HDMI Stories November 28, 2017

HDMI Forum releases more HDMI 2.1 spec details, highlighted by support for resolutions up to 10K and dynamic HDR

The HDMI Forum today released more details about its HDMI 2.1 spec, and it includes support for technology like Dynamic HDR, and features enough bandwidth to support resolutions up to 10K.

HDMI Stories September 1, 2016

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USB-C MacBook LG 27UD88-W

USB-C first debuted in Macs last year with the 12-inch Retina MacBook, and this fall even more Macs are expected to adopt the new standard port. While the MacBook is a lightweight machine (both physically and in terms of workload), MacBook Pro uses will expect wider functionality without adapters if USB-C replaces ports available on current hardware.

Add HDMI to the list of ports USB-C can now easily replace. The group behind the HDMI standard today shared that it’s now possible to connect HDMI and USB-C directly. Manufacturers will have to produce the cables, of course, but the new HDMI Alt Mode makes it possible. Previously, USB-C to HDMI required a dedicated adapter between cables.

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HDMI Stories October 29, 2015

owcthunderbolt2dock-1

Other World Computing doesn’t just dabble in Mac accessories — it’s one of the most popular third-party Apple RAM and SSD vendors, and sells some of the only Blu-Ray drives marketed at Mac users. So it wasn’t a surprise to learn that OWC had developed its own Thunderbolt 2 Dock ($228), entering an accessory category that was simultaneously worthwhile and fairly stagnant. Almost all of the best Thunderbolt 2 docks have the same core features and design elements, mixing silver aluminum, black plastic, an external power supply and a bunch of ports together to make one-point connectivity hubs for Macs. OWC’s design is similar, but it’s functionally unique.

Measuring 9″ wide by 3.5″ deep by 1.1″ tall, OWC’s Thunderbolt 2 Dock is the largest such accessory I’ve seen, looking like an elongated Mac mini with a glossy black top. The right side has two always-powered USB ports, while the back includes a collection of 10 additional audio, video, and data ports, plus wall power. That means OWC’s design is both the biggest and most capable Thunderbolt 2 dock out there, but does that also make it the best? From my perspective, that depends on your Mac’s needs…

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HDMI Stories October 27, 2015

owcthunderbolt2dockcompare

Apple and Intel’s Thunderbolt 2 standard has given Mac users — particularly professional Mac users — a premium, high-speed connector option for situations where bandwidth and speed are necessary: hooking up big, fast hard drives, high-resolution monitors, or even external graphics cards. The latest iMacs, Mac Pros, MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs all feature at least one Thunderbolt 2 port, a boon for expandability.

This year, Thunderbolt 2 docks have really taken off. Long-time Mac accessory makers have come up with a few different riffs on the same basic idea, leveraging a single cable to connect a bunch of Thunderbolt, USB, and audio/video accessories all at once to a Mac. This enables MacBook users to return home and make one connection to everything from an external monitor and speakers to external hard drives and card readers; it can also allow iMac, Mac Pro, and Mac mini users to connect devices built with connectors not found on their machines.

Here are the best Thunderbolt 2 dock options out there — and my suggestions as to which of them are best-suited to various usage scenarios…

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HDMI Stories October 15, 2015

sonympcl1-0

I knew Celluon had something special on its hands when I reviewed the $349 pocket-sized video projector PicoPro earlier this year: the Korean company known for laser-projecting keyboards released an iPhone 6 Plus-sized HD projector, capable of simulating a TV using lasers, a speaker, and a rechargeable battery. PicoPro’s projection system was MicroVision-developed and laser-sharp, requiring no manual focus knob — an advantage over rival projectors such as the otherwise more powerful AAXA P700 and ST200, which I subsequently reviewed and liked.

This week, Sony is entering the pico projector market with MP-CL1 ($350), which uses the same MicroVision laser projector found in PicoPro. Sporting the same 1920×720 resolution and putative 32-lumen brightness/80,000:1 contrast ratio as PicoPro, MP-CL1 promises to create a 40-inch TV image at 4-foot distances, an 80-inch image at 8-foot distances, or a (very dim) 120-inch image at 12-foot distances. Sony has pitched it as a “take it anywhere” big screen display for the iPad, iPhone, and PlayStation 4; it’s equally viable for Apple TVs and HDMI-ready Macs. So which is the better value: MP-CL1 or PicoPro?…

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HDMI Stories September 9, 2015

Screen Shot 2015-09-09 at 23.15.36

On Apple’s public specs page, it says that the new Apple TV includes an A8 chip and that’s about it in terms of the bundled SoC. However, Apple’s developer documentation goes into more detail specifically listing the hardware as having 2 GB RAM (via Steve Troughton-Smith). This means the internals are actually better than the A8 in the iPhone 6 and latest-generation iPod touch, which only have 1 GB of RAM.

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HDMI Stories June 29, 2015

branch-macbook-hub

Ever since Apple launched the single-port 12-inch MacBook, we’ve seen a flurry of companies offering to add the missing ports back in through various adapters, hubsdocks and more. Latest to the party is Branch, a Kickstarter project whose USP is its ‘form-fitted’ shape, which is naturally available in each of the three MacBook colors.

