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Best of the week: news and reviews 06.07.13

This week on we went to Focal and had a gander at what they were bringing to the market. Sony announced its 4K download service in the US and we heard more about Sharp as the Japanese giant looks to put itself on the path of recovery.

More high-quality reviews appeared from our test rooms as we put Samsung's UE40F7000 through its paces, gave KEF's long-awaited E305 speaker system a good workout and liked what we heard from Epoz's new Aktimate speaker.

Read on for more details and don't forget to buy the new August issue of What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision, filled with all the latest news and reviews.


Sony confirms Video Unlimited 4K download service

Following on from the recent spate of 4K news, Sony has announced that the 4K Ultra HD Media Player will go on sale in the US on July 15th.

Exclusively compatible to Sony's own KD-65X9005A and 55in 4K TVs, the FMP-X1 4K (to call it by its designated model number) will retail for $700. If you are already a proud owner of a 4K set then the price will come down to around $500.

Sony promises that the 4K video service (named Video Unlimited 4K) will be the "world's first and only network video service". At the moment there's no word of an overseas release date for the service/system, so for now we'll have to stick to our Mastered in 4K Blu-ray titles.

Focal Easya due to be released in October

French speaker company Focal has announced the Focal Easya, a new wireless speaker system due go on sale in October.

Comprised of powered floorstander speakers and transmitter hub, the system will be available in glossy white or black for the princely sum of £2000. Connections are available in the form of Bluetooth, digital and analogue inputs with a remote control also included for switching between sources.

Sharp look to China for a way out of trouble

In a seemingly never-ending story, the ongoing saga of Sharp's recent financial woes has taken another turn with the company entering a joint venture with state-owned company China Electronics Corp.

The joint venture will see Sharp license its state-of-the-art IGZO (indium-gallium-zinc oxide) panel technology to China Electronics Corp in return for a stake of just 8% in the new joint venture. After US-based chip manufacturer Qualcomm's recent injection of cash - and changes at boardroom level - the company is looking to for a positive bounce after recent troubles.

EE reveals details on 4K coverage

4G has taken its time rolling out but a recent update by mobile phone operator EE has extended its reach. The superfast mobile network is now live in 85 places throughout the UK. We have all the details on the EE 4G network.

In more 4G related news EE has announced a 4G Summer Promotion, offering new customers double speeds and double data rates. The offer runs from July 17th to September 30th. Existing customers can get a turbo boost by upgrading the current mobile plan.

More news:

Freesat Free Time adds 4oD to catch-up TV

NuForce Music Pump puts more headphone power in your pocket

Audio Technica launch their new noise-cancelling headphones

Seiki launches 39in 4K TV for $699

Klipsch KMC3 Bluetooth speaker launches

Pure partners up with Halfords for in-car hifi system

Geneva Model S Wireless DAB+ to go on sale

Denon Cocoon iPod dock to come free with £129 headphone


Epoz Aktimate Mini+

We're fans of Epoz's desktop speaker solutions. We've had quite a few pass through our testing rooms and have been impressed by what they offer. The Mini+ arrives as a successor to the Aktimate Mini (released in the halcyon days of 2009). Did the Mini+ continue a fine tradition? Read the full Epoz Aktimate Mini+ review

Samsung UE40F7000

Samsung started this year on blistering form delivering high-quality set after set. Now we have the latest in their Series 7 range, the UE40F7000. With Samsung setting their own bar high we were expecting much from this TV as the competition at the £1000+ range is fierce. Will this Samsung emerge victorious? Read our Samsung UE40F7000 review

KEF E305

Strangely, we haven't had many speaker packages in our tests rooms this year. We rectified that by bringing in the KEF E305 system in for a spin. For KEF it's been a long time coming for their next 'egg' speaker package (our Buyer's Guide shows we've been waiting for seven years). Luckily, it was worth the wait... Read our KEF E305 review.

More reviews:


Musical Fidelity V-LPS II

Audiolab M-PWR

by Kobina Monney

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Kob began his career at What Hi-Fi?, starting in the dusty stockroom before rising up the ranks to join the editorial and production team as the Buyer’s Guide editor. Experienced in both magazine and online publishing, he now runs the TV & audio section at Trusted Reviews where he keeps a beady eye on all the latest comings and goings in the hi-fi and home cinema market.