Disney ditches Netflix, Huawei clocks in 4G, kids get to coding, and Sony’s anticipated OLED arrives with a review at launch. This is The Wrap.

Transcript

For the week ending August 11, this is The Wrap, Australia’s fastest dose of technology to let you know what’s going on.

And this week, what’s going on is a whole heap of things, as Disney and Netflix tussle it out with word that the two will walk away from a relationship the duo have had with each other since, well, practically the beginning.

Fresh off an earnings call this week, Disney has announced that it won’t be keeping its content on what is arguably the biggest streaming media service, electing 2019 as the time it will be pulling its movies and TV shows off.

And if that doesn’t bother you because it only includes maybe Disney movies, think again. Disney owns a vast amount of properties, and if you were hoping your kids would be able to login later in life and just watch Star Wars or The Avengers, or maybe The Muppets TV show, think again. Disney owns them all, and is moving them from Netflix.

Right now, the news is that they’ll only be moving from Netflix US, but there are suggestions that Netflix around the world will follow what Netflix US does as best it can, and that means Netflix Australia more than likely will do much the same, meaning no more Disney from 2019.

You might be asking why is Disney doing this, why would the House of Mouse break from the world’s biggest streaming media service when everyone is watching Tangled, Frozen, and Big Hero 6 on Netflix?

Simple. Disney wants its own Netflix, and come 2019, it’ll have one. And yep, it’ll come with its own price tag. That’s just how it goes.

Fortunately if you’re looking for activities for the kids to get into outside of watching Disney, there’s plenty out there. There’s reading, and writing and— OK, I get it, not many people want to practice being a journalist. It was a long shot, but I tried.

Instead, why not try coding? In fact you don’t actually have to wait until Netflix pulls the plug on coding in 2019. Rather, you can start now, even learning with them.

Coding, programming, and development is just another language, and this upcoming week Code Club Australia will have a special night to get more kids coding on one night than ever.

That’s the deal with #moonhack, a special night encouraging kids to code as one, and get to building space-themed developments all on the one night. It starts where the International Date Line starts, or the country closest to it, with New Zealand kicking off, and then Code Club hopes it stretches across the globe. Last year saw over 10,000 Aussie kids taking part in #Moonhack, and this year there’s a hope to break that.

And who knows? Moonhack might leave your kids with the taste in their mouth to make the next big thing.

Will it be the future of social networks? Some new holographic display? Or how about just a watch that lets you keep the phone at home and take your calls with you?

Well, maybe not that last one, because this week, Huawei and Vodafone have teamed up for the Watch 2, a 4G Android Wear smartwatch that is only being released in Australia with a SIM slot.

That means the Watch 2 will have the technology to always stay connected, and while you don’t have to use it, you can’t buy it without the SIM slot, so why not take advantage of it.

Aside for taking calls and data with you, Huawei’s Watch 2 is water-resistant and made for activities, with a circular screen that makes it look more like a traditional watch and Bluetooth so you can get your wireless earphones talking to it.

Mostly, it’s about keeping you connected at all times, and is one of the first of the smartwatches with Android Wear 2 arriving in Australia.

We’ll let you know more about in the coming weeks with a full review, but right now we’re reviewing something else.

And what a grand review it is. It’s been under embargo, and we’ve just longed to talk about it, because this review is mighty: almost seven years in the making, Sony is ready with an OLED TV.

This week — from today, even, August 11 — Sony’s first OLED TV is out in Australia, delivering the quality that organic light emitting diodes can provide, and offering some much needed competition in the OLED world.

Up until recently, OLED TVs were basically a one horse race in Australia, with LG leading the charge. Panasonic joined a couple of months ago, and now Sony is ready with its own.

It’s called the A1, and it’s an interesting choice of name, simply because A1 usually means best of the best, and Sony’s first OLED TV isn’t far off the mark.

Let’s talk about design first, because this isn’t your ordinary screen. While it’s not unusual for TV designers to be a little playful, Sony has been very creative, adopting a screen that is basically just that: all screen, with tiny framing from the staggeringly slim bezels, and sitting against a stand that looks a little like an easel or an enlarged Microsoft Surface stand.

“Minimalist” is how we’d describe this one, though we need to tell you that assembling the A1 TV is a two person job. It’s just that hard and frustrating. Fortunately, you only have to do it once.

Even more fortunately is that the frustration you go through in assembling the stand pays off with a beautifully sharp, crisp and clear display that just looks amazing. That’s the value of OLED, for sure, but with Sony’s 4K processing power, not to mention its expertise in films and high-dynamic range capture that also comes from its camera division, well, let’s just say the Sony A1 OLED TV delights and surprises.

In fact, the sound is one big surprise, boasting no visible speakers, and yet one impressive gush and burst of sound.

A first for Sony, it is using what it calls the Acoustic Surface, hiding two speakers behind the panel that use the surface area to basically blow your mind. It’s very hard to put a soundbar or centre channel speaker in front of the A1 OLED simply because of that minimalist design, but you know what? You don’t need to.

Our regular staple of a Sonos soundbar spent its time doing pretty much nothing the entire time, going on a holiday if you will, because the sound is just that good on this TV. Normally, TV sound is barely acceptable, and is the first thing you replace. It’s often shallow and bright, but the Acoustic Surface on Sony’s A1 OLED TV is anything but. It’s open, spacious, warm, balanced, and just generally sounds the way a good sound system should. The subwoofer could do with a little more bass, but I like my sub a little under where it should be, and the A1 is close to nailing it for me.

And the TV comes with Android TV, so outside of the stand being a little awkward, the setup and control of the TV is otherwise excellent, with apps, with Netflix, Stan, Google, and Chromecast.

It’s even priced quite well, with the 55 inch variant hitting just below five grand, while the 65 inch hits 7499. That might sound expensive, but for OLED, that’s not bad, especially for Sony’s first OLED.

All up, it’s about the best TV we’ve ever seen, and well worth checking out for yourself.

It’s just really lovely, and we said a lot about it in our review, which you can read at the website, but if you want to hear more, we also spoke to The Age’s Adam Turner and Finder’s Alex Kidman in their Vertical Hold podcast, and it’s well worth a listen if you want to hear about the excellence of the A1 OLED from not just one perspective, but several.

For now, we’ve reached the end of The Wrap, but we’ll be back next week for more news and reviews in the smallest amount of time possible. We call it coffee time, because by now you should be done and ready for another. Ish.

We hope you have a great weekend and an awesome rest of the week, and we’ll see you next time on The Wrap. Take care.

A technology journalist working out of Sydney, Australia, Leigh has written for publications including The Australian Financial Review, GadgetGuy, Popular Science, APC, PC & Tech Authority, as well as for radio and TV since 2007.

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