MWC 16: HTC Vive Launches in April for $799 USD

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | February 21, 2016 - 08:27 PM |
Tagged: MWC, mwc 16, valve, htc, vive, Oculus

Valve and HTC announced that the Vive consumer edition will be available in April for $799 USD, with pre-orders beginning on February 29th. Leave it to Valve to launch a product on a date that doesn't always exist. The system comes with the headset, two VR controllers, and two sensors. The unit will have “full commercial availability” when it launches in April, but that means little if it sells out instantly. There's no way to predict that.

The announcement blog post drops a subtle jab at Oculus. “Vive will be delivered as a complete kit” seems to refer to the Oculus Touch controllers being delayed (and thus not in the hands of every user). This also makes me think about the price. The HTC Vive costs $200 more than the Oculus Rift. That said, it also has the touch controllers, which could shrink that gap. It also does not come with a standard gamepad, like Oculus does, although that's just wasted money if you already have one.

htc-valve-2016-viveset.png

Unlike the Oculus, which has its own SDK, the Vive is powered by SteamVR. Most engines and middleware that support one seem to support both, so I'm not sure if this will matter. It could end up blocking content in an HD-DVD vs BluRay fashion. Hopefully Valve/HTC and Oculus/Facebook, or every software vendor on an individual basis, works through these interoperability concerns and create an open platform. Settling on a standard tends to commoditize industries, but that will eventually happen to VR at some point anyway. Hopefully, if it doesn't happen sooner, cross-compatibility at least happens then.

Acer's Predator X34; it's a 21:9 curved 1440p display with G-SYNC

Subject: Displays | February 15, 2016 - 03:46 PM |
Tagged: Predator X34, ips, gsync, curved lcd, acer, 1440p

On paper it looks brilliant, a 3440x1440 IPS curved display with a a refresh rate that can be overclocked to 100Hz, with G-SYNC handling the adaptive sync duties.  It will cost you a bit to pick up of course, currently Amazon has it priced at $1350 so it does have a lot to live up to.  Techgage tested it out and found a lot to love, from physical control buttons instead of virtual controls, HDMI and DisplayPort connectors as well as four USB 3.0 ports speak well of the physical design. On the other hand the monitor has a serious case of IPS glow and some may not be able to hit 100Hz, then again neither can most GPUs even when in SLI.  Techgage offers advice on adjusting your display if you have issues and overall loved everything about the display ... excepting the price.

Ryan and the crew took a look at this display a while back.

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"On the lookout for a gaming monitor that can do it all? If price isn’t a concern, Acer's Predator X34 is the one to look at. It comes in at 34 inches, boasts a 3440×1440 ultra-wide resolution, makes images pop with an IPS panel, takes advantage of NVIDIA’s G-SYNC frame-smoothing technology, and if that’s not enough: it’s curved."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

Source: Techgage
Author:
Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: ASUS

A unique combo of size and resolution

We see all kinds of monitors at PC Perspective; honestly it's probably too many. It's rare when a form factor or combination of features really feels unique, but today's review of the ASUS PB328Q is exactly that. Have we seen 2560x1440 displays? Countless. More than a few VA panels have graced our test benches. And 30-32 inch monitors were the biggest rage in screen technology as far back as 2007. A refresh rate of 75Hz is no longer as novel a feature as it used to be either.

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The ASUS PB328Q combines all of that into a package that stands out from other professional, low cost monitor options. The largest 2560x1440 monitor that I have used previously is 27-inches, and the 5-in difference between that and what the PB328Q offers is an immediately obvious change. The question is though, does the size and resolution combination, along with the panel technology, combine to a form a product that is good for productivity, gaming, both, or neither? With a price of just $539 on Amazon, many users might be interested in the answer.​

Here are the specifications for the ASUS PB328Q display.

