To 4K TV or not to 4K TV?

It’s a case of caveat emptor on 4K TV right now.

NZ will see HDMI HDCP 2.2 later in the year but it is very important to note that very few manufacturers advertising 4K on their screens are actually HDCP2.2 compliant, and those that are often only activate it on one port.  If you have brought the big 4K TV, it very well may not work with the new 4K content coming out (read: rugby world cup)

If you are in the market for a 4K TV, please check that it will support the new HD copy protection standards that 4K will run on.

If the answer yes and it is going on a wall, be sure that the back port is the one that gets the 2.2 love.

If you cant be bothered with all that click here and one of our friendly home automation technology consultants will arrange for a 4K HDCP 2.2 compliant TV to be delivered and installed ready for the HD wonderment that will be 4K!

Read more on this here

Cheers and Happy Viewing –  Brendon

Understanding 4K TV

4K resolution is 4096 pixels wide and 2160 pixels deep.  Multiply these two numbers and you will see that there is approximately 8.8 million pixels being transmitted!   Aspect ratio is calculated by dividing the width by the depth – 4096 divided by 2160 = 1:9:1 or 17:9.  This means that the image is 1.9 times wider than it is tall.   The TV’s that we use however are 16:9 and if we put a 17:9 image on a 16:9 display we get black bars on the top and bottom.  In order to correct this our industry has invented a new format called UHD or UltraHD.  The resolution for UHD is 16:9 or, 1.78 times the height.  This is still 8.3 million pixels!  However 7% of the full 4K resolution has been removed.  99% of products used  in consumer electronics use this format.


Potential issues with HDMI and HDCP 2.2 connectivity with upcoming 4K/UHD content

HDCP (high bandwidth digital content protection) is embedded into high definition content, created by content developers (e.g Hollywood) to help ensure content can only be sent and received by approved products from approved manufactures. This prevents an unapproved company producing a ‘e.g blu-ray disc burner’, thus preventing content of that blu-ray disc being delivered to an unknown device.

For example if I want to play a Blu-Ray disc on a television, I would need HDCP built-in to both the Blu-Ray player and the TV.  Once they are connected they ‘handshake’ with each other to decide whether the protected content is approved to play.

Periodically HDCP is released in newer versions to protect newer formats of content (e.g 4K/UHD), which means equipment manufactures need to keep up-to-date with the in-built HDCP chips.

HDCP version 2.2 is due to be released with upcoming 4K/UHD content for UltraHD Blu-Ray discs and some streaming services to NZ.  This release means that all HDMI compliant products (between the source and display) would need to be HDCP 2.2 compliant for the content to play.

A lot of television manufactures prematurely released their 4K/UHD televisions before the HDCP 2.2 standard was finalised and these TVs will not ‘handshake’ with the new UltraHD Blu-Ray Players and 4K/UHD disc content resulting in blank screen on the television. Furthermore, these TVs cannot be upgraded by way of a firmware update as physical HDCP chip switch-out would be required.

There may be a future ‘work around’ for this issue – such as a HDCP emulator or stripper – but when purchasing your displays r screens we recommend you double check that it’s an approved 4K/UHD HDCP 2.2 compliant television, or better yet click here to buy a 4K/UHD television that you know is HDCP 2.2 compliant!

Words by Sam

Sky, Netflix, Lightbox, iTunes? – What streaming video system should I choose?

I don’t watch a lot of TV, I am lucky to make it home for the late news, so it’s usually a movie at night if anything, but when I want to watch a movie, I want a good choice, it needs to be easy to select, and the quality needs to be in keeping with the system I am watching it on. So which streaming video system is right for me?

I have had Sky for a long time, so that’s my go-to, I use the planner every month to skip forward through the coming movies and record stuff that I like the look of, this gives me a list of movies to choose from at a time that suits me.

The friends hard drive full of badly ripped movies from the end of the last decade (Pirate bay torrent type content) has had a place in our movie past, but I just don’t need the hassle now, ease of use has taken precedence over the allure of free content.

