Saturday, March 26, 2016

Is It Smart to Buy A Refurbished Computer | Apple Mac

Do you find yourself staring longingly at the screen and counting the zeros on the latest Apple price tag? It’s no surprise that students, experts, and entertainment gurus around the world struggle to afford the brand new, super-resolution iMacs and MacBooks. But there is a savior, and its name is refurbished hardware – a way to get instant discounts on Apple goods just as great as new versions.

Refurbished what now?

Let’s get one thing clear — refurbished is not the same as resold. Resold just means that a person is selling the exact same item once more, often used, with all the problems that entails. Refurbished means that the Apple product of your eye was sent back to (ideally) a professional because of a minor problem, or because it was no longer wanted. Any malfunctioning parts are replaced, the item is inspected to make sure that everything is shiny and operating as it should, and then it is repackaged to be sold again, better than ever.

Since refurbished Apple items cannot be sold at MSRP, they are typically sold at a discount, which means you save cash while getting a solution that is often just as good as new. How much money you save depends on the item, what went incorrect, and availability, as well as who you shop with. We bet you have a lot of questions, so here are the answers.

What you can get

Here’s a bit of good news, no matter what product you have your eyes on. Each major Apple item, even several generations of Macs, are available refurbished. Nevertheless, supplies ebb and flow over time, so there’s no telling what refurbished goods will be in stock when you look on-line.

A couple other caveats also apply. First, it’s uncommon to locate just-launched Apple goods that have been refurbished, for the clear reason — they haven't had time to be returned yet. Normally goods have to be out for at least a handful of months before any refurbished Mac deals hit the industry, and these will be quickly snapped up. The greatest variety of items will almost certainly be one to two years old. It is challenging to find refurbished Apple electronics beyond a couple of years old.
The key is finding both a supplier you can trust, and specifically what you are looking for. When it comes from vendors, you can either select from Apple…or try out the other guys.

Buying from Apple

If you want to buy straight from the supply, then head over to Apple’s Refurbished and Clearance section of their on-line store. Buying from the maker is great when it comes to refurbished products, because you know they have been professionally inspected, fixed, cleaned and repackaged by individuals with experience in those specific electronics – with no interest in cheating you. Apple even backs these products with the exact same warranty of a new Mac, and you can further that protection via AppleCare.

With Apple, there’s a give and take. Both pre-owned and once-defective models are available, and Apple guarantees that all goods meet Completed Goods testing. However, the discounts on the ones on the internet Shop are a bit underwhelming. Around 10% is the average discount price, which is good but doesn’t really get hearts thumping. Some discounts can be as high as 25% if you get super lucky, but Apple’s bargains are tough to predict. The company puts up new stock often, but it seldom lasts long.

Choosing the proper vendor

There are other alternatives beyond the Apple shop to grab that ideal refurbished iPad or iMac. These are third generation vendors that specialize in refurbishing, and you can find them across the Web from eBay to big internet shops. These shops can’t supply official refurbished products, but they can offer used products that have been fixed up. Also, you can locate far better discounts than those supplied at the Apple Retailer.

Take $10 Off Your First Order w/code: SAVE10 - 728 x 90

Trust is paramount here. Don’t just type a search into eBay and look for the best possible prices — that’s a quick route to scams and disappointment. Start by looking for the most trusted, specialized sellers. This includes Mac of All Trades, Other World Computing, and to a lesser extent PowerMax, among others (but not once-popular The Mac Store, which is now Simply Mac, an Apple affiliate that no longer offers refurbished goods).

Signs of a great deal

Obviously, cost is one of the most essential aspects of a sweet deal, but hold your horses and look for other indicators of a smart buy. Whether looking at the Refurbished Mac of the Apple Retailer or exploring other vendors, here’s what to watch for.

  • Warranties and return policies: A warranty provides some protection if your refurbished Mac suddenly re-bites the dust after you get it, saving you from wasting too much money. A great example is the Apple’s own one-year free warranty for refurbished goods, but other vendors offer protection too.
  • Testing: You want to buy a good from a company that offers product testing. Apple is the best at this, but other vendors also offer their own (albeit not brand-certified) testing procedures to assure quality.
  • Hands-on examination: This isn’t usually possible when buying online, but if you are looking at local dealers, make sure you can examine and test the product yourself to look for any obvious problems before buying.
  • Original materials: The original box, instructions and accessories are a great bonus. A reputable refurbished product should have these, as the like-new experience is part of what separates a refurbished model from a generic used Mac.

Signs of a bad deal

If you are determined to check out to lesser-recognized third parties on eBay, Amazon and other corners of the Net, here are the signs that ought to send alarm bells shrieking in your head.

  • No warranties or guarantees: If a vendor doesn’t offer any sort of protection or return policy, back away gradually. You are rolling the dice here, except the dice are made of your funds.
  • No pictures: Come on, this is apparent. If a person isn’t posting real pictures of a solution and isn’t a trusted vendor…don’t trust them.
  • A model that’s too old for you and Apple: While you might be able to get an older item for much less cash, that doesn’t imply you must. Old items stretch the meaning of “refurbished” simply because they usually lack assistance for the most recent OS X functions and have an old battery, tired drive and other components. If considered a so-called refurb that’s more than three years old, ask if the battery has ever been replaced.
  • Refurbished goods that aren’t refurbished: At times a retailer says “refurbished” but it actually indicates “selling used stuff.” This is common among smaller sized vendors on Amazon and eBay. Use a store that actually refurbishes and don’t put a lot trust in the word itself.


A refurbished Mac might sound like a risk, but it’s really a fantastic way to save funds. In truth, it’s arguable that there’s very little cause to ever purchase a new Mac, if time is not of the essence. By waiting for models to pop up on an official refurbished Mac page you can save a bit of funds whilst getting the exact same level of quality. Get out there and start your search!

No Sales Tax

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Top Ten Cell Phone Carriers | Which Mobile Company is Right for Me?

