says the picture is equally stunning, offering “deep black levels, accurate color and great bright-room viewing qualities.” But what about that curve? Though it’s meant to create a feeling of depth and immersion, CNET found it “didn’t have any major effect on the picture aside from reducing reflections somewhat,” and Reviewed.com found it actually made some reflections worse, such that “lamps and lights are occasionally stretched across the entire arc of the screen.” It’s worth noting that the U9000 also includes an improved Smart Hub experience, but you can also find other Samsung sets that are a lot cheaper (and less curvy).

Price: $3,297 and up

Samsung U8550

The Samsung U8550 is a set that eschews the curved screen of its high-end sibling U9000 in favor of “trim bezels and a very narrow panel” that Reviewed.com says “lend this television a modern air.” The picture also does it credit, with LCD TV Buying Guide complimenting its “brilliant images in 4K,” while Sound+Vision was impressed with the “crisp detail and the clean, smooth clarity” of its upconversions. As on the U9000, the Smart Hub has been upgraded with “subtle improvements” that “hit the mark” according to LCD TV Buying Guide, and Reviewed.com says it provides “all of the streaming content and web-browsing functions you’d expect for the price.” And that’s a price that undercuts the competition by $1,000, leaving you some extra cash for an awesome sound or gaming system on the side.

Price: $1,597 and up

Sony X900B

At first glance, it’s clear that the Sony X900B is very different from other UHD sets, and even many regular ol’ HDTVs, due to its huge set of front-facing speakers. The sacrifice of a slim bezel is well worth it, though, as What Hi-Fi compliments its “rich, open and detailed sound quality,” while CNET calls it the “best sound of any TV we’ve heard, bar none.” The picture is also up to the challenge, offering quality that HDTVTest calls “spectacular” and CNET says is the “best picture quality of any 4K TV we’ve tested so far.” Sure, the X900B isn’t as cheap as some other sets, but unlike the AX800, it supports Netflix and, with those massive speakers flanking the screen, you won’t need to fork out the extra dough for a quality sound system.

Price: $2,998 and up

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Samsung 105-inch Curved UHD 4K TV

Today Samsung announced the availability of its biggest curved screen TV ever. First shown at the 2014 CES, the 105-inch UN105S9W UHD 4K TV sells for $119,999.99 . Unlike Samsung’s other curved models which incorporate the HDTV and UHDTV standard 1.78:1 aspect ratio, this one uses an ultra wide panel with 2.37:1 aspect ratio. More details after the break.

The UN105S9W can be ordered this week at Samsung.com. It joins the other S9 flat UHD 4K models which are available in 85- and 110-Inch screens. The UN105S9W is a full array LED backlit LCD with local dimming using Samsung’s propriety UHD dimming and Precision Black technology.

Due to its wider aspect ratio the native screen resolution is 5120 x 2160 making the UN105S9W the highest resolution TV (with over 11 million pixels) available.

The UN105S9W comes with the floor stand, however the LCD panel can be detached and mounted to a specialty wall mount (price and model number TBA).

Each 105inch TV will be made to order.

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Samsung UHD TV to Get Amazon Streaming & Video Pack

Samsung has just struck a deal with Amazon and several other partners to expand its ultra high-definition (UHD) content offerings. The partnerships will give Samsung TVs access to new services including live 4K broadcasting, video-on-demand (VoD) and a long-awaited UHD video pack (at least in the UK and Europe).

4K TV, also known as Ultra-High Definition television, provides a whopping 3,840×2160 pixel resolution – four times regular Full HD. But as good as it looks, the vast majority of 4K TVs are more expensive than 1080p HDTVs, and there’s a real scarcity of native content that makes it hard to justify shelling out for one.

That conundrum means it’s in the interests of TV manufacturers to do everything they can to ensure their customers get more Ultra HD content to watch, and that’s exactly why Samsung is embracing Amazon. From October, Samsung’s UHD TVs will be able to stream content (both movies and TV shows) directly from Amazon’s on-demand video streaming service. Samsung says the service will be available “globally”, although we wouldn’t be surprised to see some countries excluded from the deal.

Amazon’s 4K Ultra HD VoD service, called Prime Instant Video, is scheduled to launch this October, and will compete with the likes of Netflix, which already offers 4K streaming, and DirecTV, which plans to stream 4K content on-demand later this year. For now it appears as though Amazon’s service will be exclusive to Samsung – although Amazon probably won’t be able to resist the temptation of selling its service to other brands once it’s up and running.

Besides Amazon, Samsung is also teaming up with content providers including Chili, Maxdome and Wuaki.tv., to provide even more 4K content. The company gave scant details of these partnerships so we can’t say for sure what countries these services will be offered too.

