When Google unveiled a wider range of TVs with Google Cast support, you might have done a double-take when you saw Polaroid's name -- what, the reborn camera maker? Yes, it's true... and you may have a good reason to take notice. Polaroid has unveiled its first-ever smart TVs, and it's clear that they offer some bang for the buck. Every model in the LED-lit range packs a 4K display, a 120Hz refresh rate, native HEVC decoding and Google Cast streaming, so you won't have trouble either watching Ultra HD video or sharing a YouTube clip from your phone.
Polaroid has unveiled its first line up of 4K UHD LED connected TVs. Thanks to a strategic partnership with Google which was announced recently at Google I/O 2016, the new Polaroid 4K connected TV line will incorporate Google Cast, providing consumers with an affordable option to stream their favourite content in ultra-high definition. The line will have the ability to stream content from popular entertainment, music and movie apps, and the built-in decoder will also allow users to stream in 4K UHD.
Just today, Polaroid has unveiled a brand new lineup of 4K UHD LED TVs which all have Chromecast built-in. The TVs are available in 43-inch, 49-inch, 55-inch, 65-inch, and 75-inch sizes, all with 120Hz refresh rates and a 3840×2160 resolution.
Like a standard Chromecast, these new TVs can pull content from Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, Pandora, Google Play Movies, and many other services, all with easy control from your smartphone, tablet, or Chrome-compatible computer.
Google made a smart move by putting the new technology in this ubiquitous little streamer. By making the original Chromecast available for about the cost of a Blu-ray and refusing to change the cost when it released a sequel in 2015, Google practically ensured its success before it launched.
Google's engineering team didn't stop at the Chromecast, however. Taking the internal components of the streaming stick as well as its form factor the team created the Chromecast Audio, an audio-only version of the streaming device that works with most mobile devices.
New for 2016 is the 4K, HDR-enabled Chromecast Ultra. Capable of doing everything the original Chromcast can, the Chromecast Ultra offers anyone with a high-end TV some of their favorite sources of streaming video in Ultra HD.
In the "I want it so bad it hurts" category is the recently unveiled Google Home smart speaker that integrates a personal assistant into a powerful speaker. While it's pretty clearly a doppelgänger of the Amazon Echo, Google Home promises a bit better connectivity by natively pairing with Nest products and other Google Cast-enabled devices.
Chromecast (including the latest Chromecast with Google TV) clearly requires no introduction. The nifty internet-connected dongle plugs into your TV via the HDMI cable and lets you stream multimedia content from your phone, tablet or laptop straight onto your TV or smart speakers. This content could be anything from movies, TV shows, photos and personal videos, music, podcasts or even radio.
The beauty of it though is that Chromecast is bigger than the sum of its parts, ergo Chromecast built-in. Chromecast built-in refers to devices other than the Google Chromecast dongle that offer the same Chromecast experience without actual investment in a physical dongle.
Chromecast built-in uses the cloud to stream the aforementioned multimedia content to your Smart TV with a resolution of up to 4K Ultra HD with great sound. A basic requirement is a strong internet connection otherwise your stream will be affected by intermittent cuts.
Other than the latest Google Chromecast which runs Google TV (a skin of Android TV) and comes with its own remote, Android TV devices make a better argument due to their advanced functionality than a plain old Chromecast dongle.
Chromecast built-in speakers are now also apparently a thing. The big names in the biz (JBL, Sony, LG, Vizio, Philips, e.t..c.) are throwing their weight behind it to give it credence. With wireless speakers, you can set music to play in every room with a few taps on your smartphone.
The Google TV platform also offers control over other smart home devices such as lighting. Imagine sitting down to movie night. Make your viewing selection and dim the lights without needing to move from your comfortable position on the couch. You can even do this using Google Assistant voice control devices such as Google Home. Watch out also for the smartphone remote control app due later this year.
Finally, like some of Sharp's higher-end models, the LE653U features the unique "Wallpaper Mode," where it displays an image with low power while it's off. This helps it add to an environment even when you aren't using it. There's lots here overall, but the software and smart features are actually this Sharp's weakest area.
Contrast (and black level in particular) are arguably the most important basic requirements for an immersive, pleasing picture, especially when dealing with movie/video content originally shot on film. Edge-lit TVs like the LE653U often struggle to produce satisfying black levels: Because their light fixtures cast light from the perimeter of the screen, the entire screen is often mildly lit up even when it shouldn't be.
MacDailyNews Note: Apple TV+ is available on the Apple TV app in over 100 countries and regions, on over 1 billion screens, including iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, popular smart TVs from Samsung, LG, Sony, VIZIO, TCL and others, Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices, Chromecast with Google TV, PlayStation and Xbox gaming consoles, and at tv.apple.com, for $4.99 per month with a seven-day free trial. For a limited time, customers who purchase and activate a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac or iPod touch can enjoy three months of Apple TV+ for free.
Sony's been busy with announcements so far at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, debuting new headphones and speakers, an Android Auto audio system, and some new phones (trademark bezels still intact). There are surely many more new Sony things being launched at the show, but not all of them are relevant to us here. New Android TV sets with the Google Assistant built in? Yep, that's relevant enough.[EMBED_YT] [/EMBED_YT]Two new premium models have been unveiled by Sony, with display technology being the major difference between them. The A8F Series features a Bravia OLED panel (65" or 55") with Acoustic Surface tech, which means "the entire screen resonates with sound." Its X1 Extreme processor also offers 4K HDR picture quality and Dolby Vision is on board too. Those features together with the great blacks, colors, and viewing angles of the OLED display should make for one hell of a TV, complemented by its clean, minimal design.Just in case that wasn't enough, Sony also wants to show off the new X900F Series, which goes all the way up to a massive 85" in size, with other options at 75", 65", 55", and 49". These are LED panels, but they also have the X1 Extreme processor to handle 4K HDR content. X-Motion Clarity reduces the blur that can blight large TVs during fast-paced action, and X-tended Dynamic Range PRO enhances even non-HDR content with clever backlighting. The X900F range also includes Dolby Vision and has been designed to complement Sony's new Dolby Atmos soundbar, the HT-X9000F, to give you the ultimate cinematic viewing experience at home.All of Sony's recent 4K HDR TVs were updated to support the Google Assistant a couple of months ago, and these new entries come with it out of the box. All you have to do is push the microphone button on the remote and you can command the Assistant to search for video content, play music, control other smart home devices, and much more. You can also control these Sony TVs with your Google Home or Amazon Alexa device. Pricing and availability are yet to be announced, but you can bet they'll cost a pretty penny (or several). Amazon and Best Buy will be among the stockists when the new models are released. 2b1af7f3a8