Ben Hobbs from Phuket’s H3-Digital.com knows his smart homes and home theatres. Here’s his thoughts about 4K TV…
First off – 4K TV, what is it? 4K refers to the horizontal resolution of around 4,000 pixels – Mostly 3840 x 2160 pixels (dots on the screen) of a TV picture. More pixels means more detail and a sharper image, think of a retina display from Apple and how the most recent phones and iPads have much clearer screens.
DVD’s and the first widescreen TV’s had a resolution of 720 x 480. High Definition was either 720p (1280×720) in the early days and then 1080p (1920×1080). A 4K TV will have four time as many total pixels as a 1080p HD TV, so four times as much detail.
So when is it worth considering upgrading to a 4K TV?
REASON #1: When you have access to 4K Content
With a Netflix or Amazon Prime account you can stream and If you have a Kodi media centre or AppleTV 4K you can also download in 4K format. Just make sure that your internet connection is up to it if you are streaming (Netflix recommend a Strong 25mbps line).
Be aware that Apple, Netflix and Amazon may have limited release content in Thailand, so you may have to use a foreign account (and maybe VPN) to access 4K content.
BluRay’s are also available in 4K, These are labelled Ultra-HD. You will need an Ultra-HD Player and Ultra-HD BluRay movie disk. BluRay disks are sometimes region locked although many are region free – it’s worth checking when you are purchasing. Ultra-HD BluRay will offer a marginally better viewing experience because they don’t need to take into account the data limits of streaming.
Don’t be fooled by manufacturers promising upscaling to 4K, where it is suggested that 1080p content looks better on a 4K TV, it wont look noticeably better, no extra detail is being created by these upscaling systems.
REASON #2: When you have (or want) a BIG TV
Or want to sit closer. The increase in detail and sharpness means that you can buy a bigger TV for your viewing distance, or sit closer, comfortably.
The more of an image that fills our field of view, the more you are drawn into the scenes unfolding before you. With a 4K TV the optimal distance for viewing is twice as close than with HD (1080p).
Since 4K TVs have such a large density of pixels you can pick out detail much better so it’s suited to much larger screen sizes or sitting in closer proximity. This will allow you to see the actual difference in quality.
Many people say that watching 4K TV is similar to looking through a window, it’s a much more detailed, realistic image but only when the image is large enough for your eyes to be able to make out the extra detail.
In summary; Don’t buy a 32″ 4K TV and expect the picture to be discernably better, I’d recommend at least a 55″ and feel more comfortable sitting closer than you previously did.
REASON #3: When you’re a Cinemaphile
If you are someone who appreciates the art of cinematography and really enjoys the viewing experience then 4K should be your main watching experience. It’s simply the best way to watch movies and TV. You will love the sheer new level of detail available – the tiny grey specks in the beard, the flecks of dust thrown up in a sandstorm, the detailed structure of a dilating iris.
It’s all there, no blur – you can go back, watch films and pick out fine elements that you’d simply never been able to see before.
Even if you just like the finer things in life, you will enjoy watching things in 4K over standard HD. It’s a better experience and increases exponentially with screen size.
And what about those huge curved TV screens? We’ll leave that to another day.
The new Blue Tree waterpark and entertainment precinct unveiled
Phuket’s tourism industry has received a major shot in the arm with the unveiling of the new Blue Tree Phuket – a US$40 million investment and multi-dimensional destination waterpark and entertainment complex set over 140 rai in Cherng Talay.
Positioning themselves as ‘Phuket’s premier family attraction’, Blue Tree is the island’s first international-standard, fully integrated waterpark and family entertainment complex.
The complex will feature a compelling mix of retail, destination dining, waterpark, beach club, and health and fitness with its star attraction at its centre – Blue Tree Lagoon – designed and built by world-leading US-based water attraction specialists Crystal Lagoons.
Opening early next year, Blue Tree is led by Michael Ayling, former Managing Director of Laguna Phuket.
“We are delighted to be announcing what we feel will be a key component in Phuket’s tourism future as we are confident Blue Tree will appeal to families looking for high quality entertainment,” said Michael.
The 10 rai (17,000 sqm) Blue Tree Lagoon, designed by world-renouned Crystal Lagoons, is the star attraction of Blue Tree Phuket.
“Phuket’s tourism market has changed considerably over the past ten years. We now see strong demand for inland attractions driven by Thai families, residents of the island and the growth of the independent-travelling international tourism market. All three markets have one thing in common: a need for high-quality, family-focused entertainment away from the beach. This is what we will deliver,” he said.