Mobile Carriers

The very best cell phone providers offer excellent coverage, versatile plans, and a great selection of top- and mid-tier phones, all at a reasonable price. At least, that's how they function in theory. In practice, the companies with the best networks will often have the highest prices. If you find a good deal on a plan, you probably have to suffer slow download speeds once you signal up. So which do you choose?

After faithfully comparing all four nationwide carriers and their many mobile virtual network employees (MVNOs), providers that may operate their own podiums, we've determined the 10 best cellphone companies in the country. Selecting a carrier is all about making tradeoffs, but if you know your budget and consumption patterns, you can find your best fit.

The best cell phone provider for performance in the country continues to be Verizon Wi-fi. Its comprehensive coverage, velocity and reliability are unrivaled. For pure bang for your buck, though, a formerly lackluster carrier has risen to the lead: Sprint. Its network has seen significant improvements in recent months, and it offers the best overall prices as an average of plans throughout two years. Verizon does have some competitive plans that compete with Sprint however.

Best Mobile Carriers

Here's the report from tom's guide...

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Samsung Galaxy S7 | Complete Review

Samsung Galaxy S7

THE GOOD Polished design. Awesome camera. Long battery life. microSD storage slot and water-resistant (again!).
THE BAD Annoyingly reflective. Smudge magnet. Plastic-looking selfies even with no filter. No removable battery, which isn't surprising, but is still a compromise compared to 2014's S5.
THE BOTTOM LINE The fast, powerful, beautiful Galaxy S7 phone is 2016's all-around phone to beat.
  • DESIGN9.0
  • CAMERA8.0
Mar '16
The ultimate way to test a new phone? Travel with it. When you happen to be seeing sights and losing yourself to the moment, there is no space to tolerate a poor camera or buggy computer software, slow speed or short battery life. If there is a flaw, you are going to locate it.

So I tested the Samsung Galaxy S7 in London and Berlin while colleagues also took it for a spin in San Francisco and Sydney. And you know what? It did great. Far better than excellent. In fact, the S7 was a great telephone that never cracked beneath the stress of being the only way I take images and navigate completely unfamiliar terrain, all while keeping battery life going through lengthy days out. And it did so with a lot more finesse than existing phones. I'd call it the greatest all-around cell phone out there, far better even than the superb Google Nexus 6P and iPhone 6S. (But not fairly as sexy as its fraternal twin, the larger curvy-screen S7 Edge, my best pick if you want to splurge.)

Here's what I identified (along with fellow S7-testers) while utilizing the S7 about Europe.

Get the Galaxy S7
Get the Galaxy S7icon

Ideal for pockets, but smudgy as hell
I began my testing on London's crowded, bagpipe-festooned bridges and streets. Since I continually mashed the S7 into my jeans and jacket pockets only to retrieve it once more for a weather check, photo, digital payment or to navigate around, its approachable size was a far better fit for me than a bigger phone. "Medium" by today's bonkers requirements, it has a 5.1-inch screen.

Throughout all this nonstop handling, the S7's curved back and sides made it comfortable to hold, and the one time I dropped it, it didn't dent or break. That was only a couple of feet off the floor inside a pub, mind you -- I'm certain it'd sustain much more damage if it had clattered onto pavement.

I spent a good, long time staring at the S7. That curve-back design and style I talked about and some very slight rounding of the edges of the display are damn good, giving the telephone a lot more luxe and contoured appearance than most, including last year's ramrod-straight Galaxy S6. In truth, look closely and you can see that this S7 is built far better than prior Galaxy phones.

A single downside to the S7's shiny metal-and-glass backing is that smudges pile up on smudges, leaving a semi-permanent sheen of finger grease all over your pricey phone. It's gross, and a pain to continuously clean, which usually fails anyway. But like all stunning phones, you are probably bound to slap a case on it anyway, so it's virtually a moot point -- just not an excuse.

Camera, camera, camera!
I took a boatload of photos in London whilst testing the phone, but when my sister and I went to Berlin for the weekend, all hell broke loose. Each pastry and pretzel, imposing museum, graceful river crossing each and every glorious kebab and lip-smacking beer became an opportunity for dutiful documentation.

What was confirmed again and again is that crisp pictures from the 12-megapixel camera countered low-light interference in every darkened cocktail bar, moodily lit restaurant and dusk-dimmed park. Even though this camera has fewer megapixels than last year's S6, it takes much better photographs. Scenes are brighter, which tends to make the action simpler to see.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Camera

Even in low-light scenes, such as a Berlin speakeasy, the S7 trumps the iPhone 6S, yielding brighter, more usable pictures. Digital noise was still there, just diminished those little speckles of color that infiltrate the picture which is an inevitability in low-light digital camera shots.

Whip-fast autofocus was also a winner, grabbing clear shots of moving objects, like swaying flowers (yes, I actually do take pictures of flowers) and my sister lunging like a lightsaber-wielding Jedi in front of a mural (fear her!).

Pictures didn't just look excellent on the S7's sharp screen they also stood up to enlarged views on my laptop and an even bigger monitor back in London.

I also really liked using the new, optional preview mode that lets you delete or share photos right away right after taking them. Oh yes, the S7 has optical image stabilization (OIS), which helped preserve my photos from blurring after all those jetlag-fighting coffees.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Camera Window

I'm nevertheless much less certain of the 5-megapixel front-facing camera, which now has even more "beautification" filters than ever before. I by no means liked these, even though I am sufficiently vain that I never want to see each and every line and wrinkle. To me, they make skin appear plastic and dull. Maybe its the uncanny image of perfect skin, but I know a lot of folks who love the youthening effect. At any rate, I turned all of these filters to zero but nevertheless discovered that selfies either looked fake or overly harsh. Something in the processing appears off, but this isn't a dealbreaker by any means.

