Tags hdmi

Enclave Audio delivers 5.1 surround sound (almost) wirelessly

EnclaveHouse-64 In the list of things that we want science to solve I suspect the creation of a wireless 5.1 speaker system that is easy to use and set up ranks up there in between a cure for shingles and the colonization of Mars. Thankfully, there are people on the job. Enclave Audio has been working on a wireless 5.1 sound system since 2013 and they recently released their first product at CES, the CineHome HD. Read More

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Photo

John Biggs

May 6th

Gadgets

Google And ASUS Launch The $85 Chromebit, A Chrome OS Desktop On An HDMI Stick

DSC04017 Earlier this year, Google and ASUS announced the Chromebit — a full Chrome OS-based computer on an HDMI stick. Today, the two companies are officially launching this new way of using Chrome OS on any screen with an HDMI port. The $85 Chromebit is a 75 gram (or 2.6 ounces) stick that you can plug into any HDMI port — whether that’s a regular computer screen or that large TV… Read More

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Photo

Frederic Lardinois

November 17th

Gadgets

Review: Sony’s MP-CL1 updates a proven HD pico projector with a thin, Apple-friendly shell

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?…

Key Details:

  • 1920×720 video projector similar in size to an iPhone 6/6s Plus
  • Uses same MicroVision-built laser projection engine as Celluon’s PicoPro, tuned a little better
  • Fully HDMI-compatible with Apple TV, Mac, iOS devices
  • Roughly 3 hrs of video playback

sonympcl1-2

Looking solely at the actual projector units, Sony’s MP-CL1 and Celluon’s PicoPro have a lot more in common than not, and even where they diverge, they’re pretty similar. For instance, MP-CL1 measures 5.9″ by 3″ by 0.51″, while PicoPro measures 5.9″ by 2.9″ by 0.55″ — just barely thicker and narrower. Sony’s matte-finished aluminum-bodied unit weighs 7.4 ounces and Celluon’s glossy plastic PicoPro is around 6.4 ounces, a weight difference that isn’t practically noticeable. MP-CL1’s minimalist metal chassis is more timeless than PicoPro’s pleasant but decidedly plasticky design; if I had to pick just one projector solely on overall look and feel, I’d go with Sony’s.

sonympcl1-3

Sony also has the better port and control array. Everything is lined up on MP-CL1’s right side, starting with a reinforced wriststrap hole, a micro-USB charging port, a power button, a three-position volume/menu navigation toggle, a mini-HDMI (MHL) port, a 3.5mm headphone port, and a full-sized USB port that can be used to share the projector’s battery with a USB device. Unlike PicoPro, there are no wonky capacitive surfaces or color-coded lights to worry about; MP-CL1 is really cleanly-designed.

sonympcl1-1

However, Celluon wins on pack-ins. Sony includes a detachable stand, a USB to micro-USB charging cable, and an MHL HDMI to HDMI adapter. Celluon doesn’t include a stand, but bundles in a wall adapter — not found in MP-CL1’s box — plus a USB cable, HDMI cable, MHL to HDMI adapter, and soft carrying bag. While Sony’s bundled stand makes MP-CL1 easier to prop up, a non-trivial advantage, Celluon’s set makes PicoPro easier to charge, carry around, and immediately start connecting to certain Apple devices.

sonympcl1-4

Both units feature wired and wireless connectivity interfaces, though Apple users only have the option of using the wired HDMI port — not integrated Wi-Fi, supported by some Android devices. If you’re connecting an Apple TV or any Mac with an HDMI output, all you need is a self-supplied HDMI cable, but iOS devices will also require Apple’s Lightning Digital AV Adapter, sold separately. Additionally, although Sony includes a larger 3,400mAh battery (PicoPro’s is 3,140mAh), their continuous HDMI video playback time was virtually identical: MP-CL1 ran for 2 hours and 58 minutes of continuous video playback time at its full audio volume, versus the “just under 3 hours” I reported when testing PicoPro.

sonympcl1-5

Another point of commonality is sound output. Like Celluon, Sony includes a small speaker, and it’s adequate for listening to the audio portion of videos. Monaural and frequency limited, it’s just a hair less powerful than the speakers built into the iPhone 6 Plus and iPhone 6s Plus, and a little more powerful than PicoPro’s, which is to say that it’s capable of being heard clearly in a quiet room, but not phenomenal. The biggest advantage both projectors have over non-laser rivals is their fanless designs, which enable their speakers to perform without competition from a loud adjacent source of noise. If you need more sonic power or clarity, the 3.5mm audio port lets you attach self-supplied speakers or headphones of your choice.

sonympcl1-9

As a video projector, MP-CL1 is very similar to PicoPro, defying conventional wisdom as to a 32-lumen projector’s capabilities without presenting a challenge on raw light output. In a room with no ambient light, MP-CL1 can create a very watchable, colorful image ranging from around 6 inches to 80 inches in size, though as with all projectors, the light really begins to fall off at the upper end of that range, and pushing it further to its 120-inch limit isn’t advisable. The unconventional (and PicoPro-matching) 1920×720 resolution isn’t quite 1080p “full HD,” but there are enough pixels here to display reasonably sharp videos, text, and computer output; an iPad, iPhone, or Mac UI can be read without issues. Just as was the case with PicoPro, MP-CL1 presents images with a faint but noticeable sparkle that looks a little like grain in these screenshots.

