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BenQ @ CES 2016

CES 2016 is in the books but we managed to slip in one more visit before the doors closed. Today we met with BenQ to check out what they've got in store for 2016.


BenQ is of course best known for their LCD monitors and video projectors, which they of course had on display at CES 2016. BenQ is showing off their new monitor which they are calling the ultimate gaming monitor, the BenQ XL2730Z. After checking out a demo of this QHD (2560x1440) LCD monitor that offers 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms GTG response time, we think they might have a point. In addition to high end specifications, BenQ has added software that gamers will appreciate when switching between games or even if they have to get some work done. The BenQ XL2730Z is a very nice monitor and we will hopefully get a chance in the future to take this new model for a test drive on our test bench. 



Another monitor on display this year was BenQ's XR3501 35 inch curved LCD monitor. Curved monitors definitely have a "WOW" factor to them, but they are also very nice for people who want to replace to monitors with one single device. The gaming crowd also likes the extra wide screen space in particular for racing of flight simulator games. 



And then last but not least, BenQ had a display of all of their gaming peripherals on display. Now before you scratch your head wondering why BenQ is making mice and keyboards it is helpful to remember that BenQ recently acquired Zowie, who is very well known for making high quality gaming products for many years. Thanks to this new relationship, BenQ is able to offer proven products that compliment their gaming monitors, the relationship had been strong between the two companies for years but after the acquisition BenQ is able to offer a full range of gaming peripherals. BenQ isn't trying to make the flashiest gaming mice and keyboards on the market, they'd rather focus on quality and performance which gamers will appreciate. Zowie's slogan is "Strive for Perfection" and that shows in their design.

If you'd like to see more of these Zowie/BenQ gaming products (and a whole bunch more of them), check out Zowie's website.
 


 

For more on BenQ's announcement at CES 2016, make sure to check out their website.

If you'd like to see more from our final day of CES 2016 coverage, check out our CES day 4 photo gallery.

ESPN vs. Cable Cutters

We post quite a few stories about how more and more people are making the decision to cut the cord on traditional cable services and go with other alternatives. ESPN is one of the names that comes up time and time again in this discussion and thanks to a new report their name has surfaced once again. In this new report people were asked if they would be cut ESPN from their cable package in exchange for a $8 drop in price and 56% said yes. The follow up question was would you pay $20 a month for a streaming service (similar to HBO, etc.) and the response was 85% said no. The results probably aren't too surprising, it's just amazing that the cable companies and their content providers aren't making a better effort to combat the loss of subscribers. TechDirt has the full story.

Over the last year, ESPN's decision to laugh off cord cutting has truly come home to roost. The company has had to engage in numerous "belt tightening measures" after losing around 7 million subscribers in just two years. Where are these subscribers going? Many are cutting the TV cord entirely. Others are opting for so-called "skinny bundles" that pull pricier channels like ESPN out of the core cable lineup, moving them to additional, premium channel packs. Companies like Verizon that have experimented with skinny bundles have been rewarded for their efforts with with lawsuits from ESPN. 

LG at CES 2017 - More Than Beautiful TVs

Last year was the first year we took time to set up a booth tour with LG, and we were very impressed with all the products they have to offer. While LG is mostly known for their mobile devices here in Canada, they do make some amazing TVs as well as a host of other products. After being impressed with everything from their clothing "refresher" to their OLED TVs last year, it was obviously one of our must-see booths at CES again this year.

At the entrance to their huge booth was a massive crowd of people waiting their turn to step into the tunnel of OLED. They had well over 100 4K OLED TVs all arranged in a tunnel and with 10 different sound systems overwhelming your senses in both visual and audio glory. The amazing thing about OLED is the total black it can achieve as the pixels are self-lit and therefore, when off - are truly black. The end result is magnificent and images don't really do it justice. 

LG OLED
HLG = One Step up from HDR

 

LG introduced their new W-Series TVs this year that earned them a bunch of CES awards. The "W" is for wallpaper, because that's about as thick as the TV is - like wallpaper. LG strips away pretty much everything unnecessary with this TV and the panel itself is a mere 2.57mm thin. It is mounted to the wall with magnets so that there is no gap. Hisense, Samsung and LG introduced a super slim cable that goes from their panels to a connector box so you don't mess up the amazing look of the TV with a bunch of unsightly cables. Included with the W-Series is the new Soundbar from LG that incorporates Dolby Atmos and we were able to take in a demo. It is truly unbelievable. Dolby Atmos can project sounds to virtually any where in the room making it feel like you have well over a dozen speakers around, above and below you. 

W-Series with Dolby Atmos Sound
W-Series with Dolby Atmos Sound

 

LG is much more than just high-end items though. We were able to view and listen to their Bluetooth standard and levitating speakers as well as pick up their new "Gram" Ultrabooks that weigh in at less that a kilogram and pack in unbelievable battery life and Core i5 processors. They have curved displays for your PC, amazing 5K displays as well, and a everything you need in your Smart-home including fridges, laundry care, physical and virtual assistants and more. LG may at one point been a name that you'd consider if you couldn't find what you want, but they have stepped up their game in a monumental way in the past few years and are really industry leaders.

LG Gram
LG "Gram" Ultrabook #want

 

There are a lot more images from the LG visit in our gallery over here. Of course you can keep up with all of our CES coverage right here.

 

Palm Smartphones in 2018?

Not sure how reliable the next rumor is, but there is talk that the Palm brand could be making a comeback in 2018. Some of you out there might remember the good old Palm Pilot which was one of the first smart devices out there and was hugely popular. Of course Palm was eventually bought out by HP, who then sold Palm OS to LG and the brand to TCL and for the most part has become a forgotten brand name. TCL is looking at bringing it back in 2018 but at this point its just talk and in an already crowded market I'm not giving it high hopes of being a game changer. SlashGear has the story.

A new Palm smartphone has been tipped to be coming in the year 2018, made by the folks at TCL. The Palm brand has been in limbo for the past half-decade, moving in and out of HP-connected devices then on into relative obscurity. The Palm operating system was acquired by LG and continues to be used (in some form or another) in LG smart TVs to this day – as such, it won’t be coming with the Palm phone set for next year.

Mouse and Keyboard Support Finally Coming to Xbox One Games

Microsoft promised keyboard and mouse support for the Xbox One a while back, and the implementation is finally getting close. The downside is that the integration will be fairly open and nothing will be standard - or required. Developers aren't required to support it but Microsoft says that they encourage fair usage. However, the big concern is for multiplayer games where they think that it will give some people an unfair advantage if they "buy extra peripherals". I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most people already have a keyboard and mouse kicking around somewhere.

To some extent Microsoft has already been experimenting with support between Gears of War 4 (where there have been mixed-input online playlists) and Minecraft's Better Together update (which has some mouse and keyboard functionality). However, it's difficult to say how well support will pan out once compatible games arrive in earnest. Will studios honor Microsoft's recommendations? And if they do, will they risk splitting the community?

Source: Engadget

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