This Week in Gear: RCA Roku TVs, $40,000 B&O Speakers, and More

Posted Thu Aug 10, 2017 at 07:10 PM PDT by

We've compiled the latest gear news, including new Roku TVs, premium speakers, a variable aspect ratio projector screen, and more.

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 the release of new Roku HDTVs from RCA, B&O's latest speakers, a projector screen with a variable aspect ratio feature, the addition of Netflix HDR support to the Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone, and the arrival of Amazon streaming on VIZIO SmartCast TV displays in Canada. 

So, without further ado, here's a rundown of some of the latest gear and tech news:

RCA Launches New Roku HDTV Lineup

Roku and RCA have announced the release of a new collection of Roku TVs. The lineup includes HDTV models ranging from 32-inches to 50-inches with suggested prices starting at $250.

RCA Roku HDTVs feature integrated tuners for over-the-air broadcasts along with smart TV functionality powered by the Roku OS, offering access to more than 5,000 streaming channels and 500,000 movies and TV episodes. In addition, the TVs also include a Favorites Channel list feature, a Live TV Pause option, and a remote with channel shortcut buttons. Likewise, customers can also use the Roku iOS or Android mobile app for remote functionality with voice search, private listening, a keyboard, and the ability to share media. 

Here's a full rundown of the lineup along with current Amazon sale prices:

RCA RTR3260 32-Inch Roku Smart LED TV - $160

RCA RTR4360 43-Inch 1080p Roku Smart LED TV - $379

RCA RTR5060 50-Inch 1080p Roku Smart LED TV - $429

Source: Roku

B&O Details BeoLab 50 Loudspeakers

B&O announced the latest addition to its audio lineup. The new high-end BeoLab 50 loudspeakers will be available later this month for a suggested price of $19,585 per unit or $39,710 for a pair.

"The balance of BeoLab 50 is light and refined. This impressive speaker’s footprint is relatively small, making it easy to fit into people’s homes," says designer André Poulheim.

The 2100 watt speakers feature silver-polished aluminium surfaces and warm oak wood lamellas. Likewise, the units include Active Room Compensation technology which uses an external microphone to measure the speaker's physical acoustic surroundings in order to apply the optimal compensation filters. In addition, the BeoLab 50 uses Acoustic Lens Technology on top of the speaker, enabling users to disperse high-frequency sound through Beam Width Control into either a 180-degree sound mode for group listening or a narrow mode for "sweet-spots." Multichannel digital audio streaming based on WiSA tech is integrated as well.

Source: B&O via GlobeNewswire

Screen Innovations Releases Transformer Projector Screen

Screen Innovations has announced the launch of its newest projector screen option. The Transformer screen features support for variable aspect ratios without the use of a masking material.

"Masking has been an integral part of projection screens for decades, because they are a simple solution to a problem; not all content has the same aspect ratio," said Skyler Meek, Director of Marketing at SI. "However," Meek continued, "they are unnecessary. Instead of covering the screen with obtrusive draping systems or masking panels, we have created a screen that transforms, seamlessly changing its shape, depending on the type of content the viewer is watching."

Thanks to the screen's proprietary telescoping frame system, the Transformer can shift into different aspect ratios. Likewise, the unit uses Somfy Sonesse RS485 Quiet Motors to offer friction free motion wherever possible. Screens are available in sizes up to 235-inches and come with pre-programmed default positions for 16:9, 1.85:1, 2.35:1, and 2.40:1 aspect ratios along with the option for user adjustable customizations.

Screen Innovations Transformer is now available for a starting MSRP of $18,000.

Source: Screen Innovations

Sony Xperia XZ Premium Smartphone Adds Netflix HDR Support

Netflix has announced the addition of mobile HDR streaming support for the Sony Xperia XZ Premium smartphone. 

In order to watch HDR streaming content on the Xperia XZ Premium, users will need version 5.0 of the Netflix Android app along with the latest firmware for their phone. Likewise, subscribers will need the premium Netflix plan. The Sony Xperia XZ Premium is now the second smartphone to offer some form of Netflix HDR playback. Previously, Netflix added mobile Dolby Vision HDR support to the LG G6.

And beyond Netflix HDR, the Xperia XZ Premium is also set to support HDR content through Amazon Prime Video.

Sources: Netflix via Engadget, Sony

VIZIO Brings Amazon Video to Canadian SmartCast TV Displays

Following the US launch earlier this week, VIZIO has announced the addition of Amazon Video streaming to its SmartCast TV platform in Canada. 

"With the recent launch of SmartCast TV, one of the things we're most excited about is providing consumers with added entertainment options," said Matt McRae, Chief Technology Officer, VIZIO. "Amazon Prime Video brings an array of content option to the screen, all accessible via a traditional remote via the Amazon Prime Video button. We're glad to continue to bring in-demand content and solutions to our Canadian customers."  

The service now joins previously available apps like Netflix and Crackle, allowing SmartCast TV users to access Amazon Prime Video directly from their displays. Amazon Video allows users to buy or rent titles from a growing collection of movies and TV shows. Likewise, Amazon Prime subscribers can also sign into their accounts through the app to access Prime Video content. Amazon Video is now available through the SmartCast TV platform directly on VIZIO 2017 P-Series and M-Series displays. In addition, the SmartCast TV update is also set to arrive on other models, including the E-Series, later this summer.

A current Amazon Prime subscription costs $99 per year or $11 per month. Likewise, Prime Instant Video is available as a standalone service for $9 per month.

Source: VIZIO

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Tags: RCA, Roku, Screen Innovations, Sony, Netflix, HDR, Vizio, B&O, Speakers (all tags)