Ultimate Cord Cutting Guide - Part 2: Installation & Configuration
We're back with Part 2 of our cord cutting series, documenting our experience with dumping traditional cable and satellite providers in exchange for cheaper and more flexible online and over-the-air content. In Part 1 we looked at the devices that could serve as our cord-cutting hub, the types of subscription content that would be available, and the options for free OTA and online media.
In the end, we selected the NVIDIA SHIELD as our central media device due to its power, capabilities, and flexibility. Now in Part 2 we'll walk through setting up the SHIELD, adding our channels and services, configuring Plex, and more!
Subject: Displays | June 9, 2017 - 11:24 AM | Ryan Shrout
Tagged: Samsung, hdr, freesync 2, freesync, CHG90, CHG70, amd
Samsung made a surprise announcement this morning, taking the wraps off of the first FreeSync 2 monitors to grace our pages, officially. These gaming displays come in three difference sizes, one of them incredibly unique, and all with HDR support and Quantum Dot Technology to go along with the variable refresh rate technology of FreeSync.
All three displays utilize the QLED Quantum Dot tech first showcased in the QLED TV lineup launched just this past January at CES. It uses a new metal core and has some impressive color quality capabilities, going to 125% of the sRGB color space and 95% of the DCI-PE color space! I don't yet know what the peak luminance is, or how many backlight zones there might be for HDR support, but I have asked Samsung for clarification and will update here when I get feedback. All three displays use VA panels.
All three displays also become the first to pass certification with AMD for FreeSync 2, which we initially detailed WAY BACK in January of this year. FreeSync 2 should tell us that this display meets some minimum standards for latency, color quality, and low frame rate compensation. These are all great on paper, though I am still looking for details from AMD on what exactly the minimum standards have been set to. At the time, AMD would only tell me that FreeSync 2 displays "will require a doubling of the perceivable brightness and doubling of the viewable color volume based on the sRGB standards."
The bad boy of the group, the Samsung CHG90 (part number C49HG90), is easily the most interesting. It comes in with a staggering screen size of 49-inches and a brand new 32:9 aspect ratio with an 1800R curvature. With a 3840x1080 resolution, I am eager to see this display in person and judge how the ultra-wide design impacts our gaming and our productivity capability. (They call this resolution DFHD, for double full HD.) The refresh rate peaks at 144 Hz and a four-channel scanner is in place to minimize any motion blur or ghosting. A 1ms rated response time also makes this monitor incredibly impressive, on paper. Price for the C49HG90 is set at $1499 with preorders starting today on Amazon.com. (Amazon lists a June 30th release date, but I am looking to clarify.)
Also on the docket is the CHG70, available in two sizes, a 32-in (C32HG70) and a 27-in (C27HG70) model. Both are 2560x1440 resolution screens with 16:9 aspect ratios, 1ms response times and FreeSync 2 integrations. That means the same 125% sRGB and 95% DCI-P3 color space support along with the Samsung Quantum Dot technology. Both will sport a 144 Hz refresh rate and an 1800R curvature. The specifications are essentially identical between all three models, making the selection process an easier choice based on price segment and screen real estate. The C27HG70 will be on preorder from Samsung.com exclusively for $599 while the C32HG70 will be on preorder at Newegg.com for $699, just $100 more.
All three displays will feature a Game Mode to optimize image settings for...gaming.
Samsung’s CHG90 extends the playing field for virtual competitors, with its 49-inch design representing the widest gaming monitor available. The monitor delivers a dramatic 1,800R curvature and an ultra-wide 178-degree viewing angle, ensuring that content is clearly visible from nearly any location within a given space. As a result, gamers no longer need to worry about the logistics, expenses, and bezel interference that occur when combining multiple smaller monitors together for an expanded view.
The new CHG90 monitor includes a height adjustable stand (HAS), allowing flexible height adjustment for improved viewing comfort. Designed for the most demanding games, the CHG70 monitor goes a step further with a dual-hinge stand that provides users more precise control over how the display panel is positioned.
In addition to Game Mode, a feature that optimizes image setting for playing games when connected to a PC or a game console, each of the new monitors include a game OSD dashboard, designed to blend seamlessly into game interfaces.
