CES 2017: Symantec Announces Norton Core Router

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2017 - 07:01 AM |
Tagged: symantec, router, iot, internet of things, CES 2017, CES, 802.11ac

Symantec has recently announced the Norton Core router and the Norton Core Security Plus subscription service. The Norton branding hints that these are targeted at their home and family customers, which is accurate. The combination is designed to connect your internet-of-things devices, keeping them (and the other things on the network) from being maliciously manipulated, even if those things weren’t really created with security at the forefront.

Symantec claims that the Norton Core router is both security- and performance-minded. The router is built around a dual-core, 1.7 GHz SoC, backed with 1GB of RAM. The AC2600-listed router is capable of 4x4 MU-MIMO, utilizing both 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands simultaneously, for a maximum total bandwidth of 2.5 gigabit.

This brings us to the service. One of the main goals of Norton Core Security Plus is to scan packets as they are transmitted between devices for malware, and isolate affected ones into a quarantined area. They also have a few services to make it easy for users to set up guest access and otherwise manage their network.

The Norton Core is expected to ship in the summer for $279.99 USD MSRP. Early users can get it for $199.99 on pre-order, though, with a year of Norton Core Security Plus bundled in. After the year, this service will cost about $9.99 per month.

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Source: Symantec

New HDMI 2.1 Specification Supports Higher Resolutions, Refresh Rates, and Game Mode VRR

Subject: General Tech | January 6, 2017 - 04:22 AM |
Tagged: vrr, variable refresh rate, HDMI 2.1, hdmi, g-sync, freesync, adaptive sync, 48G

The HDMI Forum has introduced an update to the HDMI specification, bringing the video standard to version 2.1. The updated specification, along with its accompanying new "48G" (48 Gbps) HDMI cable, brings support for higher resolutions refresh rates, and color spaces along with new features such as dynamic HDR, a variable refresh rate "Game Mode VRR", and eARC for audio device detection and object oriented audio (e.g. Dolby Atmos). 

HDMI Cable.jpg

Specifically, HDMI 2.1 adds support for 8K resolutions at up to 60 Hz and 4K at up to 120 Hz along with HDR (high dynamic range). The specification is even a bit future looking in that it allegedly supports 10K50/60/100/120 modes! The 8K@60 and 4K@120 (and higher) profiles do require the new 48 Gbps cable though lower resolutions can still get by with the older High Speed cable. The specification also supports BT2020 color spaces with 10, 12, and 16 bits per color component which I expect Ken and Allyn will appreciate.

Perhaps the most interesting new feature though is the Game Mode VRR which appears to be HDMI's take on DisplayPort's Adaptive Sync (which AMD uses for FreeSync). At last year's CES AMD was showing off FreeSync over HDMI (video) with AMD doing FreeSync over HDMI as an extension of the specification. It now appears that HDMI is rolling some manner of that variable refresh technology into the base HDMI 2.1 specification. Variable refresh rates being supported with HDMI is a good thing as it means that future game consoles may see their own FreeSync/G-Sync like variable display output options as I do not see game consoles and living room devices (TVs, receivers, et al) adopting DisplayPort any time soon if only because of the huge install base and foothold HDMI has on that market.

Notably, HDMI 2.1 remains backwards compatible with earlier specifications, cables, and devices based on older HDMI standards including the Ethernet channel and inter-device communication. Existing devices will be able to use HDMI 2.1's 48 Gbps cables but will not be forwards compatible with all of the new features (though partial new feature support might be possible with firmware updates though in no way guaranteed).

The new specification is expected to officially drop in early Q2 2017 at which point it will be available to all HDMI Adopters for testing.

I estimate that, following the compliance testing and device QA, products using the new specification should start shipping as soon as next year (at CES 2018 perhaps!). It is harder to say when graphics cards or game consoles will start supporting the new output though. I would hope that AMD and NVIDIA would be able to sneak it in before Vega and Volta based cards launch respectively but the timing may not have lined up like that. And on the game console side of things, Microsoft and Sony have already launched their revised consoles this year save Scorpio so it might be awhile before they sport variable refresh. Perhaps JoshTekk and the crew will have some thoughts on the podcast next week!

What are your thoughts on HDMI 2.1? Will it lay the groundwork for interesting displays and better living room gaming?

