The 4K video format for digital cinema is now making its way into videogames and other digital media as consumers chase after as many pixels in their homes as possible. But 4K is a new-enough format that, when a maker of game consoles wanted to test its first device to handle 4K content, the company enlisted the help of
The 4K format is officially 4,096 by 2,160 pixels - yielding a resolution that is approximately four times that of high-definition (HD) TV. The format is also called Ultra-HD, or UHD, and the
Fast forward to 2014 and the company
"As a founding member of the CineGrid community and early proponent of next-generation digital cinema technologies, I agreed to help," said Margolis. "We connected the M.O.J.O. to both an LG 84" 4K display and a 39" Seiki 4K display. The console recognized both displays with 4K UHD resolution perfectly, and their home screen scaled its app grid nicely to fill the large screen, so then we began stress testing it with 4K videos and games."
Content could be played from M.O.J.O.'s internal memory or via a microSD card, or USB 3.0 external drive.
"We were pleased to find that the majority of applications scaled very nicely and performed extremely well on this first Android game console to support 4K," said Margolis. "All the applications that used vector graphics looked fantastic in 4K and even most of the games using a lot of bitmaps still looked quite nice, except for some noticeable compression artifacts in some of the imagery. Also, applications that took advantage of anti-aliasing - especially on text - looked very good."
Margolis also tested 4K videos played back from external USB 3.0 drives and locally, which worked "pretty well," but some of the videos created at high bit rates - e.g., greater than 75 Megabits per second - experienced significant jitter during playback of certain parts.
The console is not yet 100% 4K ready, so
"As game designers begin to take into account the new affordances possible with 4K, I anticipate more exciting content to proliferate in the consumer gaming market," concluded Margolis. "This is a big step toward bringing high-quality cinematic content into the home."
The M.O.J.O. was featured on a syndicated broadcast segment on
As consumers purchase more 4K displays, experts recommend that they focus on systems that use the H.265/HEVC codec for streaming content, or VP9 (the
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