Author Archive: Gareth

Seasoned tech blogger. Host of both the Mobile Tech Addicts podcast and The Mobile Tech Addicts Show.

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By February 27, 2015 Read More →

Panasonic 4K Pro: Finally get to see what the director REALLY intended

ef80mssooflvwhf3mklvPanasonic today announced the introduction of ‘4K Pro’: an enhanced 4K experience that combines the professional-level processing power of Panasonic’s new 4K Studio Master Processor with super-bright Wide Colour Phosphor panels that cover a maximum of 98% of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) colour range.

Because of the limitations of traditional TV technology, viewers have long had to accept that it is difficult to experience at home what film directors truly intended when they put together their masterpieces.

However, Panasonic’s guiding principle with regards to TV picture quality has always been to strive to faithfully reproduce the director’s vision. 4K Pro represents a considerable step towards casting aside past screen limitations and is made possible by a cross-fertilisation of Panasonic’s professional AV business technology with the ‘reference’ picture quality knowhow built up while developing its renowned plasma TVs.

What is 4K Pro?

For Panasonic, 4K resolution is just one part of an immersive and accurate picture experience. So while the new 4K Pro picture engine certainly maximises the impact of 4K’s 3840×2160 pixel count, it also deploys a whole raft of technologies – including both panel design and processing systems – to address all the other key aspects of TV picture quality too.

The 4K Studio Master Processor

Panasonic’s proprietary 4K Studio Master Processor has been designed from the ground up to produce pictures that are totally faithful to a director’s vision. It draws on the huge resource of picture knowledge accumulated by Panasonic’s internationally respected professional AV business, the Panasonic Hollywood Laboratory, and its plasma TV division to deliver unprecedentedly accurate colour, uniquely satisfying contrast, and phenomenal brightness and dynamism.

Accurate Colour Drive: Through its Accurate Colour Drive, Panasonic has introduced to consumer TVs advanced colour management technologies, such as 3D Lookup Tables, which have previously only found in professional monitors.

3D Lookup Tables provide a volumetric approach to colour space control whereby a change in any one input colour causes cross-colour changes in all of the table’s output colours. The result is a much more accurate rendition of colour tones at different brightness levels than you get with normal TVs, which conventionally employ either very crude or no lookup table technology.

Even screens that do offer 3D Lookup Table usually only offer red, green and blue control, whereas on the Panasonic CR850 and CX800 TVs the table also references the cyan, magenta and yellow colours across a total of 8000 registry points (versus a typical 100). This enables the Panasonic TVs to provide the sort of professional-grade colour accuracy used by directors when they’re editing their films.

Black Gradation Drive: Normally LCD TVs control their backlights and gain settings separately, using 8-bit processing to deliver 256 steps of gradation. With its 4K Studio Master Processor though, Panasonic has brought the backlight control and gain adjustment picture controls together under the same processing umbrella for the first time, so that they can work in tandem to deliver more accurate local light levels. What’s more, it uses 10-bit driving to produce 1024 steps of gradation. What this means in picture terms is that you see vastly more shadow detail and subtler, more accurate colour toning in dark parts of the picture, avoiding that hollow, flat, washed-out look commonly seen with dark scenes on normal LCD TVs.

Native HDR Content playback: the 4K Studio Master Processor is enabled to support the playback of native High Dynamic Range (HDR) content when the appropriate standards have been finalized. HDR uses a combination of specially created content and super-bright, colour-rich screens to deliver images containing a much wider luminance range than any traditional TV. This means you can enjoy pictures with more contrast, richer colours, and greatly enhanced shadow and colour detail.

Wide Colour Phosphor Panels

The second key 4K Pro element in the Panasonic CR850 and CX800 TVs is their use of LED panels which include new Wide Colour Phosphor technology and have been custom built to complement the work of the Panasonic 4K Studio Master Processor. Thanks to the Wide Colour Phosphor technology, these panels can reproduce a remarkable 98% of the Digital Cinema Initiative (DCI) colour space.

Coupling these spectacular new panels with the 4K Studio Master Processor translates into you being able to see a range of colours on your TV much closer in tone and subtlety – especially in areas of red and green – to those you would see if you went to see a film at your local cinema. In other words, once again Panasonic TVs are uniquely well qualified to let you enjoy pictures at home that look almost exactly the way directors wanted them to look when they shot them.