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: HDMI Forum

CES 2017: D-Link Launches New Wi-Fi Routers and Extenders

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 11:10 PM |
Tagged: wifi, D-Link, CES 2017, CES, 802.11ac

D-Link recently announced two new Covr branded wireless products that promise to blanket homes in Wi-Fi and eliminate dead spots. The Covr Wi-Fi System is a D-Link DIR-883 router and DAP-1655 extender kit while the Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System is a kit with two Wi-Fi equipped DHP-W730AV Powerline Ethernet adapters. The two kits are sold separately as are additional access points and powerline adapters to extend the network further.

The Covr Wi-Fi System will use a traditional hub and spoke setup with the extenders connecting directly to the central router. However, a promised future update will allegedly add mesh networking capabilities where the extenders can speak to other extenders allowing users to, well, extend the network further (at reduced bandwidth though) and/or improve spotty coverage.

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The DIR-883 and DAP-1655 support 802.11ac with MU-MIMO. Reportedly, the kit supports Qualcomm Technologies' Wi-Fi SON (Self Organizing Network) technology along with Smart Steering which boils down to technology that allows automatic load balancing between the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, traffic prioritization, and a single SSID that allows end devices to connect to whichever router or extender offers the best signal. The router supports 4x4 802.11ac and speeds up to 1733 MHz on the 5GHz and 800 MHz on the 2.4 GHz band while the extender supports 2x2 802.11ac with speeds up to 867 MHz (5 GHz) and 400 MHz (2.4 GHz). If it follows the same modes as the existing DAP-1665, it should support access point, bridge, and repeater modes though the specifications page does not detail this yet.

The benefit to this type of setup/kit is ease of use. In fact, the router and extender come pre-paired out of the box and while you can use existing wired connections as the backhaul to extend the wireless network for best performance, if you can't do that you can use repeater mode to extend the network without needing to lay new Ethernet or use MoCA/Powerline (at reduced performance). It is also a complete kit in that it comes with the router and access point(s) in the box.

Alternatively (or in addition to if you really want to get crazy with multiple extenders and adapters say in a multi-story or long ranch style home) the Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System is a kit that you can use to extend your existing wired home network to provide Wi-Fi (and wired Ethernet) to any location in your home with an electrical outlet. The specific adapters that D-Link uses (DHP-W730AV) each have two wireless antennas and three Gigabit Ethernet ports. Using Powerline AV2 MIMO technology (it can use any two of the three electrical connections, positive, negative, groud; whichever gets the best connection), the adapters are rated at speeds up to 1300 Mbps. (Note that you will see much less than this in real world speeds, and that this is the internal Powerline throughput number, and even if it was perfect (clean wiring, no interference, ect), it would be limited by the 1000 Mbps Ethernet ports and wireless connections. That overhead is needed though, because as you add additional powerline adapters, throughput is going to drop because the internet network is hub-like rather than switched.) D-Link claims the adapters offer roaming for devices, load balancing between 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, and a simplified single-button security setup (though if possible you should manually create a network key rather than use the defaults).

D-Link Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System.png

The benefit to this kit is that you can bolt it onto your existing home network and/or simply pick your own router and switch if you want to unlike the other Covr kit. Using a wired backbone is also, at least in theory, more stable and performant than a wireless connection back to the router or worse an intermediary device (e.g. a true mesh setup).

As far as pricing and availability, the Covr Wi-Fi System and Covr Powerline Wi-Fi System will be available by Q2 2017 for $299.99 and $199 respectively.

Pricing seems to be okay for MSRPs and is certainly better than the $470 that D-Link wanted for the kit it announced at last year's CES! The powerline kit does seem to be on the expensive side to me but is not totally out of the ballpark of what I've seen. It is always good to have more options for home networking, and hopefully reviews will start trickling in as they get closer to launch.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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CES 2017: Audio-Technica Expands Wireless Headphone Lineup with aptX Bluetooth

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 10:02 PM |
Tagged: wireless, headphones, CES 2017, CES, bluetooth, aptX

On the high-end audio side of things Audio-Technica has added to its wireless headphone lineup with both on-ear and in-ear models featuring aptX technology for high quality Bluetooth audio.

AT Headphones.jpg

ATH-DSR9BT and ATH-DSR7BT headphones

The high-end ATH-DSR9BT and ATH-DSR7BT are Audio-Technica's first wireless headphones with their new Pure Digital Drive system:

This new technology keeps the audio signal completely digital from the audio source to the headphones’ drivers, without the need for D/A conversion stages that typically degrade the sound quality. Traditionally, the digital signal goes through a series of steps that process and transform the wireless signal. This presents several opportunities for distortion in audio quality. Our Pure Digital Drive technology eliminates the opportunities for disruption and distortion that occur in the conversion stages, providing users with a high-quality listening experience.