Finally, the Korean firm says it will show off its long-awaited “UHD video pack” at next month’s IFA show in Berlin. The video pack, which has been produced in association with Fox Home Entertainment and consists of no less than forty 4K movies including Life Of Pi and Star Trek: Into Darkness preloaded on a 500GB media player, was first teased at last January’s CES show in Las Vegas and subsequently released in the USA, but was delayed in the United Kingdom and Europe due to licensing issues. We assume that those problems have now been resolved, and that Samsung UHDTV owners on these shores can look forward to more native 4K content.

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Premium Plus 8 Metres HDMI Cable for designed to meet the high bandwidth performance

Premium Plus 8 Metres HDMI Cable are produced to provide pure digital signals without distortion or loss in signal. They are made with Mylar foil to provide the best insulation possible. Don’t settle for less when selecting your HDMI cables. Be ready for what the future has in store with Cablesson Flat Premium High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet v1.4 cables. These Premium plus 8m hdmi cables have been designed to meet the high bandwidth performance standards set by HDMI Version 1.4. Cablesson cables are constructed to the highest quality with full triple layer shielding from end to end, strong, solid wire welds and the highest quality materials including high purity copper, gold plated connectors and tin plated conduits. This Quality High Speed HDMI cables with Ethernet can be used with all current HDMI equipment including the new 3D TV’s and is fully backward compatible with ALL equipment that requires an HDMI cable. This includes DVD, Blu-Ray Players, Playstation 3, XBox 360, Media Centre Computers, HD Media Players plus much more.  Strong outer Nylon Mash provides maximum signal/durability and against extreme temperature changes, corrosion and wireless interference for consistently high-quality audio video. A flat HDMI cable has several advantages. One is that it can go under wall molding along the floor or were round cables will not fit (you could put it under a rug too, but I don’t know how well the 19 conductors would respond to foot traffic). Secondly, flat HDMI cables have the conductors separated from one another more than when they are all bundled together in a round cable. The new specification will add an Audio Return Channel that will reduce the number of cables required to deliver audio upstream for processing and playback. In cases where HDTVs are directly receiving audio and video content, this new Audio Return Channel allows the HDTV to send the audio stream to the A/V receiver over the HDMI cable, eliminating the need for an extra cable.

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XO II Platinum 1 Metre PS3 HDMI Cable

XO II Platinum 1 Metre PS3 HDMI Cable allows you the luxury of seeing and hearing every detail without any compromise. XO II Platinum 1 Metre PS3 HDMI Cable delivers uncompressed 1080p/120 Hz high definition video with 12-bit deep color, eight channels of 192/24 digital audio for ultimate 7.1 surround sound, and an integrated control channel – all in one cable. XO II Platinum 1 Metre PS3 HDMI Cable also eliminates digital-to-analog conversion between your video sources and display for the most accurate high definition picture. PS3 HDMI cable 1m, high quality hdmi cable for transferring, uncompressed digital video, audio and control functions. XO II Platinum Range cables utilise v 1.4a Advanced High Speed HDMI technology for high bandwidth and speeds of up to 15.2 Gbps – perfect for Full High Definition movies and the ultimate home theatre or gaming experience. XO II Platinum Range cables are designed for FULL HD, 1080p, TVs with Deep Color (12-bit colour) technology and are designed to embrace the latest in LED, Blu-Ray and advanced Refresh Rate technologies. Total Support for x.v.Colour is ensured, and a colour gamut 1.8 x greater than that of Standard RGB can be achieved. Lossless Surround Sound support provides total compatibility with Dolby(r) TrueHD and DTS-HD(tm). XO II Platinum Range  HDMI cables benefit from 24k Gold Plated (30U Micron) connectors and are Oxygen purged to greater than 99.99% purity. XO II Platinum now has the most future-ready performance specification (High Speed with Ethernet) supporting all features of the latest HDMI 1.4 version: 3D Blu-ray and 3D gaming in full HD 1080p Ethernet Channel allowing a shared Internet connection between devices Audio Return Channel allowing TV’s with inbuilt tuners to send audio back to an A/V receiver on the same HDMI cable. The result is a HDMI cable of incredible build-quality that’s robustly designed to ensure rock-solid reliable performance.