 

Bright and Eco-conscious: As well as helping colours achieve a more cinematic range, Wide Colour Phosphor technology has considerable brightness and eco benefits. For instance, it uses approximately only half the energy of a conventional Quantum Dot panel to produce the same level of brightness, making it extremely cost effective to run. This makes Wide Colour Phosphor technology ideally suited to the playback of High Dynamic Range content.

By February 26, 2015 Read More →

Panasonic unveils Home Screen 2.0 powered by Firefox OS

dhzk8ggjhzlg32nag96kPanasonic has collaborated with Mozilla to introduce a new, intuitive user interface for its 2015 TV line-up, powered by Firefox OS. Panasonic’s 2015 4K UHD (Ultra HD) LED VIERA TV line-up is equipped with a range of new functions and features, including my Home Screen 2.0 and Info Frame, designed to ensure you can enjoy your favourite channels, apps and devices faster and more efficiently than ever.

New, intuitive, customisable user interface

To provide a graphically rich, intuitive interface that makes it quick and easy for you to track down your favourite content with ease, Panasonic has introduced Firefox OS in the 2015 4K UHD VIERA TV line-up.

The platform, incorporating the new my Home Screen 2.0, is specifically designed to allow you to access preferred content quickly and easily. The home screen can be completely personalised to suit your preferences and is divided into easy to navigate ‘decks’. Three decks come as default with the platform:

The Live TV Deck

You can watch live broadcasts and build up a personalised ‘home screen’ of your most-watched channels.

The Apps Deck

Use Firefox OS’s graphically rich interface to access all the TV apps available on VIERA. These apps will include everything from the most popular video on demand partners to games.

The Devices Deck

Any devices connected to your TV, either by cables or WiFi, will appear in this deck, providing rapid access to external sources such as: tablets, smartphones, computers, Blu-ray players, SD cards, and USB storage drives.

A new search tool is also available via my Home Screen 2.0 that allows you to find and access content from all available source options, including internet video services, websites and any external devices you may have connected to your TV.

When you’ve found the content you’re looking for, the new user interface also lets you bookmark your favourite channels, apps, web pages and connected devices by using the Pin function for quick access at a later date.

The new user interface also incorporates Info Frame, which combines everything from local weather reports to recommended TV shows, TV listings and your favourite website, all on a single screen.

Connectivity across all your devices

Firefox OS is built on open standards, allowing you to send photos, videos or other content to your Firefox OS-powered TV from any smartphone, tablet, or computer with a Firefox browser or other compatible application.

This means that you do not need to be constrained into one ecosystem or brand.Sending content to the Firefox OS TV requires no additional hardware – you simply need to make sure that your Panasonic Firefox OS-powered TV is on the same WiFi network.

Greater flexibility for app developers

Firefox OS provides superior flexibility to developers to create brand new applications and services through WebAPIs that unlock the power of the Web and enable connected experiences across platforms. In addition, for the first time, Firefox OS will allow TV on-screen notifications from applications, and, in the future, from compatible connected appliances.

Firefox OS and my Home Screen 2.0 are available on the CR850, CR730, CX800, CX750, CX700 and CX680 series in the 2015 line-up.

By February 25, 2015 Read More →

What would an iPhone 6C look like?

phpd80nfd3DFuture has produced a convincing render of a plastic-coated version of the iPhone 6, following in the footsteps of 2013′s iPhone 5C. Based on Apple’s previous release habits, an iPhone 6C would feature the same internals as the iPhone 6, with a more powerful iPhone 6S launching alongside it.

However, whilst it has yet to be confirmed whether Apple will travel the a budget version route again to keep the manufacture price to profit ratio at a maximum we enjoy the rumour game it and this is not beyond the realms of possibility. Perhaps a similar offering will await the larger alternative, the iPhone 6 Plus … C.

Previous reports suggest that the iPhone 5C was the best-selling smartphone in the UK last August, with demand unaffected by the launch of the iPhone 6. All will be reveals when Apple refreshes its iPhone line in September this year.

 

Posted in: News, Rumours
By February 23, 2015 Read More →

Are we finally going to see 4K Blu Ray?

blu_1The official standard for 4K Blu-Ray has been finally been decided upon. The finalised standard will be different from your average Blu-Ray disk, with a 66GB Dual-layer and a triple layer 100GB being the storage medium for Ultra HD Blu-Ray. Having spoken to Ron Martin, vice president of Panasonic’s Hollywood lab, last year in Berlin Blu-ray development was looking for a different way to store data. This new method, moving from the H.264/AVC (Advanced Video Coding) compression technology to the newer H.265/HEVC (High Efficiency Video Coding) successor, was a logical and widely supported solution.

