Monday, February 28, 2011

Prices of Computer Monitors in South Africa Set to Rise

computer monitorOne doesn't typically hear a lot of news about computer monitors in South Africa, but today we have some very interesting news on that very subject. According to the country's National Treasury, the prices of computer monitors in the country are set to increase as a part of the National Treasury's new plan.

South Africa's National Treasury's plan is to re-introduce excise duties on monitors because they are quote "used as televisions" as well. The National Treasury recently unveiled its National Budget Review and it came with some bad news for all the tech lovers in the country.

According to the 2011 document of revenue trends and tax proposals, the government in South Africa will impose higher prices on computer monitors. In 2004, ad valorem excise duties were banned on monitors due to the assumption that they would be used as computer monitors. According to the document, "However, some monitors are also used as televisions, which are subject to ad valorem tax."

The National Treasury has declared that ad valorem excise duties will be reinstated on monitors at a flat rate of 7% and will take effect on April 1st, 2011. Hopefully this isn't a cruel April Fool's Day prank by the South African government.

Esquire MD Mohammed Cassim stated that this tax will definitely have an impact on pricing as the 7% is most likely to be simply added to the retail price of the computer monitors. Cassim also added that they tried to convince the government that the new tax on monitors wasn't the right path to follow but their pleas went unheard. Cassim advised South Africans to load up on their computer monitor needs before the new tax is introduced.

David Kan, CEO of Mustek, said that the statement on the introduction of a 7% ad valorem tax on computer monitors is far too vague. "We need to see on which tariff code this will be applicable. Currently, the PC LCD Monitor is using tariff code 8471.30.10 and LCD TV Monitors without a TV tuner are using the rebate item code 460.16/85.28. On imported devices, we pay import duty and ad valorem tax but we claim them back at the same time," Kan explained.

Kan went on to say that, "If tariff code 8471 attracts a 7% ad valorem tax, then all other computer peripherals will be levied with this tax which includes keyboards, mice, notebooks, complete desktop PCs, etc... This is why we need more details to make comments. SARS may introduce a new tariff code to make it clear." Kan also added that the line between PC LCD monitors and TV LCD monitors is already very vague. "Let's see if SARS will give us more information," he added.

Source: MyBroadband News - Computer monitor prices set to jump in SA

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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Toshiba's Glasses-Free 3D TVs a Flop in Japan

Toshiba Glasses-Free 3D TV3D is spreading faster than an illegal substance at Woodstock these days as every major display company seems to be jumping on board the hype train. But if you ask me, 3D is more of an inconvenience than the next ground-breaking technology. Think about it. Whenever you go to see a movie in 3D or to watch something on a 3D TV, you have to put on a pair of glasses. Now I can watch a movie here or there in 3D but to consistently watch TV wearing 3D glasses would be unbearable.

I thought maybe the new invention of this glasses-free 3D TV stuff would change my mind, turn me around but that doesn't seem too likely, especially after a recent report from Toshiba. According to the technological giant, their glasses-free 3D TVs have been flopping so far.

The company has only sold about half of what they expected to sell in Japan with their glasses-free 3D TVs according to President of Toshiba's Visual Products Company Masaaki Osumi. Only a measly 500 of the 20-inch, $2,490 devices were sold in the first month and the less expensive 12-inch model sold even less than that. Toshiba expected to move 1,000 units of each model during their first month of sales.

Osumi went on to say that the company needs to offer larger sizes of their glasses-free 3D TVs in order to boost their sales. Technical challenges also need to be overcome first before Toshiba can increase sales in the second half of 2011.

I have always been curious as to how a glasses-free 3D TV would work. In order to create the 3D image for Toshiba's models without the need for glasses, Toshiba uses a sheet in the TV screen which angles images toward the user's eyes. Sitting off to the side of the screen, especially if it is a larger one, will diminish the effect, which sucks if you have a lot of people trying to watch one TV at the same time.

I thought this new form of 3D television would help change my mind about the technology but with such harsh sales reports, especially from Japan, I am still, if not more, hesitant about jumping on the bandwagon. For me, I am going to need a lot more convincing and some seriously better tech before I throw down for anything 3D.

Source: Electronista - Toshiba says glasses-free 3D TVs flopping so far
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Samsung Central Station

Samsung Central StationSamsung debuted a lot of cool stuff during CES 2011 which included a slew of new monitors. One such product was the Samsung Central Station. Now, you can't get a lot of information on this device from just looking at it which is why you need to get a hands on if possible. Once you sit down and actually see what the Central Station is all about then you can really see what Samsung is trying to do here.

According to Samsung, the Central Station is more of an IT hub than anything else. The device is a standalone monitor that comes with a number of different connection inputs located on the base of the device. You connect your peripherals, like your mouse and keyboard, via USB to the base of the monitor. Then you insert the included USB dongle into the USB port on your laptop if you are going wirelessly. The cool thing here is that when your laptop comes within range of your Central Station all of your desktop peripherals connect automatically.

There will be three different versions of the Central Station according to Samsung with either a 23-inch screen or a 27-inch screen and these are:

  • The Wired Version: 23-inch C23A550U or 27-inch C27A550U
  • Wireless Consumer: 23-inch C23A750U or 27-inch C27A750U
  • Wireless Professional: 23-inch C23A650U or 27-inch C27A650U

Basic specifications include:

  • 1920x1080 pixel resolution
  • 2ms Response Time
  • 1000:1 Contrast Ratio
  • 2 USB 2.0
  • 2 USB 3.0
  • Audio output jack
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • Ethernet
  • Upstream
  • USB 3.0
  • Proprietary Wireless connection to laptop
  • WLED Backlit

You can adjust the height of the Central Station to your liking as all consumer models sport a dual-hinge base. The Professional model features your more traditional fully height adjustable stand as opposed to the dual-hinge design. In addition to that, the USB ports can also charge anything that has USB connectivity.

According to Samsung, "Central Station is designed to reduce companies' long-term equipment costs. By eliminating the need to purchase device-specific docking stations, a single Central Station will last through multiple generations of PCs."

Samsung will offer the Central Station with your choice of a metallic or crystal finish and will also feature Samsung's Touch of Color highlight. This looks to be a pretty cool device from Samsung. It is still unclear on how it works in the real world but we will know shortly as the Central Station will be coming out in March.

Source: CNET
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