A full table of specifications is below and trust me on this one guys, I am already up in Samsung's and AMD's face to get these monitors in here for review!
Now all we are missing is the power of a Radeon RX Vega card to push this high resolution, high refresh rate HDR goodness!!
Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | June 6, 2017 - 06:06 PM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: hdr, sdr, nvidia, computex
Dmitry Novoselov of Hardware Canucks saw an NVIDIA SDR vs HDR demo, presumably at Computex based on timing and the intro bumper, and noticed that the SDR monitor looked flat. According to his post in the YouTube comments, he asked NVIDIA to gain access to the monitor settings, and they let him... and he found that the brightness, contrast, and gamma settings were way off. He then performed a factory reset, to test how the manufacturer defaults hold up in the comparison, and did his video based on those results.
I should note that video footage of HDR monitors will not correctly describe what you can see in person. Not only is the camera not HDR, and thus not capable of showing the full range of what the monitor is displaying, but also who knows what the camera’s (and later video processing) exposure and color grading will actually correspond to. That said, he was there and saw it in person, so his eyewitness testimony is definitely valid, but it may or may not focus on qualities that you care about.
Anywho, the test was Mass Effect: Andromeda, which has a native HDR profile. To his taste, he apparently prefers the SDR content in a lot of ways, particularly how the blown out areas behave. He claims that he’s concerned about game-to-game quality, because there will be inconsistency between how one color grading professional chooses to process a scene versus another, but I take issue with that. Even in standard color range, there will always be an art director that decides what looks good and what doesn’t.
They are now given another knob, and it’s an adjustment that the industry is still learning how to deal with, but that’s not a downside to HDR.
Subject: Displays | May 31, 2017 - 04:36 AM | Jim Tanous
Tagged: ultrawide, hdr, gaming monitor, g-sync, computex 2017, ASUS ROG, asus
After first teasing HDR monitors earlier this year at CES, ASUS is using Computex to announce a new high-end gaming monitor that incorporates nearly all of the latest display technologies into one impressive package. The ROG Swift PG35VQ is a 35-inch curved UltraWide display with a 3440x1440 resolution, HDR support, a 200Hz refresh rate, and NVIDIA G-Sync technology.
ASUS is using Quantum Dot technology to power the PG35VQ, which results in a display that handles the DCI-P3 color space, conforms to the HDR10 standard, and can reach a "retina-searing" 1000 nits maximum brightness. Thanks to an array of 512 individual LED backlights, the PG35VQ can also utilize local dimming for significantly better black levels than you'll find on previous generation displays. This is the same approach ASUS utilized on the 27-inch PG27UQ that it announced back at CES, there are just more LEDs to accommodate the larger screen area of the PG35VQ.
Fans of RGB lighting will happy to hear that the PG35VQ also offers support for the ROG Aura lighting platform, allowing users to control and sync RGB lighting effects between all of their compatible devices. Want the RGB lights on your new UltraWide monitor to pulse in sync with your keyboard, motherboard, and headset? ASUS has you covered.
ASUS has not yet provided an official release date, but a blog post over at NVIDIA's website claims that the PG35VQ will hit retailers in the fourth quarter. As for pricing, don't expect this flagship display to come cheap. ASUS's current high-end UltraWide gaming monitor, the ROG PG348Q, retails for about $1200, but is an inch smaller diagonally, has half the refresh rate (100Hz), and lacks local dimming and HDR support. So plan accordingly and expect to pay a premium for these cutting edge features.
Subject: Displays | April 28, 2017 - 07:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: acer, Predator, Predator X27, monitor, display, hdr, 4k, UHD, 144 Hz, g-sync, nvidia
Acer announced a number of products at their next@acer press event in New York yesterday, but this new monitor might take the cake: a 4K HDR display with a 144 Hz refresh rate. The Predator X27 combined just about every conceivable feature for a gaming monitor and combines it into one product, but don't expect this 27-inch monitor be released at a budget price (pricing has not been announced).