ATH-AR3BT.jpg

SonicFuel ATH-AR3BT headphones

Other new models include a "high-performance/high-value" offering in the SonicFuel ATH-AR3BT on-ear headphones, a compact folding design with a new dynamic driver "to deliver richly detailed sound" that the company says "sets a new value standard for high-performance on-ear wireless headphones" at its $119 MSRP.

ATH-CKS990BT-and-ATH-CKS550BT.jpg

ATH-CKS990BT and ATH-CKS550BT in-ear monitors

In-ear options ATH-CKS990BT ($199) and ATH-CKS550BT ($119) in the Solid Bass series feature "Dual Magnetic Field drivers with Multiple-Transition diaphragms for improved sound", and will provide better wireless functionality and better controls than previous models.

All of these new wireless headphones and in-ear monitors will be available this spring.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

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Pioneer and Onkyo Release Dolby Atmos Soundbars

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 06:13 PM |
Tagged: soundbar, Pioneer, Onkyo, DTS:X, DTS:Neural, Dolby Atmos, CES 2017, CES, audio

I really like audio.  That is one area that I think is still lacking in the PC world, but it is improving from years past.  There are some interesting and exciting developments that have been rolled out over the past year with the biggest being Dolby Atmos and DTS:X.  These audio formats so far have been limited to several dozen titles on Blu-ray and through VUDU.  The selling point of these new formats is a more three dimensional component to the audio.  Dolby Atmos requires the user to have two speakers pointing towards the ceiling at an angle towards the listener.

Onkyo SBT-A500.jpg

Two very obvious things are needed to support these audio formats; a receiver that supports the decoding of Atmos/DTS:X, and a set of speakers that conform to the physical specifications for pointing audio towards the ceiling.  There are specialty speakers right now that feature the upward firing drivers, but they are not common.  Users could craft their own setups by utilizing speakers of their choice and positioning them at the correct angle themselves.

Onkyo SBT-A500 RC.JPG

Onkyo and Pioneer (a subsidiary of Onkyo) have announced two sets of soundbars that provide not only the upward firing drivers required for Atmos/DTS:X, but also the ability to have full surround without the use of rear speakers.  The Onkyo FS-EB70 and the Pioneer SBT-A500 are both three piece units which provide high quality sound in a very small package.

The units each come with their own receiver/amplifier that provides multiple inputs from a variety of sources as well as extensive wireless functionality.  They support a variety of streaming audio apps, but any kind of streaming video will require an appropriate smart TV or Blu-ray player.  The receiver is very low profile with a proprietary audio connection for the speakers.  Perhaps most impressive is that these small units have four HDCP 2.2 compliant HDMI input ports.  Many midrange receivers only feature three inputs that are 4K and HDR compliant.  They also feature a handful of legacy connections for older audio gear that a user may not want to get rid of.

FS-EB70_Large.jpg

The small powered subwoofer is wireless, but promises to pack a pretty decent punch.  The sound bar itself features two speakers per side and on the center channel.  The upwards firing drivers are single in their configuration per side.  The bar is very low profile so obviously the drivers are not terribly large.  It will easily fit underneath any TV and is wall mountable.

The units look essentially identical and Pioneer has their MSRP at $1,000 US.  The Onkyo version does not have a price listed, but we can expect it to be higher and probably utilize some higher end components in the receiver portion.

FS_EB70 Back_small.jpg

Next generation PC parts are coming down the way that will feature support for higher resolutions through HDMI as well as Atmos and DTS:X.  This looks like a good set of soundbars that offer performance and expansion capabilities well beyond what other, less expensive products can provide.  Personally I can’t wait to try such a setup in my remodeled basement with a real racing rig and a 49” TV that I haven’t used in a year.  Audiophiles will likely want to create their own setups by mixing and matching components, but for those not interested in that and only want a solution that works well out of the box these look to be pretty solid implementations of the technology.

Click here to read the entire press releases with in-depth specifications.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

 

CORSAIR Launches New Flagship K95 RGB Platinum

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2017 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: corsair, K95 RGB Platinum, mechanical keyboard, CES, CES 2017, Cherry MX

Corsair's new K95 RGB Platinum mechanical keyboard should not be thrown in a fit of frustration, the aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminium body will not be what breaks upon impact.  Then again it is not the body most are interested in, most prefer to focus on the Cherry nubbins and this keyboard has them!  You can choose either the CHERRY MX Speed with a mere 1.2mm of travel or Cherry MX RGB Brown if you prefer to bottom out with authority. 

k95.jpg

For those who need to be brought into the light this keyboard offers more than just lighting underneath the keys, it also has a 19-zone light bar called the LightEdge at the top.  All of these lighting effects are programmable through the Corsair Utility Engine, as is the functionality of the six programmable macro keys on the keyboard.  For those with a more utilitarian mindset, the detachable dual-sided soft-touch wrist rest and USB pass-through port are beneficial inclusions. 

bleedingeyes.jpg

You should see them available online in the very near future, with an MSRP of $199.