sonympcl1-11

This doesn’t mean that the two units are completely the same in video quality. Although this comparison image doesn’t show it perfectly, MP-CL1 (shown right, above) received a small but valuable color tweak from Sony, reducing (but not eliminating) PicoPro’s (left, above) slightly blue-green color balance. MP-CL1’s white balance is a little closer to white, though still visibly aqua-tinted in person. You can play somewhat with the contrast, hue, and saturation, as well as separate optical and biphase alignment, but Sony’s default settings are about as good as you should expect from MP-CL1. There’s no toggle to adjust brightness, which is — just like PicoPro — hard to measure by conventional lumen standards, as the unit’s laser-lit points are very bright; my ST200 review discusses the real-world differences you can expect versus a larger but similarly-priced conventional projector.

sonympcl1-6 sonympcl1-7 sonympcl1-10

Two things that make MP-CL1 (and PicoPro) special are the zero-focus projection and quick keystoning adjustments. MicroVision’s projection engine automatically projects perfectly sharp images regardless of its distance from a wall, a major setup and usability advantage over rival pico projectors where manual knob turning is required to achieve sharpness. Additionally, MP-CL1 has two (fully working) keystoning presets and manual keystone adjustments so you can make its projections rectangular rather than trapezoidal. Even relying solely on the very basic included stand, MP-CL1 does a good job of displaying appropriately boxy rather than distorted videos.

sonympcl1-12

Overall, MP-CL1 is a very nice pocket-sized video projector, and on balance, a little better than the earlier-to-market, same-priced PicoPro: between its video tweaks and metal chassis, it has modestly better performance and design on its side, even if its threadbare pack-ins leave some things to be desired. By contrast with bigger projectors, MP-CL1’s ability to operate nearly silently, without fan noise, is an advantage that helps Sony make the most of its battery life, size, and audio output. If you’re interested in a very small, low-configuration video projector capable of creating a good, reasonably-sized TV facsimile, MP-CL1’s worth considering. Those seeking huge displays and more lighting horsepower will need to accept considerably larger projectors to achieve bigger, brighter results.

Manufacturer:
Sony
Price:
$350
Compatibility:
Apple TVs, HDMI Macs, iOS Devices* (with Lightning adapter)

Filed under: Apple TV, iOS Devices, Mac, Reviews Tagged: hd projector, HDMI, MP-CL1, pico projector, pocket-sized, projector, Sony

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Photo

Jeremy Horwitz

October 15th

Apple

Mac

New Apple TV has 2 GB RAM, included 802.11ac WiFi is faster than its Ethernet port

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.

These are the specs Apple lists in the developer documentation:

The new Apple TV has the following hardware specifications:

64-bit A8 processor

32GB or 64GB of storage

2GB of RAM

10/100Mbps Ethernet

WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n/ac

1080p resolution

HDMI

New Siri Remote / Apple TV Remote

The upgraded RAM will help the Apple TV with improved video caching as well as overall better performance playing games, opening apps and navigating the interface. Apple has likely made an exception to the norm and informed developers about the different RAM specifications so they don’t wrongly extrapolate assumptions from the A8 in other Apple devices.

Also, rather amusingly, the new Apple TV still lacks gigabit ethernet. Whilst the internal WiFi has been upgraded to 802.11ac, the internal Ethernet is unchanged and maxes out at 100 megabits. This means if you want the best reliability for streaming, you should actually use the latest WiFi to get connected rather than plugging in a cable.

Interestingly, the new Apple TV has an internal identifier of 5,3. The last public Apple TV was 3,2 indicating a fair few internal revisions took place before they settled on this iteration of hardware.

Some Apple TV owners may be disappointed that Apple has removed the optical audio port in this version. Audio is now only sent over the HDMI cable along with the video. If you relied on the optical audio jack, you are now effectively out of luck if you want to buy the new model … unless you buy a splitter box that converts HDMI into HDMI and optical output.

Speck_DFI_Ad_CS-Stacked-Cube_728x90_v1[2]


Filed under: Apple TV, iOS, iOS Devices Tagged: 2 gb ram, Apple TV, HDMI, iOS

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Photo

Benjamin Mayo

September 9th

Apple

Mac

Raspberry Pi Now Makes A Touchscreen Display So You Can Build Your Own PiPad Pro

front-centred So you decided to stick to the Raspberry Pi architecture and have completely eschewed the Orange Pi? Good for you. In honor of your decision I offer a new $60 Raspberry Pi touchscreen that can turn your single board computer into a fun-sized multi-touch tablet. The officially licensed product connects to the RaspPi’s DSI and DPI connectors to avoid using the precious HDMI connector and… Read More

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Photo

John Biggs

September 8th

Gadgets

Latest MacBook hub on Kickstarter is the neatest yet, with form-fitting design

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 … 

You also have the option of 64GB of embedded flash storage, to extend the storage capacity of your MacBook through a slightly longer model.

