By

9-inch Raspberry Pi monitor a reality from Kickstarter

A Kickstarter project aiming to bring a 9-inch portable display to the Raspberry Pi has secured 928 backers and raised £82,100 ($131,000, or AU$138,000) since launching on October 31.

Started by Alex Eames of RasPi.TV and Dave Mellor from Cyntech, the campaign has already surpassed the £55,000 goal ($87,000, or AU$92,000) needed to bulk order 1,000 screens, HDMI drivers and cases.

Dubbed the “HDMIPi”, the display takes advantage of the Raspberry Pi’s HDMI connection and outputs to a 1,280 x 800 pixel resolution, matching that on Google’s Nexus 7 and a whole range of 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablets.

The Raspberry Pi can output to a full-HD display (1,920 x 1,080), but the lower resolution was chosen to keep costs down, according to Eames.

Quick swoop

It’s expected to ship in February 2014. For £65 ($104, or AU$110) you can back a HDMIPi “early bird” version – consisting of a 9-inch HDMIPi 1,280 x 800 LCD, driver board and plastic surround.

Rising up the ladder, the most expensive package will bag you the above components in addition to a power supply, stand, SD card, Cyntech Pi case, PiHub, “Noodle” USB and HDMI leads for £128 ($204, or AU$215).

By

Dell’s new Android HDMI dongle turns screens into virtualized desktop computers

Dell’s betting that a bunch of businesspeople want to be able to carry their work computer around in their pocket. Not literally, of course, but with the release of the company’s $130 dollar Wyse Cloud Connect dongle , you can do just that. It connects to any TV or display with an HDMI or MHL port, and hooks up to mice and keyboards via Bluetooth or mini-USB. There’s also a microSD slot to give you up to 32GB of local storage, should you want it. Plus, you can access your desktop using yours or your company’s choice of virtualization technologies: Citrix, Microsoft or VMWare. Once plugged in, users can access a full Jelly Bean Android experience or their Windows and Mac machines via the aforementioned remote clients, and see them in 1080p resolution (on compatible displays, of course). Dell’s pitching the dongle as primarily an enterprise solution, but the company also thinks it’s well-suited as an educational tool, too.

   

We got to see the Cloud Connect in action today at a launch event in Silicon Valley, and in our limited time with the device, it worked just as Dell said it would. The dongle itself is a bit bigger than your standard flash drive… it’s roughly the size of an Apple TV remote. Installing the thing really is as simple as plugging it into a monitor, which turns said monitor into a fully fledged Android device. That means you have access to any compatible app from Google Play (or at least whatever apps your company’s IT department allows). Speaking of, the Cloud Connect management dashboard allows IT administrators to easily set permissions and access for the dongles with a straightforward and simple interface.

As for consumer applications, Dell’s VP and GM of cloud client computing, Steve Lalla, told us that his focus is on b2b for now, but regular folks are certainly on his radar. “It’ll bleed into the consumer space,” he said. “It’s just that businesses already understand the value proposition of the technology.” When we inquired about the possibility of building the Cloud Connect directly into monitors (essentially creating Android desktop computers), Lalla said that he has nothing to announce, but we get the feeling we’ll see one from Dell before too long.

By

Sleek Google Chromebook revealed by Toshiba

 

Between the Chrome Web Store and the expanding world of browser-based tools, it’s more feasible than ever to get productive on a laptop that doesn’t run Windows or Mac OS X. To go along with that uptick in productivity, Chrome OS laptops are offering refined looks, good screens, and extensive input options for a much lower price than “full OS” competitors.

Case in point: The just-announced Toshiba Chromebook 2, with its 13-inch 1080p IPS display, 2.58 GHz Intel Celeron processor with 4GB RAM, Skullcandy-branded stereo speakers, and 0.76-inch-thick textured chassis. It weighs less than 3 pounds and offers plenty of I/O options for its price: a USB 3.0 port, a USB 2.0 port, HDMI-out, and an SD-card reader. There’s a 720p Web cam built in, too. All that costs $330 for its fully loaded configuration.

If you squint while the lid is open, you might mistake it for the MacBook Air. It has a similar chiclet-style keyboard, a multi-touch trackpad, and silver matte finish. Sure, the keys aren’t backlit and the non-unibody is made of resin rather than brushed aluminium, but it only costs $330 (£200).

This meeting-friendly Chromebook ships on October 5, and there’s also a step-down configuration if $330 (£200) seems too steep. For $250 (£150), there’s a Chromebook 2 with a 720p screen, 2GB RAM, and up to 11 hours of battery life.