I did use the S7's front-facing screen "flash" to light dark selfie scenes, which basically means the telephone screen whites-out before the camera fires. This came in handy since my sister essentially selfie-documented each and every move we produced for her husband and kids, particularly at dinner and the bar. The is blinding. Toning down the brightness would make it more beneficial, specifically, if I could choose a warmer color temperature or reduced brightness setting to make it all less intense. The iPhone 6S' equivalent selfie-flash did much better in the identical scenes.

Less bloatware is a very, very good thing
Back in London, my appreciation for Samsung's more restrained customizations to the Android 6. software program settled in. The S7 slims down the bloatware significantly, while leaving a lot of sophisticated settings for customizing everything from the lock screen to phone themes -- you just have to dig a bit deeper now to locate everything. Samsung also added a handful of good-but-subtle optional touches, like a new "tray" to help you effortlessly move app icons from one screen to another.

Speaking of extra touches, I really like the thought of the Game Launcher, a set of tools you can turn on to trigger some quick actions, like recording the screen or minimizing your game so you can do something else. I'm not the kind of active gamer who would instantly benefit from these functions, so attempting it out on the subway threw off my movements when playing more precision-based games, like the Riptide 2 racer.

My colleague Jason Parker in San Francisco liked being capable of turning off all alerts (with the exception of actual incoming phone calls), but pointed out that the notification for an incoming call still covers most of the screen -- so this particular function doesn't impress as much as it should.

Throughout my week away from San Francisco (aka house), I fell in love with the S7's new always on display, which shows you either the clock, a calendar or an image. It was immediately beneficial for checking the time and the phone's battery levels, a constant worry, without actually getting to take the telephone out of standby. I also set up a clock for the local timezone and the one at home, so I knew when it was too early to call or text.

Battery life is long, performance swift
Other than the camera quality, battery life was my No. 1 concern when utilizing the S7 while Euro-tripping. I was frequently out from 9 a.m. until midnight and didn't usually carry a bulky charger or heavy external battery pack since that gets annoying. Fortunately, I didn't need to. The battery lasted through a complete day of heavy use.

Back in San Francisco, my colleagues ran the S7 through our normal CNET lab tests, a looping video downloaded to the phone, played in airplane mode. The S7 averaged 16 hours in three tests, which is one of the longest-operating outcomes we've observed for any phone. In comparison, the iPhone 6S scored 10.5 hours on the exact same test. I'd nonetheless expect to charge it once a day, but would be a lot more confident of making it through a late night without the battery dying. If you want a larger battery, there is also the S7 Edge.

In the course of my week gallivanting about with the S7, it operated smoothly and never lagged, and games played on its top-of-the-line processor with ease.

A few items the S7 could do better

  • Less plastic-looking selfies, toned-down screen flash.
  • A speedier, more precise fingerprint reader like the Nextbit Robin's side-button reader (this wasn't negative, the Robin's is just that excellent).
  • Figure out how to add a removable battery on a metal style (LG did). For you, that means swapping in fresh batteries if you want to keep the telephone for a long time or increase its resale value.
  • Make sure the phone's right side energy button does not turn on in a purse this drains the battery more quickly (kudos once again to the Nextbit Robin).
  • Make the screen more readable outside on overcast and sunny days. Microsoft/Nokia Lumia phones have a filter Samsung ought to, as well.
  • Support thicker gloves. In chilly London and Berlin, I had to pick between frozen fingers or my lined leather gloves. Samsung says the screen automatically supports thinner gloves.

More stuff you need to know
Moar storage!: Samsung's return to the microSD card slot meant I could load the S7 with a film to watch offline, and save all these photographs and videos to a card as an alternative to the more restricted phone memory -- you can also transfer over an app you download from Google Play. A microSd card also means you will not have to buy a pricier S7 model to get more storage. In that sense, an extra 64GB from the SD card costs you only about $20, AU$65 or £12 -- 5 times less than an Apple storage upgrade costs.

Water-resistant again: I wouldn't usually worry about a typical telephone corroding from rain, so London and Berlin's frequent downpours didn't prove a factor. I did not and will not drop the S7 into a toilet to test this. Just, no. Anyway, "waterproofing" is much more beneficial if someone throws you in a pool as a joke or you take glory photos in a hot tub.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Water Resistant

The Galaxy S7 Edge passes the champagne test

Samsung Pay is still great: This is not new, but who cares? I nonetheless employed it all the time in London and Berlin, so that makes it essential. Samsung Pay one-ups Apple Pay and Google Pay by letting you use the phone as a credit card at any card-accepting merchant (it works with old-fashioned swipe readers, no need for an NFC reader). That made it super simple to buy coffees and train tickets without having to dig for my wallet or withdraw more nearby currency when I ran out. Here's everything you need to know about Samsung Pay.

Wireless charging remains: Like Samsung's 2015 phones, you can charge the S7 wirelessly (it supports all important requirements). Same goes for quick-charging from the wired charger, which is integrated.

"Old" chargers will perform: The S7 makes use of the Micro-USB charging port, not the new Kind-C port that some phones, like the LG G5, have. This indicates that you can use any chargers that you currently happen to have lying about, but it won't do all the tricks of the new standard -- that's not a deal-breaker by any means. Adoption here will be gradual.

The rise of virtual reality:

Mobile virtual reality is finally here. Watch movies in your own private cinema, be at the center of your favorite games, and socialize with friends in a virtual world all your own. The lightweight design and intuitive touchpad drop you right in the action and allow for hours of immersive entertainment.

How happy are we to see the return of the storage slot? So satisfied!

Not a Nexus: Just a reminder, future Android updates will not come on day one, unlike on a Nexus telephone. Based on previous experience, count on a six-month wait.

Extended battery life: Battery life blows it out of the water now, when the S7 is all fresh and new, but phones can not hold the same charge as they age. Speed also slows down over time, particularly right after loading the telephone with zillions of apps and photographs. We'll keep a close eye on this one to see how it does down the line.

