Ultra HD/4K TVs are coming but we still need 4K content and 4K players. RED, the company that produces the cameras used to film The Hobbit, presents the Redray Player that delivers 4K via a built-in 1TB hard drive or streaming. RED also plans to create an internet TV platform (and replace Blu-ray).
RED Redray 4K player – to take on Blu-ray
Sony plans to bundle a hard drive with their first 4K TV because no 4K players exists. However, that fact changes soon. RED’s Redray Player is the first true 4K player; an aluminum box with a built-in 1TB hard drive.
RED presents the Redray Player
The box has a total of 6 HDMI outputs. One supports 4K resolution and the others can be combined to support up to 3D 4K streams. The player supports 4K in frame rates between 24Hz to 60Hz (also for 3D) and is therefore ready for The Hobbit and the coming Avatar movies. In practice, the movies can be either stored on the hard drive or streamed to the device via the internet.
The player has a range of HDMI outputs – some can be combined to output 4K 3D content
But there is a twist. The Redray Player will only playback 4K content if it is encoded in RED’s own RED format that Hollywood already has access to. The RED format supports up to 4K resolution and 7.1 surround sound in 24-bit 48KHz. This requires approximately 2.5MB per second, according to RED which means that you can store around 100 hours of 4K content on the hard disc or stream in full quality from the Internet with an Internet connection faster than 25 Mbit/s.
Odemax – a Future TV platform?
But why do we keep talking about streaming? Simple. RED has also announced Odemax, a distribution platform that can stream videos directly to the viewer over the Internet. Odemax is an app-like platform where RED takes 20-30 percent of the revenue for anyone who wishes to stream video in 4K resolution to cinemas and consumers.
Make no mistake here. Even though most people have never heard of RED they are already eating their way into Hollywood. The Hobbit, for example, has been filmed with RED Epic cameras in 5K resolution and 48 fps, and James Cameron has reportedly bought 50 RED Epic-M cameras for shooting Avatar 2 and 3 in up to 60 fps.
RED wants to control the entire chain from the movie sets to the consumer. They produce the cameras and now they hope to establish the distribution pipe and the players. They want to own the 4K era. And if you had not noticed already Redray is a word play on Blu-ray. If Redray proves successful it could be the end of optical discs, inducing Blu-ray.
Redray Player will be available from March 2013 and cost $1450 USD. Learn more at RED and keep checking the Odemax site for updates.