 

By

Streaming Stick from Roku

The new Roku Streaming Stick has been granted the power of HDMI compatibility, making it the more app-inclusive alternative to the Google Chromecast, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV. It combines over 1,000 apps with an HDMI dongle design that’s the size of a thumb drive, and this time it fits into the back of any modern TV.

That’s important because Roku has been down this road before with a similar streaming stick that only worked with MLH-compatible TVs. It’s an idea that pre-dated Chromecast as an affordable way to instantly project apps onto a big-screen television by nine months. But Roku’s MHL requirement meant consumers had to buy or already own a “Roku Ready” TV with this special HDMI slot.

Now, the company is taking cues from Google with the Roku Streaming Stick 2014 that delivers apps to any TV when it’s plugged into an HDMI port. It comes with a handy remote and sports a familiar interface that has made past Roku devices so easy to use.

It costs a little more than Chromecast and doesn’t have all of the special features like mirroring an entire computer to the TV, but that’s the price of having more than 50 times as many compatible apps and a physical remote control.

Design

The Roku Streaming Stick is small, but its designers managed to bathe almost every inch of it in the company’s familiar purple hues. It’s a bit obnoxious to have what appears to be an oversized purple thumb drive jutting out of a black or gray television, as much as we appreciate Roku for sticking to its guns with the color choice.

The good news is that the Roku Streaming Stick dimensions allow it to easily hide behind a TV set – in most cases. It’s 3.1 in x 1.1 in x .5 in, which is a tad larger than the Chromecast at 2.8 in x 1.4 in x .47 in. While the Roku stick is a lot lighter at 18 grams vs Chromecast’s condensed 34 grams, the more important factor is the size.

These extra tenths of an inch could make the Roku Streaming Stick a tight squeeze in the back of a television set, depending on where the HDMI ports are located. We weren’t able to slide it into HDMI 1 of the TV we tested it on because there wasn’t enough room. Remember, these HDMI slots are designed to accommodate HDMI cables with flexible cords beyond a inch. The Roku? It can’t be bent.

Google solved this problem by boxing Chromecast with an HDMI extender, an optional adapter with a flexible body. It’s an extra accessory just in case your HDMI ports are too close together or the open HDMI slots are inconveniently on the rear of a wall-mounted TV. It’s also supposed to boost WiFi reception. The Roku Streaming Stick includes none of this, even though it costs more.

Once the Roku is securely in an HDMI slot, it works as advertised as long as you have a way to power it. There’s a micro USB cable included that’s 6 feet long – the same length as the Chromecast micro USB cable – and a power adapter. They can be plugged into any power outlet or a USB port with enough wattage. Roku says that the streaming stick typically takes less than 2W when streaming HD video, so it’s green-planet friendly and not overly demanding if your TV does have a nearby USB port .

The vents that line the sides of this HDMI stick ensure the hardware on the inside runs silently, and the dual-band wireless N antennas keeps the WiFi connectivity fast enough for all of the HD video thrown at it. We didn’t experience slowdown from the single-band Chromecast once videos got started, but because Roku has dual-band antennas, it supports both the overcrowded 2.4 GHz frequency and the less trafficked 5 GHz frequency. Of course, this only matters if your router supports the 5 GHz variety.

Apps

Roku always confidently boasts that it has more apps than all of its competitors combined. With over 1,000 apps that statement is true, even if a large chunk of them are niche apps no one has ever heard of.

What’s important is that all of the major apps or “Roku channels” are here. Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, Crackle, Vudu and HBO Go all stream movies and TV shows without a hitch.

Amazon Instant Video is significant because only Roku and the new Amazon Fire TV support this vast library of free Prime content and often-cheaper movie rentals. There’s no sign of it coming natively to Chromecast or Apple TV any time soon.

There’s also a clutch Time Warner Cable app, but it’s requirements aren’t as subscriber-friendly. It not only needs the name and password of a TWC TV subscriber, it forces streaming to happen in the home using a Timer Warner cable modem. There’s no HBO Go-style password sharing possible here.

The Roku Streaming stick ecosystem also has your music streaming playlists on demand with Pandora, Spotify, Rdio, iHeart Radio, Plex and so on. Google Music and the newer Beat Music are the only major music streaming services you won’t find on this or any Roku device.