Great call quality: Calls sounded excellent when my colleagues tested the S7 in San Francisco with Verizon's network. Calls did not drop, they said, and audio stayed a lot more balanced with warm sound.

Virtual reality perk: The Gear VR headset is free of charge when you buy an S7 or Edge before March 18, or only $99 if you buy it outright. It's way better than Google Cardboard.

Versus other phones

iPhone 6S: The S7 bests the iPhone 6S in low-light camera shots, battery life Android 6. software functions (like Google Now and built-in Doze battery savings) Samsung Pay (which works where Google Pay and Apple Pay don't) and the microSD card slot, which tends to make storing media less expensive than purchasing a telephone with bigger storage.

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge: The two have everything in common except for the S7's smaller battery and screen size, and its traditional display versus the Edge's curved screen (plus "edge" software navigation bar). The more intriguing Edge is the splurge: much more distinctive but at an expense.

Google Nexus 6P: I will never stop loving the Nexus 6P as a value-for-money telephone, and you will not do wrong in buying it. The S7, nevertheless, is better in all places -- except one. A Nexus telephone is the very first one Google will bless with Android updates. Samsung owners could wait up to six months or longer.

LG G5: It isn't out, however, so we can not pitch them in a deep comparison battle but, the G5 brings some significant innovation that the S7 can not match, and its removable battery thumbs LG's nose at Samsung.

Costs: Not cheap, but worth it
The S7 went on sale March 11 and starts at $650, £569 and AU$1,149. That isn't inexpensive, but I think it really is worth the investment. Compared to 2015's iPhone 6S, the new Galaxy S7 has the advantage: The might of Android's computer software excellence, that gorgeous design, a lot of customization options and top hardware guts.

You could also pony up more to upgrade to the S7 Edge if you want the larger 5.5-inch screen, the bigger battery, and the seductive waterfall screen design.

Original Article by C|Net

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Sony Acid Pro 7 | Legendary application for loop-based music creation

The legendary application that started loop-based music creation, ACID Pro 7 is a DAW powerhouse that combines full multitrack recording and mixing, MIDI sequencing, and looping functionality for a seamless studio production environment. More creative partner than production tool, ACID Pro 7 software inspires like nothing else. With its Transparent Technology™ design, ACID Pro 7 software removes typical barriers to the creative workflow so you can effortlessly transform ideas into real results.

Sony Creative Software Inc.

Getting Started

How to register offline

How to Register Online

Customizing the Toolbar

Vegas™ Pro, ACID™ Pro, and Sound Forge™ Pro, along with the consumer versions of each, feature toolbars that give you a variety of buttons to access your most often-used tools. We've populated those toolbars with default buttons that we think you'll use most often, but we also realize that everyone works differently and the buttons one editor finds useful are not the same as those of another editor. For that reason, we've made it possible for you to completely customize your toolbars. In this section, we'll take a look at how toolbar customization works.

We're going to work through this topic in Vegas Pro, but the techniques are similar in all of the other applications as well, so you'll get a lot out of this discussion no matter which program you use.

When you open Vegas Pro for the first time, the toolbar contains the buttons you see in Figure 1. What each of these buttons is and does is not really important for this discussion. Instead, we're going to concentrate on managing these buttons: rearranging them, removing them, adding new ones, and so on.

Figure 1: This figure shows the default button configuration in the Vegas Pro toolbar.

To manage the buttons in the toolbar, choose Options | Customize Toolbar. The Customize Toolbar dialog box, shown in Figure 2 gives you all the tools you need for making the changes you want to your toolbar.

Figure 2: The Customize Toolbar dialog box gives you the tools you need to manage your toolbar.

The Available toolbar buttons list presents all of the buttons that are not currently showing in your toolbar, but that you can add to it if you want to. Scroll though the list and note all that it has to offer. Note that buttons for Vegas Pro scripts show up in this list, so if you have a script that you use quite often, you can add a button for that script to your toolbar.

The Current toolbar buttons list shows all of the buttons currently contained in the toolbar. You can use the Add and Remove buttons to move buttons from one list to the other.

For example, say you frequently lock and unlock events on your timeline. To lock an event, you activate the event's Lock switch. With the Lock Event button you can do this easily, instead of right-clicking the event and navigating into the menu structure to access the Lock switch.

Select the Lock Event button from the Available toolbar buttons list. Click the Add button. This moves the Lock Event button from the Available toolbar buttons list to the bottom of the Current toolbar buttons list. Now look at your toolbar. In Figure 3, you see the Lock Event button is now the last button in your toolbar.

Figure 3: The Lock Event button now appears as the last button in the toolbar.

You'll also notice that the toolbar has separators that define sections of related buttons. The Lock Event button is in the same section as the What's This Help button. The two aren't related, so it would make sense to put them into separate sections of the toolbar. To do this, select Separator from the top of the Available toolbar buttons list and click Add. This adds a Separator to the bottom of the Current toolbar buttons list. Note that the separator option does not disappear from the Available toolbar buttons list the way the Lock Event button did. This indicates that you can add as many separators as you need.

The separator doesn't sit in the correct position. We need it before the Lock Event button instead of after it. You can move a separator and any button and place it wherever you want it in your toolbar. In this case, we want to move the separator up one position.

Select the Separator from the Current toolbar buttons list. Click the Move Up button. Now the separator sits above the Lock Event button in the Customize Toolbar dialog box and—as shown in Figure 4—in the toolbar you see that there is now a separator between the What's This Help and Lock Event buttons. You can use the Move up and Move Down buttons to rearrange your buttons within the toolbar to set them up exactly as you need them.

Figure 4: A separator now exists between the last two buttons in the toolbar.

You can put a button directly into any position in the toolbar and thus avoid having to move it around to get it to the right position after you've added it. For example, say you want the New Video Track button to appear between the Automatic Crossfades and Auto Ripple buttons. To accomplish this, first select Auto Ripple from the Current toolbar buttons list. Now select New Video Track from the Available toolbar buttons list and click Add. This adds the new button above the selected button in the Current toolbar buttons list and in the toolbar you now see the New Video Track button between the two others.