The emphasis here is on packing the essentials into an extremely portable unit, providing USB-C pass-through, two USB 3.0 ports and one Mini Display port capable of driving a 4K monitor. The company had originally pitched with HDMI (shown above), but said that it has switched to Mini DisplayPort following feedback from Kickstarter users …  expand full story

HDMI Stories June 9, 2015

owc-macbook-desktop-dock

The 12-inch MacBook is the ultimate portable Mac, but that single USB-C port feels a lot less convenient when you want to connect to a bunch of devices at home or in the office. We covered a $79 portable hub yesterday, and now OWC has announced its $129 desktop model, available for pre-order today for delivery in October.

Available in silver, space gray and gold, to match your MacBook, the OWC USB-C Dock provides a total of 10 ports in a unit designed to remain on your desk, allowing you to instantly connect and disconnect via a single USB-C cable …  expand full story

HDMI Stories June 8, 2015

Hub+ Kickstarter project providing neat hub solution for 12-inch MacBook owners hits $670k

A neat hub designed to provide 12-inch MacBook owners with a useful way to connect existing devices has just hit $670k on Kickstarter – somewhat in excess of its modest $35,000 goal.

The Hub+ plugs into the single USB-C port of the MacBook and turns that into two USB-C ports, 3 conventional USB-A sockets, a mini DisplayPort and an SDXC card slot. The sleek device offers a choice of silver, space gray and gold to match your MacBook … 

HDMI Stories May 3, 2015

aaxast200-7

Even though I’ve had a fair bit of experience with video projectors, I took Celluon’s PicoPro somewhat for granted when I reviewed it this January. I praised the pocket-sized projector, which squeezed a 720p laser video display and speaker into the footprint of an iPhone 6 Plus, but I didn’t triple-underscore how much easier it was to use than most of its rivals. PicoPro worked so well and so quietly with such little effort that I hardly thought about it.

AAXA’s ST200 Short Throw LED Pico Projector ($299) is the newest of the traditional projectors PicoPro is challenging. It has roughly the same footprint and 1280×720 resolution as PicoPro, but it’s around 2.5 times thicker, since it uses a lightbulb-illuminated LED projection engine — just like almost every other projector on the market. There’s an audible fan inside, and because ST200 needs to power that fan and the lightbulb, it can’t match PicoPro in battery life. It also requires more manual user adjustment when you’re setting it up.

But ST200 is a markedly better video projector and audio device when judged on raw output quality, and less expensive, besides. If you’re looking for a compact way to display 720p video from an Apple TV, Mac, or iOS device at up to a 100″ diagonal size, ST200 delivers brighter, more color-accurate video output than PicoPro, more powerful speaker output, and — if you appreciate this — many more settings to play with. Read on for the details…

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HDMI Stories April 16, 2015

infiniteusb-c

The radical approach taken by Apple in equipping the new 12-inch MacBook with just a single port for both power and connectivity makes the machine extremely sleek, but somewhat problematic to use when you want to connect multiple devices. Two Kickstarter projects aim to solve that.

First, InfiniteUSB, which already provides stackable cables for standard USB ports, has launched a USB-C version called, unsurprisingly, InfiniteUSB-C. Each cable has a combined USB-C plug and socket at one end, enabling you to piggy-back as many as you need, and either a Lightning, Micro USB or USB socket on the other end …  expand full story

HDMI Stories April 13, 2015

CalDigit USB-C Tuff

USB-C is the sole port on Apple’s new 12-inch MacBook, and CalDigit today announced a version of its durable external drive that takes advantage of the new reversible USB 3.1 port. CalDigit Tuff features a USB-C port and cable for connecting the portable drive to the Apple’s ultra-thin notebook, and an included adapter cable ensures compatibility with the USB port that you’re used to seeing on your hardware as well. Since the new MacBook’s thin and light profile intends for it to venture out of your office and into the wild, CalDigit Tuff is ruggedized to endure drops, splashes, dust and other extreme environments.

CalDigit Tuff starts at $139.99 for 1TB HDD with availability starting in July (new MacBook orders currently deliver in 4-6 weeks). A solid state drive version with up to 1TB of storage will also be available while a higher capacity 2TB HDD option will be offered. expand full story

HDMI Stories March 31, 2015

Microsoft shifted its focus when it introduced the Surface Pro 3 last year to target both the iPad and the MacBook, but today the company announced a more consumer level iPad-like version of its tablet simply called the Surface 3 with the same $499 starting price as the iPad Air 2.

Google also unveiled a collection of new competitively priced hardware including new Chromebooks and a Chromebit HDMI running Chrome OS for under $100 … expand full story

HDMI Stories March 26, 2015

techspecs2top

As I noted in Part 1 of How-To: Decode Apple’s Tech Specs pages before buying a new Mac, Apple has designed the Mac purchasing process to be easy: pick a model, pick the good, better, or best configuration, hand over your cash, and enjoy your computer. Since most people get confused by tech specs — bullet points filled with numbers and acronyms — Apple downplays them in its marketing materials, leaving customers to sort through the details and figure out what most of them mean.

But these specs are really important when you’re shopping for the right Mac for your current and future needs. So I’ve created this How-To guide to walk you through each of Apple’s Tech Specs pages using clear explanations, hopefully enabling you to properly understand what you’re about to buy. Part 1 focused on the “big 5″ Mac specs you really need to know about, and this Part 2 looks at the rest — generally things that remain the same in a given model, regardless of the configuration you choose…

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HDMI Stories February 10, 2015

Move over 5K iMac, 8K displays are on the way next year

The 27-inch iMac with Retina 5K display may have the highest resolution screen in the world today, but it seems Apple will have to up its game next year if it wants to retain that title: 8K displays are expected to arrive sometime in 2016.