I have had both Kaleidescape and Mozaex Media servers at home and both were great for storing my own movies, but the day of the spinning disk is rapidly coming to an end – even Henry from Transvideo Rentals in Herne Bay has retired and moved on.  If I had a few shelf metres of DVD’s and Blu rays they would be my first choice, but that’s not the case for me.

So for me it’s down to Netflix, Lightbox or iTunes to give me access to streaming video content.  I have been using iTunes for the odd movie, but it seems expensive and the user interface (Cover Art) selection system was not brilliant, the player itself was a little clunky to use.

So Netflix or Lightbox?  I am using an Xbox to run the software and Netflix was available on their store, so I downloaded it, signed up for the free trial and three months later I am hooked.  The content was initially disappointing and I certainly let them know in a “hows it going survey”.  Funnily enough, the content came right about a week later and there are more movies and TV shows in there than you can shake a stick at now, so no need to start lying about the fact that my credit card and PC and myself are from NZ.

If you are looking at your movie options, give the home automation technology team a bell here and they will come and take a look with you and get you sorted.

Happy Viewing


New Brand Ambassador for Definitive Technology

It’s becoming a common trend for artists to partner with audio manufacturers and John Legend has just joined in on the action. Definitive Technology has announced nine-time GRAMMY® Award-winning recording artist, critically-acclaimed concert performer and philanthropist/social activist John Legend as its first-ever brand ambassador. Legend, has long used Definitive Technology’s products in his own home and will serve as a spokesperson and creative inspiration for the brand’s current and future audio products line-up, including home loudspeakers and the brand’s Sound Cylinder Bluetooth speaker.

“As an artist, I strive to evolve my sound beyond what’s come before or what’s expected, while remaining true to a timeless style,” Legend said. “That’s what appeals to me about this collaboration — Definitive Technology is constantly raising the bar for innovation in audio products without ever losing sight of its commitment to putting sound first.”

According to a video posted on Definitive’s Facebook page, Legend described the company as a “wonderful audio brand that makes great products that provide surround sound for my music, my movies, my entire life.”

As an official spokesperson, the singer, who uses the product in his own home, will help the Baltimore-based company raise awareness and promote their high performance loudspeakers. The multi-year partnership will see the entertainer participating in the brand’s national ad and retail campaign as well as at an upcoming concert in Las Vegas.

In related news, John is currently putting the finishing touches on his fourth solo studio album, Love in the Future, due out September 3.

Activity Based Working – a new style of working environment

Activity based working is based on the principle that no employee ‘owns’ or has an assigned workstation. Rather, work-spaces give employees areas to carry out tasks such as focusing, collaborating and socialising.

This new way of working takes a team-oriented approach and gives much more flexibility to teams to adapt how they work. While ownership of a desk is lost, in an activity based working environment, team ownership of a zone is gained, transitioning employees from a ‘me’ mindset to a ‘we’ mindset.

Employees have an emotional reaction to their work-space, and while some people may be initially resistant to this change, the results show people become empowered and engaged from both a social and work perspective through activity based working.

Change is also required at management level as activity based work spaces result in less visibility of employees and employers must have more trust in them and provide more support and communication, and appraising performance thought work outputs – instead of processes.

Consideration must also be given to IT and the change in the mobile capacity of systems and technologies and this is where Automation Associates Commercial can assist with providing workplace technology solutions that are attuned to the way people work. By gathering information through research and workshops in your organisation they design and install audio and visual technology solutions that achieve engagement, creative thought, collaboration and improved productivity.

Technology solutions are designed based on your ‘real estate’ availability and requirement for controlled room bookings, privacy requirements, audio and video requirements, staff training requirements, requirement to support interactive processes, connectivity requirements, controls and user interfaces and software/hardware/process consistency.

If you would like to learn more about activity based working and what solution might be right for your business call Automation Associates Commercial on 09 377 3778 today for and obligation free chat with our friendly experts.