Blue Tree Phuket will offer a Water and Entertainment park, a four-storey vertical Beach Club, Fitness Zone, Kid’s Club and multiple retail spaces. In addition, 17 restaurants and food outlets will cater to all tastes and budgets, centred around the complex’s star attraction: Blue Tree Lagoon.
The 17,000-square-metre man-made lagoon has been designed by Crystal Lagoons, who most recently completed a mega inland lagoon project in the family attraction capital of the world, Florida. It is flanked by artificial beaches and offers an aquatic playground for family-friendly and adrenaline-driven activities such as a Slip N Fly, water slides, splash zone and even cliff jumping.
Aside from utilising state-of-the-art technology to maintain water clarity, Blue Tree Lagoon also boasts eco-friendly credentials. Powered by Crystal Lagoons’ sustainable technology, the lagoon uses up to 100 times fewer chemicals and 50 times less energy than conventional swimming pool systems.
The vertical Beach Club is open throughout the day and into the night.
Blue Tree has been in development for the past two years, from the master planning stages to partnership selections and management – with environmental sustainability a core component of the project’s DNA and fundamental to its promotion of an active and healthy lifestyle.
“Blue Tree has natural borders. These are thick, mature rubber plantations that surround the project and emphasise the lush tropical environment found throughout the grounds. The name itself is testament to our commitment – a green and blue oasis in the shape of a tree, with deep roots and strong connections to the destination, its heritage and its future,” said Michael.
“Phuket will always be known for its spectacular sea and sand, but there’s been a clear demand for inland entertainment alternatives for some time now and this will fit the bill, showcasing a lesser known side of Phuket but one that will appeal to both middle class Thai families and Amanpuri guests in one strategically located destination.”
Admission fees will be kept affordable with a pay-and-use concept, while full access to all activities will be priced lower than 1,000 baht.
Find out more about Blue Tree HERE.
A very Asian tale “Crazy Rich Asians” opens
“The last high-profile Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club released in 1993.”
By The Star, Asia News Network, Kuala Lumpur
It was a sweltering night in Singapore and the production of Crazy Rich Asians was in the last leg of filming. Director Jon M. Chu was sweating buckets and it’s not entirely because of the humid weather.
Chu, who has worked on big budget Hollywood sequels like G.I. Joe: Retaliation and Now You See Me 2, said Crazy Rich Asians presented a whole new set of challenges for him.
Check out the Hollywood premiere of Crazy Rich Asians.
“Sometimes dressing people up for a wedding takes a lot more effort than filming ninjas on a mountain,” Chu shared briefly on the set of Crazy Rich Asians, before rushing back to finish another scene.
Members of the media were observing the filming of an emotionally-charged moment featuring Rachel (Constance Wu, TV’s Fresh Off The Boat) screaming into the night. In the scene with her were Tan Sri Michelle Yeoh and veteran actress Lisa Lu.
Some context: The ladies were all dressed to the nines for a high society wedding. At a later interview, Wu did not want to talk about how she prepared for that screaming scene.
“It’s just actor stuff. If I have to tell you, it would be like I’m telling you how to fix a car, it’s just boring,” 36 year old Wu said with a laugh. Mind you, she had to do that scene over and over again just to get it right.
The truth is, there is nothing boring about what her character Rachel goes through in Crazy Rich Asians.
For the love of money
Rachel is an Asian-American economics professor living in New York with her charming boyfriend Nicholas Young (Henry Golding). One day, Nicholas invites her back to his country, Singapore, to attend his best friend’s wedding.
It is only then that she finds out that her boyfriend is from a wealthy and well-connected family. Just how wealthy is this guy? Think crazy rich.
Based on the book by Kevin Kwan, Crazy Rich Asians is said to be inspired by real families and wealthy personalities in Asia. Kwan goes into specific details on what the rich do when they have too much money. From buying a hotel just to get rid of a snobby manager to hiring the Vienna Boys’ Choir for a wedding, nothing is off-limits for the ultra-wealthy characters in the book.
However, Kwan won’t divulge who these actual crazy rich Asians are.
“Nicholas is from this old money family. Wealth is passed through generations. He is very acutely aware that he is the heir to the riches that his family holds,” Golding, 31, said about his character.
It’s one thing to be rich but to be dating someone who is not from the same exclusive social circle? Oh, the madness.
