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NVIDIA uses cascaded low-res panels to make high-res VR displays

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Wearable Computing | Posted: Jul 30, 2014 4:28 am

VR is really picking up steam, and with this, NVIDIA is putting some effort into the R&D of high-resolution screens for VR devices. The company is researching cascaded displays, using low-res displays, but many of them, to provide a high-res image.

 

 

NVIDIA has used two normal 7-inch 1280x800 panels (which is identical to the one used in the Rift DK1 unit), layering one of these panels on another, which allows one pixel on the top layer to lie above the quarters of four different pixels on the layer beneath it. A single backlight is used to illuminate both layers of the "Cascaded Display".

 

The company has also created some software which allows for the pixels on the front LCD to turn on and off, which allows just a particular quarter of the lower pixels to be shown. On its second pass, the front panel will change the displayed pixels, while the rear panel changes its colors. This allows for the quarter pixels to be displayed, which provides us with a higher resolution image.

Continue reading 'NVIDIA uses cascaded low-res panels to make high-res VR displays' (full post)

EA announces Access, a Netflix like subscription service for games

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 30, 2014 3:36 am

EA has just announced a new subscription service exclusive to the Xbox One, known as Access. EA's new Access service will offer a bunch of EA games for a single, flat rate. Access launches in beta form today, but will soon be rolled out to all Xbox One users.

 

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The Access beta will include four games for the moment, with FIFA 14, Madden NFL 25, Peggle 2 and Battlefield 4, with more games on their way. EA Access membership also includes 10% discount on all of EA's digital content, even full games sold through the Xbox Games Store. Access members will also receive early access to trials of games, including Madden NFL 15, NHL 15, FIFA 15, NBA Live 15, and Dragon Age: Inquisition, up to five days before these games hit retail.

 

EA will be offering Access for $4.99 per month, or $29.99 yearly. Game retailers like GameStop will also be offering Access memberships, something that will be made available across the US, Europe and Canada.

Valve saw 20 million people watch The International DOTA 2 tournament

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 30, 2014 2:35 am

Valve has released a statement regarding its DOTA2 championship tournament, The International, where the company saw over 20 million people tuning into the $10 million tournament.

 

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Last year's The International had around one million peak concurrent viewers, but this year Valve said that it had "well over 2 million" peak concurrent viewers. This year's The International tournament was also streamed through Twitch in multiple languages, with channels that were tailored to newcomers who wanted to watch the tournament "spoiler free" and at their own pace.

 

The International may have had huge viewership this year, but it still fell behind the numbers that the recent League of Legends season finals pulled. Riot Games, the developer behind League of Legends, has said that its game pulled in 32 million viewers last year, with 8.5 million peak concurrent viewers. Comparing these numbers against established, mainstream sports such as the Super Bowl, which drew 111 million TV viewers and around 2.3 million streaming it online.

NVIDIA releases its new GeForce 340.52 WHQL drivers

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Software | Posted: Jul 30, 2014 1:41 am

NVIDIA launches its kick ass new Shield Tablet today, and alongside it the company has launched its new GeForce 340.52 WHQL drivers. The biggest feature of the new GeForce 340.52 WHQL drivers is Shield Tablet support, as the company needs to update its drivers to bake in support for GameStream for its Shield Tablet.

 

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The latest drivers are GameReady, which will include support for the upcoming Metro: Redux which arrives on August 26, and the Chinese launch of Final Fantasy XIV. There's not much else included in this release, other than the usual bugfixes. We do have WHQL goodness here, instead of a beta release that most people were running prior to the launch of 340.52 WHQL. You can grab the new drivers right here, or if you're like me, GeForce Experience will download them for you.

LG's new 105-inch 4K TV has a resolution of 5120x2160, with 21:9 ratio

By: Anthony Garreffa | More News: Displays & Projectors | Posted: Jul 30, 2014 12:40 am

We've already seen Samsung launch its behemoth of an Ultra HD TV in its 105-inch $120,000 screen, but now fellow South Korean rival LG has launched its new 105-inch 4K TV, too.

 

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LG is calling its unit a 5K TV, as it runs a resolution of 5120x2160, with something LG calls CinemaScope 21:9 aspect ratio. We're looking at nearly the same price as the Samsung unit, driving up into a price of $117,000 - so this is for the rich and famous, or the 1%. It has an integrated speaker which makes it better value for money, and yes I'm kidding with that last part about it being better value for money with the integrated speaker.