Key Features:
  • Length: 1m / 1 Metre
  • Nitrogen gas-injected dielectric with quad-shielding for maximum signal strength.
  • Delivers Up to 1080p Digital HDTV.
  • Male to Male Connection
  • Limited Stock specially designed for PlayStation 3 (PS3)
  • 24K Gold-plated Connector Plug Contacts
  • Mylar Backed Foil
  • High Speed (Catergory 2)
  • HDMI 1.3b increases its single-link bandwidth from 165MHz (4.95 gigabits per second) to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps) to support the demands of future high definition display devices, such as higher resolutions, Deep Colour and high frame rates.

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NEW XO range of 5m HDMI cables is series of XO products

XO Platinum 5m HDMI Cable allows you the luxury of seeing and hearing every detail without any compromise. High-Density shielding technology will reject EM and RF interference, while gold plated connectors will ensure a tight grip. 26 AWG cable shielding will reduce crosstalk and are better than the traditional round cables. The XO Platinum 5m HDMI Cable has a Heavy gauge, multi stranded copper conductors maximize digital signal transfer for precision 1080p video reproduction with deep, extended colour. High-definition digital video up to 1080p “Full HD” resolution and multi-channel digital audio for surround sound (Dolby Digital, DTS). Tested for compatibility with Home Theatre Sync, PlayStation 3, Blu-ray, x.y.Colour.  XO Platinum uncompressed 1080p/120 Hz high definition video wіth 12-bit deep colour. XO Platinum eliminates digital-tο-analog conversion between уουr video sources аnd ѕhοw fοr thе mοѕt ассυrаtе high definition picture.

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Oppo’s BDP-80 Universal Player — a Simplified BDP-83?

BDP-80
Blu-ray Disc Player w/SACD & DVD-Audio

BDP80

  • Standalone Player & Digital Transport
  • 1080p Full HD, 1080p24 & Source Direct
  • Fast Loading & Response Times
  • SACD & DVD-Audio/Video
  • USB 2.0 for Media Playback
  • 1GB Memory & BD-Live

Overview
The BDP-80 is a full-featured universal Blu-ray Disc™ player that supports BD Profile 2.0 (BD-Live and BonusView), DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD (SACD), HDCD, CD and other popular media formats such as AVCHD, MKV video files, digital photos and music. Sharing the same decoder and similarly optimized firmware as OPPO’s award-winning BDP-83, the BDP-80 features fast disc load times, quick response to user operations, and robust audio and video controls. In contrast to the BDP-83, which utilizes an onboard VRS by Anchor Bay video processor, the BDP-80 design has been optimized for use as a digital audio/video transport, emphasizing the accuracy of its digital audio/video outputs. At the same time, the BDP-80 is versatile enough to be used as a stand-alone universal Blu-ray player, thanks to its full array of output connections and audio/video decoding capabilities.

For video, the BDP-80 features an HDMI 1.3 port that supports 1080p Full HD, 1080p 24Hz, Deep Color and Source Direct modes. Component video, S-Video and Composite video connections are also available for legacy analog displays. In addition to its faithful reproduction of high-definition pictures on Blu-ray Discs, the player can up-convert DVD from standard definition up to 1080p to maximize DVD picture quality. Its “Source Direct” output mode makes the BDP-80 incredibly well suited as a digital transport to feed into an external video processor, a high-end A/V receiver or display device with built-in video processing. Unique features such as subtitle shift and vertical stretch zoom mode makes the player an ideal source component for home theaters with 2.35:1 CIH (Constant Image Height) displays.

For audio, the BDP-80 supports internal decoding and bitstream output of the latest sound formats including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master audio. The BDP-80 also features a configurable 7.1-channel analog output that can be set as 7.1-channel, 5.1-channel, or stereo. When playing SACD, the BDP-80 can output DSD (Direct Stream Digital) over HDMI in its native format or convert it into high-resolution PCM. For compatibility with many legacy A/V receivers and DACs, the BDP-80 also provides an optical and coaxial digital audio output.

The initial setup of the BDP-80 is a breeze with its Easy Setup Wizard and well-written manual. Setup menus on the player can be accessed without interruption to disc playback. The front and back USB 2.0 ports enable easy access to music, photo and video files. The BDP-80 comes standard with 1GB of internal storage built-in so that no additional memory card or flash drive is needed to use BD-Live and BonusView features. Featuring a front panel with brushed metallic appearance and a dimmable display, the BDP-80 fits nicely in any home theater environment, ranging from simple to high-end.

