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Oculus Rift VR headsets arrives on Kickstarter, over $1 million in funding, backed by Epic Games, Valve and more
I don't get excited for technology that often anymore, but it looks like I'm going to have to put that aside for now because Oculus' latest project Rift, currently on Kickstarer, will supposedly deliver "truly immersive virtual reality". Oculus Rift, according to the guys and girls behind it "is a new virtual reality (VR) headset designed specifically for video games that will change the way you think about gaming forever."
Rift sports a wide field of view, high resolution display and ultra-low latency head tracking. The team is raising money on Kickstarter where they can build development kits for the unit, meaning that they can get the Rift into developer's hands, quicker. The team note that VR has been stagnant for quite a while, and in order to provide believable immersion, you'd be looking at $20,000 or more. Oculus want to change that up with Rift, which is designed to "maximise immersion, comfort and pure, uninhibited fun", all while sitting at a price that is affordable to everyone.
Oculus have raised just over $1.2 million from 5,113 backers, and have 26 days to go. I'll be making a pledge in the next few days, this project is looking to be great for the gaming community.
I haven't heard of Nixeus until today, but they're a company who make media players and HDMI cables, and have now stretched out into the high-resolution world of monitors. Nixeus' Vue is the latest 27-inch screen to sport the resolution of 2560x1440.
Vue is based on LG's S-IPS panel, with the aforementioned 2560x1440 resolution, 320cd/m2 brightness, and 1,500:1 contrast ratio. Filling out the specs, we find 6ms grey-to-grey, and a 178-degree viewing angle.
In the form of ports, you can expect VGA, HDMI 1.4, DVI-D and DisplayPort 1.2. 2560x1400 is provided by all connectors but VGA. Nixeus' Vue also supports portrait orientation, for you know, three of these bad boys side-by-side. Nixeus' Vue is due out on August 21, and will sell for just $430.
In these days of high refresh rates, 120Hz is about the best you can get without some trickery in profiles and "overclocking" your monitor in a sense. ASUS have stepped in with a brand new monitor, the ASUS VG2788HE.
ASUS' VG2788HE is a 27-inch monitor, which has broken through the limit of 120Hz most monitor seems maxed at these days. It hits 144Hz, providing an extra 24 frames per second (or images per second) compared to 120Hz. Personally, I don't think you'd see that much of a difference from 120Hz to 144Hz like the jump from 60 to 120 provides, but for 3D it could be a difference that is quite noticeable.
The VG2788HE is compatible with NVIDIA's 3D Vision 2 technology, but it comes separately to the monitor. The monitor sports HDMI, dual-link DVI and D-SUB connectors, 2x3W stereo speakers are included as well as a mini-jack output that lets you connect headphones. One of the best things I love about this monitor is that it is capable of not just swivel and tilt, but has height adjustment.
We heard about Samsung's flexible AMOLED technology a couple of months ago now, called "Youm". But it seems that new reports from Korean website DDaily are suggesting the production of these panels could be any day now.
Samsung were rumored late last year to have these flexible AMOLED displays in mass production by Q2 2012. The first production run of these displays won't be too flexible, as the displays will be fixed to a rigid sheet of "protective" glass, at first. DDaily's sources claim that Samsung has an internal goal of mass-producing fully flexible screens by 2014.
Producing some of them now would give Samsung a head start on the competition, as they can get the screen tech working now, and get to work on the devices shrinking down (power sources, chips, PCBs, etc). This means we could see flexible smart devices sometime after 2014. We should see new forms of fashionable technology such as watches, headware, and others. The future is flexible.
Samsung's 75-inch ES9000 LED Smart TV is making its way to the US of A. Samsung's 3D-capable, LED-backlit set flashed its goodies in New York as part of the Samsung-sponsored SpaceFest marking the Space Shuttle Enterprise's arrival at the Intrepid.
The ES9000's US debut is good news for those who have been holding their breath for a new 75-inch Samsung LED TV. Specs of the TV are not available, but the 75-inch TV bezel measures in at just 0.31 inches, with the frame sporting a rose-gold finish.
Samsung's 75-inch ES9000 also features a built-in web cam that retracts when not in use, and it also comes with four pairs of 3D glasses. The usual Smart Interaction is at play, giving gesture-based movements, as well as voice control to the TV. Samsung also announced a new Angry Birds app for its smart TVs, which allows users to play the game entirely from gesture controls. The app will be a free download, and will be available later this month.