4K Blu-Ray disks and the new players, pioneered by Panasonic, required to run them are expected to release at some time this year. The 4K video will be encoded with the relatively new and ultra efficient HEVC and will be gaining HDR (High Dynamic Range) which will provide much more detailed Bright and Dark tones. Colour will also be receive a notable boost with the Ultra HD Blu-Ray spec supporting 10-bit sampling and 4:4:4 colour, instead 4:2:0 colour which standard HD Blu-Ray uses.

3D is not included in the change, an omission that will leave many unphased, but a loyal handful a little bitter. That’s not to say 4K 3D Blu-Rays will not be a thing, just not at launch

Posted in: News
By February 20, 2015 Read More →

Inateck USB 3.0 HDD Docking Station Unboxing

vlcsnap-2015-02-18-20h58m32s26Gareth takes a look at Inateck’s USB 3.0 HDD Docking Station for 3.5″ and 2.5″ HDD and SSD storage. Easy to set up, cheap to buy, decent build quality and promising big speeds Inateck provides another cheap as chips solution.

 

  •  Designed for 2.5”/3.5”SATA HDD/SSD and equipped with USB 3.0 super speed interface
  • Super Speed USB 3.0 offer Speed up to 5Gbps, Ten times that of USB 2.0
  • Compatible Operating Systems: Windows 2000/ XP /Vista/ 7/ 8, Mac OS 9.1/10.8.4 above
  • Hot Swap , Plug and Play , No Reboot and Additional Driver is needed; LED activity indicator, clear and informative display; Perfect solutions for your external storage
  • Tool – Free design allow to mount Hard Drive in three second without Tools and Mounting Screws , Allow to accessing multi Hard Drives Externally and Easily

Posted in: News, Videos/Unboxings
By February 17, 2015 Read More →

Parrot launch first dedicated games for the AR Drone 2.0

unnamedParrot has launched its first dedicated games for the AR Drone 2.0. AR.Race 2 is a single or multi-player racing game and AR.Rescue 2 is a single player game, with the Drone pilot’s mission to save a stranded spaceship and send it back home, all the while battling against obstacles and hostile monsters.

Both games allow Drone pilots to compare their scores and times against others around the world, bringing another level of competitiveness through the AR.Drone Academy. Full release below with a couple of images attached – let me know if you need anything else.

AR.Race 2 & AR.Rescue 2:
Compare yourself to Parrot AR.Drone pilots around the world

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Need an adrenaline shot? Crave new challenges? Discover two augmented reality games dedicated to the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0 quadricopter and connected to the AR.Drone Academy, allowing you to compare your scores to competing pilots from the community.
Create giant race courses with AR.Race 2 or be part of a futuristic quest with AR.Rescue 2.
May the best pilot win!

AR.Race 2: an aerial race without limit …
- Select a gaming zone; eg your house, your garden, a forest… Every part of the environment (walls, furniture, trees…) can become part of the game as potential obstacles.
- Create a course and indicate the starting/finishing line by placing a tag on the ground that will be recognized by the embedded vertical camera of the Parrot AR.Drone 2.0, allowing players to record race times.
On your marks! Get set! Go! Your flying machine is moving fast, veering between obstacles; right-turn, left-turn. Time is running out! Step on the gas, make a loop just after the straight line and make a U-turn just before crossing the finish line…
New players want to be part of the game? Add as many as you want and create infinite races
Compare your scores with the rest of the pilot community by connecting to the AR.Drone Academy.

AR.Race 2 can be downloaded free on the App StoreSM

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AR.Rescue 2: Aliens may-day…

An alien rocket has crashed. Survivors have to find every part of the spacecraft to rebuild it and go back home. But they need your help!
Piloting a Parrot AR.Drone 2.0, you will go through four augmented reality worlds (10 levels each) and collect, one by one, scattered pieces of the spacecraft. But be careful! Crunchers, little monsters who will devour scraps of metal, are looking for you and will do everything they can to stop you … Get your laser weapons ready, keep your head and be prepared for a long fight.
Compare your scores with the rest of the pilot community by connecting to the AR.Drone Academy.

