4K resolution

8 Misleading Gadget Marketing Gimmicks

Consumers now have thousands of computers, tablets, e-readers, phones, game consoles, and other gadgets to choose from. Unfortunately, technology marketing teams have a frustrating history of creating misleading marketing campaigns — from the commercials they create to the facts listed on product listings. Here are eight misleading marketing gimmicks to be aware of before you purchase any new tech toys.

1. PlayStation 4 Pro’s 4K graphics

The new PlayStation has been marketed as a new 4K gaming experience. Despite the marketing claims, developers have begun to admit that the console doesn’t have the processing power to render a true 4K image. Instead, the PS4 Pro fills in half of the required pixels for a 4K image (like a checkerboard) and utilizes an algorithm to fill in the missing pixels for a 4K screen, which will still result in a high definition gaming experience, but not technically 4K.

The PS4 Pro will be close enough to 4K image that most gamers won’t be able to tell the difference. Mislabeling the PS4 Pro as 4K isn’t malicious, but it’s still indicative of an industry that continually oversells image quality as true 4K.

2. Video game trailers with misleading images

Video games, every once in awhile, mislead gamers about the quality of the graphics. Gamers awed by the trailers, purchase the game, and then are disappointed by the poorer-than-advertised image quality. Game marketers hoodwink gamers in two ways: pre-rendered images and cross console game images.

No Man’s Sky has come under fire (and an investigation by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority) for using concept art and pre-rendered footage to advertise their game in a manner that over-exaggerates the graphics.

In 2010, Final Fantasy XIII’s trailer was banned by the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority for using PlayStation 3 clips to advertise the Xbox 360 version of the game. The trailer convinced individuals to purchase the game, only for them to discover the Xbox 360 version of the game had lower quality graphics.

3. Available storage space

Available memory is an important aspect of many purchases. Is 8GB enough? Or would a 32GB device be better? Each consumer needs to make an educated decision which device best fits their needs. The problem is that tech manufacturers often choose to not advertise how much of the memory has already been used by preinstalled software and hardware.

How big can the discrepancy between advertised and available storage be? In the past, Apple iPhones and iPads had 20 percent less storage space…

What’s the Difference Between the Xbox One, Xbox One S, and Xbox One X?

There’s more than one Xbox One. You can already buy the Xbox One S, a redesigned Xbox One with a few upgrades. Microsoft is also working on a major upgrade named the Xbox One X, which will arrive on November 7 and was codenamed “Project Scorpio”.

All Xbox One models will play the same Xbox One games. However, newer models may play those same games with more detailed graphics and smoother framerates. Here are the main differences.

Xbox One (Released November, 2013)

You’re probably already familiar with the original Xbox One. The console itself is a a large, black, VCR-style box. All Xbox One packages originally included the Kinect, Microsoft’s solution for voice recognition, motion tracking, and controlling your cable box or other TV service with its integrated IR blaster.

The Xbox One was released a week after the PlayStation 4, and the two consoles directly competed with each other. The Xbox One was a bit slower and $100 more expensive than the PS4 (no thanks to those TV and Kinect features). As a result, Sony pulled ahead in sales.

Microsoft has shifted gears since then. Microsoft dumped the Kinect from most Xbox One bundles and matched the PlayStation 4’s price. In fact, Microsoft has all but abandoned the Kinect. You can still buy a Kinect for about $100 and connect it to your Xbox One afterwards, if you like, but don’t expect to see any new Kinect-enabled games any time soon.

Xbox One S (Released August, 2016)

The Xbox One S is a streamlined, slightly faster Xbox One with some other improvements. It costs around $299, about the same price as the original Xbox One now costs, although Microsoft sometimes cuts the price. For example, Microsoft cut the price by $50 when the Xbox One X was announced.

Where the original Xbox One was black, the Xbox One S is white. The console itself is about 40% smaller than the Xbox One, and it doesn’t have the Xbox One’s massive power brick. The console has been redesigned in small, smart ways. There’s now a USB port on the front of the console instead of on the side, for example, making it easier to plug in USB sticks. You can also stand the Xbox One S up vertically, if you like.