56 year old Yeoh steps in as Eleanor, Nicholas’ mother and respected (think feared) matriach of the Young family. Eleanor makes it clear that she does not approve of Rachel. To be fair, she’s just like most mothers with an only child who is set to inherit the family fortunes; tiger mum becomes (over)protective.
So, Eleanor hatches a plan to sabotage the relationship between Rachel and Nicholas.
“Eleanor would do anything for her son. She would die for him. And the thing is, she’s not afraid to tell him all that,” Yeoh laughed while explaining her character’s motivation.
But that’s not the craziest thing about Crazy Rich Asians. The fact that Hollywood is making a contemporary romantic comedy featuring Asians in leading roles is something unheard of.
Wu noted: “We’ve never had a studio movie with an all-Asian cast that was not a period piece.”
Rich in diversity
The last high-profile Hollywood film with an all-Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club released in 1993. Wu lamented that Asians don’t often get to be seen in a Hollywood film with a modern setting.
“Like, why don’t we see Asians using cellphones? It’s a way to include Asians in the current conversation by showing them in a contemporary context. We are here. Our stories matter and that to me is really groundbreaking,” she said.
Other Hollywood cast members in Crazy Rich Asians include Ken Jeong (The Hangover), Awkwafina (Ocean’s 8), Gemma Chan (Transformers: The Last Knight) and Sonoya Mizuno (La La Land).
From this region, expect to see the likes of Ronny Chieng, Pierre Png, Carmen Soo, Tan Keng Hua and Fiona Xie on screen. Hollywood newbie Golding described filming for Crazy Rich Asians as “insane” (his pun, not ours). Producer Nina Jacobson said they were looking for someone like Cary Grant to play Nicholas.
“There’s a sense of class and elegance to Nicholas. At the same time, he’s also down to earth. It was hard to find all those things.”
“Henry did amazingly well on his screen test and he had all those qualities that we were looking for,” Jacobson explained why the studio went with a newcomer.
While Golding has made Malaysia proud, his casting also stirred some controversy. There were those who noted how Golding was not “Asian enough” for the role seeing that he is part European.
Instead of dwelling on the backlash, Golding said he is proud to represent a part of South-East Asia that is mostly unknown to his Western counterparts.
“We have such a melting pot of identities in South-East Asia and that is something to be proud of. It’s really important that we make this film. We’re breaking boundaries and that is the most important takeaway,” he said.
Value for money
Despite its very specific setting, Jacobson believes Crazy Rich Asians has stories that will resonate globally.
“We have a great universal story for anyone who has been rejected by their in-laws or people who have their foot in two different cultures,” she said.
She also identified with Rachel as someone who is fascinated by a strange yet familiar new world.
“When I first read the book, I couldn’t put it down. The expectations on Nick from his family was relatable. The story felt fresh and new. It took me to somewhere that I wanted to go,” Jacobson said.
Will Nicholas’ love for Rachel triumph over his family money?
Yeoh said you can’t live on love alone: “When you’re in love, you say you don’t need money or you don’t need anything (else). When love cools down and reality sets in, then what? Love is not bread and butter. You have to be sensible.”
Yeoh saw Crazy Rich Asians as more than just a story about unimaginable wealth.
“It’s also about the responsibilities of a family. Many people depend on them (Nicholas’ family) for their livelihood. It’s not just about them getting rich, it’s also about the community.
“It’s good to have money but it’s what you do with it that really counts,” she concluded.
And that token of wisdom is priceless.
STORY: The Nation
Twinpalms hotels & resorts celebrate their 14th anniversary
PHOTO: Collard Studios
One of Phuket’s home-grown brands, Twinpalms is inviting members, guests and residents to join the revelry at Catch Beach Club on Saturday, September 22, to mark 14 years of offering luxury hospitality and entertainment on Thailand’s largest destination island.
Bang Tao Beach will once again be adorned with party- goers beautified in white clothing (as is the annual strict white dress code custom) and will be THE place to be to enjoy the very best music and entertainment in Phuket. In signature Twinpalms style, the evening will be a stunning jamboree with complimentary entrance for everyone and traditional reduced prices for all to enjoy the spirit of inclusive hospitality in style.
The party and festivities kick off at 9pm with resident DJs Romain Pelletti, Joey Adisak, Fred Jungo and Shane Ob on the decks, live musicians and dancers until the small hours.
For those who would like to reserve VIP tables for free flow beverages and cuisine packages, prices start at 10,000 baht for cocktail tables and goes up to 50,000 baht for tables of 10 guests.
Contact Catch Beach Club for bookings and details.
PHOTO: Collard Studios
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