K95 RGB Platinum Specifications

  • Aircraft-grade anodized brushed aluminum frame: Built to withstand a lifetime of gaming.
  • Lightweight and rugged durability, necessary for a keyboard that’s going to see a lot of action.
  • 8MB profile storage with hardware macro and lighting playback: Allow access for up to three stored profiles on the go, independent of external software.
  • Dynamic multicolor per key backlighting with LightEdge: Adjust each key’s color and illumination level in addition to 19-zones on the LightEdge light bar for sophisticated and dramatic animations and effects.
  • 100% CHERRY RGB mechanical key switches: Unleash blistering speed with the 1.2mm actuation of CHERRY MX Speed mechanical keyswitches, or feel the tactile feedback of Cherry MX RGB Brown keyswitches.
  • Six programmable G-keys keys for in-game macros: Assign single keystrokes or complex multi-key combos to any of the six dedicated macro keys.
  • USB 2.0 pass-through port: Provides convenient access to an additional USB port for your mouse or headset.
  • Black or Gunmetal: Available in two distinctive anodized finishes, Black or Gunmetal. (Gunmetal initially only available in North America with Cherry MX Speed switch.)
  • Detachable, dual-sided soft-touch wrist rest: The comfort to enhance your gameplay during marathon gaming sessions. Choose between two different surfaces for optimal comfort.
  • Dedicated volume and multimedia controls: Control to adjust audio on the fly, without interrupting your game.
  • 100% anti-ghosting with full key rollover: No matter how fast your in-game actions are, every keypress registers correctly.
  • Fully programmable with CUE: Intuitive and powerful Corsair Utility Engine (CUE) enables sophisticated macro programming and fast, fluid dynamic multicolor illumination.
  • Windows key lock mode: Stay focused and prevent accidental Windows and Context Menu key presses.
  • FPS and MOBA keycap sets: Textured and contoured keycaps provide maximum grip and enhanced feel.

 

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Corsair

Mass Effect 2 Is Now "On the House"

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 05:11 PM |
Tagged: mass effect, pc gaming, ea, origin

Just a few months out from Mass Effect: Andromeda, EA has put Mass Effect 2 into their “On the House” promotion. As usual, this is a temporary 100%-off sale; if you get it, then it’s yours. All you need to do is log in to the Origin store, browse the “On the House” sub-section of Free Games, and add it to your library. I’m sure EA would like you to install it and get hooked on the franchise as soon as possible, but you can just leave it there for a while if you’re busy at this point in life.

ea-2016-origin-on-the-house-logo.png

Mass Effect 2 is generally considered to be the best in the series, at least thus far, so it’s both nice and logical that EA would choose this one for the promotion. The first one had a few technical issues, and it was also the introduction to the series; the team could see what worked and what didn’t, and have the confidence to add new mechanics and so forth. Also, it was apparently designed to be welcoming to players who missed the first game.

Personally, I tried the first Mass Effect but had to reformat my PC before I got more than a couple hours into it, and I never really installed it again. This promotion might be a good excuse to get back into them if I can spare a little time, which, for Mass Effect, means quite a bit of actual time.

Source: EA (Origin)

Who needs a numpad? CORSAIR launches the SCIMITAR PRO RGB Gaming Mouse

Subject: General Tech, Shows and Expos | January 5, 2017 - 04:25 PM |
Tagged: Scimatar Pro RGB, gaming mouse, corsair, CES 2017, CES

Just look at that mouse, you could do your taxes with it if your thumb was flexible enough!  17 buttons in total with a full dozen programmable thumb buttons for you MMO and MOBA players. It should allow you to set up just about anything you wanted done on your mouse, leaving your keyboard hand free for ...

scimitar.jpg

The 16,000 DPI sensor is a PIXART PMW3367 optical sensor and the CORSAIR Utility Engine allows you to set incremental sensitivity increases as low as a single DPI.  As is tradition this year, the mouse features four-zone RGB lighting which can also be controlled via CUE to let you personalize your mouse's inner glow. 