The Kinect is missing in action here. No models of the Xbox One S ship with a Kinect. The Xbox One S does not have a dedicated Kinect port on the back of the console, as the original Xbox One does. If you buy a Kinect and want to use it with your Xbox One S, you’ll need to get a Kinect-to-USB adapter from Microsoft.

The new controller bundled with the Xbox One S is white, too. It includes a few minor improvements, such as a textured back for easier grip. It now supports Bluetooth, which means you can connect it directly to a Windows PC without buying the Xbox Wireless USB adapter. However, you can use any model of Xbox One controller with any Xbox One console.

Under the hood, the big new improvements are support for 4K resolution and HDR color. You’ll only be able to see that 4K improvement if you have a 4K TV, and you’ll only get HDR content if you have a 4K TV that supports HDR-10. You won’t notice any difference otherwise. If you have a TV that supports only Dolby Vision HDR instead of HDR-10 HDR, you won’t be able to view HDR content. Blame your TV’s manufacturer for not supporting both.

The Xbox One S isn’t actually powerful enough for 4K gaming, unfortunately, so games will still play…

Is Now a Good Time to Buy a PC Monitor?

Whenever you plan a new purchase, you want to make sure you’re buying it at an ideal time—nobody wants to be the sucker who put a down payment on that brand new sports car a month before it was replaced with a new model. So it is with PC monitors…albeit on a slightly smaller scale. So, is now (summer 2017) a good time to purchase one or more for that perfect desktop setup?

Short answer: Yes! There are a lot of options right now, from small and serviceable to huge and high-resolution, with plenty of deals to be had in all segments. The next big leaps forward in monitor technology, 8K resolution and OLED panels, are still several years away from widespread adoption.

Monitor Prices Are Low and Stable

Monitors are always surprisingly fluid in price, even for consumer electronics. At the moment, there are plenty of new options to choose from, as well as older models (up to three years on the shelf) that can be found in new conditions for a discount. If even that’s not inexpensive enough, there’s a decent supply of refurbished options, though buying a refurbished monitor is more tricky than with other types of electronics, due to a higher likelihood of dead or “stuck” pixels on the display panel.

There’s a lot of competition in the monitor space, too. Dell and Samsung seem to be the perennial picks for the best models available, including a wide range of price points and premium options like 4K resolution, ultrawide format, curved panels, and extreme color accuracy. Even so, there are plenty of alternatives from brands like ASUS, Acer, LG, and HP, often priced competitively to move against the larger players. Shop around on deal sites and daily bargain pages and you’ll be amazed at what you find—even larger panels at up to 30 inches can be had for under $300 USD.

Remember, if you’re shopping for a multiple-monitor setup and you want to be able to use a custom stand or a permanent wall mount, you’ll want a monitor that’s compatible with a 100x100mm VESA mount.

Current Technology Serves the Market Well

At the moment there are monitors to fit just about every possible taste and application, from small and serviceable to big and bombastic….

What the Labels On Your TV’s HDMI Ports Mean (and When It Matters)

An HDMI port is just an HDMI port, right? Except if you peer closely at the back of your HDTV and other HDMI-capable home theater components, you’ll notice quite a few tiny labels that indicate not all ports are equal. What do those labels mean, and does it matter which port you use?

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Any Port for the Basics, Specific Ports for Specific Features

When it comes to selecting which HDMI port to use for which device, there are only a few simple things to keep in mind. First and foremost, when it doubt, always defer to your device’s manual: good labeling, poor labeling, or no labeling at all, the ultimate authority is the fine print the manufacturer has laid out in the manual. Not only might you find that generically labeled port “HDMI 2” actually has extra features, but you may also find you need to toggle a setting somewhere in the TV’s settings menu to enable it.

The second thing to keep in mind is that for older HDMI devices, like your old Blu-ray player or cable box, any HDMI port will work because of backwards compatibility—but some ports offer additional features, which we’ll address in the next section.

Finally, while any port will get the job done for older HDMI-capable devices, you will absolutely want to be sure you’re using best port on your HDTV if you have a newer device capable of 4K input. If you pair a new device with an older port, you’ll miss out on significant quality.