The company’s claim that the hub “looks like it belongs on your Macbook” is something of an exaggeration. It still looks to me like a kludge, and I do have to raise an eyebrow at the sense or otherwise of buying a single-port MacBook only to bolt onto it something like this, but I guess the argument is you’ll add it when you need it.

macbook

At the time of writing, there are still Early Bird Specials for $59, and the company will throw in a Mini Display to HDMI adapter. Once those are gone, it will be available for $69, still saving $79 on the planned retail price. The Branch 64 model, with 64GB of embedded storage, costs $119 on Kickstarter, saving $20 on the retail price.

Shipping is scheduled for July and August for the standard and extended storage models respectively. You can back the project here.

If you’re still wondering whether the 12-inch MacBook is for you, check out our review.


Filed under: Mac Tagged: 12-inch MacBook, 12-inch MacBook adapter, 12-inch MacBook dock, 12-inch MacBook hub, HDMI, MacBook, Universal Serial Bus, USB 3.0, USB-C, USB-C adapter, USB-C Dock, USB-C hub

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Photo

Ben Lovejoy

June 29th

Apple

Mac

Latest MacBook hub on Kickstarter is the neatest yet, with form-fitting design

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 … 

You also have the option of 64GB of embedded flash storage, to extend the storage capacity of your MacBook through a slightly longer model.

The company’s claim that the hub “looks like it belongs on your Macbook” is something of an exaggeration. It still looks to me like a kludge, and I do have to raise an eyebrow at the sense or otherwise of buying a single-port MacBook only to bolt onto it something like this, but I guess the argument is you’ll add it when you need it.

macbook

At the time of writing, there are still Early Bird Specials for $59, and the company will throw in a Mini Display to HDMI adapter. Once those are gone, it will be available for $69, still saving $79 on the planned retail price. The Branch 64 model, with 64GB of embedded storage, costs $119 on Kickstarter, saving $20 on the retail price.

Shipping is scheduled for July and August for the standard and extended storage models respectively. You can back the project here.

If you’re still wondering whether the 12-inch MacBook is for you, check out our review.


Filed under: Mac Tagged: 12-inch MacBook, 12-inch MacBook adapter, 12-inch MacBook dock, 12-inch MacBook hub, HDMI, MacBook, Universal Serial Bus, USB 3.0, USB-C, USB-C adapter, USB-C Dock, USB-C hub

For more news on Mac, MacBook, and Universal Serial Bus continue reading at 9to5Mac.

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Photo

Ben Lovejoy

June 29th

Apple

Mac

OWC’s upcoming MacBook USB-C desktop dock provides 10 ports in one color-matched unit

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 … 

Unlike the Hub+, the OWC dock provides Gigabit Ethernet and audio in/out, as well as built-in HDMI, supporting 4K displays.

  • 4 USB 3 Type-A ports
  • 1 USB 3 Type-C port
  • SD card reader
  • HDMI with 4K display support
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • Audio in and out ports

OWC claims 11 ports, but includes the connection to the MacBook.

The dock comes with an 80w power supply capable of charging your MacBook as well as all attached USB devices.


Filed under: Mac Tagged: 12-inch MacBook, docking station, Ethernet, Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, MacBook, OWC, OWC USB-C Dock, Secure Digital, Universal Serial Bus, USB-C, USB-C Dock, USB-C hub

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Photo

Ben Lovejoy

June 9th

Apple

Mac

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

macbook-usb-c-hub

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 … 

Backing the project lets you reserve a Hub+ for $79, saving $20 on the planned retail price. Some reward levels also offer mini adapters for USB-A and HDMI. You get a choice of a 9mm thick device with just the ports, or a 13mm version with a built-in battery capable of providing a bit of extra power to your MacBook, or charging an iPhone or other USB-charged device when used on its own.

There’s no Ethernet port, so if your WiFi connection isn’t fast enough, you’ll still need a separate adapter for that – like the Kanex one we recently reviewed. SanDisk also has a neat USB key with dual -A and -C connectors.

It’s looking likely that USB-C will become a standard port across the Mac range after Intel announced that it was adopting the connector for Thunderbolt 3.


Filed under: Mac Tagged: 12-inch MacBook, DisplayPort, HDMI, Kickstarter, MacBook, Mini DisplayPort, Secure Digital, Universal Serial Bus, USB hub, USB-C

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Photo

Ben Lovejoy

June 8th

Apple

Mac

Intel’s Cheap Windows PC TV Dongle Is About To Get Way Better 

Cramming a full Windows PC inside of a cheap, $150 HDMI dongle sounds like a great idea—but Intel’s first attempt really fell flat. The Intel Compute Stick was underpowered, frustrating, and failed to live up to the hype. It wasn’t good enough to be a do-everything PC that fits in your pocket. No sweat: a leaked Intel roadmap shows how it’s going to get a lot better.

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Photo

Sean Buckley

June 3rd

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