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iTWire will be covering 4K smart TVs as part of its convergence coverage but let us look specifically at HDMI 2.0 first.

HDMI 2.0 supports 18Gbps data transfer – more than enough for the 4K video frame rates at 50-60 frames per second in 10-12 bit colour.

It can also support up to 32 audio channels and 1536kHz audio sample frequency – what’s next Dolby 30.1 sound? In fact Dolby is working on Atmos – a 64 channel system for theatres and a scaled back version that will work over HDMI 2.0. The 32 channels will more than likely be used to improve audio/video streaming timing – a dynamic lip-sync. HDMI 2.0 may also enable two HD video/audio streams over the one cable. For example you could stream two feeds for the Xbox and the Illumiroom concept.

HDMI 2.0 cables are backwards compatible – but importantly they are forwards compatible so you can use existing 1.4 cables – no Monster price tag to replace them.

Analysts were hoping HDMI 2.0 would also include a power channel - an issue for a future version upgrade. It will support remote switching – remote control pass-through.

Panasonic’s 65” TH-L65WT600A LED LCD Viera is its entry to 4K. This is not a review because the first units will not arrive until October so please take it as an announcement as iTWire has done for Samsung, LG and others in the 4K arena.

The first place to differentiate is the Viera experience. Panasonic users like this interface – as other brand users like theirs – it is what you get used to. My limited experience is that the Home Screen is intuitive and customisable. The Electronic program guide is as good as most others. Voice guidance is there and apps to control it via an iOS or Android device.

Panasonic uses a ‘Fine Remaster Engine’ makes it possible to reproduce normal 50-fps images at twice the speed - 100 frames per second. It uses an intermediate frame generation process that detects and analyses motion in the vertical, horizontal, and diagonal directions in order to generate highly precise frames. This makes fast-moving images, such as those in sports programmes and films, sharper and smoother. It has a built in 4K Player for directly downloaded content.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!

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