M.O.J.O. Focus on 4K
Yes, that’s right! The Mad Catz M.O.J.O. Micro-Console for Android is 4K UHD capable. The M.O.J.O. can play 4K content and upscale your games and apps on a few select TVs and monitors right now, and full 4K access is soon to be enabled [edit: now enabled with firmware update). So we thought we’d give a State-Of-4K blog post to get ready.
The quick facts:
- 4K or “4K Ultra HD” is roughly four times the resolution of Full HD (1080p)
- You can play 4K media from M.O.J.O.s internal drive, an external hard drive, or stream it with Vimeo, Youtube and more
- Android games like Dead Trigger 2 and Riptide GP2 upscale brilliantly to 4K with M.O.J.O. You’re basically shooting life-size zombies!
- If you’re shopping for a 4K TV, make sure it supports H.265/HEVC and VP9 for future-proofing
- While you’re waiting for 4K media to become available, why not make your own with GoPro, JVC, or a 4K smartphone. Then, watch your footage with the M.O.J.O.
If the new crop of 4K TVs at this year’s CES was any indication, 4K has aaalmost officially arrived, and there’s no going back to regular HD now. Of course, that’s what you might have thought about 3D TVs last year…but 4K is a bit different in that content producers, TV manufacturers, smartphone companies, and broadband providers are already vying for your love (and money).
What Is 4K?
What do people even mean when they talk about 4K? Four HD screens worth of pixels? Well, yes and no. There are a few things to notice in the chart below:
TV Screen Resolutions (16:9) and DCI Resolutions (17:9)
Consumer TVs mostly use screen resolutions at the 16:9 aspect ratio. For every 16 pixels across, you get 9 pixels down. Doubling the height and width of Full HD resolution gives you 3840 x 2160 pixels, or 4 HD screens worth. Because there are around 4,000 horizontal pixels, you might be tempted to call it 4K. Actually though, the DCI (Digital Cinema Initiatives) was the first to claim the term ‘4K’ when they were defining the standard resolution for production and projection of films. At 4096 x 2160, DCI 4K is just a little bit wider than consumer TV ‘4K’ resolution.
Since DCI defined ‘4K’ first, the Consumer Electronics Association had to think of something else to describe the consumer television and monitor 3840 x 2160 resolutions. With an eye to the future, they decided on the term ‘Ultra HD’ or UHD for any resolution as high or higher than 3840 x 2160. So 4K TVs are actually ‘4K UHD’. But many people still refer to 4K UHD as 4K.
Getting a big TV
If you’re considering buying a 4K UHD TV or computer monitor now, there are 2 things you should make sure your set has before you buy:
The current spec, HDMI 1.4, will play 4K UHD content up to 30 fps; plenty good enough, as movies and TV shows are released at 24 or 30 fps. HDMI 2.0 will support an increased frame rate of 60 fps which may be important for gamers and also means 3D 4K UHD movies will be possible (1080p at 30 fps to each eye). Good news though: it looks like you’ll be able to use the High Speed HDMI cables you already own with HDMI 2.0, so you know, that’s $10 you can put towards your 4K UHD TV right there.
H.265/HEVC will most likely be the new standard codec for 4K streaming and is the codec Netflix has decided on for its 4K streaming service. Google is supporting its own, open-source codec called VP9 and ultimately you’ll probably want to make sure your set supports both. H.265 and VP9 are twice as good at compression as their predecessor codecs, though the ubiquitous H.264, VP8 and other codecs can also handle 4K.
Here’s a list from Techradar of their top 4K UHD TV picks. Once you have one…
Be patient: content is coming!
You might still have a little down-time while the content providers catch up with you but Netflix already begun its 4K stream. Other streaming services will soon follow. Many sitcoms and films are already shot in 4K, and ESPN already films sporting events in 4K. Not only will it look great, but sportsing will be more fair when refs can use 4K to resolve ‘was it over the line’ disputes. Broadcast and Cable TV have started broadcasting 4K to test markets, and companies like Sony are providing hard drives pre-filled with 4K content along with their 4K UHD TVs.
Make and Share Your Own 4K Content!
But you don’t have to wait – be a doer! You could make a 4K timelapse with any DSLR camera (4K = 8.3 Megapixels) or shoot some UHD video with a 4K videocamera such as:
or a 4K smartphone like:
- Sony Xperia Z2
- Samsung Galaxy Note 3 (4K not enabled in the US)
- Acer Liquid S2 (not available in the US)
You can upload and watch that 4K content on Vimeo, Youtube, and Metacafe, and of course you can watch it via the M.O.J.O.
M.O.J.O. and 4K
M.O.J.O.’s Tegra 4 processor can decode 4K content at 30 fps and support up to 20 Mbits/s data rate. When you aren’t streaming 4K from youtube or vimeo, you can play your 4K content off MOJO’s 16 GB of internal memory, a microSD card, or with a connected USB 3.0 external drive. We did some 4K tests at UCSD’s Qualcomm Institute, using their LG 84” 84LM9600.
Above, QI’s Todd Margolis shows Blender’s 4K CGI Demo Video Tears of Steel playing on M.O.J.O. Download it yourself from here and watch it in 4K. It’s free!
We used the MX Player app which supported .mov, .mp4 and more 4K file types. In our tests, we noticed some dropped frames only when bit-rates got higher than about 70Mbits/s.
A few 4K video links:
Android Gaming Upscaled to 4K on M.O.J.O.
Seeing your Android games on the M.O.J.O. upscaled to an 84” 4K UHD TV is satisfying
bordering on ridiculous. And titles like Wind Up Knight 2, Canabalt, Anomaly 2, Air Attack
HD, Dead Trigger 2, Asphalt 8, and Riptide GP2 upscaled brilliantly when we tested
them on The QI’s LG. Below, Nate test-kills a small horde of giant zombies.
Learn more about what’s new on M.O.J.O.
Streaming Media Upscaled to 4K on M.O.J.O.
Upscaling HD media content to 4K via the M.O.J.O. didn’t lag, and looked pretty good provided the original HD source looked good.
The other win was the huge screen space available in the menu grids on apps like Netflix and Youtube
We owe big thanks to the Qualcomm Institute for guiding us in our 4K testing. For further reading:
Wikipedia: 4K resolution
H.265 vs VP9: 4K video codecs explained
What is 4K TV Ultra HD? 10 Reasons Why You Should Care
Upscaled 1080P vs Native 4K
Ultra HD 4K TV Cheat Sheet
A quick explanation of what happens to picture quality from HD to 4K from Amazon.