HDMI Labels Decoded

On your typical HDTV set, you’ll find some (though rarely all) of the following labels. While the meaning of the labels ranges from “pretty standardized” to “set in stone” at this point, there is no requirement that manufacturers label their ports at all—if your set simply has “HDMI 1”, “HDMI 2”, and so on, again, check the manual to see if any of the ports have the following features.

STB: Set-Top Box

The STB port is intended for use with your set-top box: the input device provided to you by your cable or satellite provider. The only benefit of using this port for this purpose is that 1) it’s usually the first port, HDMI 1, which means it’s easy to skip to when using the input selection button and 2) HDTVs with this port designation typically have additional buttons for the set-top box (or additional functionality related to it). For example, your particular TV might use HDMI-CEC to talk to your cable box over the STB port so that the channel up/down buttons on your TV remote will work for your cable box.

DVI: Digital Video Input

DVI ports are an old hold-over from the early days of HDMI, and offer backwards compatibility with devices that can output digital video on one cable but need another cable for audio. The benefit of using the DVI port is that your TV will accept audio input from one (or more) of the…

Sony XBR-65X900E 4K TV Review – Great Pictures Without Breaking The Bank

13 Winning American Architecture Prize Designs

Unlike one or two other brands I could mention, Sony’s TV division actually seems to be listening to consumers these days.

For instance, after getting widely criticized last year for including poor-contrast IPS panels in its TV range, this year Sony’s range is an IPS-free zone. Even better, someone at Sony seems to have noticed that many TV reviewers (myself included) have come to believe that LCD TVs that use direct LED lighting, where the lights are placed directly behind the screen, are better placed to deliver a good high dynamic range picture than TVs that use LEDs placed around the picture’s edges.

In fact, Sony’s new X900E range (known as the XE9005 range in the UK) goes further than just using a direct LED lighting system; it also offers local dimming, where 20 separate LED zones can output different light levels independently of each other, to suit the demands of the picture.

The Sony 65X900E.

The Sony 65X900E.

Admittedly 20 is far from a ground-breaking number of dimming zones by today’s standards. But it’s better than nothing and, as we’ll see, it’s enough to help the 65-inch 65X900E we’re looking at here deliver a mostly very impressive picture.

As you’d expect these days, the 65X900E partners its direct-lighting with high dynamic range (HDR) capabilities and a native 4K resolution, while picture processing comes courtesy of Sony’s previously impressive X1 chipset.

Processing power

This chipset is not as powerful as the X1 Extreme one found in Sony’s step-up X930E, Z9D and OLED A1E models; it doesn’t carry a dual database system for improved HD-to-4K upscaling, and can’t have Dolby Vision HDR support added via a future firmware update. It’s still, though, got more going on than most TV processing systems.

In particular, it drives the local dimming system; Sony’s Triluminos technology for delivering a wider and more subtle color range; and Sony’s Super Bit Mapping feature for tackling HDR color banding problems.

The Sony 65XE900.

The Sony 65X900E.

As with all Sony’s mid-range and high-end TVs these days, the 65X900E’s smart features are delivered by Google’s Android TV platform. I’m no fan of Android TV for reasons detailed in this separate review of the platform. But it does run more stably and more quickly than it did when it first appeared, and it certainly carries a lot of content. Even if much of that content is pretty much pointless.

Fortunately Sony has sought to work round some of Android’s failings. You get full support for 4K HDR Amazon Video streaming as well as Netflix, while UK users will be pleased to find that Sony has drafted in the YouView platform to deliver the catch-up TV services for the main BBC, ITV, Channel Four and Channel 5 broadcasters.

Picture Quality

Firing the 65X900E into action with the best picture source available, a selection of Ultra HD Blu-rays, I initially felt slightly disappointed by what I was seeing. Why? Because the 65X900E’s pictures look much less bright than those of Sony’s step-up 55X930E.

Test measurements reveal the 65X900E managing around 880 nits of light output on a 10% white HDR window, versus the 55X930E’s huge 1450 nits.