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has announced Embedded DisplayPort standard version 1.4a, which uses a new compression standard to support higher resolution panels, together with greater color depth and faster refresh rates. The new standard allows manufacturers to pipe around four times as much data to displays to support panels with resolutions of up to 8K.

The standard will also benefit machines with lower-resolution screens by enabling displays to be thinner, and extending battery-life in laptops by reducing the power required to transfer data to them.

HDMI Stories January 30, 2015

picopro-1

I grew up with a front-projector TV the size of a coffee table, later owned a rear-projection TV that was somewhat larger than an adult bicycle, and have since tested projectors shaped like DVD players, Mac minis, and iPhone cases. Pico projectors — generally small enough to fit in pockets — typically struggle the most to prove their practicality. Projectors generally need big, powerful lightbulbs to be seen in anything but the dimmest of rooms, and the smaller they are, the worse they tend to be, particularly as they move further from the surfaces they’re protecting on.

Korean developer Celluon — the company behind breakthrough laser keyboards that can create typing surfaces anywhere — is now trying its hand at pico projectors, and I have to admit that I’m far more impressed than I thought I’d be. PicoPro ($349) packs a high-definition video projector, a battery pack, and wireless capabilities into a 0.55″ thick enclosure with the same footprint as an iPhone 6 Plus. Overall, it’s the best small projector I’ve tested: much easier to use, quiet, and capable of delivering a better complete viewing experience. But like competing pico projectors, it also has some noteworthy limitations that you’ll want to be aware of before jumping in.

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HDMI Stories January 22, 2015

caldigit-1

Despite USB 3.0’s growing popularity with consumers, Thunderbolt remains a viable alternative for professional users, particularly video makers willing to pay a premium for guaranteed high speeds. Over the past year, several Thunderbolt 2 hubs have come to market — boxes with one Thunderbolt 2 connection to a computer, one for a Thunderbolt accessory, and multiple ports to connect USB, audio, video, and Ethernet accessories. The idea: keep all of your gear hooked up to the hub, then use a single cable to connect it all to your Mac.

Known for large, heavy, professional-grade Mac accessories, CalDigit has just released Thunderbolt Station 2 ($199), which squeezes the same functionality offered by Belkin’s $300 Thunderbolt 2 Express Dock HD and Elgato’s $230 Thunderbolt 2 Dock (review) into a smaller, denser-feeling enclosure, at a lower MSRP — sort of. In reality, Thunderbolt Station 2 has some very specific benefits and one limitation that place it on par with its competitors, making the choice between them a more personal decision…

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HDMI Stories December 2, 2014

thunderbolt2dock-morethunderbolt

Improving on the last generation Elgato Thunderbolt dock (review), today the company is announcing a refreshed model that includes Thunderbolt 2 technology and more at the same $229 price point of the last-gen model. expand full story

HDMI Stories November 26, 2014

LG-4K-display-mac

Apple has updated its support document detailing 4K displays with Mac support to add LG’s recently announced 31-inch 4K monitor (31MU97). expand full story

HDMI Stories November 21, 2014

9to5Toys Last Call: Seiki 40″ HDTV w/ USB $200, The Whole Pantry for iOS free, Intel 240GB SSD $110, more

Keep up with the best gear and deals on the web by signing up for the brand new 9to5Toys Newsletter. Also, be sure to check us out on: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Seiki 40″ 1080P LED HDTV w/ USB & 3 HDMI inputs: $200 shipped more

Free iOS app courtesy of Apple Store: The Whole Pantry ($2.99 value)

Intel 730 Series 2.5-inch Solid State Drives: 240GB $110 (orig. $270), 480GB $200 (orig. $500)

Giveaway: 10 limited edition Skrillex Ultimate Ears BOOM Bluetooth speakers ($200 value)

Amazon announces its Black Friday gameplan and prices, new deals every 10 minutes

Small States – TM1985: former Ralph Lauren designer goes American made w/ elegant backpacks, $407 giveaway + 25% discount

Other new deals:

More deals still alive:

Black Friday:

We’re updating our email newsletter with Black Friday/holiday shopping ideas and savings

Top leaks:

All other leaks/info:

New products/ongoing promos:

HDMI Stories July 2, 2014

9to5Toys Last Call: 3D printers from $600, Westinghouse 24″ 1080p HDTV $100, Mophie 1500mAh Juice Helium 5/5s battery pack $40, more

Be sure to follow 9to5Toys to keep up with the best gear and deals on the web: TwitterRSS FeedFacebookGoogle+ and Safari push notifications.