AR.Rescue 2 can be downloaded free on the App StoreSM

Available from the AR. FreeFlight piloting App, the AR.Drone Academy is a sharing and exchange platform dedicated to Parrot AR.Drone pilots. Members can access exclusive features and content including flight data and statistics, videos, photos, identification of best flying areas and places to avoid, easy video uploads to social networks and sharing platforms…

Posted in: Apps & Games, News
By February 12, 2015 Read More →

What Celebrity would you would most like a selfie with this Valentine’s Day?

Caggie Dunlop 28As Valentine’s Day comes sweeping into the hearts of the public HTC would like focus their attention on those loving moments between couples, however they have noticed that the British public might just be wishing they could have a celebrity to cuddle this year. 

The male and female celebrities Brits would most desire a Valentine’s Day selfie with are David Beckham and Jennifer Lawrence according to research carried out by leading design and technology company HTC, to promote its Desire 620 handset. Beckhams are top male heartthrobs. Unsurprisingly David Beckham topped the league of most desirable men to have a selfie with, but the main talking point is a new rival for the crown in the Beckham household with Brooklyn making an appearance on the most desired list.  Brooklyn Beckham beat out competition from celebrity heart-throbs including bad boy Justin Bieber and One Direction’s Zayn Malik who came ninth and tenth respectively. Combined the Beckhams achieved a fifth (19%) of the 2000 18-30 year olds polled, indicating the father-son duo could be one of the most sought after selfie opportunities possible.

Brits prefer American women. Jennifer Lawrence’s leaked obsession with selfies may have made her the most desirable female, but the biggest surprise was that the highest placed British woman was only number four. Selfie queen Helen Flanagan, was also beaten out by Rihanna and Katy Perry, indicating that most of the UK prefer American women.  The next highest ranked Brit was Kelly Brook in sixth.

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The Autograph is dead. The data also shows that the autograph is dead. Over half of Brits (55%) reveal they would choose a selfie with their favourite star over anything else, while less than a quarter would want an autograph with their celebrity crush. (22%)

Blokes would also be most bold, with a third of blokes most likely to ask their celebrity crush on a date or for a kiss if they met them. (32%) Women are shyer, with only one in ten likely to do the same (11%).

Most popular celebrity selfies. Ellen DeGeneres took the most popular selfie of the last year with her shot of herself by a who’s who of Hollywood actors, topping other famous selfies of the last 12 months including Kim Kardashian’s famous ‘belfie’, Lukas Podolski’s picture of the German World Cup winning team and Cara Delevingne’s ‘ugly’ shot.

Why do we care about celebrity selfies? We check up on our favourite celebrity’s twitter feeds between two and three times a day (2.51), with nearly a third of us looking at celebrity selfies to get a glimpse into their private lives (29%) or to get a behind the scenes look at what they have been up to (31%). Over a quarter of British females also check celebrity selfies to get fashion inspiration (29%) and a fifth to get beauty tips (22%).

Celebrities are inspiring us to be more selfie obsessed than ever, with the estimated 11 million 18-30 year olds in the UK posting a total of more than one billion selfies in 2014. The average 18-30 year old in the UK is posting over 100 selfies a year with nearly half (49%) now posting at least one selfie a week to social media. To cater for the huge interest in selfies and the desire to make ourselves look our best on our social networks, HTC has now created a range of hardware and software designed specifically for the selfie generation.

The HTC Desire 620 features best-in-class camera tools with a large 5” screen and quad-core processing power. The 8MP main camera has auto focus technology to deliver crisp shots every time, and the 5MP front-facing camera features a built-in countdown mode so you’ll never miss a selfie pose again.

Face Fusion is a tool that allows you to merge your face with that of a friend or celebrity for a completely original look and Live Makeup allows you to set the desired level of skin smoothing and preview the effect in real-time before the image is captured.

Voice Selfie also removes the need for awkward hand contortions by enabling you to trigger the shutter release with a simple command. Simply say “cheese” or “smile” as soon as you’ve struck the perfect pose or trigger the video recording with “action” or “rolling” commands.

Ben Walsh, Head of Marketing UK and Ireland at HTC, said: “There were some great celebrity selfies in 2014 and it’s clear that we’re more interested than ever, with the average person checking their favourite celebrity’s social postings multiple times a day. It is also inspiring us to imitate them, so we’ve created a suite of new features in our Desire handsets which allow HTC customers to get creative with their own selfies.”