"Acer’s Predator X27 portrays astonishingly vibrant visuals without motion blur thanks to a high 4K (3840x2160) resolution at a 144 Hz refresh rate, a fast 4 ms response time and a 1,000 nit peak brightness. Featuring Acer HDR Ultra technology, it offers the best possible contrast quality of the high dynamic range with advanced LED local dimming in 384 individually-controlled zones that shine light only when and where it is required. It not only delivers a broader, more deeply saturated color gamut, but a luminance range several times greater than that of traditional dynamic range monitors. By dimming the backlight behind parts of the screen displaying black, blacks appear deeper and darker on those parts of the panel, a significant bonus for people who play games with darker scenes."
Acer has posted a video about the Predator X27, imbedded below:
Acer also announced a new curved gaming monitor with the Predator Z271UV, which offers a 1800R curve from its 27-inch display, but for HDR you'll need to stick to the X27. Quantum dot technology is incorporated into both display for wide color, and both feature NVIDIA G-SYNC variable refresh-rate tech featuring ULMB (ultra-low motion blur) along with with Tobii eye-tracking.
"Acer’s Predator Z271UV provides WQHD (2560x1440) resolution on a curved 1800R panel that puts every corner of the screen at the same distance from the gamer’s eyes – this creates more immersive gameplay with a wider field of view and increased perceived area of peripheral vision. It features a ZeroFrame edge-to-edge design perfect for use in multi-monitor setups, and provides spectacular color breadth covering 125% of the sRGB color space. It’s extremely fast with up to a 1 ms (3 ms native) response time that nearly eliminates motion blur and supports overclocking up to 165 Hz."
We await pricing and availability information for both monitors.
Subject: Displays | March 18, 2017 - 12:15 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: LG, hdr10, hdr
There’s a lot of interesting elements to this monitor. Apart from the refresh rate, which I believe is 60 Hz, it checks off basically every nice-to-have that I can think of... at least for AMD users. It is borderless on all four sides. It has 95% coverage of DCI-P3, which might even be factory-calibrated (if I understand the “Color Calibrated” specification correctly). It also has FreeSync to make gaming at 4K slightly more smooth if you’re just a bit below 60 FPS.
It even includes a $100 B&H Gift Card at that price, too!
If you are into printed content production, then you might want to verify its Adobe RGB compatibility before making your purchase. DCI-P3 and Adobe RGB are both fairly large color spaces, but they deviate from each other. (Apparently, DCI-P3 covers more of the red end, while Adobe RGB covers more of the green.) Adobe RGB, if I understand correctly, extended sRGB into a space that printers could be calibrated into, while DCI-P3 is more for HDR video.
Personally, I find 60 Hz mouse pointers to be very noticeable and distracting. As such, the low refresh rate might be a deal-breaker for someone like me, but pretty much everything else looks like a win -- including the ever-important price and availability.
Subject: General Tech | February 7, 2017 - 04:31 AM | Scott Michaud
Tagged: logitech, webcam, brio, 4k, hdr
Today’s announcement of the Logitech BRIO rolls in many features that have been lacking in webcams. With it, you can record in 720p30, 720p60, 1080p30, 1080p60, and, the big reveal, 4K30. It is also capable of shooting in HDR using RightLight 3, although they don’t specify color space formats, so it’s unclear what you will be able to capture with video recording software.
On top of these interesting video modes, the camera also supports infrared for Windows Hello “or other facial recognition software”. Unlike Intel’s RealSense, the webcam claims support for the relatively ancient Core 2 and higher, which sounds promising for AMD users. I’m curious what open-source developers will be able to accomplish, especially if it’s general enough to do background rejection (and so forth). Obviously, this is just my speculation -- Logitech hasn’t even hinted at this in their documentation.
As you would expect for a 4K sensor, Logitech is also advertising quite a bit of digital zoom. They claim up to 5X and FOVs user-configurable between 65 degrees and 90 degrees.
Finally, the price is $199 USD / $249 CDN and it ships today.
Subject: Editorial | January 12, 2017 - 04:42 PM | Alex Lustenberg
Tagged: Vega, Valerie, snapdragon, podcast, nvidia, msi, Lenovo, kaby lake, hdr, hdmi, gus, FreeSync2, dell, coolermaster, CES, asus, AM4, acer, 8k
PC Perspective Podcast #432 - 01/12/17
Join us this week as we DasKeyboard, Samsung 750 EVO, CES predictions and more!
The URL for the podcast is: http://pcper.com/podcast - Share with your friends!