SCIMITAR PRO RGB Specifications

  • Exclusive Key Slider macro button control system: The patent-pending design provides 8mm of key travel with a secure lock to ensure every button is within reach.
  • 12 Optimized mechanical side buttons: Designed to pro-player specifications for consistent tactile feedback and precise actuation.
  • Textured side button keycaps provide enhanced grip and feel.
  • Onboard storage with hardware macro playback: Three predefined profiles include actions common for MMO/MOBA gaming as well as general purpose keyboard shortcuts. Advance your gameplay and create your own profile with custom actions and lighting effects.
  • Custom PMW3367 PIXART 16,000 DPI optical sensor: Ultra-accurate and high-speed tracking engine.
  • Native 16,000 DPI resolution, settable in single DPI steps, can be custom tuned to virtually any type of mouse pad.
  • Available in yellow or black: Styled to suit your system, the SCIMITAR PRO RGB is available in both yellow and black finishes.
  • Surface calibration tuning utility: Optimizes sensor precision and responsiveness for your playing surface.
  • Dynamic multicolor four-zone backlighting: Customizable backlighting immerses you in the game by providing nearly unlimited lighting adjustability.
  • Comfortable, precision, optimized shape: Crafted to fit your palm for the highest level of comfort no matter your hand size or grip style.
  • Ultrafast 1ms lag-free game play: Supports up to 1,000Hz/1ms USB refresh rate for a near instant response to your movements.
  • CUE software control supercharges your mouse: Enables you to program custom MMO timer countdowns, double macros, DPI matrices, and more.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Corsair

Intel's Cannon ball dropping in the Lake before the end of the year

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 01:37 PM |
Tagged: Intel, cannon lake

Intel will be waiting for the water to warm up a bit before jumping in but they have promised that Cannon Lake will arrive before the end of 2017.  Unfortunately, The Inquirer were not able to pull out much more from Brian Krzanich, we still do not have a firm date nor any more details on the specifications.  Intel is showing off a device using the 10nm based CPU and tout a 25% reduction in power usage and will use a Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU.  It is also compatible with Qualcomm's octa-core Kryo 280 CPU and Hexagon 682 DSP so we should see some interesting products come with the release of the new processor.

81720.jpg

"At CES in Las Vegas, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich confirmed that the Kaby Lake successor was still on track for a release this year and showed off the first 2-in-1 PC based on the 10nm architecture. "

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Inquirer

CES 2017: NVIDIA Announces GeForce Now for PCs

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 01:39 AM |
Tagged: nvidia, geforce now

NVIDIA has just announced GeForce Now, a cloud-streaming service for video games, will be coming soon to PCs. It will not be the same as GeForce Now for Shield devices, though. That service, like OnLive and other competitors, worked by providing users with a catalog of streaming titles for a monthly fee. Instead, in the new, PC version, users will connect to a standard Windows desktop and access games through their digital distribution accounts.

Basically, you are renting a fast PC. Bring your own games.

NVIDIA-2017-CES-_0013_Layer-7.png

From the art standpoint, which I continually bring up whenever cloud services are involved with delivering content, this side-steps many of the concerns that OnLive and others kicked up. Those sorts of services are basically run on the cable TV model, where content can be accessed under the conditions they outline, and, when it’s gone, it’s gone! NVIDIA is not attempting to make a full gaming platform, where exclusive titles are locked until they decide to remove them from existence (for legal or financial reasons). The software is left in the user’s control, and they are given 1TB of storage to do so with.

NVIDIA-2017-CES-_0014_Layer-6.png

Rise of the Tomb Raider on GeForce Now

As for the hardware, NVIDIA is advertising GTX 1080s as the GPU-of-choice for GeForce Now, but they also voiced intentions to separate performance tiers by price. As you rent progressively beefier systems, your credit of time will count down faster. This mixing-and-matching might be the reason why NVIDIA decided to go with a credit system, so users can stretch their time with slower PCs for games that don’t need top-end performance. It does lead to an interesting issue... the price.

NVIDIA quotes $25 for 20 hours of usage.

In terms of price, about $1.25/hr isn’t outrageous when you compare it to something like Amazon Web Services, although you can’t directly compare those systems to these. AWS GPU instances are based on Xeons with Kepler-era Tesla boards. Tesla GPUs are significantly more expensive than a GTX 1080, but Pascal is much newer than Kepler. Regardless, it’s entirely possible that this price is roughly in line with how much it would cost NVIDIA to provide the service.

At the same time, waving the cost in the user’s face will likely scare them away from using it. I would expect that, depending on what the average user does, it might encourage more people to try if it were a flat, monthly fee. It’s risky, because you’d have to price it carefully enough that light users of any given pay period will subsidize the heavy ones, but the sticker shock we get today seems like it might turn some people away.