  ASUS PB328Q Specifications
Screen Size 32 inch
Screen Mode WQHD
Response Time 4ms
Aspect Ratio 16:9
Backlight Technology LED
Panel Technology VA (vertical alignment)
Tilt Angle -5 to +20 degrees
Adjustable Height Yes
Video
Maximum Resolution 2560x1440
Standard Refresh Rate 75 Hz
Color Supported 1073.1M (10-bit) with 12-bit Look-up Table
Contrast Ratio 100,000,000:1 (ASCR)
Brightness 300 nits
Tearing Prevention Technology None
Audio
Speakers 3W x 2 Stereo RMS
Interfaces/Ports
DisplayPort Yes
HDMI Yes
DVI Yes
3.5mm Audio Output Yes
Physical Characteristics
Color Black
Miscellaneous
Package Contents Dual-link DVI cable
VGA cable
Audio cable
Power cord
DisplayPort cable
USB 3.0 cable
HDMI cable

For those new to VA panel technology, is helps to have some background before we start testing the PB328Q. Vertical alignment panels are very good at blocking the backlight coming through the screen to the user's eyes, making them excellent at producing strong blacks and high contrast ratios when compared to other LCD technology. VA also results in vastly improved color reproduction and viewing angles, falling above TN and (usually) below IPS screens in that area.

Continue reading our review of the ASUS PB328Q Monitor!!

Monoprice Graphics Tablets Are Available

Subject: Displays | February 6, 2016 - 10:41 PM |
Tagged: monoprice, pen display, touch screen, drawing

A couple of CESes ago, Monoprice launched a couple of 22-inch pen displays to compete with the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. Shortly afterward, the products disappeared from their website and line-up, so I assumed, at the time, that they changed their mind or otherwise refocused.

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Turns out, it was only temporary. There are now two models on their product list, one for $499.99 and another for $599.99, although I have a feeling that the cheaper model might be discontinued. The only real, concrete difference that I can see is the $599.99 model uses “battery-free” pens, which I'm assuming is powered by induction from the display surface. The cheaper model is out-of-stock with an estimated availability of “TBD”. That one uses rechargeable pens. The $599.99 model also lists Linux drivers. The $599.99 version also has a slower response time (12ms vs 5ms) and higher viewing angles, although both are listed as IPS.

Whether or not the $499.99 model will become available again, the $599.99 one is still about a third of the price of the Wacom Cintiq 22HD. Also, unlike the Wacom, it supports Linux as mentioned above. They used to offer a pen display with a ten-finger capacitive touchscreen, which competes with the Wacom Cintiq 22HD Touch, but that has not been relaunched, at least not yet.

Source: Monoprice

A big beautiful curvy MVA display with some omissions, the BenQ XR3501

Subject: Displays | January 19, 2016 - 04:44 PM |
Tagged: XR3501, mva, benq, 2560x1080, 144hz

Benq made some interesting design choices on the XR3501 which some will love and some will absolutely despise.  A 35" MVA panel at 144Hz is impressive to behold and one with "2000R Ultra Curve Technology"  is even more so as it is a significantly higher curve than most other monitors.  The 2000R is actually an industry standard and denotes the radius, in millimetres, of the circle this monitor would describe which in this case is 2 metres.  Most other curved monitors are 4000-4500R, as in 4 to 4.5 metres radius. 

On the other hand, the monitor does not have adaptive sync technology and the resolution of 2560x1080 will cause some disappointment, as may the ~$1000 price tag.  You can either check out Hardware Canucks' full review here or just scroll on in disgust.

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"Massive curved gaming monitors seem to be the flavor of the day and BenQ's XR3501 may be one of the most insane. It boasts a 35" curved MVA panel with a 144Hz refresh rate."

Here are some more Display articles from around the web:

Displays

Author:
Subject: Displays
Manufacturer: Acer

UltraWide G-Sync Arrives

When NVIDIA first launched G-Sync monitors, they had the advantage of being first to literally everything. They had the first variable refresh rate technology, the first displays of any kind that supported it and the first ecosystem to enable it. AMD talked about FreeSync just a few months later, but it wasn't until March of 2015 that we got our hands on the first FreeSync enabled display, and it was very much behind the experience provided by G-Sync displays. That said, what we saw with that launch, and continue to see as time goes on, is that there are a much higher quantity of FreeSync options, with varying specifications and options, compared to what NVIDIA has built out. 

