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



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.


Planet Radio TV tune in on any device



Planet Radio TV plans to be Africa’s first online broadcaster that allows its listeners to watch via Internet and satellite TV as well as listen via FM or Internet radio. SEAN BACHER visits its studios.

Planet Radio TV (PRTV) is broadcast much like any other terrestrial radio station, allowing its users to tune into it with a standard FM tuner. But its owner, Planet Image Productions, is about to launch two other means of tuning into the station.

In the coming month, MultiChoice will place a new satellite in orbit that will, by the new year, allow Planet to broadcast to subscribers via the satellite. Planet has also announced the PRTV app, which can be downloaded to Apple, BlackBerry, Android and Windows Mobile devices, allowing users to stream the content to their phones and tablets.

‚”What makes this unique though is that our systems will automatically detect a user’s connection speed and stream content in a format that suits that speed, says Planet Image CEO Wale Akinlabi. ‚”For example, someone connecting through 3G will be able to view high-definition video and hear high-definition audio. A user with a slower connection will still be able to view and listen to the station, but at a lower quality.‚”

This, he believes, will eliminate the buffering issue which discourages many users from streaming video and audio to their devices.

The radio station comprises 80% African music, with the remainder being international, and is targeted at Africa’s youth.

‚”At PRTV we intend to change the way consumers view, listen and interact with television, radio and Internet mediums,‚” says Mabel Mabaso, chief operations officer and director at Planet Image. ‚”It is an exciting platform that synchronises three mediums, providing opportunities for consumers and advertisers alike.‚”

Planet RadioTV differentiates itself from other local broadcasters with its clever use of software and hardware. Planet Image uses a high-definition video-graphics (HDVG) rendering program, designed by Orad, an Israeli company specialising in TV production software. This software suite, combined with four Panasonic high-definition cameras, is able to detect and focus on a person’s voice. When the camera fixes on a voice, that camera is automatically activated and begins broadcasting. Should someone else begin talking, a separate camera will detect the voice and focus on that person.

The software controlling the cameras also performs basic video editing. Mabaso says that, although the initial cost of the equipment was more than that of standard cameras, it will prove well worth it, as it eliminates the need for a dedicated cameraman filming the show in the studio.

‚”Another payoff is that we don’t need that much office space,‚” she says.

Based in Randburg in Johannesburg, the studio is small in comparison to most others and the control room is just big enough for one person.

‚”The control room merely serves as a back-up should one of the cameras fail. It also allows us to control when and where visual adverts appear.‚”

The system is also tightly integrated with applications like Skype.

‚”We can interview someone overseas without having to send a crew there to perform recording. We simply communicate via Skype, making the interviewee’s Internet camera an extension of our own in-studio cameras.‚”

Besides featuring local and international music, the station has regular fashion, food and cooking, music and culture segments, which are broadcast to around 30 000 listeners around Africa.

Rounding up the technology aspect, PRTV has integrated Twitter and Facebook, allowing its listeners to interact with DJs.

Listeners can tune into Planet Radio TV by logging onto

* Follow Sean Bacher on Twitter on @SeanBacher

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Canon EOS M – small and simple



Canon has extended the EOS range with the EOS M, its first compact system camera. Although not yet available in South Africa, the EOS M offers DSLR quality images and full HD recording in a compact, easy to use device.

Canon has expanded the EOS range with the launch of the EOS M. The company’s first ever compact system camera (CSC), the EOS M offers DSLR-quality imaging and full HD movie creation in a compact and easy-to-use model.

The EOS M is available in sleek black, glossy white, stylish silver or bold red colours, and condenses Canon’s EOS imaging heritage into a stylish, compact design. The model launches alongside two new lenses, the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake and the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom, as well as a new compact EX Speedlite the Speedlite 90EX. For those who want to push their images even further, the EOS M can also use Canon’s range of EF lenses with the new Mount Adapter EF-EOS M, for even more creative freedom.

The quality of a Canon DSLR

The EOS M’s high-resolution, 18 megapixel APS-C hybrid CMOS sensor also allows you to blur the background for beautiful portraits, or for close-ups with impact.

With the inclusion of Canon’s DIGIC 5 processor, colours ‚’pop’ and skin tones are beautifully natural, while a super-fast shutter allows you to capture split-second action.

Shoot what you see and easily express your creative vision

Every aspect of the EOS M has been designed to make it simple to capture high-quality images. With the high-resolution, 7.7cm (3.0‚”), Clear View LCD II Touch screen, the EOS M gives you as much or as little control over your photos as desired. Simply select different shooting modes and settings via the on-screen icons, or let Scene Intelligent Auto adjust the camera settings according to the subject and shooting conditions, leaving you free to focus on composition and selecting the perfect moment to hit the shutter release button.

Turn film-maker with EOS Movie and Video Snapshot

When a moment calls for more than a still image, the EOS M lets you switch to Full HD video with stereo sound.

Extending the EOS System with dedicated accessories

In addition to compatibility with Canon’s existing EF lenses, accessories and Speedlites, the EOS M launches with its own range of accessories. Two new EF-M lenses offer portability and high performance when using the new model the EF-M 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM standard zoom and the EF-M 22mm f/2 STM pancake lens. Both feature new stepper motor technology for exceptionally smooth AF performance, as well as precision Canon optics, while their compact designs offer the perfect form-factor to complement the camera’s pocket-sized body.

Additionally, the EOS M will ship with the new Speedlite 90EX flash unit as standard. Lightweight and highly-compact, it offers a maximum guide number of nine and supports wide-angle lenses, making it an ideal general-purpose flash for everyday use. A wireless master function also allows the control of multiple flash guns wirelessly, allowing more advanced users to experiment with a range of creative lighting effects.

EOS M key features

· The quality of a digital SLR in a compact body

· Scene Intelligent Auto

· Be versatile with interchangeable lenses

· Create out-of-focus backgrounds for high impact

· Easy-to-use touch-screen

· Atmospheric photos in low light

· Full-HD video with Video Snapshot Mode


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