- iTunes - Subscribe to the podcast directly through the iTunes Store (audio only)
- Google Play - Subscribe to our audio podcast directly through Google Play!
- RSS - Subscribe through your regular RSS reader (audio only)
- MP3 - Direct download link to the MP3 file
Hosts: Ryan Shrout, Allyn Malventano, Josh Walrath, Jermery Hellstrom
Program length: 1:45:28
Week in Review:
News items of interest:
Hardware/Software Picks of the Week
Subject: Displays | January 6, 2017 - 12:33 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: swift, ROG, PG27UQ, monitor, high dynamic range, hdr, display, CES 2017, CES, asus
While the announcement of a new 27-inch HDR display from ASUS leaked a bit early, the ROG Swift PG27UQ is now official, and Ryan spent some quality time with this impressive display at CES:
There is no shortage of lust-worthy specifications from the PG27UQ, with a 144 Hz refresh rate from its 4K panel, NVIDIA G-SYNC HDR with 384-zone local dimming from its direct LED backlighting system, 1000 nit peak brightness, and quantum dot technology for a wide color gamut.
Here are the specifications for the ROG Swift PG27UQ from ASUS:
- Display Resolution: 3840x2160
- Panel type: 27in (16:9) IPS panel
- Backlight Type: Direct LED; dynamically controlled across 384 zones
- High Dynamic Range: Yes, HDR 10
- Refresh rate: Up to 144Hz
- Brightness: 1,000cd/m² (peak)
- Quantum Dot Technology: Yes
- Input: DisplayPort 1.4 x2, HDMI x1
No specifics on pricing or availably have been announced yet.
(Update -- Scott Michaud @ January 6th, 11pm EST: ASUS has published a blog post claiming that the monitor will be available in Q3. OC3D claims that the price will be $1199, although that doesn't seem right and our anonymous sources have it closer to $1500.)
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!
Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 11:25 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: UHD, streaming box, SHIELD TV, nvidia, media server, hdr, gaming, controller, CES 2017, CES
NVIDIA has announced the newly redesigned SHIELD TV with the promise of higher performance and enhanced functionality from the Android-powered media streamer. In addition to the updated industrial design the new SHIELD TV ships with a game controller in addition to a remote, adding value to what NVIDIA is calling "the world's most advanced streamer".
NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang on stage to introduce the new SHIELD TV
NVIDIA is citing "major improvements" to the new version of the SHIELD TV in the following areas:
Highest Performance, 4K HDR Media Streamer – SHIELD delivers the richest visual experience with support for 4K HDR and 3x the performance of any other streamer on the market. With Amazon Video in 4K HDR, SHIELD offers the largest, most open catalog of media in stunning 4K – also supporting Netflix, YouTube, Google Play Movie and VUDU. YouTube’s flagship TV app will also be available for SHIELD in the coming months, delivering immersive, 360-degree viewing experiences.
Amazing Games – SHIELD stands alone among media streamers, with the widest range of gaming capabilities and richest assortment of game content. GeForce NOW has been upgraded with Pascal performance and will soon add Ubisoft’s catalog of hits, including Watch Dogs 2, Assassin’s Creed Syndicate, For Honor and countless others. Upcoming native game releases include The Witness, Tomb Raider and Shadowgun Legends.
AI in the Home – SHIELD is the first streamer to announce support of Google Assistant, optimized for TV and 100% hands-free. Coming soon, SmartThings Hub technology integration will instantly turn SHIELD into a smart home hub that can connect to hundreds of smart home devices. NVIDIA SPOT, an AI mic accessory makes SHIELD the central backbone of the AI home, extending intelligent control throughout the house.
NVIDIA has stated that the features announced for the new SHIELD TV will come to existing SHIELD devices via an over-the-air update this month; though the new hands-free commands will require the updated SHIELD controller (now bundled with the new SHIELD TV), which will be sold separately.
Pre-orders for the new SHIELD TV are now available with units shipping later in January. There will be two configurations, with the SHIELD TV media streamer, which includes a game controller and remote, priced at $199; and the SHIELD Pro home media server, which comes with a controller, remote with headset jack, and 500GB of on-board storage, priced at $299.
Full press release after the break.
Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!