This is important to note only because, as we look at the Acer Predator X34 monitor today, the first 34-in curved panel to support G-Sync, it comes 3 months after the release of the similarly matched monitor from Acer that worked with AMD FreeSync. The not-as-sexyily-named Acer XR341CK offers a 3440x1440 resolution, 34-in curved IPS panel and a 75Hz refresh rate. 

gaming1.jpg

But, as NVIDIA tends to do, they found a way to differentiate its own products, with the help of Acer. The Predator X34 monitor has a unique look and style to it, and it improves the maximum refresh rate to 100Hz (although that is considered overclocking). The price is a bit higher too, coming in at $1300 or so on Amazon.com; the FreeSync-enabled XR341CK monitor sells for just $941.

Continue reading our review of the Acer Predator X34 G-Sync Monitor!!

CES 2016: Dell UltraSharp U3017Q 4K OLED Pro Display

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 9, 2016 - 02:59 AM |
Tagged: CES, CES 2016, dell, ultrasharp, oled

For the longest time, display technology was stagnant. Professional monitors were 1440p, IPS panels (or 2560x1600 for 16:10 models) and high-90% Adobe RGB color, which is useful for both video and print gamuts. Consumer monitors were based on TN technology that could maybe cover the smaller sRGB color space, which covers video. Mobile devices, due to their small size, relatively high viewing angle requirements, and eventually high PPI, started introducing higher-end technologies to consumers. G-Sync, and later FreeSync, continued to differentiate high-end panels. Still, apart from the shift to 4K 60Hz, professional panels didn't go through an astonishing upgrade.

dell-2016-ultrasharp-oled-engadget.jpg

Image Credit: Engadget

OLED was always on the horizon though, and are now being integrated into consumer, and professional, monitors. The Dell UltraSharp U3017Q is one such display, with a 30-inch size and 4K resolution. It completely covers Adobe RGB and 97.8% of DCI-P3. DCI-P3 is not a superset of Adobe RGB, it's just a bit more shifted into the reds, and it is designed for digital cinema projects. Because it's not blocking white light, it can get deeper blacks and more saturated colors.

For accessories, it has a USB Type-C connector that can provide 100W of power, as well as high-speed data and apparently video.

Its pricing and availability is where we get to its downside. It will ship March 31st, which is great news for the new technology, but it will cost $4,999, which is not so amazing. That said, if companies get their hands on it, it might eventually trickle into the prosumer and consumer space, like the 4K IGZO panels did a couple of years ago.

What do our readers think?

Did it launch too early? Or does this make you interested when the price drops? Or, alternatively, are you planning on dropping a huge chunk of cash as soon as they'll take it?

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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

Source: Engadget

CES 2016: AMD Shows Polaris Architecture and HDMI FreeSync Displays

Subject: Graphics Cards, Displays | January 8, 2016 - 02:56 PM |
Tagged: video, Polaris, hdmi, freesync, CES 2016, CES, amd

At its suite at CES this year, AMD was showing off a couple of new technologies. First, we got to see the upcoming Polaris GPU architecture in action running Star Wars Battlefront with some power meters hooked up. This is a similar demo to what I saw in Sonoma back in December, and it compares an upcoming Polaris GPU against the NVIDIA GTX 950. The result: total system power of just 86 watts on the AMD GPU and over 150 watts on the NVIDIA GPU.

Another new development from AMD on the FreeSync side of things was HDMI integration. The company took time at CES to showcase a pair of new HDMI-enabled monitors working with FreeSync variable refresh rate technology. 

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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

Source: AMD

CES 2016: Monoprice Announces 21:9 and 4K Displays

Subject: Displays | January 7, 2016 - 02:37 AM |
Tagged: ultra wide, monoprice, monitor, ips, display, CES 2016, CES, 4k, 21:9

Monoprice announced a pair on monitors today at CES, beginning with their new ultra-wide 21:9 display.