There are over 50 apps for kids, including PBS Kids and four separate Disney stations, and 66 apps for sports fans. WatchESPN is the most popular, while MLB.TV, WWE Network, MLS Live and NHL GameCenter make the top 10 list among sports apps. Each requires a subscription or pay-per-view for live streaming. There’s an NBA GameTime app, but it only offers live score updates. Still, these 66 sports apps are 66 more than non-athletic Chromecast offers right now.

Other channel genres include News & Weather, Science & Technology and the niche among niche apps, Special Interest. QVC is the No. 1 app here followed by the Aliens and UFOs Channel, and it just gets weirder from there. You can fall for the dedicated Pranks channel or spend time checking out the bizarre Occult Network Channel. It’s also nice to see the Liquidation channel is still hanging in there like an “everything must go sale” that never seems to end.

Remote

The Roku Streaming Stick remote control is just larger than the palm of your hand. It’s size and pill-shaped form factor make it easy to hold with one hand and still reach all of the buttons. A two-handed approach to this small remote makes you look ridiculous. That’s when you know a company got its TV remote design right.

Intuitive buttons for going back and home are up top, followed by the traditional Roku directional pad. Below that are skip backward, an OK button and the options key. Rewind, play/pause and fast forward are the only other media playback buttons. It’s just the essentials and sometimes that’s all you need.

The bottom portion of the remote is dedicated to four apps. The logos of M-Go, Amazon Instant Video, Netflix and Blockbuster, adorn these four shortcuts and make navigation a bit easier and less confusing. In fact, pretty much the only confusing about the remote is why Blockbuster was included as one of the shortcuts. HBO Go, Hulu Plus or, heck, even QVC wouldn’t been a better choice.

As easy as it is to use the Roku Streaming Stick remote, it’s not as advanced as the Roku 3 version. That’s the one that includes a headphone jack for a unique “private listening” mode. It’s one of those ideas that you haven’t seen anywhere else before, so it’s curious as to why Roku didn’t it in this Roku model.

Motion control sensors for games are also absent. Fans of Angry Birds Space are going to have to bow out of the remote wagging fun when using the Roku Streaming Stick version. Of course, if it’s games you’re after, the Amazon Fire TV is shaping up to be the best choice. It has a dedicated gamepad sold separately and promises 1,000 games by the end of April.

Losing this Roku remote doesn’t spell the end of streaming. There’s a Roku remote app offered in the iOS and Google Play app stores, and it goes beyond simple on-screen controls. It boasts a QWERTY keyboard for a much quicker method of searching through content. You’ll never want to hunt and peck with the remote’s direction pad again after using the app.

Interface

The Roku Streaming Stick interface is decked out in purple, which helps emphasize the colorful logos of its apps. After all, the 1,000-plus apps are rightfully the main focus of every Roku.

Sorting through them is just as clear cut. The default My Channels menu arranges your favorite apps into a easy-to-navigate grid layout that can be customized with a few clicks of the remote. Do you want Netflix in the top row of this 3 x infinity grid? You got it. Want to demote Blockbuster to the very bottom or even delete it? That’s just as simple. You just can’t get rid of its permanent shortcut button on the remote.

Below My Channels are separate sections for movies and TV shows. Unfortunately, both menus are dedicated to the on-demand video service M-Go. As tempting as its “two free movies for signing up” deal is, it would’ve been nice to see a more fleshed-out pair of sub-sections. Ones that catalogued new and interesting video content from all apps installed, not just M-Go, would’ve done the trick.

The comprehensive search menu actually does just that if you do some of the heavy-lifting. It offers a deep dive through all apps installed when typing in the name of a movie, TV show, actor or director. Simply typing in “Wolf of Wall Street” lists four entries, all in HD, with Amazon Instant Video and Vuvu displaying cheaper rental prices. M-Go and Redbox Instant are more expensive. Save a dollar, earn a dollar, and eventually this Roku will pay for itself.

Searching through the Roku ecosystem is only matched by the Amazon Fire TV, which lets you perform voice searches. There’s no hunting-and-pecking with the remote or even a need to pick up a smartphone to activate the on-screen QWERTY keyboard. Saying “Wolf of Wall Street” aloud is a whole lot easier than typing it out with the remote’s directional pad.

