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Just as I'm writing an article on Acer's new NVIDIA G-SYNC powered 28-inch 4K monitor, I read about Sharp's new 8K TV that is preparing to enter the market in 2018. This is when Japan Broadcasting Corporation will begin broadcasting content in 8K.
Sharp's 8K-capable TV is a mammoth 85-inch set, with a 120Hz refresh rate, with the company being the first in the world to have an 8K TV that is compliant with NHK's requirements. NHK has been working on 8K, which by the way is a crazy 7680x4320 - four times as many pixels as 4K, and 16x the amount of pixels as 1080p, since 1995.
NHK has plans to start testing 8K Super Hi-Vision broadcasting in 2016, with the first translations of the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. NHK will start commercial 8K broadcasting at 7680x4320 with multi-channel audio in 2018. What good is this TV without proper content, apart from TV broadcasts? Well, both Sony and Panasonic are working on a new optical disc technology which will have 300GB of space on it, at least, which is set to be released late next year.
The TV space hasn't had anything exciting happen to it since we shrunk down from CRTs to LCDs, but Google could be involved with the next big thing: modular, snap-on or snap-off displays. Google's secret Google X lab is working on the exciting technology.
The Wall Street Journal is behind the report, giving it some weight, teasing that the Mountain View-based search giant is working on a new display that will be made up of smaller screens that are interconnected to form a seamless image. This provides huge potential, as consumers and users alike could just snap on as many screens as they wanted to have a super-sized TV, or disconnect a few and use it as a smaller display for their monitor or gaming machine.
The biggest roadblock for Google right now is designing a seamless display that doesn't have borders, but this technical hurdle is "as large as the planned screens". The WSJ's sources have said that Google is bringing in the big guns to help them, with former MIT professor Mary Lou Jepsen leading the project. She founded three separate startups that focused on display technology, where she ended up as the head of the display division of Google X. Jepsen's team already includes ex Qualcomm and Samsung staff, among others from some of the biggest names in the industry.
Vizio has just taken the wraps off of its new P-Series of 4K-capable LED TVs, something the company teased back in January at CES. Starting at $999, the 50-inch model is decently priced, instantly putting it into the reach of the mainstream market.
Better yet, the 70-inch behemoth is priced at $2,499, which is a great price for one: a TV this big, and second: 4K-capable. Vizio's P-Series of TVs feature Full-Array LED backlighting, where the backlight is uniformity distributed across 72 LED zones which span the entire back panel, rather than at the edges.
Vizio provides local dimming on the P-Series, which dynamically adjusts the amount of backlight that is provided to a specific area, providing a much deeper black than normal TVs. Vizio's new P-Series of 4K TVs are up for pre-order, where they'll soon hit Amazon, Best Buy, Costco, Sam's Club, Target and Walmart.
NVIDIA is finally entering the market with multiple G-SYNC monitors, with 1080p, 1440p and 4K-powered G-SYNC monitors, but AMD is nowhere to be seen with its Project FreeSync technology. The company has just announced it is collaborating with MStar, Novatek and Realtek to build the scalar units that are required by the FreeSync-powered monitors.
Where NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology requires propietary licensed hadware in your monitor, as well as a GeForce GPU, AMD's FreeSync technology has no communications overhead, as it "does not need to poll or wait on the display in order to determine when it's safe to send the next frame to the monitor". AMD will be building FreeSync support into specific Radeon GPUs, with the new FreeSync-powered monitors hitting the market early 2015.
According to AMD's CVP of Graphics Business Unit, Matt Skynner, the FreeSync monitors will arrive with "lower prices and wider adoption" than its competitors' gaming monitor technology. Vice President of Realtek, Yee-Wei Huang, has said that customers in the channel are "really excited about AMD's FreeSync technology" and reiterates that "adopting the DisplayPort Adaptive-Sync industry standard by VESA is the best approach" in order to provide gamers with smooth, stutter-free gaming experiences. We should expect the first wave of FreeSync-powered monitors to be offered in three resolutions, with multiple display sizes, featuring 1920x1080, 2560x1440 and of course, 3840x2160 or 4K.
4K monitors are great and all, but you need some serious horsepower to drive 60FPS on them at 3840x2160. NVIDIA's G-SYNC is the perfect technology to help that, with Acer unveiling its new XBO series of monitors, with the first being the XB280HK, a 28-inch 4K-capable monitor at 60Hz, with NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology.