To be clear, 875 nits is not actually a bad effort for a 65-inch 4K HDR TV available for $2,300 (or £2,300). But anyone hoping that the X900E range might deliver essentially the same HDR-friendly brightness as the X930E range but from a direct lighting system needs to readjust their expectations.

Sony 65X900E Stand detail.

Sony 65X900E stand detail.

Provided you’re willing to do that, though, the 65X900E is actually a pretty great TV for its money.

Pushing it hard with HDR shots containing bright objects against very dark backdrops, for instance, reveals both impressively deep black levels for LCD technology and, for the most part, fairly tame backlight clouding.

To be clear, faint backlight haloing can appear for a good few centimeters around the most extreme bright highlights (there are only 20 dimming zones, after all). Occasionally, too, this light blooming distractingly encroaches into the black bars you get above and below very wide aspect ratio images, and it also becomes far more pronounced…

HDMI vs DisplayPort vs DVI: Which Port Do You Want On Your New Computer?

It doesn’t seem so long ago that we had only one reliable way to connect a computer to an external monitor. Now the good old VGA port, may it rest in peace, is only found on designated “business” machines and adapters. In its place, we have a variety of alternatives, all of which seem to be fighting each other for the limited space on your laptop or graphics card. Let’s break down the options for your next PC purchase.


HDMI is the most widely-used of the three options here, if only because it’s the de facto standard for anything connecting to televisions. Because of its wide adoption, HDMI is also included on most recent monitors and many laptops, except for the smallest ultraportable models. The acronym stands for “High Definition Multimedia Interface.”

The standard has been around since the early 2000s, but determining its capabilities is a bit tricky, because it’s gone through so many revisions. The latest release is HDMI 2.1, which supports a staggering 10K resolution (more than 10,000 pixels wide) at 120 hertz. But version 2.1 is just starting to appear in consumer electronics; the latest laptops that feature HDMI ports will probably top out at version 2.0b, which supports 4K video at 60 frames per second with high dynamic range (HDR).

HDMI’s biggest advantage over the older DVI standard is that it also carries and audio signal, allowing users to plug into a TV (or a monitor with built-in speakers) with a single cable. This is great for TVs, but most monitors still lack integrated speakers, so you’ll also have to use a more conventional headphone jack or simply rely on your laptop’s built-in speakers much of the time.

HDMI comes in three primary connection sizes: standard, “Mini,” and “Micro,” getting progressively smaller. The Mini and Micro connections are popular with smaller portable electronics, but if your laptop has an HDMI port, it probably uses the full-sized version. This, combined with a wide variety of compatible monitors and televisions, makes HDMI the most convenient external display option for most users.


DisplayPort is a bit newer than HDMI, though it’s also a proprietary system. The full-sized plugs look similar, but DisplayPort uses a asymmetrical notched design versus HDMI’s equal trapezoid.

As competing standards, they share a lot of features in their various incarnations. DisplayPort can also carry audio signals on a single cable, and the latest release supports up to 8K resolution at 60 hertz with high dynamic range. The next version…

Nvidia’s New TX2 Board Does Dual 4K-Camera Object-Detection in Real Time

Machine learning is complex, but nonetheless has pushed its way to professional and maker communities alike. Nvidia has lead much of this with their TK1 and TX1 modules; now, with the new release of the Jetson TX2, the AI capabilities we have access to have just doubled.

The new hardware, announced last night at a press event in San Francisco, retains the same form factor as the TX1 — roughly the size of a credit card, it’s meant as a drop-in replacement. It replaces the TX1’s Mawell GPU with a Pascal unit, doubles the TX1’s storage and memory, and increases its video encoding and decoding specs. With it, the company states that it can get either twice the performance of the TX1 (handling object detection and tracking from two 4K cameras simultaneously), or get double the efficiency running the same configuration as a TX1.

Putting unprecedented power into the GPU, we’ve seen the adoption of these Nvidia boards by the DIY autonomous car enthusiasts, from 1/10 scale DIY Robocar entrants to full-scale automobiles. But really, this is a board for…