Today’s can’t miss deals:

Last Call Updates:

  • Mophie Juice Pack Helium 1500mAh iPhone 5/5s battery pack $40 shipped (Reg. $80)
  • 1 year magazine subs: Wired + Macworld both w/ digital access $11.50 shipped (Reg. $42+), more
  • Music Production Deals: $300 off Native Instruments Komplete 9, up to 44% off Apogee interfaces, more
  • Home Deals: Saeco Auto Espresso Machine (refurb) $330 shipped (orig. $1800 new), kitchen items, more

3D Printers: MakerBot Replicator 2 (refurb) $1200 (Reg. $2200 new), UP! Mini 3D $600 (Reg. $900+), more

Westinghouse 24″ 1080p HDTV w/ HDMI $100 shipped (Reg. $150+)

Games/Apps: Fantastical 2 for iPad $15, Injustice: Gods Among Us $30,  iOS freebies, more

Other new deals:

More deals still alive:

New products/ongoing promotions:

Microsoft/Google/Android:

HDMI Stories April 21, 2014

Elgato_Dock_Device_Perspektive

There are Mac accessories that are exciting or fun, and others that are boring but useful. The Elgato Thunderbolt Dock most definitely falls into the latter category.

As regular readers will know, I’m of the view that wires are evil. Anything that can be wireless should be wireless, and any wires that are unavoidable should be hidden from sight. This is particularly easy if you have an Apple Thunderbolt Display, of course, since all you need in the way of wires from a MacBook is power and Thunderbolt: everything else can be plugged into the back of the monitor.

But if you share my aversion to visible wires and don’t have a Thunderbolt display, or you are frequently connecting and disconnecting your MacBook from a bunch of devices on your desk, the Elgato Thunderbolt Dock may be the answer …

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HDMI Stories April 2, 2014

Amazon has just announced its Apple TV competitor, dubbed ‘Fire TV’. You can buy it now from Amazon.com for $99. The product roughly resembles an Apple TV in size and shape, but is thinner by a few millimetres and has square (rather than rounded) edges. Spec-wise, Amazon claims it is three times as powerful as Apple TV or Roku. It runs on a quad-core processor with 2GB RAM. The fireTV can stream video at 1080p over HDMI, alongside Dolby Digital surround sound.

Input comes via a Bluetooth remote that features a five-way directional pad and some ancillary buttons. The remote has an inbuilt microphone, so you can speak show titles to have it automatically search for them.

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HDMI Stories December 19, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-12-19 at 08.26.00

Alongside the release of the new Mac Pro, Apple has updated Final Cut Pro in the Mac App Store to take advantage of the machine’s immense raw processing power. Specifically, Apple says that playback and rendering has been optimised for the Mac Pro’s dual GPUs.

Final Cut 10.1 also adds 4K support, including monitoring across Thunderbolt 2 and HDMI displays as well as 4K titles, transition and generators. The update also adds a whole slew of other minor features and changes to the modern (if controversial) video editing suite.

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HDMI Stories December 16, 2013

IMG_0385

On Black Friday week, Amazon ($449) and Sears ($499) went into a price war on the 39-inch “120Hz” Seiki 4K displays culminating in a Sub-$400 price (that I jumped on) for the 39-inch variant.

I’ve been using it as a 4K, 3840×2160 display for my MacBook Pro 2013 base model (no discrete graphics) off and on for a week.

How is it as a HDTV? Can you use it as a 4K display? Should you? Here’s my take: expand full story

HDMI Stories November 28, 2013

Hyper offers up to 50% off battery packs, Wi-Fi USB drives & more for your MacBook, iPhone & iPad

There are a ton of great Black Friday deals this year, but if you’re looking for an external battery pack for your MacBook, there aren’t many options other than Hyper. We’ve reviewed various models of the HyperJuice Battery Packs in the past, and today the company let us know it’s offering everything in its online store up for up to 50% off.

That includes its colorful dual USB HyperJuice Battery Packs, its WiFi connected iUSBport camera accessories and hard drives, and much more. Some of the notables (pictured above) include: $50 off HyperJuice MacBook batteries, $60 off USB battery packs, $100 off the iUSBportCAMERA, and $60 off the HyperJuice Battery + iPad stand. iUSBportCAMERA will let you wirelessly tether from most DSLRs to iOS devices, while the iUSBport mini will allow you to wirelessly connect to your MicroSDXC or use it as a USB flash drive.

Hyper has long been just about the only company on the market offering portable external battery packs for MacBooks. Apple doesn’t let third-party accessory makers use the MagSafe adapter, so Hyper’s DIY kit for modding your cable is the reason it’s still the only one with portable MacBook batteries. Good news: There is also an option to order a premodified MagSafe cable directly from Hyper. You can of course use the batteries for many other devices too thanks to built-in USB ports. Read about our experience with it here.

These are just some of the most notable deals available through Hyper for Black Friday:

HyperJuice Battery Packs HyperJuice2 Battery Pack for MacBook (100Wh) – Now $249.95 ($50 off MSRP $299.95) HyperJuice1.5 Battery Pack for MacBook (60Wh) – Now $139.95 ($30 off MSRP $169.95) HyperJuice1.5 Battery Pack for MacBook (100Wh) – Now $199.95 ($50 off MSRP $249.95) HyperJuice1.5 Battery Pack for MacBook (150Wh) – Now $299.95 ($50 off MSRP $349.95) HyperJuice1.5 Battery Pack for MacBook (222Wh) – Now $399.95 ($50 off MSRP $449.95) HyperJuice Micro 3600mAh Dual USB Battery Pack – Now $39.95 ($30 off MSRP $69.95) HyperJuice Mini 7200mAh Dual USB Battery Pack – Now $59.95 ($40 off MSRP $99.95) HyperJuice Stand 11000mAh USB Battery Pack – Now $69.95 ($60 off MSRP $129.95) HyperJuice Plug 10400mAh Dual USB Battery Pack – Now $79.95 ($50 off MSRP $129.95) HyperJuice Plug 15600mAh Dual USB Battery Pack – Now $99.95 ($60 off MSRP $159.95)

