Thursday, June 30, 2011

Eizo Announces the Insane 36.4" DuraVision FHD3601 Monitor

Eizo duraVision FDH3601Eizo is all primed and ready to launch a seriously eye-opening PC monitor that will have more than a few tech nerds lusting over it more than the forbidden fruit of Eden. Known as the Eizo DuraVision FDH3601, this monitor's main feature is the staggering 4096 x 2160 resolution. This is a marginally higher resolution then the current QFHD, or Quad Full High Definition (4x HD), resolution that is already set at an incredible 3840 x 2160 resolution.

What is good is that this monitor should compliment the enormous 36.4" screen size nicely and provide a very impressive 0.1995mm pixel pitch. The monitor features WLED backlight and is also capable of displaying a 700 cd/m2 brightness. If that is too bright for you, the FDH3601 can be reduced to 30 cd/m2 which gives it a perfect range of 670 cd/m2.

It is believed that the panel will use a form of IPS technology accompanied by wide viewing angles, 25ms ISO response time and a 1,000:1 static contrast ratio as well as true 10-bit per subpixel color support. Eizo has also added a plethora of inputs as well. This monitor comes with two DVI-D ports, two DisplayPorts and two USB 2.0 ports. Current bandwidth requirements do not allow for HDMI support so maybe that will be available on an updated model.

This monitor seems to be aimed at people needing a monitor big enough to display a lot of information on screen at one time. The graphics resolution would be perfect for gaming, that is if you aren't scared away by the horsepower you would need in a card to be able to play games to their full potential on this device. There is also the 350W power consumption to take into consideration.

If you want this device, then you are going to have to hop a plane over to Japan and make sure you have a lot of disposable income. The Eizo FDH3601 is set to launch in the land of the rising sun on September 7, 2011 for roughly $36,000. Availability outside of Japan has yet to be announced but that may be a good thing for people who are impulse buyers.

Source: PC Monitors - Eizo DuraVision FDH3601 - a 36.4" monitor with QFHD+ resolution

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Friday, June 24, 2011

Incorporating Smell Into the Entertainment Experience

What if while watching The Bachelorette, you could actually smell the roses that Ashley was handing out, or while watching The Food Network, you could smell the fresh herbs and spices in all of the delicious dishes that Paula Deen was cooking up? Well, we may not be far away from the days when smell will be incorporated into our TV viewing experiences.

Scientists at the University of California San Diego have partnered with Samsung and are hard at work developing technology that would incorporate scent into the entertainment experience. This technology is leaps and bounds ahead of the entertainment industry’s first attempt to incorporate scent with movies. “Smell-O-Vision” was the name that was given to the techniques that were introduced in the 50’s and 60’s. Obviously, they weren’t very successful. The latest technology seems incredibly sophisticated. Scientists have been said to be able to create over 10,000 different aromas from a relatively compact device.

"That's the hypothetical number," said Sungho Jin, a professor of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego and the leader of the research team. "It's a matter of programming. All the odors would be pre-programmed, like sound is synchronized with the image. So there are a lot of possibilities."

Jin does warn that everything that his team has developed to this point is merely a proof of concept, so don’t get too excited yet; however, it seems as though they are making lots of progress with the technology.

So how does it work, some might ask? Well, the device stores a liquid solution in several different tiny compartments. When it is time for a smell to be released, those compartments can be heated via a metal wire. Once heated, the solution becomes gaseous. The pressure that builds then opens a small compressed hole found within the compartment and the gas is released in the room to give off the scent correlating to what is occurring in the movie or TV show.

The breakthrough that was discovered by the team at UC San Diego was the mapping of the odors on an x-y matrix. This helps to greatly minimize the complexity of the system itself. Without this discovery, any device that featured the scent technology would literally require thousands of individual controllers to create the different aromas. The matrix that the team discovered allows the device to be small enough to fit into a cell phone.

"If you want to do 10,000 odors with 10,000 switches, that's a very complicated device. But if you have an x-y matrix system, that device is more practical. It's not a problem doing 100x100 on a 50-inch TV. Each chamber would be millimeter size. On a cell phone, you may not be able to do 10,000 odors. Maybe 100."

Jin continues explaining the possibilities with this technology. “For example, if people are eating pizza, the viewer smells pizza coming from a TV or cell phone, and if a beautiful lady walks by, they smell perfume, instantaneously generated fragrances or odors would match the scene shown on a TV or cell phone, and that's the idea."