When you're done experimenting, click the Reset button if you want to return your toolbar back to the default configuration. Or, leave things arranged the way you have them. Click the Close button to finalize your changes and get to work!

The Customize Toolbar function is just one more way that Vegas Pro, ACID Pro, Sound Forge Pro, and our other software titles give you the flexibility you need to work in the way that is most efficient for you.

Adding a MIDI File

Mixing it Up with New ACID Pro 7
by Craig Anderton

Although ACID Pro 7 software adds many new features, one of the most significant is a virtualized "hardware" mixing console. As ACID Pro software became more sophisticated—it's not just about audio looping anymore but MIDI and soft synths too, all of which can increase the track count—the familiar channel strips toward the track view's left could no longer comfortably accommodate mixing dozens of tracks in complex projects.

Enter the new Mixing Console, which is also a treat for dual monitor setups; with two 1280 x 1024 monitors, up to 37 channels can fit across the screens.

ACID Pro 7 in all its glory on a dual monitor setup.

This is great for mixing. If you're editing and mixing, another option is to "float" the mixer and place it in one monitor, with the track view in the other. But my favorite aspect of the mixer is how easily it can be customized, so here are my seven favorite options.

1. Change mixer height. Dragging up or down on the mixer's top splitter bar increases the height of both the faders (excellent for fine level adjustments) and meters (better resolution).

2. Channel List. The Audio Properties menu (the leftmost drop-down menu on the mixer's toolbar) is a comprehensive way to control mixer characteristics. Check "Channel List," and an overview of all tracks appears toward the left. Shortcut: Click the arrow under the "M" in Mixing Console (upper left) to show/hide.

3. Easy group edits. In the Channel List, shift-click to select contiguous channels and/or Ctrl-click to select any channels; edits made to one selected channel affect all selected channels. This is handy for, say, bringing up the levels of just the drums, or increasing the reverb send on all vocals.

4. Easy track show/hide. In the Channel List, unchecking a track removes its graphic representation in the mixer. When you've done several takes on different tracks and settle on one or two, you can show only those tracks—but if you change your mind, you can always show any hidden tracks.

5. Easy mixer section show/hide. The shortcut buttons to the left of the channel strips let you show only audio tracks, only MIDI tracks, only buses, etc. Laptop fans: Maximize screen space by showing only what you need to see.

6. Be the boss of your meters. There are three channel widths; when narrow, the meter is a single, uncalibrated "LED" meter. Default widens the meter and adds calibrations; wide splits the meter into individual left and right meters.

Different channel widths affect the meter displays.

The meter's context menu lets you change meter range and other characteristics. For example, to clear all clipped meters, select all tracks in the Channel List, then right-click on a meter and choose "Reset Clip." Note: If you click on the Meters shortcut button, the meters sit above the faders and take up the entire width of the channel strip. This is useful if all you want to do is monitor activity or clipping.

7. Resizeable Insert Effects section. Not only can you show multiple effects, you can manage effects from within this section—show, bypass, remove, call up presets, etc.

Extending the effects section's height reveals the four FX in channel 5.

Pretty cool, eh?

Three Effects Options in Acid Pro 7
by Craig Anderton

Plug-in effects are a crucial part of today's musical projects, and Sony Acid Pro 7 software's new Mixing Console makes it easy to use plug-ins. But note that Acid can insert audio plug-in effects in three different ways; it's important to understand which option is most appropriate for the sound you want.

Insert FX plug into a specific channel, and affect only that channel. Common insert effects include Compressor, Distortion, Delay, Chorus, and Flange/Wah-Wah, although almost any effect is potentially useful. Adding more effects connects them in series (e.g., one effect's output feeds the next effect's input).

To add an effect from the Mixing Console view, click in a track's empty Insert FX field, then choose an effect from the pop-up menu. Or, double-click on a field containing an effect of opening the Audio Plug-In window, where you can add or delete effects.

Master FX insert in the mixer's master bus, after the separate channels have been mixed together. Therefore, master effects (like EQ and compression) process the entire mix, not individual tracks. Compression can give more "punch" and apparent level — for example, Sony's Wave Hammer plug-in is a great master effect. Equalization determines the overall tone; using broad response curves generally gives a more natural sound with mixed audio.

Buses A, B, and C (toward the right) each have different effects inserted; the send levels for tracks 54-56 are sending various amounts of signal to these buses. Double-clicking on an effect's field opens the Audio Plug-in window (left), where you can add or delete effects.

Aux Bus FX plug in to buses. Acid Pro's Mixer can include virtual buses, which "pick off" some of a track's signal (the amount depends on the Channel Send fader). In addition to the master bus, which carries the mixed output of all tracks, buses can also serve as auxiliary (or send) buses. Any channel can send some signal to one or more of these aux buses. This signal's source can be pre-channel fader, so the level going to the bus doesn't change when the track fader changes, or post- fader, where bringing down the fader also brings down the level going to the aux bus. Aux Bus FX are usually set to wet (processed) sound only — the channel faders provide the dry sound.

Why use aux effects rather than insert effects? If you want to process several channels with the same effect, it's more efficient to load a single aux effect instead of inserting the same effect multiple times in multiple tracks. For instance, when adding reverb you can mix in varying amounts of signals from particular tracks, thus varying the amount of reverb applied to those tracks. Also note that with Acid Pro, you can even assign the output of a bus to another effects bus, not just the master bus.

Reverb is a common Aux Bus FX, but try other options. Tempo Delays, by creating echoes in time with the music, can "glue" tracks together rhythmically. A little bit of distortion can add grit to selected tracks, and chorusing imparts an ensemble effect to whichever tracks feed it.

And finally, once you've put your plug-ins in the right places, don't forget the most important point of using them: Be creative — and have fun!