Hilton to start letting guests use smartphones as room keys

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 29, 2014 11:28 pm

The Hilton chain of hotels is set to adopt smartphones as room keys as of next year in over 4,000 of its properties.

 

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Digital check-in and room selection will be available across 11 brands, and work for Hilton Hhonors in over 80 countries. According to Hilton, its members are looking for alternative ways to control their experiences during their stays, and this approach could be the one of them. Although Hilton has run a trial of digital check-ins for some time, this is by far the biggest rollout it has attempted. Hilton is aiming for all of its hotels to offer the digital room key service by the end of 2016.

 

"Travelers can use their smartphones as boarding passes to get to their seats on an airplane, so it is only natural that they will want to use them as a way to enter their hotel rooms," Hilton's chief exec Christopher Nassetta said in a statement. "We have spent the past few years testing a number of different options to make this vision a reality, and we are developing proprietary technology that is safe and reliable for our guests to use, and cost-effective for our hotels to install."

One in ten gamers experiences maddening auditory hallucinations

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Gaming | Posted: Jul 29, 2014 10:27 pm

A study from a British university has claimed some gamers who play for extended periods of time begin to hear sound effects in their heads, including "maddening" screams.

 

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Nottingham Trent University explored something referred to as game transfer phenomena, when players find that gaming influences either their perceptions or behaviors out in the real-world. Of the 1,244 players who were surveyed, one in ten experienced auditory hallucinations after they'd put down the controller, including the whistling of bullets, the pew pew of lasers, beeping or the sound of vehicles.

 

In one of the more extreme cases, a gamer heard the word 'death' whispered over and over again for days, and another heard the words 'go, go, go' whenever he was near crowds. "These experiences can sometimes result in illogical thoughts and behaviors," a psych researcher from Nottingham Trent, Angelica Ortiz, said. "It's important to help gamers understand their experiences since re-experiencing sounds and voices may provoke distress, especially when associated with dangerous situations in the game."

Microsoft shows off selfie-smartphone at company meeting

By: Tamlin Magee | More News: Mobile Devices, Tablets & Phones | Posted: Jul 29, 2014 9:02 pm

Two fresh Windows Phone 8.1 devices are soon to appear in the wild, one of which will apparently be designed specifically to take selfies.

 

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The two were reportedly shown off to Microsoft employees at an annual company meeting by Stephen Elop, the former CEO of Nokia and current devices head. Elop described the device as a "selfie phone," according to the Verge, which is likely to be the codename Superman handset with a 5-megapixel front facing camera. The second is apparently codename Tesla, which was designed as a high-end smartphone at an affordable price.

 

Just how well the phones will fare is anyone's guess, but Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella did recently allude to a unified experience across all Microsoft devices. It could well be possible that the company is lining up some big hitters - provided it finally manages to iron out the ecosystem problems that have plagued it since the start.

Microsoft Sharks Cove Windows board aims at Raspberry Pi

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Maker & DIY | Posted: Jul 29, 2014 5:05 pm

One of the hallmarks of the Raspberry Pi developer board is modest power for a low price. Microsoft wants to get in on the action that Raspberry Pi is getting with DIY fans and tinkerers. The software giant has unveiled a new developer board of its own called Sharks Cove.

 

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The board works with Windows or Android and hardware for the board comes from Intel and is made by a firm called CircuitCo. The processor used on Sharks Cove is an Intel Atom Z3735G quad-core chip with speeds of 1.33GHz to 1.83 GHz. That chips is paired with 1GB of RAM and the board offers 16GB of flash storage with storage expansion via a microSD card slot.

 

One of the things that has made the Raspberry Pi so popular is its very low price, as you might expect Microsoft is offering Sharks Cove for a much higher price- $299. To help justify that price Microsoft points out that it includes a Windows 8.1 image in the price.

Facebook to begin forcing users to use Messenger app for mobile chat

By: Shane McGlaun | More News: Social Networking | Posted: Jul 29, 2014 3:03 pm

Facebook is planning to begin forcing all users to download its new Messenger app if they want to continue chatting with friends. The forced migration will reportedly start in the next few days. European users of Facebook who wanted to chat had to download Messenger back in April.

 

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Facebook is telling people that Messenger is about 20% faster for chatting than chat was using the main iOS and Android Facebook apps. After positive results in user engagement with the European test, Facebook is set to make everyone use the new app.

 

Users will get a few notices before chat eventually stops working on the main app and they have to use the new app. Facebook is notifying users directly about the change and once made, the messages tab will be replaced with a Messenger shortcut.

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