HTC Desire 620_PerRight_SantoriniWhite

For more details on HTC’s Desire range, visit www.htc.com/uk/ The HTC Desire 620 is available in Santorini White exclusively from Three or in Tuxedo Grey on O2 or Vodafone from Carphone Warehouse. HTC EYE Experience features are also available on the following models: HTC One (M7), HTC One (M8), HTC Desire Eye, HTC One E8, HTC One mini, HTC One mini 2, HTC One max, HTC Desire 816, HTC Desire 820.

Posted in: Cameras, Editorial, Phones
By February 6, 2015 Read More →

Ever wonder about those glowing app reviews?

YPkG0HWIt’s no surprise that the business of getting people to download your app is a difficult one. With so many rivals clamoring to get their similarly themed application ahead of the competition, or nefarious sods who want to bombard you with adverts or straight up steal information, it seems almost absurd that the 100′s or 1000′s of glowing reviews in the Appstore or Google Play could have come from just one person. Or could it? A recent post on Reddit shows that the simplest tactic might be the easiest solution and what you had thought and probably dismissed might actually be way things really  are. Rather than resorting to clever coding and an intelligent work around for Apple or Google’s personal identification system companies are simply setting up dozens of tablets with fake user profiles and writing the reviews themselves. 

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Of course we all knew this was happening, however it’s not until you see it, and take in the impressive set up that you realise that this is a simple problem that we are having to deal with. No level of security or vetting with stop Guest10257 from telling you that “Facebook Messenger Lite +” and “Hotspot Sniffer Dog” are the greatest apps they have ever downloaded. Your security will be fine and you won’t find too many ads intruding on the screen. 

Now if only someone would write an app that allows the little lady above to post to all those accounts from just one tablet… that would be a step forward.

ConnectMyApps is a software integration platform for small businesses that lets you synchronize data between your Accounting, Invoicing, CRM, E-mail, E-Commerce and other apps.

Posted in: Editorial
By February 5, 2015 Read More →

Don’t get angry, get Neeson

8379-three-mobile-games-had-super-bowl-ads-this-year-here-they-are-if-you-missed-themThere were three mobile games to show off during the much coveted Super Bowl ad breaks this year. The most impressive of which was Liam Neeson making fun of his Taken role for Clash of the Clans. Whilst a little predictable, there is a genuine laugh to be had at Liam’s expense regarding a Barista. Certainly a nice addition to the typical big screen trailers, hardware previews and car commercials it proves that mobile gaming is really a force to be reckoned with and rumours of a $4.5m fee shows there is plenty of money to throw about. Advert follows:

 

Posted in: Apps & Games
By February 4, 2015 Read More →

Unboxing Revealmedia Body Camera

vlcsnap-2015-02-03-14h30m03s73Gareth takes a look at the RS3-SX Body Worn Camera System from Revealmedia. This unit is typically worn by the Police to document response situations. Built for reliability and designed to be light weight the Body Worn Camera is a versatile and almost essential piece of equipment for an officer on the job.

  • Accurate positioning. Horizontal and vertical camera adjustment.
  • Front-facing screen. 2.5” screen displays footage as it is being recorded. Proven to improve outcomes.
  • Multi-use. Use camera on body, in car or standalone (eg. in interviews).
  • Secure. Files will only load and play on a computer running DEMS software; not on any other device
  • Wide field of view. 120º horizontal, 60º vertical
  • Dock and go. Automatic file uploading and battery charging via cable or docking station.
  • Rugged case. Designed for use on the front line – where you work.
  • Usage log. Encrypted log on RS3-SX. Automatically detect if a video has been tampered with.
  • Playback. On camera video and audio playback. Review footage in the field.
  • Mark evidence. Mark footage as ‘evidential’ when in record mode. Automatic filing after upload to DEMS.
  • Stealth mode. Enables recording without screen or lights.

RECORDING

  • Audio and video recording – yes
  • Recording resolution – Full HD
  • Recording speed – 30 frames per second
  • Field of view, horizontal – 120º
  • Field of view, vertical – 60º
  • Encoding technology, video – H264
  • Encoding technology, audio – MPEG-4
  • Recording activation switch – single slider switch; one action record
  • Recording capacity – >8hrs
  • Recording format – .mov
  • Date and time stamp – yes

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