Category: Home Entertainment (page 1 of 2)

CES 2016: New 8K Television

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The Consumer Electronics Show of 2016 introduced many exciting new television sets. You have probably heard about the 4K televisions that were introduced by numerous electronics companies, such as Sony. But what LG introduced at the CES was something that nobody expected; the 8K television set. That’s right this is a 98-inch television by LG that is about double the size of the best selling televisions out today. It also has an 8K display, which means it has even better resolution than the ultra high definition 4K televisions that are out now.

Quadrupling the number of pixels was no easy task for LG, which is probably why it is such a big television set. As for the price, it is probably not going to be in the average consumers’ price range. LG currently has another 98-inch television that has 4K resolution, which is priced at $40,000. The only 8K television out right now is from Sharp. They have an 85-inch television in 8K resolution that sells for $130,000. Most people probably couldn’t fit a television like this in their living room anyways. Unless you have a mansion and a million dollars in the bank, you probably won’t be able to afford this.

For those who are still willing to spend under $10,000 for a television, you can purchase the Samsung 4K 85-inch television for just under $9,000. LG also has a 79-inch 4K television set for $6,000. You can find these televisions at big retail stores like Best Buy. Of course, if you are going to enjoy 4K, or 8K, resolution, then you need to be watching content made for this kind of display. You can’t just turn on the television or pop in a Blu-ray disc and expect the quality to be 4K or 8K. The content has to be made for that quality or else it will show in lesser resolution.

If you are more interested in ultra thin televisions then you should try LG’s G6. The company refers to it as “picture on a glass” because it is basically like hanging a picture frame on the wall and watching television from it. With a thickness of 2.57 millimeters, the television almost disappears when you look at it from the side. There is no price yet on this television, but it will have sizes that go all the way up to 77 inches. So it will be interesting to see if consumers prefer the ultra thin computer or the super ultra high definition computer. The price is likely to be the deciding factor here.

New Apple TV to Release

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The new Apple TV was supposed to be released on September 9th of this year, but got pushed back to an October release date. This new version of the popular device, called the Apple TV 4, is supposed to offer more features than the previous version. But, it will also be more expensive than the previous version because it is priced from $149 up to $199. The Apple TV 3 was only priced at $69, which is its current price today. People who don’t want to upgrade or purchase a new Apple TV can still stick with the cheaper version 3 model. They just won’t be getting all of the features that the newer version has in it.

So what are the new features? Well we know from the pictures that it is larger than the Apple TV 3. We also know that Siri has been integrated into it along with the App store. But the biggest news for app developers is the integration of the application programming interface, or API. This will allow developers to create apps through the device without having to use their traditional Apple computers. Therefore, if you are interested in app development and want to use voice activated controls through Siri, then the Apple TV 4 is definitely going to be a good purchase for you. On the other hand, if you are only getting the Apple TV to access your iTunes and watch movies or listen to music, you can stick with the older model and still be happy.

Apple is currently in negotiations with numerous cable networks to allow their programming on their future internet TV service that will be available through Apple TV. It is predicted that the service will cost users $40 per month, which will start sometime next year. Apple just has to wait until they clear up all of their negotiations with cable networks and gain enough of them to attract consumers to their internet television service. Despite the monthly fee, it will still be much cheaper to use Apple TV than it would to stick with your current cable provider. Between traditional cable and satellite services, the average consumer pays over $100 per month for their television service bill. Apple TV would allow you to get the best channels for a cheaper monthly price, while receiving all the other benefits that the device provides. Once the new version comes out, it is definitely going to attract consumers.

Bose SoundDock XT Speaker

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Stop and put your mouse down because this is something that you will want to hear about.  Bose has upgraded themselves with this SoundDock XT speaker that not only goes with you everywhere, but also sounds like you are bringing the party.  This speaker allows you to connect your phone on the dock or by connecter to bring music to life.  There aren’t many flaws to this amazing product, but the only thing that dims the speaker is the fact that it takes about 12 hours to charge up.  You do have lasting sound for the night, but be sure to bring your charger for the morning.  If playing music at a party isn’t your forte, then turn down the music by pressing the ever so dainty volume button on the side.  White/Yellow and White/Dark Grey are the only color choices, so chose wisely.  I will continue to use this speaker for all of my outdoor events and so should you.