3 Steps to mastering the ACID Pro Chopper window
by Gary Rebholz

As with all Sony Creative Software applications, there are many different ways to approach editing in ACID Pro and ACID Music Studio. One tool that might be underutilized in your workflow is the Chopper window. In this article, we'll look at the Chopper and give you an idea of how you might use it in your next project.

The Chopper basically enables you to do what it sounds like it enables you to do: namely, chop up audio files into pieces and add those pieces to your project. Any tasks you can perform in the Chopper can be done in other ways, but there are times when the Chopper might give you a more flexible, efficient, and creative workflow. Follow these steps to start using this powerful tool.

Step 1: Adding a file to the Chopper

This is a rather obvious step because you won't get far if you don't first add a file to the Chopper window! To add a file, the file must first appear on a track in your project. So, add a loop to a new track in your project. In your main timeline, place the cursor where you want to insert the first piece of the file from the Chopper.

Right-click the event in your timeline that holds the file you want to open in the Chopper and choose Select in Chopper from the menu.

Step 2: Selecting a portion of the file

The file now appears in the Chopper with all of its contents selected. Notice that the main timeline contains a solid (but empty) box with a thin arrow over the top of it. The box corresponds to the amount of space the event will take when you add it to your project from the Chopper. The Arrow represents the amount of time down the timeline the project cursor will move after you add the file piece. Right now the box length matches the arrow length, but this isn’t always the case.

If you don't want to add the entire file to your project, select just the portion of the file you want in the Chopper. You can use the transport buttons at the bottom of the Chopper to audition the selection you make.

You can make your selections as small as you want them.  There are also a few handy selection buttons that can easily adjust the selection. To see how these work, select the entire file in the Chopper window if it's not still selected. Now, click the Halve Selection button to cut the length of the selected area in half. Click it again so that now your selection is only a quarter of the file.

Click the Double Selection button to make the selection twice as long again. Notice that as you adjust the length of the selection in the Chopper, the length of the box in your main timeline adjusts correspondingly. This box always shows you how long the event will be if you add the file using the current selection in the Chopper.

You can also shift your selection back and forth within the Chopper window. This enables you to easily maintain the length of your selection while choosing other portions of your file. To see this, select a short section of the audio in the Chopper. Then click the Shift Selection Left and Click Selection Right buttons to move the selection to different portions of your file.

Step 3: Adding the file piece to your project

Now that you've selected the portion of the file you want to add to your project, let's add it. There are a few different ways to add the file from the Chopper. The most direct way is to drag the selected area of the file from the Chopper onto your timeline. When you do this, a box appears at your cursor to indicate where the file will be located if you release the mouse button. Position the box where you want the file segment and release the mouse button.

You can also add the file without leaving the Chopper and there are a couple of different tools that enable you to do so. First, if your main project is not playing, click the Insert Selection button. This drops the selected portion of the file into your project at the location indicated by the box in your main timeline. Notice that when you add the file, ACID Pro creates a new event in the timeline and moves the insertion cursor, the insertion indicator box, and the insertion indicator arrow to the end of the newly created event.

Sony Creative Software Inc.

In some cases, you might want the events that you create to overlap as you create them. Or you might want to create a predetermined amount of space between the events that you create. If so, click the Link Arrow to Selection button in the Chopper. Now, adjust the selection in the Chopper timeline. Notice that now the arrow does not match the selection. In the timeline, the insertion box and arrow no longer match either. Now click the Insert Selection button again and notice that the event is created according to the length of the Chopper selection, but the insertion arrow in the main timeline is repositioned according to the length of the arrow in the Chopper. Click the Link Arrow to Selection button again to link the two back up.

This method of adding the selection to your project works great when you're project is not playing. However, sometimes, you might want to listen to your project and add the selected portion of the file to the timeline. Of course, ACID Pro gives you a method for doing this.  Play your project. As it plays, click the Chopper to make it the active window. Notice that the Play cursor moves through the file, while the edit cursor and the insertion box stay stationary.

To add the selected portion of the file to the project, click the Insert Selection at Play Cursor button. This drops the selected portion into your project at whatever location the play cursor was at when you clicked it. The project continues to play and you can use the same technique to add as many events as you want to your project.

And that's pretty much it. The Chopper is a powerful tool for getting your work done quickly and creatively. Now that you know how to use the basic tools, experiment with it and discover where it can help you in your next project.

Expressive Dynamics with ACID Pro 7
by Craig Anderton

A big advantage of recording with MIDI is that you can change almost every aspect of a note, including its velocity, start point, duration, pitch, and more. Let's explore what we can do with velocity. We can do a lot, actually, because velocity is a crucial MIDI parameter that relates to how hard you hit a key and thus controls a note's dynamics. For example, depending upon the instrument sounds, hitting the key harder might make the sound brighter, louder, or both. These kinds of dynamics result in more realistic and satisfying parts.

The ACID Pro inline editing mode gives you control over note velocity on a MIDI track. Click the Inline Editing button to enter Inline Editing mode. Then zoom in or out so you can see your individual MIDI notes.

Graphic Velocity Editing
With this option, you simply draw the velocities the way you want them. ACID can display velocity values along with MIDI notes: Go View > Show Inline MIDI Editing and check Note-On Velocities (leave Note-Off Velocities unchecked, at least for now). Velocity "markers" will appear next to the notes (Fig. 1).

Selecting “Note-On-Velocities” displays the velocity for each note as a stem topped by a diamond; the taller the stem, the higher the velocity.

Graphic editing is real-time, which makes it really easy to tweak a part—loop a few measures, then adjust velocities as desired for the notes.

To read a velocity value, "hover" the cursor over the diamond. The value appears in the Note/Velocity box (at the extreme right side of the transport). If you hover the cursor over a note, it shows the note pitch instead.
To change a velocity value, click on the diamond and drag up or down.
To change multiple velocity values, use the Selection Tool to drag a marquee around the notes whose velocities you want to change. Drag any of the selected diamonds to change the velocity of all of the selected notes. Remember, you don't have to select contiguous notes — any notes you select while holding down the Ctrl key will be added to any previously-selected notes.
If two notes fall on the same start time, no worries: Click on one of the notes to see only its velocity (Fig. 2).