NVIDIA-2017-CES-_0016_Layer-4.png

It’s an interesting attempt, though, that attempts to provide the same cloud services as competitors, only without attempting to control what you do with it. You know, besides keeping Windows and drivers up-to-date, which is more of a courtesy anyway. If it was cheaper and available outside of Mac and Windows, it might even be a way for people to ween themselves away from Windows, logging into a service rather than dual-booting or locally virtualizing for applications that don't run on their new OS. But, again, we don't even know if they can make it cheaper.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at http://pcper.com/ces!

Source: NVIDIA

CES 2017: NVIDIA Announces New SHIELD TV Media Streamer

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 11:25 PM |
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".

SHIELDTV1.jpg

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.

SHIELD_TV.jpg

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.

SHIELD_TV_box.jpg

Full press release after the break.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: NVIDIA

... and the mod of the year is ...

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 02:55 PM |
Tagged: mod, gaming, Enderal, Call of Chernobyl

I am with RPS on this one, I voted for and fully expected the Skyrim total coversion Enderal to win Mod of the year at ModdersDB.  However by a slim 1% of the vote is is the Call of Pripyat total mod, Call of Chernobyl who took first place.  This mod can remove the story and allow you to wander through all the maps included in Shadow of Chernobyl, Clear Sky, and Call of Pripyat, along with the various wildlife and other Stalkers.  The mod also includes a variety of survival options, sleep deprivation and artifact degradation.  If own Call of Pripyat you can download the mod here to find out if it as good as they say or if this is another case of Russian hackers fiddling with votes.

Dark_Valley.jpg

"Call of Chernobyl is a “freeplay” mod, which means it strips away most of the Call of Pripyat’s plot and linear progression in favour of the ability to roam anywhere and extra focus on the game’s survival elements."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Gaming

Sadly, this 'smart' hairbrush is not going to be the dumbest thing out of CES

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 01:31 PM |
Tagged: iot

Yes, you read that correctly.  The Kérastase Hair Coach from L' Oréal is an internet connected hairbrush with an accelerometer and a gyroscope inside to measure the quality of your brush stokes through your hair and The Register reports it will start to vibrate if if thinks you are being too brusque.  It also has a microphone so it can listen to you brushing and offer "insights into manageability, frizziness, dryness, split ends and breakage".  The internet connection is used to track weather, to warn you about humidity and other supposedly traumatic conditions for your hair.  You should expect to see even stranger IoT products over the next few days.

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"The annual godforsaken hypegasm that is the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas has given an "innovation award" ... to a Wi-Fi-connected microphone-fitted allegedly "smart" hairbrush."

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Source: The Register

CES 2017: Logitech Announces G533 Wireless Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 12:01 AM |
Tagged: wireless, Pro-G, logitech, headset, headphones, gaming, DTS Headphone:X, CES 2017, CES, 7.1 channel, 40mm

Logitech's newest gaming headset is the G533, a wireless model that boasts superior sound quality, reliable wireless performance, and long battery life.

Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset_Image 1.jpg

"The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset features professional grade wireless technology, patent pending Pro-G audio drivers and DTS Headphone:X 7.1 surround sound, for advanced audio performance and wireless convenience. The Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset also features a long battery life and high performance design, for comfort over long gameplay sessions."

The Pro-G drivers were previously found in the flagship Artemis Spectrum gaming headsets, which I was highly impressed by when I reviewed them a year ago. The new G533 model incorporates much of the same functionality as the wireless G933 headset, with advanced driver technology and DTS Headphone:X 7.1-channel surround effects.

Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset_Image 2.jpg

As to the wireless performance, Logitech states that their system is low-latency, completely lossless, and resistant to interference:

"Featuring advanced lossless digital audio transmission, the Logitech G533 delivers wireless convenience and incredible high fidelity sound at a range of up to 15 meters’. The headset maintains a strong connection, even in noisy Electro-Magnetic Interference (EMI) settings and when there are dozens of wireless signals in proximity."

Specifications for the G533 Wireless Gaming Headset from Logitech:


  • Headphones
    • Driver: Pro-G 40 mm
    • Frequency response: 20Hz-20KHz
    • Impedance: 32 Ohms
    • Sensitivity: 107dB SPL/mW
    • Charging Cable Length: 2m
    • Battery Life: 15 hours
    • Wireless Range: 15m
    • Size: 197 mm x 189 mm x 85 mm
    • Weight: 350 grams (12.5 oz)
  • Microphone
    • Pickup Pattern: Cardioid (Unidirectional)
    • Type: Pressure Gradient Electret
    • Condenser
      • Size: 4 mm
      • Frequency response: 100Hz-20KHz  
  • Warranty: 2-year limited hardware warranty

Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset_Image 3.jpg

The G533 Wireless Gaming Headset will retail for $149.99, with availability slated for this month.

