Unless you're a (video) camera freak, you may not know much about Red, a company that has made a string of innovations with its line of digital video cameras that capture 4K footage (i.e., 4096x2160 pixels, or about twice as much resolution as 1080p HD). A good primer on the company is at Wired magazine's Web site. Film directors like Peter Jackson and Steven Soderbergh have used Red cameras (Soderberg, in fact, shot Che with them), which are cheaper to own than many professional film cameras are to rent (including the processing costs).
What does this have to do with home theater? Red's latest innovation is less sexy, but may have a wider impact. The company recently demonstrated its Red Ray video player, which can compress 4K video down to 10Mbps of data (in comparison, uncompressed 4K is 10GBps), which is close to the maximum throughput of an 802.11b wireless network. In other words, if Red's claims turn out to be anywhere close to true, we could move right past Blu-ray and other 1080p video and start thinking of a home theater setup built around 4K. It could be relatively painless to stream 4K video using the Red Ray codec over 802.11g/n or wired networks.
Of course, 4K HDTVs are still not close to reaching market, but Red Ray can downsample 4K video to 1080p and also play Blu-ray and standard DVDs while we wait. Red generally doesn't provide any details about pricing or availability for its products in advance of release, and Red Ray is no exception. In the meantime, it'd be great if the company publicly demonstrated its compression technology online to whet our appetite.