If the velocity markers for two notes occupy the same space, clicking on one of the notes shows the velocity for that note.

However, note that you can't drag multiple velocities higher than the velocity value of the note you're dragging. This can work to your advantage, though, by providing a "compression" or "limiting" effect: If you click on a velocity with a value of, say, 118 and drag it all the way up to 127, then anything that was 118 or higher will now have a value of 127.

Velocity is particularly useful with percussion parts. You usually don't want them to be "all loud, all the time," so you can select only those notes whose dynamics you want to change.

You can also enter an exact velocity setting for any note. Right-click the note’s velocity marker and choose Velocity from the context menu. Now you can set the velocities to maximum (127), minimum (1), or default (64); or choose "Set to..." and enter a number for a specific value.

Here, the selected velocity values are about to be set to maximum (velocity = 127).

MIDI Processes and Filters
To bring up editing options designed mainly for editing multiple note velocities with a few clicks, go Edit > MIDI Processes and Filters (or right-click on a velocity diamond and go MIDI Processes and Filters), then choose the Velocity tab. Check Change Start Velocity and uncheck Change Release Velocity, as very few keyboard controllers generate or recognize release velocity.

At the bottom of the window, you can choose whether to apply the operations to selected notes only, all notes in selected events, or all notes on selected tracks. It's sometimes a great advantage to be able to change all notes in a track. For example, suppose you record a MIDI part that plays back through maracas, but then you decide it really needs a tambourine instead. It's likely there will be some kind of level difference, so you can simply add or subtract a constant velocity value to the track to make the appropriate change.

Here's what your various choices (as selected by radio buttons) do:

Invert. This flips the velocity around the default value of 64. For example, if a note was at 34 (30 velocity values lower than 64), it will invert to 30 velocity values higher than 64, or 94.
Set to. Use the slider to set a particular value.
Add. The slider adds or subtracts a certain number of velocity values from all selected notes.
Scale by. Changes all note values by a percentage. Increasing the percentage over 100% (e.g., 120%) will tend to make the part more dynamic. A percentage under 100% (e.g., 80%) has an effect similar to audio compression (and lowers the maximum volume, so you may want to add a particular value to raise its overall level back up again).
Limit. All notes equal to or below the Min value will become the minimum value, and all notes equal to or above the Max value will become the maximum value.
Change over time. This is one of my favorites for building crescendos, like having a snare roll get progressively louder over two measures. There are two ways to do the change: As straight velocity values (for example, if From is 120 and To is 127, then the roll note velocities will increase from 120 - 127 from the first selected note to the last one), or by percentage. If there were already some dynamics built into the roll that you wanted to keep, then specifying percentages would make more sense, as that would tend to preserve the existing dynamics even when the phrase as a whole decreases or increases over time. It's also possible to specify whether the change is linear, or follows a particular kind of curve (slow, fast, smooth, or sharp).
It's Really Not That Hard
If editing the velocity of every note sounds tedious, that's because it is! But you hardly ever have to get that detailed. Often you'll simply want to tweak a note or two, or raise or lower the velocity of a particular group of notes...and a minute or two spent doing that editing can often make a huge improvement in the overall sound.

Adding Drum Tracks

Archiving your ACID projects
by Gary Rebholz

If you've ever created an ACID™ project, put it aside for a period of time, and come back to work on it later, then you've very likely had the somewhat frustrating experience of not being able to find all of the media that you used in the project. Or, even if you can find it again, it might have taken a while to hunt it all down and get it linked back to your project. This happens most often when you pull the files you use to create the project directly from your loop library discs and you use more than one loop library.

This article focuses on a couple of simple methods you can use to ensure that your projects always open with minimal fuss and you never have to run into the your file can't be found in the specified location dialog box. These techniques are quite useful for archiving your finished projects, but I also find myself using them for projects in current production to ensure that I always have the files I need to continue working on my project.

First, let me set the scene. You're working feverishly into the late hours of the night. You're onto something amazing and you're pulling loops and one-shot files from lots of different loop library discs to get the sounds you want. You're swapping loop library discs in and out of your CD ROM faster than a politician changes positions on the issues. Finally, your lack of sleep overcomes you and you decide you'll have to finish the project another time.

Well, "another time" keeps getting pushed off due to life getting in the way, but finally you get back to your masterpiece. You open the project with new vigor and excitement to implement some ideas that have been percolating during the break only to have the wind taken out of your sales by the dialog box shown in Figure 1.

A dialog box helps you find files that ACID software needs in order to open your project.

Now, that's actually a very useful dialog box and I'm not trying to say there's anything wrong with it. It can really save you a lot of hassle because it identifies the file ACID software can't find, tells you where it expected to find the file, and gives you several useful options on how to deal with the fact that the file is missing. If the file I had used in my project had come from a CD, the location path would identify which CD I need to insert into my drive so that the file can be found once again.

Once I reestablish connection to the first file that can't be found, ACID software resumes opening the project…until it comes to the second file it can't find because it came from a different loop library CD. And ACID software will keep doing this until you've inserted every CD you used in the project and reestablished connection to the files you need. That can be a long process if you used a bunch of different loop library CDs to build your project.

So, why's this happening and how can you avoid it? To answer the first question, you have to understand a little bit about how ACID software uses the files you add to a project. When you add a loop file (from a library CD or anywhere else on your system), ACID software loads that file into your system's RAM where it can be quickly accessed when you play the project back. As long as you keep the project open, the file stays in RAM and so even if you take the disc that it came from out of your drive and put a different one in, your project still plays just fine. That's why the issue can sneak up on you. You don't think twice about removing the disc because your project plays great.