Samsung's 75-inch ES9000 Smart TV will debut at $9,999 in August.
Rumors of the Apple TV have been around for a while now, but with Samsung and their new Smart TV range, is it too late? Or is there something Apple could do to the TV market that would shake things up as much as they did when they entered the smartphone market?
Well, according to Raymond Soniera, founder of DisplayMate Technologies, Apple may cram a Retina display into their upcoming TV range. Soniera spoke to CNET, where he said:
My theory is that color consistency and accuracy among all Apple devices is more important for Apple than Retina Display resolution and will be the strategic basis for the eventual launch of an Apple Television.
People have also said that 'Retina' displays for TVs are years away, but that is not true according to Soniera. He says that TVs with Full HD, 1080p resolution displays are already "Retina displays" in terms of visual sharpness at typical viewing distances. So, when Apple eventually launch that "Retina" TV, be sure to check the resolution. Unless they've done some true magic to it, it'll just be a Full HD display with an Apple logo on it.
We all want an OLED, or three, but Panasonic have come out and said to not expect any cheap OLED-based TVs any time soon. Even after the recently-announced partnership with Sony, where they'll focus on mass producing low-cost, high-resolution OLED panels.
Panasonic have explained to journalists that the company does not expect its next-generation of OLED televisions to match the cheap LCDs for a "considerable time". So whilst you can go grab a cheap LCD for $200-$300 right now, OLEDs at that price are most likely many years away.
Considering that 55-inch OLED-based offerings from competitors LG and Samsung cost $9,000 right now, the price has a long way to go before its considered "affordable". I still remember when I could buy a 40-inch plasma with a resolution of 1024x768 for $40,000 here in Australia.
After showing these bad boys off at CES in January, Samsung have finally confirmed that their Series 9 monitors will hit the US come June 29th. This will follow a brief "prelaunch" period with Newegg.
The Samsung S27B970D is a 27-inch IPS-based screen with a resolution of 2560x1440, HDMI, DVI and USB ports, an all glass and metal enclosure, a height-adjustable stand, and a contrast ratio of 1000:1. What makes these monitors stand out is that each screen is calibrated and undergoes an expert, hour-long adjustment process before it is sent to you, ensuring you get the highest-quality images directly out of the box.
The screens will retail for $1,199 and would look great in a three-screen setup for gamers, or as a single- or multi-monitor setup for video, audio or general work. I think I prefer the gaming option.
Sony and Panasonic, rival Japanese TV makers, have announced they have shaken hands in a new deal where they'll join forces to make OLED (organic light emitting diode) TV sets, as they are set to fight Korean rivals Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics for the top dog position in the next-generation TV market.
OLED sets are set to take over from LCD sets, and it will come down to which company is able to mass produce screens cheap enough for consumers to adapt to. Sony and Panasonic said in a statement that they plan to develop technologies to fabricate the screens and hope to hit mass-production in 2013.
Samsung and LG have both already shown off 55-inch OLED prototypes, with the TVs expected to hit the market later year at a wallet-busting $10,000 or so. This is around 400-percent higher for the same sized LCD-based screen. According to research firm IHS Inc. OLED-based TV shipments are meant to hit 2.1 million by 2015, up from a tiny 34,000 this year.
HP is updating its line of displays and with the refresh comes HP's first couple of IPS (in-plane switching) monitors destined for the consumer market. The 2311x IPS monster has already been announced just over a month ago, but it's worth mentioning here along with the rest of HP's new consumer line up.
The 2311x is a 23-inch screen that features IPS technology which gives it a much better range of viewing angles than traditional LCD displays. Joining the 2311x is the 2011xi which is also an IPS monitor. The IPS panel allows this 20-inch monitor to have a 178* viewing angle and 1600x900 resolution. These start shipping on June 24 of this year.
HP is also updating their more traditional backlit LCD monitors. The W2071d is a 20-inch panel that supports resolutions up to 1600x900 and is backlit by LEDs. The big brother to that monitor is the W2371d which, as you probably guessed from the name, sports a 23-inch screen and resolutions of 1920x1080. Both feature VGA and DVI-D inputs. The 20-inch starts at $140 and the 23-inch, $200. No timeline for release yet.