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Buying a monitor? Here’s what you need to know

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The market is flooded with various monitors, each available in different sizes and offering different refresh rates and aspect ratios. FRANCOIS RHEEDERS, Product Manager at Rectron, discusses what to consider when buying a monitor.

With the rise in mobile devices such as tablets, smart phones and phablets, as well as the ever-increasing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, I’m often asked about the relevance of desktop monitors. I firmly believe that monitors remain irreplaceable; as long as there is a demand to consume content via mobile device, there is a need to create that content somewhere. And of course, there’s a very real space for monitors whether you’re a serious gamer or even a businessperson who needs to work on something a bit larger than a tablet screen. So, what should you be looking for in a monitor to make it a valuable and necessary addition to your tech devices?

Form follows function

The most important part of your decision is defining what you want to use your monitor for, and then narrowing your search options accordingly. Certainly considerations like size, resolution, connections, incorporated audio, refresh rate, dot pitch, blur reduction, black enhancement (I could go on) may seem daunting, which is why it’s so important to find a reseller who is well-versed in finding the best fit for you.

The optimal gaming experience

When it comes to best fit for your gaming experience, think about what kind of games you play. If you’re a racing fan, you may want the immersive experience a large, curved monitor offers; on the other hand, if you prefer shooting games you may favour the fast output of a 144Hz monitor. Generally, when it comes to gaming monitors, you need one that can optimally display your graphics output. If you invest in a high-end graphics card, you want to be able to see the great new resolutions it offers.

Along with graphics, you also need to consider the response time and refresh rate of your monitor, which can range from 60Hz to as much as 200Hz now.

And lastly, think about the size of your monitor. Perhaps “size does matter” to you, but be aware that large monitors tend to have a trade-off on pixel density, or come at a greater cost to give you the desired resolution along with size.

The right monitor for your job

Moving from pleasure to business, there is also still a clear role for monitors in the workplace. Despite BYOD, many people still enjoy the option of plugging into a docking station. For example, I like to work on a wide screen or two in order to maximise the window space I have. I care less about resolution as long as I can fit as much as possible on the screen. Alternatively, you could be a graphic designer who needs the great colour replication that comes with the IPS panels, not to mention a large resolution and screen size too. Either way, a mobile device just isn’t going to cut it.

Getting from point A to point B in style

With all that said, I’m still seeing the trend for price to determine which monitors are purchased for both the home and the office. And size still wins over resolution locally, regardless of resolution or refresh rate.To this I say, any car can get you from point A to point B, but your experience will differ significantly whether you choose a 4X4 or a racing car. So it all comes down to your needs and expectations. But either way, just like cars on our busy South African streets, I don’t see monitors disappearing any time soon.

Audio/Visual

Kia makes car audio personal

KIA Motors has revealed its Separated Sound Zone (SSZ) technology that allows each passenger of a vehicle to experience an audio stream tailored to their individual needs.

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SSZ technology creates and controls the acoustic fields of the car, allowing the driver and each passenger to hear isolated sounds. The many speakers installed in the vehicle feature technology that uses scientific principles to reduce or increase audio levels of sound waves. This negates the overlap of sounds being heard in each seat, creating the same effect as current noise cancellation systems, but without the need for headphones.

“Customers in the autonomous navigation era will demand increasingly customisable entertainment options within their vehicles, which includes technological innovations such as the Separated Sound System.” says Kang-duck Ih, Research Fellow at KIA’s NVH Research Lab. “I hope by providing drivers and passengers with tailored, independent audio spaces, they will experience a more comfortable and entertaining transportation environment.”

People’s musical tastes vary, so some passengers choose to use headphones during a journey to isolate their audio stream, but this also creates an unnecessary social barrier when interacting with other passengers. When travelling in a vehicle equipped with next-generation SSZ technology, each passenger can connect their smartphone via Bluetooth and listen to their own music without interference from, or interfering with other passenger’s audio streams.

When the SSZ is utilised, hands-free phone calls can also be isolated to individual passengers, ensuring privacy when having important phone conversations on the move.

