Red puts Redray Ultra HD player on pre-order

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Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

The Redray player will bring 4K playback to the home theatre for under US$1500, along with a new proprietary format for Ultra HD files.

The Redray player also weighs about 2.5kg.
(Credit: Red)

Sony recently revealed that in the US, at least, it will be "loaning" a 4K playback device to anyone who purchases its 84-inch 4K Ultra HD Bravia. Now Red (yes, the camera company) is getting in on home 4K players with the Redray.

The Redray is essentially a 1TB media server that's capable of playing HD, 3D and Ultra HD (or 4K as Red keeps calling it) files for just US$1450.

According to Red, the product is "the only available 4K-resolution signal source for Ultra HD flat-panel displays and 4K projectors". The Redray has six HDMI ports, two of which are capable of handling Ultra HD signals. There's also an eSATA port, allowing you to expand the storage capabilities.

The rear of the Redray player.
(Credit: Red)

There is, of course, a catch. As noted over at The Verge, the Redray only supports playback of Ultra HD that's been encoded into Red's own proprietary format: .RED. The .RED format will support 4K playback with 7.1-channel LPCM 24-bit 48Khz, which is pretty impressive, especially when the file size will be just 2.5MB per second. That means your 1TB drive can actually store 100 hours of Ultra HD footage.

The .RED codec also means that Ultra HD footage can be distributed a little easier — possibly even via a USB stick now. Also, on distribution, Red is launching Odemax, which will operate like an Ultra HD store; homes and theatres will be able to grab 4K content from cloud servers, while Red takes a percentage from what's paid to the distributors.

While we wait to see how this turns out, it is definitely the first genuine step we've seen in Ultra HD's journey to becoming a true home-cinema technology.

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