Features
Complete Media Support:
  • Blu-ray Disc – The high definition Blu-ray Disc™ format provides pristine video and audio quality for your home entertainment.
  • BonusVIEW – BD “Profile 1.1″ enables “picture-in-picture” and secondary audio features for viewing director or actor commentary while the main movie is playing.
  • BD-Live™ – BDP-80 supports BD “Profile 2.0″ and contains all necessary hardware – audio/video decoder, Ethernet port, and 1GB of internal storage – for BD-Live.
  • DVD Up-Conversion – The BDP-80 up-converts DVD from standard definition up to 1080p output. The up-converted video maximizes DVD picture quality and bridges the visual gap from your current DVD library to Blu-ray discs.
  • DVD-Audio – The BDP-80 plays DVD-Audio and supports both stereo and multi-channel high resolution audio programs. Users can select whether to play the DVD-Audio or the DVD-Video portion of the disc.
  • SACD – The BDP-80 plays Super Audio CD (SACD) and supports both stereo and multi-channel high resolution audio programs. The BDP-80 can output DSD (Direct Stream Digital) over HDMI in its native format or convert into PCM. (Analog audio output for SACD supports PCM mode only, and is not available when DSD over HDMI is in use.)
  • Additional Media Formats – Additional disc and file formats, such as audio CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD, AVCHD, MKV, and other audio/video/picture files on recorded discs or USB drives can be played back on the BDP-80.
Excellent Video Quality:
  • Full HD 1080p Output – The BDP-80 features user selectable video output resolutions, including 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and up to 1080p 50 or 60Hz.
  • True 24p™ Video – Many Blu-ray Discs are recorded at 24 frames per second, the same frame rate as the original movie’s theatrical release. The BDP-80 can faithfully redeliver the original frames using 1080p 24Hz output (compatible display required) for smoother motion and a flicker-free, film-like home theater experience.
  • Source Direct Mode – For users who wish to use an external video processor, high-end audio/video receiver or display, the BDP-80 offers a ™Source Direct™ mode. The original audio/video content on the discs is sent out with no additional processing or alteration.
  • Multiple Zoom Modes – The BDP-80 supports multiple levels of aspect ratio control and image zooming, including a vertical stretch mode for customers with a 2.35:1 CIH (Constant Image Height) display system.
  • Subtitle Shift – The BDP-80 is able to shift subtitles up or down on the video screen. This feature makes it possible to see all subtitle text when using a 2.35:1 CIH display system.
  • HDMI – HDMI is an all digital interface for the cleanest possible connection. It delivers high-quality digital video and audio through a single cable. The BDP-80 features an HDMI v1.3 output with 30-bit and 36-bit Deep Color support.
High Fidelity Audio:
  • Dolby® TrueHD – Dolby TrueHD delivers lossless studio master quality audio designed specifically for high definition entertainment. The BDP-80 supports bit-stream output of Dolby TrueHD via its HDMI 1.3 output. It can also internally decode Dolby TrueHD into LPCM and output via HDMI or the 7.1ch analog audio output terminals. (Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus audio formats are also supported.)
  • DTS-HD Master Audio™ – DTS-HD Master Audio delivers an auditory experience that matches the lifelike images of high-definition video with up to 7.1 channels that are bit-for-bit identical to the studio master. The BDP-80 supports bit-stream output of DTS-HD Master Audio. It can also internally decode DTS-HD Master Audio and output via HDMI or the 7.1ch analog audio output terminals. (DTS-HD High Resolution Audio and DTS Digital Surround are also supported.)
  • 7.1-Channel Analog Output – Individual analog 7.1-channel surround outputs are ideal to connect to a 7.1-channel or 5.1-channel surround sound system. The BDP-80 delivers an immersive surround experience. For users with a stereo sound system, the 7.1-channel analog output can be configured to down-mix the surround audio into stereo.
  • Digital Optical and Coaxial Outputs – For easy connection to more traditional A/V receivers, the BDP-80 features both optical and coaxial outputs for digital audio.
Ultimate Convenience:
  • Dual USB Ports – Two USB 2.0 high speed ports are provided, one on the front panel and one on the back. Users can enjoy high definition video, high resolution photos and music directly from their USB drives.
  • PAL/NTSC Conversion – The BDP-80 supports NTSC and PAL systems for both disc playback and video output. It can also convert content of one system for output in another. (Subject to DVD and BD region restrictions.)
  • Glow-in-the-Dark Remote Control – The BDP-80 comes with a remote control with glow-in-the-dark buttons. With its ergonomic button layout and clear labeling, operating the Blu-ray Disc player is easy and intuitive.
  • Universal Power Supply – The BDP-80 features a wide-range world power supply that is compatible with the AC power of all regions. No worries about damaging the player due to incorrect power voltage.
  • HDMI CEC – HDMI Consumer Electronics Control simplifies the home theater by allowing a single remote control to operate multiple devices.
Specifications