After Delays, Valve and Partners Near Production on Steam Machines for Living-Room Gamers

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If you follow video gaming then you have probably heard of the video gaming company, Valve, and their video gaming software known as Steam. This software connects people together by allowing them to play multiplayer games with each other right over the internet. The only thing is that Steam is traditionally for the PC, Mac and Linux computer systems. This means people who want to play these games have to use their monitors, unless they have the right video cables to hook up their computer to a flat screen television set. Most people do not have these cables, or they simply don’t know how to hook it up properly.

After years of delays and setbacks, Valve has finally created a Steam gaming console that people can hookup to their television sets. That way people can now play video games through Steam right on their big television sets instead of their smaller monitors. The console will still connect to the user’s Steam account, so they won’t lose any of their games. All they have to do is login to their account through the Steam Machine and then they can just download all of their games right back onto it.

The Steam Machine will create competition for other living room gaming computers, like Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation 4. Right now they are king of multiplayer gaming through consoles. But with the massive amount of people who already use Steam, the new Steam Machine could very well turn people off from those other consoles and cause them to lose money. Not only that, but the Steam Machine will have its own Steam operating system to run games on. This could very well jeopardize the $25 billion market for Windows PC gaming. The majority of the people who use Steam on their computers are using a Windows operating system, which the games require in order to play them. But with the Steam Machine, the games won’t need the Windows operating system anymore. This could cause Microsoft to lose even more business and set them back much further as a company.

The only complication is not all of the 5,000 games on Steam will work with Steam Machine. After all, the original designers of these games were creating them for popular operating systems like Windows and Linux. The Steam OS is brand new and a Linux-based operating system. This means it will only be able to run games that can be run on Linux operating systems. Right now there are over 1,000 games on Steam that could be run on the Steam Machine. But as time goes on and the popularity of the machine increases, the number of approved games is likely to go up.

We tried Microsoft HoloLens: This is going to be much bigger than Google Glass !

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Smart glasses have been talked about for a little while now. They are a device you wear like regular glasses that lets you see smart information linked to your phone, PC or tablet. Google Glass was the first brand of smart glasses to be revealed to the public. So naturally, all of the other major tech companies want to compete with Google by creating their own brand of smart glasses. Microsoft appears to be their first competitor.

Microsoft Holo Lens is what is called a hologram gadget, which is said to be different than Google Glass. Holo Lens allows the user to see holographic images that are delivered to the device by someone else on a PC that is controlling it. For example, if an architect wanted to create a blueprint for their next project, they could just create the 3d imagery and let their client use the Holo Lens to see the building in real time. This means they could actually walk into a virtual reality where they see the building before it is even built in real life. This will give them a much better idea of what the final outcome will be instead of having to depend on blueprints, which force clients to use their imaginations more than anything else.

Even though it might seem like virtual reality, Holo Lens is different than the gaming virtual reality devices that you might have seen advertised. Holo Lens will still let you see the real environment around you. The only difference is that it will add holographic images to your environment that nobody else sees. Only the person wearing the Holo Lens glasses can see it. Therefore, if an architect were going to show off their building plans, they could take their client to the real life location that is currently just flattened land and place holographic images of the building over the land. Then they can see how the building will look in that environment after it is built.

There were live performances given with the Holo Lens not too long ago. These performances showed the device and how it was able to merge with Skype, Sketch Up and Minecraft. In one performance, someone was using Skype on a Windows 10 laptop and another was using Skype on the Holo Lens. The person on the laptop was able to send holograms over to the Holo Lens device through Skype. Then the user of the device could manipulate the image, walk around with it and even edit it through the device. Holo Lens is predicted to be a revolutionary breakthrough for businesspeople in the corporate world.

 

M-Audio M40

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The M-Audio M40 is a top quality studio headphone that is used by many recording artists in the music industry. The name M40 refers to the 40mm drivers that are in each ear cup. This size gives the user a quality listening experience for only $59.99. The M40 will give you the real sound without reinventing or reinterpreting it. So if you listen to a music mix that doesn’t have bass in it, the M40 isn’t going to invent it for you. This realistic music experience helps both engineers and musicians perform better in their respective industries.

What is truly unique about M40 headphones is that their ear cups don’t cover the ear, but rather go onto the ear. The thick pads of the ear cups will make the experience of wearing them more comfortable for the user. The pads also isolate all of the ambient room noise to provide a better quality hearing experience. As for the actual look of the headphones, the exterior of the ear cups resemble a black vinyl record. Even though the looks of an ear cup are probably not as important as their performance, you still have to keep your fashion sense when running a studio. The material of the headphones consists of rubber, leather and flat cables. There is also a detachable cable that you can use to connect to each ear. For any beginning musician or someone on a budget, the M40 headphones are definitely a good choice.