Although all of the advances with scented television experiences have been great, there are still some major issues that researchers need to address. The biggest issue right now seems to surround the limitations with how far a smell can travel. Smell travels at a much slower rate than say the light or sound on a TV, so what can be done to speed it up? Jin does not seem to be too concerned. "You can tell if somebody farts, you can smell it in three or four seconds,” he said “And that's like a two to three feet distance. For 10 feet, if you have a miniature fan, it can get to you in a few seconds or so. We keep thinking about the issues."

Jin said that smell-enabled TVs are likely years from being available to the general public, if they ever even show up. However, he believes that it is a field that has most definitely been underutilized and could make a huge impact if it is properly developed.

"Smell is one of the most important senses that we have. [With devices,] we use eyesight and hearing often. Touching is a little more difficult, and tasting would have safety issues. Smell is next."

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Monday, June 20, 2011

Samsung Creates Prototype Folding AMOLED Display

SamsungEver been playing a game on your PC and get so frustrated that you just want to grab your monitor and throw it across the room? Yeah, me too. Well, that really isn't the most financially efficient way to play games. Computer monitors are expensive and breaking one is never a good idea. However, researchers may have hit a breakthrough with a visually seamless AMOLED screen that has the ability to be folded with absolutely no resulting crease.

This prototype, which was created, designed and built by researchers at the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology in South Korea, was put through rigorous testing against 100,000 folding-unfolding cycles. The results of the testing produced absolutely no visible creasing and only a 6% decrease in screen brightness at the pivot line.

The AMOLED display consists of two panels placed on the bottom and top layer of silicone rubber. A protective glass cover is then placed on top of the optic sandwich for protection from scratches. This also allows it to act as a touchscreen. All of the components are placed inside a case that folds to a 180° angle that positions the two panels on top of each other.

Samsung has been talking about this type of technology for a while now, especially at this year's Consumer Electronics Show. While this isn't the single-piece rollable color screen we may have been thinking of, it is still a giant step forward.

Source: PC World - Samsung's Prototype AMOLED Folding Display Bends, Doesn't Break

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Monday, June 6, 2011

Increase in Computer Monitor Prices Inevitable

South African Revenue ServiceManufacturers of computers and computer monitors as well as retailers have warned consumers of a pending increase in the price of computer monitors ever since the South African Revenue Service imposed an excise duty of 7%.

Since April, a 7% ad valorem tax, which was initially scrapped back in 2004, has been reintroduced due to that fact that some computer monitors are being used also as a television. The good news is that the price increases are being introduced gradually.

Spokesman for the South African Revenue Service Adrian Lackay stated a week ago that prior to April computer monitors and televisions did not have the same tax structure. Televisions were subject to a 7% ad valorem duty whereas computer monitors did not attract any ad valorem duty whatsoever.

As a result of that, computer monitors were imported duty-free for use in the television industry "to the detriment of the local manufacturing TV industry," according to Lackay. "The alignment of taxes between monitors and TVs will hopefully curb any further abuse to the benefit of the local manufacturing industry."

It was also noted that your average variety monitor that you usually find in an office would not be affected by the tax increase. Any monitor that exceeds 20.8" will attract a 25% import duty as well as a 7% ad valorem tax, according to CEO of Mustek David Kan.

Kan also noted that no company could absorb the increase so importers will pass it on through the channel and then on to consumers. According to Kan, "The margin in the IT hardware industry is too thin not to pass on."

According to IT Product Manager at Samsung Bennie Budler, "The major implication will be that the price of all monitors bigger than 21.5" would be about 34.4% higher. The extra cost will have implications for the customer."

It is expected that the prices of monitors are going to increase by around 15% and Kan stated that there had been no formal explanation from the South African Revenue Service about the new tax. According to Kan, "I do not understand why our country is protecting the TV assembly industry. There is no local content and it creates very limited jobs."

Kan also added that the International Trade Administration Commission's decision to protect the local TV assembly sector must be challenged. "If the tax is removed, every household will be benefiting from paying less. Nowadays, TV is not a luxury item."

In a recent statement from Samsung, the company noted that recent computer monitor shipments were halted in April in order to ensure that every company importing computer monitors was declaring them in the correct way. Lackay stated that larger monitors were now all liable to the same duty. The new tax amendment had been created to ensure that, from a duty perspective, a monitor's principle application was now purely of academic interest.

Source: Business Day - Computer monitor tax 'will push up price'

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