 

By

Android on Plair 2 HDMI wireless streaming dongle

Plair beat Google to the punch with its wireless streaming HDMI dongle that was announced at last year’s CES, but had the wind sucked from it sails with the arrival of Chromecast. So, the company went back to the lab and today, it’s ready to reveal Plair 2, a dongle that looks the same as the original, but comes running a customized version of Android. That means instead of simply being a conduit for streaming video from the cloud, it runs most any app found on Google Play on your TV. It works via an Android companion app (for devices running version 4.3 or iOS 5 and up) that lets you connect the dongle to your home WiFi network and acts as a remote control for the device after setup’s complete. Oh, and with the added functionality comes a sizable drop in price — while the original Plair cost $99, this new version costs just $49.

Setting up Plair 2 is a simple affair. Just like the Chromecast, you simply stick the dongle into an HDMI port on your TV, plug in the microUSB power cord, then load up the companion app. The app prompts you to log the dongle into your home network, then switches to remote mode once your done — it takes no more than a minute or two. After that, your TV will load up Plair’s home screen, which displays a row of apps onscreen in a cover flow fashion. Navigation via the companion app’s accomplished via swipes and taps or a virtualized touchpad and cursor. Once you’ve chosen your content portal, the tablet version of that app is displayed onscreen, and you make your selections with the cursor.

While the remote app is a good idea in theory, we found using it to be a bit difficult. Swipes failed to register regularly, and scrolling up and down was often a dicey affair — scrolling down usually worked, but we often had to lift our finger off the screen and try multiple times to get it to scroll up. Additionally, while video quality is largely comparable to what you’ll see via Chromecast, buffering takes a bit longer, and we had playback issues during our brief testing with Plair 2. Hulu Plus and Netflix froze on us several times when trying to load content, and playback on Comcast’s Xfinity app froze a couple times as well. We also played a bit of Angry Birds on the device, and found the experience enjoyable. Control via the companion app worked well, and we experienced none of the issues we had when streaming video.

In short, while the Plair 2 costs $14 more than Chromecast, it also offers a lot more functionality. The ability to run any Android app or game is really handy, and well worth the additional cash outlay. In general, the fact of the matter is that Chromecast is less expensive, currently streams video better than Plair does and its native app control paradigm is superior to Plair’s proprietary remote. However, the ability to play games and run Android apps on the TV is valuable, and the company tells us that it’s working on improving the user experience. That’s good, because improvement’s needed if it hopes to carve out some market space alongside Google’s offering.

 

 

By

Mirroring your computer onto any HDMI display with Airtame wireless dongle

Here’s yet another option for wirelessly mirroring your computer screen to another display, but don’t worry: This one is rather impressive. Airtame, the creation of a group of Danish folks, is an HDMI dongle that links your PC — be it running Windows, OS X or Linux — to whatever display it’s plugged into over WiFi. Installation is a breeze: All you need on the PC side is just the software, and from there you can choose which dongles to beam your screen to. Yes, dongles, because you really can beam one PC to multiple screens, thus beating Miracast. We also played a game on one of the laptops, and the response time on the remote display was surprisingly good.

 

 

 

By

Pocket Projector with HDMI from Brookstone

 

Compact, portable and rechargeable, the HDMI Pocket Projector takes you from business presentations to game time with friends to family movie night.

It connects via HDMI to most smartphones, tablets, computers, video players, game consoles, digital cameras and more.

By

Gamers and movie fans a dose of clarity with Philips speedy 4K monitor

 

Philips is the latest to add an “UltraClear” UHD (Ultra High Definition) model to its bow with the 28-inch 288P6LJEB, which totes a 4K-worthy pixel-resolution of 3840 x 2160.

While it may be difficult to pin down who might need a 4K PC monitor right now, a deluge of attractive (and increasingly affordable) next-gen panels is making them difficult to ignore.

Specs include support for 1 billion colours, a gaming-friendly 1ms response time, HDMI with MHL (for viewing and interacting with the contents of a mobile device) and MultiView, which lets you beam different inputs (such as TV and HDMI) simultaneously to different parts of the display.

According to Philips, you won’t have to bother messing about with the display’s settings to get the best picture as it features SmartResponse, a technology that automatically adjusts response time depending on whether you’re watching movies, playing games or using the desktop.

Port(s) of call

Among its ports are VGA, DVI Dual Link, DisplayPort 1.2, MHL-HDMI, two USB 2.0 and three USB 3.0 ports, which can charge devices faster.

The panel is due to land on UK shores in June at £599, while US and AUS pricing and availability is yet to be confirmed. That puts it a touch above AOC’s (a subsidiary of Philips) £499 (around US$297, or AUS$531) U2868PQU, which is also due to arrive in June.