The M40 headphones perform great, but there are always better choices out there. The Sennheiser HD6 Mix is a recent favorite that sounds more dynamic than the M40, especially with the high-mid sounds. But the Sennheiser HD6 is priced at $179.95 on Amazon, which is probably more than the average person wants to spend on headphones. If you are just somebody at home who likes to listen to their music or watch YouTube videos with headphones, then the M40 should be more than sufficient. However if you are running a music studio and want the very best then you might not want to go with the M40. The high-mid sounds of the brass and strings will not overpower the mix. On the other hand, the M40 was made to accurately present the mix and not to enhance it. If this is acceptable for you then M40 should be your choice. Otherwise, try out the Sennheiser HD6 instead.

 

 

Xbox Music Locker Service

Digital music is a very competitive area amongst electronics companies. Now Microsoft is trying to get in on the action by having a music locker service for Xbox. The two big digital music competitors of Microsoft are Amazon and Google, which already sell digital music through lockers of their own. Their music locker services allow you to store music data for free and then access it through their cloud service on any device that connects to the internet. With Microsoft, their music locker would be similar with the OneDrive cloud storage service they provide. It allows users to upload music through the OneDrive folder on their desktop. Once the music is uploaded it becomes available on all devices that support OneDrive, such as Xbox consoles.

You are probably thinking, “What is the big deal about this OneDrive service? Microsoft already has a music streaming service through Xbox Music.” Well, there is difference between a music streaming service and a music locker service. A streaming service just allows you to download music, but it doesn’t let you store it anywhere. The music locker service allows people to take their downloaded music and store it on a cloud that can be accessed from any device in the world that supports OneDrive. What makes this music locker unique amongst other music lockers is the OneDrive music folder that you use for uploading files. All you have to do is drag the music files into this folder and then the uploading begins. The music data will be stored on the OneDrive for easy access from any of your OneDrive supported devices. People that have already downloaded tons of music files through Xbox Music will certainly want to purchase this locker service.

The real challenge that Microsoft will face is getting people who are used to Google and Amazon to convert to Microsoft. There really is no difference in service quality, so why would anyone switch to Microsoft? Well, people who use the Xbox gaming console will likely stay loyal to Microsoft. Gamers tend to be tribal when it comes to a particular gaming company and their services. Ever since Microsoft got into the video game industry, they have created a whole new consumer base for themselves who have stayed loyal to Microsoft’s products and services. These are the people that will likely take advantage of the OneDrive music locker service because they are already using the Xbox Music streaming service to download their music. If the storage service ends up being fast and convenient then word-of-mouth will help spread interest in it even more.

Finally Fire Your Cable Company With Fire TV

Amazon_FireTV_2014The industry rumor we reported on March 26, 2014, that suggested Amazon was preparing to deliver a web TV solution has been confirmed. Last week Amazon announced its Fire TV set-top box that promises to deliver streaming content in a streamlined way.

Based on Amazon’s presentation at their press event, this TV companion appears to succeed where others in the space have not. Sure you’ll be able to stream content from all the major providers such as Netflix, Hulu, and their own Amazon Instant Video, but that’s not really news. What’s new is how Fire TV will help viewers find and enjoy the content. First off, the remote for Fire TV has voice recognition built in so you can speak the titles you’re looking for and it will display results on screen. This means no more typing your favorite movie titles letter by letter using up/down arrows on an old school remote. Another cool feature is that Fire TV will serve up a list of the providers that are carrying the title so you can stream from the one that has the best price or special offer. I can tell you from my own experience that I have spent time comparison shopping from Vudu, Netflix and Amazon on my WiFi TV just to watch a movie, and I welcome the enhanced interface offered by Fire TV.

Fire TV will also be hosting apps from other popular content sources such as ESPN, NBA, Major League Baseball, Vimeo, YouTube, and others. Popular internet radio services like Pandora and TuneIn will also be included but possibly not in the initial release.  And finally, some kids’ content from Sesame Street, PBS, and Nickelodeon, will be available for free. Of course, if you’re already subscribing to Amazon Prime, you’ll be able to watch most popular titles at no incremental cost.

Fire TV may be the first set-top box to really shake up the cable TV market and convince you to put your DVD player next to the VCR at your next garage sale.

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