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CES: Xiaomi unveils 65″ TV

Xiaomi kicked off its CES debut in Las Vegas this week with the announcement of the Mi TV 4, a 65-inch modular TV.

The Mi TV 4 has a 4.9mm ultra-thin frameless metal body and a separate Mi TV Bar consisting of the mainboard and a sound system that supports Dolby Atmos, to rival the experience in a cinema.

Xiaomi’s booth on the CES show floor displays a range of over 70 products from Xiaomi’s core range of smartphones, smart TVs, and smart routers, as well as dozens of Mi Ecosystem products in the smart home, health and fitness, personal transportation, smart toys, and other categories.

Xiaomi provided the following information:

Mi Ecosystem covers hundreds of smart products manufactured by Xiaomi’s ecosystem partners. What makes Xiaomi’s approach to Internet of Things unique is the way it incubates and invests in specialized companies to effectively expand its product line in a highly scalable manner. As the world’s most successful hardware incubator, Xiaomi has invested in 77 companies that design and manufacture products beyond the three core product categories designed in-house: smartphones, smart TVs and smart routers.

Xiaomi also announced today that over 23 million Mi Bands and 3.3 million webcams have been sold to date, and over 1 million Mi Air Purifiers are sold annually. Tying these smart products together is the Mi Ecosystem IoT platform, which now has over 50 million connected devices, with the Mi Home app crossing over 5 million daily active users.

Xiang Wang, Senior Vice President, Xiaomi, said: “We have proved that the Mi Ecosystem model works, and our focus going forward is to ensure that we can scale this model further in terms of products, and also geographically. CES, as a global event that showcases innovations from around the world, is the ideal place for us to kick off this effort.”

At its media event today, Xiaomi also took the wraps off the white version of Mi MIX, a gorgeous work of art with a clean and modern finish. Mi MIX was first announced three months ago to wide acclaim. With a full display design jointly developed with world-renowned designer Philippe Starck, Mi MIX has an ultra-high screen-to-body ratio made possible because of new innovations that do away with the physical earpiece speaker and proximity sensor. The white version will be available in China later this year.

Hugo Barra, Vice President, Xiaomi, said: “Xiaomi is bringing a glimpse of the future to the world as we explore the frontiers of technological innovation to deliver even more amazing features to our users. We continue to push boundaries with the use of ceramic on smartphones, this time in white, which presents more challenges in terms of yield.”

Mi TV 4: The thinnest ever Mi TV with revolutionary Dolby Atmos home theatre

Since its first TV, Xiaomi has redefined what users expect from a smart TV. Mi TV 4 continues this trend in terms of design, visual and audio performance.

Mi TV 4 is extremely thin at 4.9mm. With a screen that goes almost all the way to the edge, the 4K display takes centerstage. This is further complemented by a transparent stand.

Mi TV 4 (65″) has been crafted with a modular design approach first introduced with Mi TV 3. The TV set is separated into two parts: a 4K display and the Mi TV Bar, which incorporates both the motherboard and an independent sound system that now includes upfiring speakers. These speakers, together with a subwoofer and two rear wireless satellite speakers together make up the Mi TV 4 Dolby Atmos home theatre.

Having such a design makes Mi TV 4 easily upgradeable, as changing the Mi TV Bar will make any TV like a brand new product, while keeping the 4K panel unchanged.

Mi TV 4 will be available in China at a later date, with an estimated price well under US$2000 for the 65-inch version that comes with the Dolby Atmos home theatre.

Key features of Mi TV 4:

·         4K display (3,840 x 2,160 pixels)

·         4.9mm ultra-thin metal body

·         Quad-core 64-bit flagship TV processor

·         Independent Dolby Atmos cinematic sound system

·         Dolby and DTS dual audio decoding

·         Deep learning AI system for intelligent recommendations

·         Sizes: 49”/ 55”/ 65”

Audio/Visual

Planet Radio TV tune in on any device

Planet Radio TV plans to be Africa’s first online broadcaster that allows its listeners to watch via Internet and satellite TV as well as listen via FM or Internet radio. SEAN BACHER visits its studios.

Planet Radio TV (PRTV) is broadcast much like any other terrestrial radio station, allowing its users to tune into it with a standard FM tuner. But its owner, Planet Image Productions, is about to launch two other means of tuning into the station.

In the coming month, MultiChoice will place a new satellite in orbit that will, by the new year, allow Planet to broadcast to subscribers via the satellite. Planet has also announced the PRTV app, which can be downloaded to Apple, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices, allowing users to stream the content to their phones and tablets.

‚”What makes this unique though is that our systems will automatically detect a user’s connection speed and stream content in a format that suits that speed, says Planet Image CEO Wale Akinlabi. ‚”For example, someone connecting through 3G will be able to view high-definition video and hear high-definition audio. A user with a slower connection will still be able to view and listen to the station, but at a lower quality.‚”

This, he believes, will eliminate the buffering issue which discourages many users from streaming video and audio to their devices.

