We've compiled the latest gear news, including an HD laser projector, reports on Sharp's OLED plans, the return of the Galaxy Note 7, and app updates.
From product announcements and streaming app updates to general industry news and recent gear trends, keeping up with the latest tech news can be a daunting task. With that in mind, we're here to offer you a roundup of some of the latest gear and consumer electronics news that you may have missed.
For this edition, we're covering Xiaomi's new 1080p laser projector, news on Sharp's plans for OLED production, the return of Samsung's Galaxy Note 7, an updated PS4 entertainment interface, and new channels for the DirectTV Now streaming service.
So, without further ado, here's a rundown of some of the latest gear and tech news:
Xiaomi Details Ultra Short Throw 1080p Mi Laser Projector
Xiaomi has revealed its latest projector for the Chinese market. The new Mi Laser Projector aims to bring cinema quality picture to the home theater through laser light tech.
The device uses custom DLP tech developed by Texas Instruments along with ALPD 3.0 laser light source technology rated for more than 25,000 hours of use. The ultra short throw projector can produce screen sizes as large as 150" from just 2"-20" from the wall. In addition, the unit provides 5,000 lumens of brightness, a 3,000:1 contrast ratio, and more than 85% coverage of the NTSC color gamut. And though listed as only projecting up to 1080p resolution, the site does mention some kind of support for HDR (high dynamic range) images.
Under the hood, the projector is powered by Android and uses the same interface as the company's Mi TV streaming box. Three HDMI connections and integrated speakers are featured as well.
The Mi Laser Projector is set to launch in China for 9,999 yuan (about $1,470). There's no word on potential US availability.
Sharp Reportedly Plans OLED Production
According to a report from The Japan Times, Sharp is gearing up to develop large screen OLED panels. The proposed plans will cost about ¥57.4 billion and will involve building production lines for OLEDs at the Japanese company's plants in Sakai, Osaka Prefecture, and Taki, Mie Prefecture.
Production will include mass producing small and mid-size OLED screens for use in mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. Likewise, Sharp plans to produce large screen OLED panels for TVs at the Sakai plant. The OLED production lines are expected to start operations by June of 2018. Currently, LG is the main manufacturer of large-screen OLED panels, producing screens for its own displays and other brands, including Sony.
Sharp is now owned by Foxconn, but the US rights to the brand remain with Hisense following an acquisition deal in 2015. With that said, Foxconn is now trying to reclaim use of the Sharp name in the US. Beyond future OLED production, the company is also developing 8K LCD TVs.
Samsung Set to Release Refurbished Galaxy Note 7 Smartphones
Following a product recall back in October of 2016 due to batteries prone to overheating and fire risks, Samsung is gearing up to relaunch sales of the Galaxy Note 7 smartphone with a special refurbished Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition.
The smartphones will use new batteries that have passed new safety tests with a lower capacity than the original models, and will otherwise be constructed from recalled Note 7 units and unused Note 7 parts.
The Galaxy Note 7 Fan Edition phones are set to go on sale in South Korea on July 7 for about 30% less than the original MSRP. Samsung may also expand availability to other markets but has no plans to offer the refurbished models in the US.
Beyond the Note 7, Reuters reports that the company plans to unveil the new Galaxy Note 8 in August.
Sony Launches Updated PS4 TV & Video Experience
Sony has announced an upgrade for the PlayStation 4 console's TV & Video Entertainment experience. The new interface brings together content from all of the PS4's different video apps into one location.
With the new TV & Video section, PS4 users can now browse through titles from all their free and paid streaming services together in one location, instead of having to open each individual app. The new interface includes a section for "Featured" content with trending TV shows across different entertainment apps, and access to a customer's "My Videos" library from the PlayStation Store.
The redesigned TV & Entertainment interface is now available in Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom.
DirecTV Now Expands Live Local Channel Lineup
AT&T has announced an expansion of its DirecTV Now live local TV lineup for several markets. The rollout will include additional ABC, NBC and FOX affiliates, more than doubling its number of supported local stations since the platform's launch back in November of 2016.
"We are pleased to add additional content to the DIRECTV NOW offering by more than doubling our live local channels lineup today," said Daniel York, Chief Content Officer for AT&T. "We will keep the momentum going, and have plans to keep the number of local channels growing on DIRECTV NOW."
Some live local channel updates include:
- Expansion of ABC to more than 30 new markets, including Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth and Boston.
- Expansion of NBC to 4 new markets, including Kansas City, MO., Salt Lake City, Milwaukee and West Palm Beach, FL.
- Expansion of FOX to Juneau, AK.
DirecTV Now is a stand-alone streaming platform that provides access to a variety of live channels and on-demand content through several programming packages starting at $35 per month. Here's a rundown of current plans and pricing:
- Live a Little – $35 / month (60+ channels)
- Just Right – $50 / month (80+ channels)
- Go Big – $60 / month (100+ channels)
- Gotta Have it – $70 / month (120+ channels)
For a full list of local channel availability check out www.directvnow.com.