Ultra HD is the next-gen PC resolution—here’s why you have to have it
Dream Machine 2013 had some bitchin' hardware, but most of it was available at retail for any well-heeled hardware hound. One part, though, was not available to the unwashed masses: its glorious 4K monitor. You see, 4K was an other-worldly resolution back in mid-2013, simply because it offered four times the resolution of 1080p—at a wallet-busting expense of $3,500.
It took me a while to warm to Telltale Games’s The Walking Dead, an entire game series built around two of my least-favorite mechanics: quick-time events and dialog trees. Yippee. Pass the digital Ambien.
Just in time for the holiday shopping season, Hisense introduced its aggressively priced 55-inch XT880 4K Ultra High Definition Smart TV for $1,999. That may not exactly fall into the "affordable" category for most shoppers, but it wasn't all that long ago when two-grand was the going rate for a regular TV of the same size. These days that gets you a 65-inch or 70-inch Full HD 1080 LED, or in this case, a 55-inch 4K panel.
Chip maker Intel had big plans to bust into the TV business and offer a streaming solution to subscribers by the end of the year, but delays due to licensing negotiations may be wearing thin on the company. Intel already had to put its plans on pause and look to launch its service in 2014, but as more time has gone by, it appears Intel may want to jump ship before it leaves shore, and pass that captain's hat over to Verizon.
Apparently the mobile market isn't the only non-desktop/server space Intel is interested in encroaching; the world's largest semiconductor player also wants to dip its toes into the cable TV sector, as has been previously rumored. Word on the web is that Intel has grown frustrated with smart TV manufacturers who have bungled the whole Google TV initiative, so it's taking matters into its own hands and plans to launch its own hardware.
Valve has released Steam Big Picture Mode, which provides PC gamers with a new, elegant TV-tailored experience of Steam. The problem is Big Picture Mode is currently only in open beta testing, and finding out how to opt into the beta can be tricky. Detailed below are steps to help you get Steam's new Big Picture Mode running smoothly on your big-screen TV.
Satellite TV provider DirecTV and Viacom have finally reached a long term agreement to restore 17 channels to DirecTV customers, ending a bitter dispute that neither side could afford to let drag on. Be that as it may, the disagreement over financial terms of a contract renewal went on longer than it should have, resulting in a blackout of popular channels like Comedy Central, MTV, BET, Spike, CMT, and TV Land, along with ten others, while customers were used as pawns in contract negotiations.
The next high definition television you buy might feature an OLED (organic light-emitting diode) panel. Sure, OLED displays are comparatively pricey and in short order compared to LCD (liquid crystal display) TVs, but rivals Sony and Panasonic have put aside their competitive differences to jointly develop the next wave of OLED panels and modules for HDTVs and other large-size displays.
Most everyone interested in owning an LCD TV seems to have already went out and purchased one. According to DisplaySearch, worldwide TV shipments tumbled 8 percent year-over-year in the first quarter of 2012, marking the steepest rate of decline since the second quarter of 2009. More telling, however, is the fact that LCD TVs, which dominate the market with an 84.2 percent share of all types of TVs (well ahead of CRT TVs, which sits in second place with a 9.9 percent share), saw shipments drop by 3 percent year-over-year, and by 33 percent sequentially.
Is your television smart? If not, chances are your next one will be. According to NPD DisplaySearch's Quarterly Smart TV Shipment and Forecast Report, which tracks connected and smart tv shipments by brand, region, display technology, and screen size, smart TV shipments are surging around the globe, particularly in Japan, where more than a third of all TVs shipped have smart capabilities.