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One of the TweakTown staff was browsing the latest Kickstarter projects and came across Lightpack, an awesome open-source project that projects colored light onto the wall behind your monitor or TV. The color is matched to what is currently being displayed on your screen, so it visually expands your screen size and aids with eye-strain commonly associated with viewing screens in the dark.
Since the device is open-source, many cool features can be added by the developers at large. Plugins can be developed that make the lights change color to notify of an incoming Skype call, unread e-mail, or even that a spell has been recharged in World of Warcraft. Overall, the system is really quite awesome.
For the makers out there, Lightpack has released the designs for the PCB, bill of materials, and other needed files and designs so you can build your own at home. For the less electrically-inclined, Lightpack is offering up pre-built units if you support the Kickstarter campaign. It's almost completely funded, needing just under $10,000 more by May 31.
Check out the Kickstarter campaign here.
LG have just announced their curved OLED HDTV will be reaching Korean living rooms in the coming months, a perfect display for some multi-monitor PC gaming, in my opinion.
LG Korea have announced through a press release that pre-orders for their curved 55-inch OLED HDTV will go on sale in South Korea for $13,515. The 55-inch curved OLED display is just 4.3mm thick, and is a $3,600 premium over their standard, non-curved display.
I'm a huge fan of high-resolution displays, and simply cannot wait for 4K to arrive just that little bit cheaper - I really want 4K 120Hz-capable displays - I'm dreaming, I know. But it looks like Apple could be pushing forward with 4K, refreshing iMacs, Cinema Displays and MacBook Pros with the high-resolution goodness.
Rumor has it Apple is moving toward 4K thanks to the new Intel Thunderbolt release, which the chipmaker showed off during a demo called "Thunderbolt Technology Update". This is basically the second-generation Thunderbolt technology, which is capable of pushing "4K video file transfer and display simultaneously". Marco Armanet, co-founder of Tumblr and founder of Instapaper, has said on his blog:
This could enable the first generation of desktop Retina displays: it wouldn't surprise me if the first standalone Retina display was a 23" panel with exactly 4K resolution (3840 x 2160), run logically as 1920 x 1080 (1080p) at 2X, and driven by upgraded Thunderbolt ports in the next generation of MacBook Pros and Mac Pros.
Sony have just announced their 55- and 65-inch 4K-capable TVs, which will be made available as of April 21. The two new sets are the XBR-55X900A and XBR-65X900A and will sell for $4,999 and $6,999 respectively.
Sony's new 4K-capable LED TVs sport passive 3D, an edge-lit display, and built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. Sony had hoped to have reached a "more accessible price range" with their line of TVs, and it seems they have hit that point. Considering I paid just $1000 less for my Samsung 55-inch 1080p-capable TV, this is quite a heartbreak for me.
During this week's Microsoft TechForum, Craig Mundie, a senior advisor for Microsoft, said that the company is looking to take the Kinect to new heights including TV's and laptops. "My dream is to get a Kinect into the bezel of something like this", as he pointed to a Surface tablet.
The company was showing off a bulky, but very large display that featured a Kinect built into its bezel at its recently opened "Envisioning Center" along with many more Kinect integrated screens. The Kinect's being shown off were much smaller than the current model, but no one would comment on if they are version 2.0 or not.
Before you can expect to see a Kinect in your ultra-thin smart TV, or even in your laptop or desktop monitor, things will have to get much smaller and some new technology will have to be created. The Kinect sensor does not work in daylight. "It turns out it's infrared so when you go out in the sunlight the sun is a big infrared source that drowns it out," Mundie explains. "There's a whole bunch of problems, not just miniaturization, in designing the sensors so they actually do what you expect them to do in all of the environments."
Something we will be getting more into this year is 4K Ultra HD technology, this is the next-gen of PC and it's some seriously hot stuff. The Windows blog got their hands on a 55-inch 4K-capable Ultra HD TV and ran some DirectX 11 games on it.
They tried Max Payne 3 with an AMD Radeon HD 7970 and saw some great details from the game. The one thing to remember here is the insane amount of pixels being pushed from the 4K Ultra HD TV set. At 1280x720, you're barely scraping 1-megapixel of information at 0.91 megapixels. The standard now, 1920x1080, pushes 2.07 megapixels - but 4K? An insane 8.2 megapixels... a huge, huge jump. That jump requires some serious GPU horsepower.
The TV being used was set to just 30Hz, so the maximum frames per second will be 30. The 4K display wasn't the only one being used, with the GPU driving 3 other displays, too. There's a video on the site which you should check out, too.
LG's 55-inch OLED HDTV is set to ship next week, with the South Korean electronics giant seeing 100 local pre-orders of their OLED screen. Shipments will begin filtering out to consumers next week for around $10,000.
Considering the company sold 300 of their 84-inch Ultra HDTVs in Korea last month, these 100 pre-orders aren't stellar. LG also mentioned that they plan ton sell as many as 15% more HDTVs this year than they did last year, where they're going to continue to push their Smart and 3D features.
VESA have officially updated their DisplayPort Dual-Mode 1.1 standard which paves the way for better performance, higher resolutions and increased interoperability when using HDMI and DVI ports through a cable or an adapter.
When using Dual-Mode, DisplayPort will be capable of outputting an additional HDMI/DVI-compatible signal alongside its expected DisplayPort link. What this will allow is connectivity for HDMI and DVI-capable devices without the need for cables or converters featuring active electronics. Current DisplayPort Dual-Mode converters/adapters are limited by an output maximum of 1080p @ 60Hz with 24-bit color.
This update to DisplayPort Dual-Mode would allow HDMI 1.4 to be quite versatile, handling deep-color, 3D 1080p @ 60Hz and 4K UHD (2160p) @ 30Hz, all through a single cable. These improvements are thanks to a near doubling in the Transitional-Minimized Differential Signal (TMDS) rate, which has been ramped up from 165MHz to 300MHz.
Acer were teasing some deliciously high-res displays at the Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas, where the company showed off a 15.6-inch display featuring a 2880x1620 resolution.
Apple's Retina models of the MacBook Pro family sport 2880x1800 pixels, so Acer are getting very close. Acer's panel has a 16:9 ratio compared to Apple's 16:10 panel. There's no concrete information on whether the display uses an IPS panel or relies on another panel technology, but AnandTech have said that the display looked great in person, with great viewing angles and better colors than TN-backed screens.
RumorTT: Apple's Thunderbolt monitor supply running short at third-party retailers, signals possible refresh coming
If past history is anything to use to predict the future, then it is pretty likely that Apple is getting ready to refresh its line of Thunderbolt monitors. Traditionally, before Apple launches a refreshed line of products, supply dries up at third-party retailers and then the Apple store.
Amazon, MacMall, and J&R are all out of stock, according to AppleInsider. Furthermore, the Thunderbolt displays have typically used the same, or similar, technology as the iMac line of computers. The iMacs recently underwent a redesign, and the rumor says that the Thunderbolt monitors will likely receive a similar update.
"Think of the Thunderbolt display as an iMac minus the computing hardware," Djuric, from iFixit, explained.
However, they may not use the same technology, since the iMacs are still heavily constrained, mainly due to a difficult to construct screen. One estimate places it at only 100,000 displays produced between LG and Apple per month.