If those prices are still a little too steep for your 4K-fearing wallet, it may be worth holding out to see if Intel and Samsung delivers on their promise to drive down prices of 4K panels - potentially to as little as £240 (around US$410, or AUS$436).

By

Agora smart TV HDMI dongle

Its second foray into HDMI dongles that convert your boring old TV into a smart TV, Kogan has refreshed its new $99 Agora smart TV HDMI dongle – now with a quad-core processor.

Kogan launched its original smart TV dongle last year August for the same price, though it’s pulled it from its site for the new, quad-core model, which should help boost usage speeds.

The new dongle touts a Cortex A9 quad-core chip and Android 4.2 Jelly Bean, a mini USB charting port, 8GB of internal storage, but with a USB 2.0 and microSD card slot to expand memory

There’s also a 2.4GHz “Air Mouse” remote to control what’s happening on the screen, or you can also get the Kogan-branded Android Deluxe Wireless Keyboard and Trackpad for an extra $39 that sports a full QWERTY key set and can pair up with the dongle.

For TVs new enough to have an HDMI port, but too old to include a lot of the new smart TV capabilities, this would be a cheap and easier way to boost your TVs uses.

It gives you access to apps and functions like internet browsing, games, music, movies and basically any of the thousands of apps available through Google Play, like Quickflix, Skype, YouTube, Kindle and Spotify, all on the big screen.

 

By

Alienware’s new gaming desktop and 13-inch laptop.

If you liked the looks of Alienware’s new thin-and-light 13-inch laptop or its bigass, futuristic-looking Area-51 desktop, then listen up: Both are on sale beginning tomorrow, with shipments starting in November, and we finally know the full specs. Starting with the Alienware 13, it goes from $999 (£949 in the UK) with a dual-core Core i5-4210U processor, 8GB of RAM, a 2GB NVIDIA GeForce 860M GPU, 1TB 5,400RPM disk and a fairly low-res 1,366 x 768, non-touch matte display. If you like, you can step up to 16GB of RAM, either a hybrid hard drive or up to a 512GB SSD, and either a 1080p non-touch display or a 2,560 x 1,440 touchscreen. It would seem, though, that despite those various upgrade options, there’s only one choice for the CPU and graphics card. Regardless of the configuration you get, the whole thing comes wrapped in a slimmed-down package that weighs about four and a half pounds and measures an inch thick.

Meanwhile, the Area-51 starts at $1,699 (£1,299 in the UK) with a six-core Intel Core i7-5820K processor, a 2GB AMD RadeonTM R9 270 GPU, 8GB of RAM, a 2TB 7,200RPM hard drive and a slot-loading DVD burner. From there, you’ve got lots of upgrade options — way more than on the Alienware 13 laptop. On the CPU side, there’s a slightly faster six-core Intel Core i7-5930K processor (clocked at 3.5GHz instead of 3.3GHz), as well as an eight-core Intel Core i7-5960X chip. In total, there are four memory slots; Dell will ship the machine with eight, 16 or 32GB. When it comes to storage, you can step up to a 128GB SSD plus a 2TB 7,200RPM drive; a 256GB SSD with a 4TB HDD; or a 512GB solid-state drive, also with a 4TB disk.

As for graphics, well, this might take a few sentences: The Area-51 is available in single-, double- and triple-GPU configs. If all you can afford is one graphics card, your upgrade options include a 2GB NVIDIA GTX 770, a 3GB GTX 780, a 4GB GTX 980 or the GTX Titan Z with 12GB of GDDR5 VRAM. Ready to hear the dual-card options? You can get the GTX 770 with 4GB (2 x 2GB), the GTX 780 with 6GB (2 x 3GB), the GTX 980 with 8GB (2 x 4GB) or the Titan Z with 24GB (2 x 12GB). Across the board, NVIDIA’s SLI technology is enabled. Finally, the three-GPU options include a mix of both NVIDIA and AMD cards (but mostly NVIDIA). There’s the GTX 770 with 6GB (3 x 2GB), the GTX 780 with 9GB (3 x 3GB) and the GTX 980 with 12GB (3 x 4GB). If you’re an AMD fan, meanwhile, you an score the Radeon R9 290X with 12 gigs (again, 3 x 4GB). Depending on which brand of graphics card you choose, you’ll get either NVIDIA’s SLI technology or AMD Crossfire. Lastly, there’s a Blu-ray drive option, in case you haven’t quite ditched physical media.

SEO Powered by Platinum SEO from Techblissonline