Coverage of CES 2017 is brought to you by NVIDIA!

PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Logitech

CES 2017: Qualcomm and ODG Announce AR Smartglasses Powered by Snapdragon 835

Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2017 - 09:10 PM |
Tagged: VR, SoC, snapdragon 835, qualcomm, processor, mobile, CES 2017, CES, AR

Qualcomm Technologies, Inc and ODG (Osterhout Design Group) have announced that the R-8 and R-9 smartglasses will be the first devices powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 SoC. ODG is a developer of "mobile headworn computing and augmented reality technologies and products", and these new models leverage the reduced size and thermal requirements of the new Snapdragon 835 processor.

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The R-8 smartglasses, seated next to a glass mug for scale

"The premium Snapdragon 835 processor was designed from the ground-up to support new and innovative products and experiences beyond mobile phones, and it’s great to see that the first announced Snapdragon 835 devices will be ODG’s smartglasses," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "Thermal dissipation on a heavy compute but small device is very difficult so higher power efficiency is a must. The Snapdragon 835 processor, with our unique SoC design expertise on a 10nm process node, enables ODG to meet their design goals and develop lighter, smaller and sleeker smartglasses that take advantage of the new processor’s superior performance and power efficiency."

ODG-R9-Scale.jpg

The R-9 smartglasses

The Snapdragon-powered R-8 smartglasses are "lighter, smaller and sleeker than any other device in ODG’s portfolio", which should make their use a more attractive option for those interested in AR, VR, and Mixed Reality overlay capabilities. For their part the larger R-9 smartglasses are "based on ODG’s award-winning 50° FOV and 1080p Project Horizon platform". The company's previous smartglasses, the R-7, were powered by a Snapdragon 801 SoC.

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PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

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Source: Qualcomm

Leak alert - Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 835 runs Windows 10

Subject: General Tech | January 3, 2017 - 01:51 PM |
Tagged: qualcomm, snapdragon 835, leak

Someone fired out a press release a little early and MSPoweruser spotted it in time to post it.  We now know the new 10nm ARM based design will include the new Kryo 280 CPU, Adreno 540 GPU, and a Hexagon DSP.  We do not have specific core counts or frequencies but you can't expect everything in a single leak.  Also new on this chip is the Qualcomm Haven Security Platform, offering you security baked right into the device which is a good thing when running Android.  The new design is touted as offering impressively reduces power usage,  a full day of talk time, five days of music playback, and 7+ hours of 4K video streaming; the Qualcomm Quick Charge 4 feature will supposedly charge five hours of battery life in five minutes.

Take a look at their post and the full PR right here.

chip_4.png

"According to the leaked press release, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 sports the Qualcomm Kryo 280 CPU (quad-core), Qualcomm Adreno 540 GPU, and Qualcomm Hexagon DSP to manage the different workloads. All of this combined together will result in a 27% increase in performance when compared to the previous generation."

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Source: MSPoweruser

CES 2017: Lenovo's Smart Assistant, Smart Storage, and Multimedia Controller

Subject: General Tech, Networking | January 3, 2017 - 03:01 AM |
Tagged: wireless keyboard, Smart Storage, smart home, Smart Assistant, Lenovo, connected, CES 2017, CES, Alexa, 500 Multimedia Controller

Lenovo is announcing a trio of new connected devices beginning with the Amazon Alexa-powered Smart Assistant.

Lenovo Smart Assistant Black 1.jpg

“The Lenovo Smart Assistant with Amazon Alexa is like having your own digital assistant at home. Featuring Amazon’s Alexa Voice Service, this voice-controlled high-definition speaker with far field microphones, is there to lend a hand whenever you need it. Want to know what the morning traffic is like? Forgot to order that book from Amazon? Longing to hear your favorite playlist? Simply ask Alexa. She has all the answers to help simplify your life. What’s more, she can even help remotely with the Amazon Alexa App, which is free to download for Android and iOS.”

The Smart Assistant offers high definition sound with a speaker system that combines a 5W treble and 10W bass speaker,  and the Harman Kardon Edition takes this further with a ported design for enhanced sound.

Next we have Lenovo’s Smart Storage, which provides up to 6 TB of connected storage over a wireless (or wired) home network.