Designs and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Disc Types* BD-Video, DVD-Video, AVCHD, DVD-Audio, SACD, CD, HDCD, Kodak Picture CD
CD-R/RW, DVD±R/RW, DVD±R DL, BD-R/RE
BD Profile BD-ROM Version 2 Profile 2 (also compatible with Profile 1 Version 1.0 and 1.1)
Internal Storage 1GB (Actual available storage varies due to system usage)
Output Analog Audio: 7.1ch (also supports 5.1ch and stereo modes)
Digital Audio: Coaxial, Optical
HDMI Audio: Stereo, up to 7.1ch high-resolution PCM, up to 5.1ch DSD, Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, and DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream output or decoded into LPCM.
Analog Video: Composite, S-Video, Component Video (Y/Pb/Pr, 480i/480p, 720p/1080i available for non-restricted content only)
Digital Video: HDMI with HDCP (NTSC: 480i/480p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24, PAL 576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080p/1080p24)
Video Characteristics Composite Video Amplitude: 1.0Vp-p (75Ω)
Component Video: Y: 1.0Vp-p (75Ω), Pb/Pr: 0.7Vp-p (75Ω)
Audio Characteristics** Frequency: 20Hz – 20kHz (±0.3dB)
Signal-to-Noise Ratio: >115dB (A-weighted)
THD+N: < 0.008% (1kHz at 0dBFS, 20kHz LPF)
General Specification Power Supply: ~ 100V – 240V, 50/60Hz AC
Power Consumption: 30W (< 1W Standby)
Dimensions: 430mm x 281mm x 53mm, 16-7/8 x 11 x 2-1/8 inches
Mass: 3.5kg / 7.7 lbs
Operating Temperature 5°C – 35°C
41°F – 95°F
Operating Humidity 15% – 75%
No condensation

* Compatibility with user-encoded contents or user-created discs is on a best-effort basis with no guarantee due to the variation of media, software and techniques used.

**Nominal specification.

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Toshiba integrates HDD or USB storage on REGZA HDtvs range

Toshiba Japan have updated their REGZA HDTV range, with select models supporting USB hard-drives or coming with 500GB of storage built-in.  The Toshiba REGZA R1 series – made up of 32-, 37- and 42-inch sets – and REGZA H1 series – made up of 32- and 37-inch sets – each have a USB port and Full HD resolution (bar on the 32-inch models, which get 720p support).  Meanwhile there’s also the entry level Toshiba REGZA A1 series, with 19-, 22- and 26-inch models all offering 720p HD resolution.

The REGZA R1 HDTVs use IPS panels complete with a special enhanced gaming mode for smoother play.  There’s also DLNA streaming support, four HDMI ports, various PC and analog inputs, plus two 10W speakers.  The REGZA 32R1 is due on April 30th, while the REGZA 42R1 and 37R1 will arrive in early June.

As for the REGZA H1, they have 500GB HDDs built-in, with IPS displays, DLNA streaming support and the same sort of connectivity as the R1 series.  The REGZA 37H1 and 32H1 will arrive in early June.  Finally, the REGZA A1 series get two HDMI ports, TN panels and no USB recording support; they’ll drop in early August.

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Samsung’s 3D Blu-ray player

Having been spotted up for sale once before, before being unceremoniously yanked from the virtual shelves a few hours later, Samsung’s 3D-capable Blu ray player, the BD-C6900, is now finally shipping.  Announced back in January at CES 2010, the BD-C6900 obviously supports Full HD 1080p content but also includes both wired and WiFi connectivity for streaming media and internet-connected widgets.

There’s also DVD upscaling to 1080p, BD-Live support and 1GB of onboard storage, together with a skinny 39mm-thick design.  DLNA support means the BD-C6900 can be used as a media-stream receiver, and there’s support for Dolby Digital TruHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Of course, many people will be looking at the deck for its 3D capabilities, and it’s compatible both with Samsung’s own 3D HDTVs and the general Blu ray 3D standard.

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O!Play adding wireless Full HD streaming?

ASUS’ plans for its next-generation of set-top boxes have been tipped, with the company expected to add wireless HD support to an upcoming model.  According to DigiTimes’ usual shadowy industry sources, ASUS are using Taifatech’s TF-600 chipset, presumably in a new O!Play box, which is capable of streaming Full HD video over wireless or wired networks.

The talkative industry insiders also reckon ASUS are considering slapping the TF-600 into their netbooks, which would presumably allow them to wirelessly connect with a remote media source.  According to the TF-600 data sheet , the Taifatech chipset has onboard rescaling functionality, controllers for keyboards and mice, and can natively support IR remote controls.

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