The radio station comprises 80% African music, with the remainder being international, and is targeted at Africa’s youth.

‚”At PRTV we intend to change the way consumers view, listen and interact with television, radio and Internet mediums,‚” says Mabel Mabaso, chief operations officer and director at Planet Image. ‚”It is an exciting platform that synchronises three mediums, providing opportunities for consumers and advertisers alike.‚”

Planet RadioTV differentiates itself from other local broadcasters with its clever use of software and hardware. Planet Image uses a high-definition video-graphics (HDVG) rendering program, designed by Orad, an Israeli company specialising in TV production software. This software suite, combined with four Panasonic high-definition cameras, is able to detect and focus on a person’s voice. When the camera fixes on a voice, that camera is automatically activated and begins broadcasting. Should someone else begin talking, a separate camera will detect the voice and focus on that person.

The software controlling the cameras also performs basic video editing. Mabaso says that, although the initial cost of the equipment was more than that of standard cameras, it will prove well worth it, as it eliminates the need for a dedicated cameraman filming the show in the studio.

‚”Another payoff is that we don’t need that much office space,‚” she says.

Based in Randburg in Johannesburg, the studio is small in comparison to most others and the control room is just big enough for one person.

‚”The control room merely serves as a back-up should one of the cameras fail. It also allows us to control when and where visual adverts appear.‚”

The system is also tightly integrated with applications like Skype.

‚”We can interview someone overseas without having to send a crew there to perform recording. We simply communicate via Skype, making the interviewee’s Internet camera an extension of our own in-studio cameras.‚”

Besides featuring local and international music, the station has regular fashion, food and cooking, music and culture segments, which are broadcast to around 30 000 listeners around Africa.

Rounding up the technology aspect, PRTV has integrated Twitter and Facebook, allowing its listeners to interact with DJs.

Listeners can tune into Planet Radio TV by logging onto www.planetradio.co.za

* Follow Sean Bacher on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Audio/Visual

Canon EOS M – small and simple

Canon has extended the EOS range with the EOS M, its first compact system camera. Although not yet available in South Africa, the EOS M offers DSLR quality images and full HD recording in a compact, easy to use device.

Canon has expanded the EOS range with the launch of the EOS M. The company’s first ever compact system camera (CSC), the EOS M offers DSLR-quality imaging and full HD movie creation in a compact and easy-to-use model.

The EOS M is available in sleek black, glossy white, stylish silver or bold red colours, and condenses Canon’s EOS imaging heritage into a stylish, compact design. The model launches alongside two new lenses, the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake and the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom, as well as a new compact EX Speedlite the Speedlite 90EX. For those who want to push their images even further, the EOS M can also use Canon’s range of EF lenses with the new Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, for even more creative freedom.

The quality of a Canon DSLR

The EOS M’s high-resolution, 18 megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor also allows you to blur the background for beautiful portraits, or for close-ups with impact.

With the inclusion of Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor, colours ‚’pop’ and skin tones are beautifully natural, while a super-fast shutter allows you to capture split-second action.

Shoot what you see and easily express your creative vision

Every aspect of the EOS M has been designed to make it simple to capture high-quality images. With the high-resolution, 7.7cm (3.0‚”), Clear View LCD II Touch screen, the EOS M gives you as much or as little control over your photos as desired. Simply select different shooting modes and settings via the on-screen icons, or let Scene Intelligent Auto adjust the camera settings according to the subject and shooting conditions, leaving you free to focus on composition and selecting the perfect moment to hit the shutter release button.

Turn film-maker with EOS Movie and Video Snapshot

When a moment calls for more than a still image, the EOS M lets you switch to Full HD video with stereo sound.

Extending the EOS System with dedicated accessories

In addition to compatibility with Canon’s existing EF lenses, accessories and Speedlites, the EOS M launches with its own range of accessories. Two new EF-M lenses offer portability and high performance when using the new model the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. Both feature new stepper motor technology for exceptionally smooth AF performance, as well as precision Canon optics, while their compact designs offer the perfect form-factor to complement the camera’s pocket-sized body.

Additionally, the EOS M will ship with the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit as standard. Lightweight and highly-compact, it offers a maximum guide number of nine and supports wide-angle lenses, making it an ideal general-purpose flash for everyday use. A wireless master function also allows the control of multiple flash guns wirelessly, allowing more advanced users to experiment with a range of creative lighting effects.

EOS M key features

· The quality of a digital SLR in a compact body

· Scene Intelligent Auto

· Be versatile with interchangeable lenses

· Create out-of-focus backgrounds for high impact

· Easy-to-use touch-screen

· Atmospheric photos in low light

· Full-HD video with Video Snapshot Mode

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