HyperDrive Storage Products iUSBportCAMERA DSLR Wireless Tether to iDevice – Now $199.95 ($100 off MSRP $299.95) iUSBport Mini Wireless USB Flash Drive for iDevice – Now $79.95 ($10 off MSRP $89.95) iUSBport Wireless USB Hub for iPad, iPhone, Android – Now $89.95 ($10 off MSRP $99.95) HyperDrive UDMA2 Memory Card Backup Device & Photo Viewer – Now 10% off all models HyperDrive Hard Drive for iPad – Now 10% off all models

HyperShield Apple Accessories HyperShield Back Covers for iPad (various styles and colors) – $4.99 (Usual $19.95-$39.95) HyperShield Stylus (various styles and colors) – $4.99-$7.99 (Usual $9.95-$19.95) ThinShield World’s Thinnest & Lightest iPhone 5/5s Case – $9.95 (50% off MSRP $19.95)

HyperThin World Thinnest HDMI Cables 0.8m – $14.95 ($5 off MSRP $19.95) 2.5m – $29.95 ($10 off MSRP $39.95)

HDMI Stories September 5, 2013

Aiptek, the company behind a number of mobile projector products that we’ve seen in the past, is about to release a brand new pico projector for iPhone 5 and we just got our first look at the product during the ShowStoppers IFA event in Berlin. Texas Instruments, who provides the DLP technology powering the product’s projection experience, was on hand tonight at ShowStoppers showing off the new “MobileCinema i55.” It’s similar to other pico projector cases Aiptek has launched in the past, but this time provides a couple new features on top of built-in Lightning connector support for the iPhone 5. We went hands-on and have a video of the product in action below the fold.  expand full story

HDMI Stories June 14, 2013

I’ve been curious about the 21:9 display format since it started to creep into mainstream displays last year. Originally developed to display cinema grade movies natively, computer users are now snapping these up to give themselves a sort of wide ‘Bloomberg terminal’ without the break (and the swivel between displays).

I received the Philips 298P4 29-inch 21:9 display a few weeks ago and have set it up as my display at my desk.  It has an unusual 2560×1080 pixel display which is the same amount of pixels across as traditional 30 inch 16:10 displays or 27-inch 16:9 displays (like Apple’s 27-inch iMac or Thunderbolt Display). The 1080 pixels high however matches up with a typical 1080P display. I didn’t use it like a traditional desktop computer or with a laptop off to the side.

For me, I saw an opportunity to add a display on top of my Retina MacBook Pro whose keyboard/trackpad layout I find more usable than anything else out there including Apple’s Wireless Keyboard/Trackpad combo. The Philips’ stand (and this is the key part) allows the display to grow over the top of even the 15’inch Retina MacBook Pro so that I can continue to use the MBP keyboard and display even while looking up (for much improved posture) at the Philips display. It is also great for watching movies while working :D, unless productivity is a priority.

For this it was great, but how was the quality of the display?

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HDMI Stories May 27, 2013

Video player app Infuse receives update, AirPlay and web interface coming soon

Last month, we reviewed the Infuse video player app by FireCore, the creators of aTV Flash. Today, the popular app received an update that addresses performance issues, metadata support, and more. FireCore also notes that AirPlay and HDMI support will be arriving soon in a 1.3 update.

The following changes and improvements have been implemented in version 1.2.4:

• Pause or resume videos using headphone controls • Updated movie search for recent TMDb API change • Improved support for embedded metadata • Re-enabled access to synced music videos • Minor visual improvements to cover art on iPad • Minor performance improvements

HDMI Stories March 4, 2013

Digital-A-V-connector-Lighting-take-apartWe reported over the weekend that there was some confusion over exactly how Apple’s new Lightning digital AV adapter works and why it lacks the ability to carry a native 1080p signal. One theory is that Apple was using an AirPlay wireless streaming protocol, but we’ve since learned that is not the case. According to a post  that purports to be from an anonymous Apple engineer explaining how the cables function, Apple does not use Airplay protocol. It instead uses the same H.264 encoding technology as AirPlay to encode the output into the ARM SoC. From there, the data is decoded and sent over HDMI:

It’s vastly the same thing with the HDMI adapter. Lightning doesn’t have anything to do with HDMI at all. Again, it’s just a high speed serial interface. Airplay uses a bunch of hardware h264 encoding technology that we’ve already got access to, so what happens here is that we use the same hardware to encode an output stream on the fly and fire it down the Lightning cable straight into the ARM SoC the guys at Panic discovered. Airplay itself (the network protocol) is NOT involved in this process. The encoded data is transferred as packetized data across the Lightning bus, where it is decoded by the ARM SoC and pushed out over HDMI.

Perhaps even more interesting is that Apple could improve the quality with future software updates since the firmware is stored in RAM as opposed to ROM. The poster noted that Apple deemed the quality “suitably acceptable” but *will* make improvements with future iOS updates: expand full story

HDMI Stories December 16, 2012

As we approach Christmas and the end of the year, we thought we would throw together some of the more interesting review items we received over the past months.

