Airborne 4K

NanoTech Entertainment has a little something owners of 4K/Ultra HDTVs might be interested in: the Nuvola NP-1 4K Ultra HD streaming media player, a versatile 3 x 1 x 4-inch device that supports 3D game playing, Web browsing, and 4K streaming. Connect the tiny box to any network with a bandwidth of 6 megabits per second or greater—via Wi-Fi or hard-wire Ethernet—and you’re ready to go.

The player comes bundled with 10 free movie rentals and access to more than 100 hours of free ad-supported content on the NanoFlix UltraHD Network. Among the free content is a selection of Moving Murals video art, featuring constantly changing nature scenes based on time-lapse photography. NanoTech says it is actively working to acquire rights for more content, which will include 35mm films that have been converted to 4K. The NP-1 also provides pre-installed apps—including Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Amazon Prime, Pandora—and a handful of games, including Repulze, Angry Birds, Steampunk Racing 3D, and Tank Hero.

At the core of the player is the Android 4.2 (JellyBean) operating system, an ultra-fast nVidia Tegra 4/Quad Core Cortex-A15 mobile processor, 2 GB of DDR RAM, 16 GB of flash storage with connections for adding external storage devices, and H.264 compression, which facilitates 4K streaming; NanoTech says H.264 will be automatically updated with the latest H.265 codecs as they become available. The player has an HDMI output as well as USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports.

Aiming not required: Unlike traditional infrared (IR) remote controls that must be pointed toward the device they’re operating, the NP-1 includes a simple Bluetooth remote that works at any angle. NanoTech also sells the supercharged RF-10 remote ($69), featuring a three-axis motion sensor for game play, handheld mouse control, and a mini QWERTY keyboard. Other accessories include the GP-1 Gamepad controller ($49) and the TV-U1 USB tuner for picking up local broadcast TV channels ($99). Price: $299.