Furthermore, this ground-breaking technology can eliminate unnecessary sounds for the passenger, but provide them for the driver. Navigation sounds, or various alerts, allow the driver to focus on controlling the vehicle, while the SSZ system isolates these sounds, maintaining a quiet area for the other passengers. This has a particularly strong application for drivers with a sleeping child in the vehicle.

SSZ technology has been in development since 2014, and the completed mass production system is expected to be ready for installation in vehicles within one to two years.

For a video of Separated Sound Zone technology, please visit https://youtu.be/lokXL8qyu1c.

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Future of TV in 4 letters

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Television technology has come a long way, transforming not just the way we consume our entertainment, but also the formats in which media is broadcasted or streamed. Today, TVs can do a lot more than just display our favourite shows, says DEAN DAFFUE, GTM manager at LG Electronics SA.

Today, consumers demand TVs that are not just slim, but so thin that they are like paintings on walls. TVs have become an element of décor that can seamlessly integrate into the design of a home, and render the clearest, sharpest images, with the deepest blacks and crispest whites without compromising on resolution. Home cinema is not just about the picture anymore. Consumers are eyeing TVs that would be able to learn usage patterns and automatically suggest entertainment based on individual preferences. The switch from LCD to LED transformed TV design, allowing for lighter, thinner and easily wall-mountable frames, housing even more sophisticated display tech. The picture quality also dramatically improved with new contrast ratios rendering more vivid colours, deeper blacks and crisper whites. But they were still more functional than aesthetic.

As larger segments of the population embraced internet connectivity and streaming content, the TV became smarter, integrating content-streaming apps for a more seamless viewing experience. As Internet Service Providers (ISPs) upgraded their infrastructures to accommodate the growth in streaming services, TV manufacturers also upgraded their TVs’ ability to tap into different types of content.

In the future, TVs with built in Artificial Intelligence (AI) will be able to learn usage patterns and automatically switch modes based on user preference, and even take instructions from multiple users as TVs become increasingly connected to digital home assistant systems.

Six years on, and we see the evolution that continues to lead in the OLED TV market, LG is racking up awards and accolades for its innovative OLED TVs. This pioneering effort in the design and manufacturing of OLED TVs has culminated in complete dominance of the OLED market, leaving the pinnacle challenge of innovation in display technology, redefining the TV viewing experience, and its place in your home. Great efforts have been made on OLED technology being affordable and accessible, allowing more people to enjoy a better-quality television experience than before. No TV is a greater testament to this than last year’s award-winning LG SIGNATURE W7 – also known as wallpaper.

As South Africans are continuously looking for ‘an experience that amazes’, OLED TVs are considered by industry experts to offer the most advanced display technology. As each pixel on the display can be individually switched on and off, OLED offers enhanced picture quality without image degradation. This results in the highest quality image rendering with the purest blacks. With its myriad advantages, OLED panels have become the most desired display technology today and it has become a leading force in making this technology even more ubiquitous and accessible.

With support for both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, LG OLED TV is the first of its kind to offer a premium cinema experience in the comfort of your home. It also features Active HDR technology, which optimises HDR picture quality scene-by-scene, rendering brighter scenes and greater shadow detail for a life-like viewing experience.

Despite the market dominance, the development of newer, more innovative technologies does not stop. This year a staggering number of innovative display technologies were unveiled, such as future display technology like roll-able OLED screens and large format curved displays that will become the future of wall art.

AI is also set to make an appearance. There is a unique and personalised AI services built on the deep learning-based DeepThinQ technology, in cooperation with other AI service providers such as Google, giving AI TVs the ability to automatically adjust the settings to Game Mode, or Sports Mode based on whether a user is currently playing Xbox or watching a football match. Ultimately, AI TV will provide care and comfort to users’ mind and body by learning more about its users’ viewing habits.

What does this all mean for consumers? With continued innovation and development of display technologies, as well as advanced design, AI, premium audio integration and support for the latest resolutions, colour and High Dynamic Range (HDR) standards, the TV will no longer be a display, but a complete home viewing experience. This is what new ranges of OLED TVs will bring to fruition in the coming months, making it the ideal time to upgrade your TV to the ultimate home entertainment experience.

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