27-inch AOC LED IPS super slim monitor

First up is the $299 27-inch AOC LED IPS super slim monitor (I2757FH) that has a vague Mac aesthetic with a silver stand and ultra-thin bezel around the edges. This one comes with two HDMI ports, a VGA port, AUX audio ports, and some small speakers. The 27-inch IPS LED display is very nice, but it is obviously not as crisp as a Thunderbolt Display of the same size. And, after some adjustments to the default washed-out look, I was very happy with the color representation. Front capacitive controls are easy to deal with, and overall build quality is very nice, especially for AOC, but the downsides include: the lack of a USB hub, it is not easily wall-mountable, and the super small and poor tiny 4W speakers. You are definitely going to want to have separate speakers.

This AOC display would be best suited in an office/dorm room/bedroom doing double duty as a PC/Mac external display and perhaps display for an Apple TV/Cable box. Recommended at $299, or check out the USB Display link powered 22-inch display

Synology Diskstation NAS… expand full story

HDMI Stories November 28, 2012

Sharp is announcing a 32-inch 4K monitor today that uses its LGZO LCD tech expected to hit the Japanese market in February 2013. The roughly $5,500 PN-K321 monitor sports a 3,840-by-2,160 resolution and HDMI and DisplayPort inputs. According to Sharp, it will also be the thinnest monitor frame on the market at just 35mm. Even if analysts were wrong about a full-fledged TV set from Apple next year, these new Sharp displays would certainly make a pretty Thunderbolt display.

Sharp will put its IGZO displays in the hands of consumers in the near future, as it recently announced its first 7-inch tablet to take advantage of the technology’s low-power consumption features. Apple decided to not go with Sharps’ IGZO displays for its latest round of iPad launches. It instead sourced display components from AU Optronics, LG Display, and Samsung, but several reports in the past indicated Apple is interested in the technology. Apple was even recently rumored to be potentially making an investment in the failing company—much like Apple partner Foxconn previously agreed to.

[tweet https://twitter.com/stroughtonsmith/status/273821545661607936]

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HDMI Stories October 18, 2012

Samsung/Google’s new ARM-powered Chromebook looks like a MacBook Air, costs just $249

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The price is right, and the processor is an interesting choice (ARM), but unfortunately, the look is unmistakably Apple.

HDMI Stories September 16, 2012

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Look what just popped up on Amazon: A company called Nanotch is offering pre-orders for 30-pin to Lightning adapters. There had been concern when a report last month said the 9-pin adapters were only going to cost $10 each and Apple would be the sole manufacturer, but neither looks to be true.

The company listed the following features:

  • Lightning cable adapter for newest generation of Apple products.
  • Adapter to use your new Apple products with older accessories.
  • Use your iPhone 5 with older models of accessories.
  • 20cm cord.
  • Small adapter for easy connection.

There was some controversy in the first few hours of the iPhone 5 pre-orders because Apple’s Store website said a 30-pin adapter was included with the iPhone 5. Apple quickly removed the error but confused some customers in the process.

The Nanotch item is currently listed for pre-order. As with most third-party Amazon sales, buyer beware.

Update: Ebay has these as well and another item, which more closely resembles Apple’s adapter, is from seller ‘iTronz” below and ships next week: expand full story

HDMI Stories July 6, 2012

Kickstarter roundup: LUMOback, GameDock, Hone, Nifty MiniDrive, Ringbow, more

There is a ton of interesting iPhone and iOS-related Kickstarter projects popping up, so we decided to compile a list of a few that caught our eye recently. All of these products will of course first need to reach their funding goals before shipping, but several on the list below already did.

HDMI Stories June 20, 2012

Picture by Gabor Cselle

While Apple already recognized in its support documents for Thunderbolt that the new Retina MacBook Pro supports up to three external displays (as pictured above from Other World Computing’s recent tests of the setup), it has yet to confirm official support for the refreshed Ivy Bridge MacBook Airs. Today, we get word that the new MacBook Airs indeed support two external Thunderbolt displays thanks to the recent “Mac OS X Lion Update (Mid-2012 MacBook Air)” update that “improves external display support.” Apple has not updated the device’s specs page to reflect support for dual external Thunderbolt monitors.

The image below from OWC shows two iMacs running at 2,560-by-1,440 as Thunderbolt displays, and it shows an LG monitor at 1,920-by-1,200 via HDMI. The post noted “moving images and media didn’t create any lag and we were able to play video on all four displays simultaneously.” This makes the new MacBooks the first to support up to four displays at their native resolution. Note: You could theoretically add even more space with AOC DisplayLink displays.

The refreshed MacBook Air with dual external Thunderbolt displays is pictured above, while the MacBook Pro with three displays is below: expand full story

HDMI Stories June 7, 2012

Amazon drops 5% off Apple TV 1080P to $94.86

From 9to5Toys.com:

Amazon today dropped the price of the AppleTVto $94.86 – that’s the first discount we’ve seen on a new 1080P version of Apple’s TV product.

This latest-generation Apple TV displays 1080p widescreen video and features Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo, and Flickr integration, Airplay support, 802.11n wireless, Ethernet, HDMI video output, USB connectivity, and more. A 1-year Apple warranty applies.