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The monitor features a 3440 x 1440 IPS panel with a 75 Hz refresh rate, but the big story with this monitor is going to be cost, as Monoprice will be selling this for $499 – the lowest we’ve seen for a 3440 x 1440 by far. (LG is currently the only supplier of these curved 34-inch 3440x1440 IPS panels, so this should be the same panel found in similar monitors on the market.)

Monoprice also announced a new 27-inch 4K display at CES, and this USB-C monitor uses an LG IPS panel with 99% Adobe RGB color support. Also $499, the monitor offers 100 watt USB-C power delivery for device charging for laptops and other devices, as well as USB 3.0 connectivity. (The display was not available to photograph.)

It was a point of emphasis that Monoprice is only using A+ panels for these new monitors (which means they are the same grade as the big name brands), and the company really seems to be working to establish itself in the display space. Both of these monitors will be available in Q1 2016.

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PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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Source: Monoprice

CES 2016: Oculus Price Announced and Pre-Orders Open

Subject: Displays, Shows and Expos | January 6, 2016 - 05:04 PM |
Tagged: Oculus, oculus rift, oculus touch, CES, CES 2016

Oculus has finally announced that the Rift will launch on March 28th for $599 USD. If you were an original backer on Kickstarter, then this kit will be given to you for free. DK2 purchasers do not receive this gift, but I guess the company was relatively established by that point. Pre-orders have now opened, although the kit will be available (albeit at “limited locations”) through typical retail channels in April. Finally, making good on their “$1500” announcement earlier this year, systems that meet the minimum requirements, and bundle the Oculus Rift, will be available for pre-order that start at $1499.

oculus-2016-riftkit.jpg

Okay, so let's unpack this.

The elephant in the room is the price. It's steep. If you are even moderately patient, you can pick up a GeForce 980 Ti for the same amount. (As I write this, I'm looking at a Gigabyte 980 Ti with a custom cooler for $599.99 on Amazon.) For that price, you get the headset (with its two 1080x1200 OLED screens, microphone, and headphones), an Xbox One controller, a sensor, and a newly-announced Oculus Remote. You cannot purchase the Oculus Rift without an Xbox One controller, which is unfortunate for current owners of Xbox One controllers.

Who has two thumbs and bought an Xbox One Elite controller? This guy.

The benefit of including a (regular) Xbox One controller is that Oculus Rift developers can rely on each customer having access to a solid PC gamepad. Without it, some percentage of users might (and when you deal with large sample spaces, probability increasingly becomes a distribution) have just a mouse and keyboard. I'd also expect that Microsoft would provide them a bit of a discount for at least the volume, with the ties between Microsoft and Facebook possibly coming into play, too.

Unlike the HTC Vive, the Oculus Rift will not ship with its motion controller (called the “Oculus Touch”). That will be delayed until later in the year, which also means that some fraction of the user base will never have it. This is a concern for cross-compatibility between the Rift and the Vive, but not nearly as bad as it would have been if Oculus didn't have any motion control option at all. Developers would be looking at a “release on both Wii and PS2” situation, only with a (likely) much smaller install base.

And a final point: What about the other uses of Oculus?

oculus-2016-remote.jpg

The Oculus Remote controls the interface and media.

This announcement is gaming-centric, to say the very least. Oculus has said that the Rift is “primarily a gaming device” and, apparently, Palmer Luckey, founder of Oculus, strongly believes in gaming for the device. In my opinion though, it could be very useful, especially in professional applications. If the OLED screens have sufficient color and resolution, then desktop space becomes infinite. You don't need an additional monitor to map additional virtual space to your environment. While that's probably not something that Facebook could do alone, they could encourage the parties who influence these decisions with tech demos, peripherals, and so forth.

They still don't seem to be. This could be a concern since their primary competitors, Microsoft and even Valve/HTC, already have non-zero amounts of progress in that space. I'd be curious to hear whether they have any plans at all moving forward, even if those plans are to be reactionary.

Coverage of CES 2016 is brought to you by Logitech!

PC Perspective's CES 2016 coverage is sponsored by Logitech.

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Source: Oculus