Pioneer and Onkyo Release Dolby Atmos Soundbars

Subject: General Tech | January 5, 2017 - 11:13 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 - 10:19 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. 

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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. 

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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 - 10:11 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.

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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 - 09:25 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 ...

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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 - 06:37 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.

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"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 - 06:39 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.

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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.

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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 5, 2017 - 04:25 AM |
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".

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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.

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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 - 07:55 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.

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"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 - 06:31 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."

Here is some more Tech News from around the web:

Tech Talk

Source: The Register

CES 2017: Logitech Announces G533 Wireless Gaming Headset

Subject: General Tech | January 4, 2017 - 05:01 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.

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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