HDMI Stories June 4, 2012

Brightcove CEO: Apple’s cable TV strategy will focus on AirPlay, not an HDTV

While the media is quick to jump on any hint that Apple might be working on an HDTV—and many analysts even pinpoint a late 2012 launch—CEO of video cloud company Brightcove Jeremy Allaire said Apple’s approach to cable TV will not focus on a traditional TV monitor product (via AllThingsD). Instead, he makes the case for beaming content from iOS devices through dedicated cable TV apps using AirPlay. This follows reports late last month that claimed Apple is set to introduce a new Apple TV OS at WWDC this month. Allaire explained:

I believe Apple will seek partnerships with the top cable companies for them to open up their APIs for their EPG, VOD libraries and Network DVR infrastructure so that Apple can offer a superior user experience on top of those services… In such a model, you’d purchase and use an Apple TV device (more on what the devices will actually be below) and use it in concert with an existing subscription from a TV operator, and access the TV functionality as an App. Yes, cable TV will just be an app among what will be tens and then hundreds of thousands of apps on your Apple TV.

As for new devices and software, Allaire claimed Apple’s main focus would be to enhance its current TV platform and integration with iOS devices, while possibly entering the TV monitor business. He further claimed Apple will release a completely redesigned Apple TV set-top box as a “thin black bar,” a “TV monitor” device that includes the same features as the set-top box, and updates to iOS APIs and AirPlay to include “new camera and microphone, motion detection and speech recognition” capabilities:

First, Apple will release a new Apple TV add-on product, though I expect that rather than using the current “puck” design it will instead be a thin black bar, perhaps 1 inch tall and 3 inches wide, that can easily mount to the top of almost any existing HD capable TV set. Like the existing Apple TV, it will have HDMI and power jacks on the back, but it will also include a high-def camera built into it’s face, as well as an embedded iOS environment that provides motion-sensing and speech processing.

Second, Apple will also release a TV monitor product as well with identical capabilities as the updated Apple TV add-on device, but in a design and form factor that presents the Apple brand effectively. Why would they do this when it is such an established market with such long replacement cycles? In short, because they can, and it will be gorgeous and include the latest innovations in display technology, and will sell at a premium price that ensures a reasonable gross margin for Apple.

Third, Apple will provide updates to iOS that include significantly enhanced and improved AirPlay functionality, and where AirPlay capabilities become a more front and center aspect of the iOS experience. Additionally, they will release new iOS APIs for dealing with second screen device capabilities such as the new camera and microphone, motion detection and speech recognition. Developers will be encouraged to build iOS apps that are Apple TV ready, using dual-screen features and motion user interaction, among other things.

HDMI Stories May 2, 2012

AirPlay to older projectors with Kanex ATV Pro Adapter

Kanex just released an AirPlay mirroring adapter for VGA projectors that streams content wirelessly from computers and iOS devices to TVs and projectors through Apple TV.

The Kanex ATV Pro is geared toward legacy projectors lacking HDMI ports. The new tech connects to Apple TV’s HDMI output port, as well as other device’s HDMI ports, and offers a mini D-sub 15-pin VGA port and 3.5mm stereo minijack audio connection for aging projectors and sound systems. It is also power plug free and supports up to 1080p with vertical refresh rate range of 50 Hz to 60 Hz.

The result allows teachers and presenters with an iOS device to stream or mirror content directly to a VGA projector through an Apple TV without additional equipment, power, or infrastructure.

“Kanex is excited to be delivering a product that supports an interactive learning experience. We listened to the concerns surrounding technological modernization and designed a high-quality adapter that grants facilities an unmatched HD solution for iLearning with their iOS devices and Apple TVs,” explained Kanex President Kelvin Yan in a press release.

The ATV Pro is available now for $59. Additional details are available at Kanex’s website, and the presser is available below.

HDMI Stories April 25, 2012

Sprint’s sticking with its unlimited data even if/when next iPhone has LTE

Sprint’s CEO Dan Hesse told CNET today that the carrier would stick with its unlimited data plan for the next iPhone whether or not it is LTE capable. Sprint already provides unlimited for other LTE smartphones, but the company’s chief said its unique offering lures new customers who would normally choose another carrier:

“Frankly, it’s a marriage made in heaven,” said Hesse to CNET regarding the iPhone and its unlimited data plan. “We’re clearly attracting customers from our competitors.”

HDMI Stories March 31, 2012

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Just seeing Epson’s MegaPlex iOS device projector at tradeshows and in still pictures doesn’t do it justice. Set up in a small, awkward booth and surrounded by bright lights, the projector does not inspire a second look. It was not until I got a private screening at Macworld that I really saw what this thing could do.

The MegaPlex MG-850HD is an incredibly bright 2800 lumen 720P projector with some mighty 10-watt stereo speakers built-in, but it adds something that you would not find in many other high-end consumer projectors: a 30-pin iOS device dock. The dock will accommodate anything from an iPod touch, iPhone, or even any iPad.

Amazon has the MegaPlex MG-850HD for $612. Buy.com has it for $620.

This thing is a Portable. Home. Movie Theater—and I mean that in every sense of the word “portable.” At less than eight pounds and with a sturdy handle, it is easy to pack and take it to the parents’ house, or even move it from the basement to the bedroom. Your iOS device is the “brains” of this thing, and it starts working immediately upon plugging in, so it takes only seconds to set up. You can watch your iTunes, Hulu, or Netflix videos in under a minute after choosing a destination.

Similar to most high-end projectors, this one features manual movable feet to adjust projection angles, focus, zoom, and horizontal keystone. The MegaPlex also does auto-vertical keystone and iris controls to make setting it up at angles surprisingly easy.