The other, is the XB270H, which is a 27-inch monitor with a Full HD resolution, but a 144Hz refresh rate. Both displays have a 1ms response time, NVIDIA's G-SYNC technology, "comfortable ergonomics and excellent connectivity". Both of the new XBO series displays feature DisplayPort connectivity, and multiple USB 3.0 ports.
When it comes to pricing, Acer has priced the 4K-capable XB280HK at an MSRP of $799, while the 1920x1080-capable XB270H is priced at an MSRP of $599. Both of Acer's XBO series of monitors will be available in the US and Canada next month.
With the home entertainment industry's attempts to prolong the lifespan of plasma and then LCD by the introduction of 3D technology falling flat on its face and the move to force 4K as the next best thing being resisted, in part due to little content and high prices has seen some manufacturers redouble their efforts into OLED technology. Now, LG has bought both technologies into one device for the first time.
LG will ship two models to the US next month, coming in 65 inch and 77 inch varieties, for $10,000 and $25,000 respectively (although will be expected to be discounted significantly) both utilising the faddish 'curved' design.
OLED technology, which has been in deployment for some years in smaller devices, such as mobile phone displays and in the initial PlayStation Vita model, has been heralded for its spectacular image quality and brightness, superb black levels and lowered power consumption but has proven difficult to manufacture at large sizes at a large scale and also battling poor half-life ratings.
While NVIDIA and ASUS have the gaming display market wrapped up with the ROG Swift PG278Q, AU Optronics has announced a new slew of display panels that are based on its AHVA (Advanced Hyper Viewing-Angle) panel technology. This technology is said to be similar to LG's IPS technology, but cranks the refresh rate up to 144Hz.
Samsung has its PLS technology, similar to LG's IPS tech, which goes up to 120Hz, but right now the TN-based panels own the 144Hz market. AU Optronics' new panel, the M270DAN02.3, is a 27-inch example. We have a resolution of 2560x1440, 1000:1 contrast ratio, 350cd/m2 brightness, sRGB gamut and 178/178-degree viewing angles.
AU Optronics is part of the BenQ group, so we should see this new panel baked into BenQ's range of gaming monitors in the near future.
Dell has just taken the wraps off of its new 5K monitor, with a resolution of 5120x2880 - yes, you read that right - higher than 4K. Dell will be selling its new UltraSharp 27 Ultra HD 5K Monitor for $2500 when it launches in the holidays.
All of these pixels will be firing onto a 27-inch screen, with 16W integrated Harmon Kardon speakers, and six USB ports, too. Dell's UP2715K monitor will use two DisplayPort 1.2 ports, with the company running the monitor from a single NVIDIA Quadro K5000 card at the event. There are 70% more pixels on Dell's new 5K display than a 4K panel, which is an insane amount of pixels. The video above from Maximum PC shows off the 5K panel.
Samsung has announced that its 4K ultra-high definition 31.5-inch monitor, the UD970, will be released later this month with a $1999.99 MAP price. The UD970 features support for a 3840 x 2160 resolution and has 40 percent more viewing area than a regular 27-inch monitor - and is designed for digital imaging and video professionals. Live demonstrations with the monitors revealed bright, clear and vivid pictures, thanks in part to the screen's 10-bit color processing capability.
"For today's professionals, UHD display technology unlocks a new dimension of rich and detailed imagery, enabling them to take their creativity and productivity to a new level," said Tod Pike, Samsung Enterprise Business Division SVP. "Samsung has a long history of leadership in display technologies and we're excited to bring this new advancement to creative professionals and enterprise users."
The cost of professional UHD displays are steadily dropping - as they were drastically more expensive just one year ago - but are working their way closer to mainstream consumers.
LG has already unveiled its new curved ultrawide monitor, but now it is Dell's turn with the new 34-inch Ultrasharp U3415W. Like LG's curved panel, Dell's new ultrawide monitor is also curved, with a 21:9 aspect ratio and 3440x1440 resolution.
Dell says that the wide field of view on its Ultrasharp U3415W, matches with its curves will help gamers play better when compared to flat monitors, with less eye movement required to soak in all of the player's peripheral vision. Dell will be shipping its new curved ultrawide monitors in December, so you'll be able to check that claim out in just a few months time - we will get one in the TweakTown labs to test, as I'd like to see how it goes against the likes of a 4K monitor, or G-SYNC powered display.