Lenovo Smart Storage 2.jpg

“Despite this remote storage center’s compact size, the Lenovo Smart Storage comes with a big challenge: How will you and your family fill it? Capable of storing up to 6 TB of photos, movies, and other digital files, this dual-band WiFi storage system can connect wirelessly to almost any smart device you own, worldwide. You’ll maintain absolute administrative control, ensuring your data and content are secure and safe—and with Auto Sync enabled, your data will back-up automatically when within WiFi range. DLNA support also ensures you’ll be able to enjoy your movies and music on any device, anytime.”

Finally we have the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller, which combines a compact keyboard and touchpad in a small wireless control device for the living room.

Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller-2.jpg

“Want to browse the web from your couch? Or turn on your favorite playlist from the dining table? We’ve got you covered with the Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller. It’s not only a mouse and keyboard in one, it’s also a remote control optimized for your Windows operating system. With an ergonomic design and up to 8 months battery life, the versatile Lenovo 500 Multimedia Controller will make your life easier.”

The controller is designed for Windows PCs (support for Windows 7 through 10), and uses a nano USB dongle for its 2.4 GHz wireless connection. The touchpad DPI is adjustable for user preference, and the unit offers up to 8 months of battery life from a pair of AAA batteries. At 5.71 x 3.37 x 0.74 inches (and 141 grams) this is a pretty small device, but certainly larger than some of the smart TV remote keyboards certain models have shipped with.

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PC Perspective's CES 2017 coverage is sponsored by NVIDIA.

Follow all of our coverage of the show at https://pcper.com/ces!

Source: Lenovo

Mate, those optical switches are Bloody loud on that B840 keyboard of yours!

Subject: General Tech | January 2, 2017 - 03:09 PM |
Tagged: bloody, B840, gaming keyboard, input, A4Tech

The Bloody B840 is a bit of a chimera, having optical switches which incorporate a metal knob in each key to produce a click when a button is fully depressed like a mechanical keyboards keys.  Their LK Sound Creator Tech makes the keys similar to Cherry Blue in terms of travel distance and actuation force, but the actual keystroke is registered with the infrared beam that comprises the optical switch.  TechPowerUp is working on proper testing for keyboard response times, the tests they tried showed that the optical technology on the Bloody keyboard is technically faster to register a keypress, but not so much that they noticed it during use.  You can see their full review here.

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"Bloody is a new gaming peripherals brand A4Tech recently introduced. Today, we take a look at their new B840 keyboard with the new optical Bloody LK2 switch. It promises a long lifespan, extremely fast response times, and a clicky response, which is new for optical switches."

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Source: TechPowerUp!

Annoy the neighbours from the comfort of the couch; 3D printed remote controlled snowblower

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2016 - 01:24 PM |
Tagged: DIY, 3d printing

Snowblowers are noisy and not as effective as a shovel, but when it is remote controlled it certainly becomes an attractive solution.  Over at Hack a Day there is a link to a 3D printing project which gives you the plans to print out your own snowblower.  The project does encompass the entire machine, it might be prudent to look the project over and see if standard snowblower parts can be included in the build; especially if you already own one.  3D printing is growing in utility as well as popularity.

snow-blower-attachment.gif

"This year’s model features a slipper clutch — combined with a differential from a heavy RC truck — to forestall damage to the attachment if you happen to hit any rocks or ice chunks. The blades are also thicker and lack teeth in this iteration, as they would catch on anything hard and shatter the blade more often than not."

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Source: Hack a Day

Windows 10 "Game Mode" Library Spotted

Subject: General Tech | December 30, 2016 - 02:19 AM |
Tagged: windows 10, microsoft

A new version of Windows 10 was leaked, and it apparently contains a file called “gamemode.dll”. Some people are speculating that this could be API hooks for applications to request higher priority with CPU and GPU resources, increasing performance. Microsoft gave a "no comment" to PC Gamer about the issue, but Windows Central cites anonymous sources claiming that this is the case, and it is either related or analogous to how the Xbox One multitasks.

microsoft-2016-window10xboxplayanywhere.png

While I believe the DLL exists, of course, I’m skeptical about its function -- but I would bet that it’s true (given how sure everyone seems to be). Also, I’ve seen GPGPU compute times fluctuate wildly by leaving other windows open, so there is probably some overhead that the OS can reduce. It just seems weird that this has come out of nowhere.

We’ll probably find out soon, because the Creators Update (Windows 10 1703) is coming out in a few months. Whatever this DLL is, it seems targeted at that feature update.

You can also check out other features of the leaked 14997 build, listed by Paul Thurrott.