This thing boasts some range, as well. With the early spring weather this year, we turned an evening birthday party into an impromptu outdoor movie showing on the backside of our house (with a sheet over a window). The MegaPlex is rated for an over 25-foot diagonal screen, and I can attest that it looks fantastic even before it is fully dark outside.

With that said, something even better happened with the release of the new iPad and 1080P Apple TV…

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HDMI Stories November 11, 2011

Amazon offers the Pioneer 840-watt 7.1-Channel 3D Home Theater Receiver, model no. VSX-1021-K, for $299.99 (add it to your cart to see the price). With free shipping, that’s $20 under our mention from last month and the lowest total price we could find by $99. Features include 120 watts per channel into seven channels, Airplay streaming, iPod, iPhone, and iPad App compatibility, Ethernet and Bluetooth connectivity, five HDMI inputs with 3D passthrough, one HDMI output, and more.

Just last week, the older model, without Airplay, was slashed to the same price.

Videos below: expand full story

HDMI Stories November 9, 2011

From 9to5Toys.com:

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Today only, Amazon has the Pioneer VSX-1020-K Home Theater Receiver for $299 with free shipping.  That’s close to half off the list price of this 770W 7.1 3D iPod/iPhone/iPad-controlled stereo system which features include six HDMI 1.4 inputs, 110 watts of power into seven channels, subwoofer output, and more.

iPhone Screenshot 1iPhone Screenshot 2.

We covered the VSX-1020-K when it was launched last year for $549.  Since then it has been superseded by newer Pioneer products with Airplay. expand full story

HDMI Stories October 31, 2011

Hulu Plus app is ready for Apple TV, decision to update is “political not technical”

We’ve gotten word that inside Apple there are Apple TVs running the Hulu Plus app natively. The app is feature complete and ready to roll out to Apple TV users on current builds. In fact, it has been ready for at least a month and development is now on hold. While there are no technical […]

HDMI Stories October 24, 2011

VMware View Client for iPad updated with iOS 5 support- Airplay, multitasking, more

In anticipation of Citrix Synergy 2011 in Barcelona, VMware has just pushed out a huge update to all of their mobile View clients, which are used to access a Windows virtual machine from your iPad and other mobile devices. Other than a refined and slightly resdesinged UI, the name of the game for the iPad […]

HDMI Stories August 23, 2011

Reader Elaine sends us this scene from a Costco

So I imagine there is a marketing meeting at the Sony Bravia offices a few months ago where they are brainstorming new ways to market this 46″ TV.

Someone steps up and says Apple is about to release a new OS and all of their boxes are going to have this ‘Galaxy Swirl’ thing on the cover.  Perhaps we can confuse a few people into thinking this is Apple/type/quality products.

Sure, its a different angle and view, but it is pretty clear what the intention was.  While this is probably legal and will certainly fool a certain part of the population, those who follow tech have to feel a little sorry for the once-great Sony, which is rapidly turning into an also-ran knock-off artist.

expand full story

HDMI Stories August 16, 2011

The update addresses a few issues including the Wifi issues we’ve been hearing much about.  It also appears to incorporate the recent Migration Assistant update.  It is available via Software Update and weighs in at a paltry 17.4MB on our rig.

The 10.7.1 update is recommended for all users running OS X Lion and includes general operating system fixes that enhance the stability and compatibility of your Mac, including fixes that:

– Address an issue that may cause the system to become unresponsive when playing a video in Safari – Resolve an issue that may cause system audio to stop working when using HDMI or optical audio out – Improve the reliability of Wi-Fi connections – Resolve an issue that prevents transfer of your data, settings, and compatible applications to a new Mac running OS X Lion

For detailed information on this update, please visit this website:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4764.

The Mac App store still lists Lion at 10.7 so it isn’t clear if new updaters will always have to do additional updates.  We’re also left wondering if this update fixes the “video performance after a sleep” that new Lion Mac users have been reporting.

Update: Interesting there is a direct link (here) for New Mac Mini and MacBook Air users (68MB) which updates a few more issues (below):

HDMI Stories July 8, 2011

TechRadar is reporting that HDMI.org, the group that oversees the HDMI spec has informed them that MiniDisplayPort->HDMI cables are illegal and shouldn’t be sold. All of them.

Last week that it was rumoured that hundreds of thousands of Mini DisplayPort to HDMI cables are to be recalled because HDMI Org has deemed the cable system to be out of HDMI spec.The DisplayPort system is used primarily by Apple in its Mac range, but there’s a number of other manufacturers who use the port – including Toshiba.HDMI Org has exclusively contacted TechRadar about the situation and confirmed that any cable that has a DP male connector on one end and an HDMI male connector is unlicensed and should not be on sale.

Apparently at issue is that the “HDMI specification defines an HDMI cable as having only HDMI connectors on the ends. Anything else is not a licensed use of the specification and therefore, not allowed.”

Insane.

So for the record this is not OK (get them while supplies last):

What is OK, is these little dongles, which are actually pretty popular (we like the Kanex!)

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What is making HDMI.org so batsh!t insane?  As you can see, you still need to buy a licensed ($$$) HDMI cable to use the adapter below whereas the top adapter bypasses the licensing issue altogether…or at least it did until today.

expand full story

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