Object of Desire: Redray 4K Cinema Player

March 19, 2013

By Dan Havlik

The biggest buzzword in digital imaging is no longer 3D, it’s 4K. But the problem with 4K isn’t finding devices that can capture footage at this ultra-HD resolution—heck, even one of the latest GoPro cameras can shoot 4K—it’s finding ways to play it back.

While more and more 4K displays, televisions and projectors are available to show off this exquisitely detailed content—which offers approximately four times the resolution of HD—there hasn’t been a solid 4K media player until now. Fittingly, the first such device comes from 4K pioneer Red and it’s called the Redray. (Blu-ray meet Red, get it?)

In addition to being able to play .RED video files at their native 4K resolution, the Redray lets you play back and upscale .MP4 HD files to an ultra-HD resolution (4096 x 2160). In contrast to Blu-ray’s measly (by comparison) 8-bit, 4:2:0 color, Redray supports up to 12-bit, 4:2:2 color, while eliminating image artifacts to produce a more cinematic look.

Unlike Blu-ray devices, however, the Redray 4K Cinema Player has no optical drive so none of those archaic, reflective disks are involved. Instead, you just pop an SD card or USB drive into the device and play back .RED video clips in all that detail-rich, ultra-HD, 4K goodness.

The Redray connects to 4K displays, TVs and projectors via familiar HDMI ports, so there’s no new cable format to deal with. And while 4K has now eclipsed 3D as the “next big thing” in imaging, the Redray also offers 3D playback at high frame rates (48 to 60 frames per second). So once Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (which was shot with Red Epic cameras) makes it off the big screen and into living rooms, you can be sure the Redray will be one of the best ways to show it off.

Price: $1,450

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