However, storage on RAM is temporary and when you close your project — POOF! — ACID software releases its hold on any RAM the project was using and those files are no longer accessible. That's why you have to put the disc back in the next time you open the project.

It's not an insurmountable problem and ACID software actually deals with it quite efficiently, as we've seen. But it can be an annoying situation and it's easily avoidable using a couple of different strategies.

First, if you have enough storage space to do it, you can copy all of your loop library files to a hard drive or network share where they will always be in the same location and thus never lose connection with your ACID project. Although this works, it's still not the best solution in my opinion because the chance for breaking the connection with the project is still quite high. For instance, somewhere along the line you might decide that you need to rename a folder and thus break the path that ACID software will follow to find the original file. If that happens, you're in much the same boat as you were when you used files directly off of your disc.

Another, perhaps more important issue, is that the project is not complete as a stand-alone entity. If you want to transfer the project to another computer, it would be very easy to forget to copy all of the loop files you used and when you get to the other computer you might not have access to the same hard drive or network share. If the other computer's in the next room, that's not such a big deal, but if you flew across the country to finish your project up at a colleague's studio, then you're really out of luck if you didn't copy the necessary files.

You can minimize this possibility by copying each loop you use into the same folder that holds the ACID project that uses them. You can do that manually, but ACID software makes it very easy to do automatically. The first time you save your project (or any time you choose the Save As option), ACID software opens the Save As dialog box. This box is familiar to pretty much anyone who's ever saved a file in any standard Windows application, but ACID software gives it a little extra power.

As you can see in Figure 2, the ACID Save As dialog box includes the Copy all media with project checkbox. Select this checkbox and choose ACID Project File (*.acd) from the Save as type drop-down list. Specify a save location, give the file a name, and click the Save button. With the Copy all media with project button selected, ACID software saves the project and also copies any files you used in the project to the same location as you specified for the project save location. When the save operation is complete, check the file that you saved to and you'll notice that it contains not only your ACID project file, but also copies of every file you used to build the project.

Select the Copy all media with project checkbox to ensure that you save a copy of every file you used in your project along with the project file.

Although this method ensures that you will have local copies of all the files you used in your project, it still leaves the door open to error because if you want to move your project — either to archive it or to move it to another workstation — there's always the chance that you may miss a file or two during the copy procedure. Of course, you can minimize the risk by copying the entire folder that contains these files, but still, accidents can happen.

The most sure-fire way to ensure that you have all of the support files you need for your project is to zip the project file along with all the necessary support files into one all-inclusive project file. This is the method I prefer to use on my projects because it's pretty much fool proof and affords you total confidence that you have everything you need to make the project work when you open it later.

To create this all-in-one file, choose File | Save As. In the Save As dialog box, do all the normal things like naming the file, specifying a save location, and so on. Now, select ACID Project With Embedded Media (*.acd-zip) from the Save as type drop-down list. You can see in Figure 3 that when you do so, the Copy all media with project option is automatically selected for you and disabled so you can't deselect the option. That's because by definition, when you save an .acd-zip file, you copy all of the support media for the project and wrap it into one file along with the project.

When you save your project as an .acd-zip file, you wrap the project and all of the supporting media into one all-inclusive file.

Frankly, this is the way I always save my project files. You'll notice that it takes a little longer to open an .acd-zip project file than it does simple .acd files — especially if your project has a lot of tracks and long files such as you'll create in a multitrack recording situation — but the little extra wait on opening the file seems well worth it given the certainty that when the project does open, it'll contain every last support file that you used to create it. It also makes it incredibly easy to archive the project when you're done with it because it contains all of its required parts and pieces in one neat package. You have only one file to archive, regardless of how many loop, one-shot, MIDI, and beatmpped files went into making the entire project.

There is one thing to remember when you archive your project either as an .acd file with the Copy all media with project checkbox selected or as an .acd-zip file. Every time you add a file to your ACID project, ACID software adds that file to the clip list of the track that you used it on. Even if you later remove that file from the timeline and decide you don't want to use it in your project, it remains in the track's clip list. That's handy because you may decide later that you want to use it after all and the fact that it's still in the track's clip list makes it easy to add it back to your project.

However, you may have several files that you used in your project for a while only to discard later with absolutely no intention of using them again. In these cases, you don't really need to keep those files in your clip lists. In fact, when you're archiving or moving your project to another machine, those extra clips just add dead weight to you project file size. The thing to remember is that as long as you have files in your track clip lists, those files will be copied along with every other file, even if you didn't end up using them on the timeline in the final project.

To avoid this unnecessary bloat to your project file size, you should remove those files from your clip list before you save your project and copy all the media that it uses. To do this, choose Tools | Remove All Unused Clips, as shown in Figure 4.

Make sure you remove all the unused clips in your project before you copy all of the project's media along with the project file.

If you have a combination of files in your clip lists, some of which you want to remove and some you want to keep around in case you need to use them later, you can clean your tracks' clip pools on a track-by-track basis. To do this, right click a track's track header and choose Properties from the menu. The Clip Pool tab of the Track Properties window lists each file that has been loaded into the tracks clip list and the Used column indicates whether or not those files have been used on the track. To remove a file with a Used value of 0, select the file from the list and click the Delete button. To remove all of the files in the track's clip pool with a used value of 0, click the Remove Unused Clips button.

These strategies for ensuring that you have all of the files necessary to open your ACID projects can really help to keep things flowing smoothly in your studio. Take advantage of these techniques to ensure that you can properly archive your projects and open them again later without the worry of whether or not you remembered to save all of the support files the project needs.

Sony Creative Software Inc.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Everything You Want To Know About 4K Ultra HD TV

4K: Everyone desires it and no one knows why. It really is the hottest tech buzzword of the last few years, and it is a technology that's rewriting the rulebook when it comes to the best image quality.

It affects not just the world of 4K TV and cinema, but also cameras and image capture, smartphones and tablets, computer monitors and Pc games - virtually anything that displays photos or records video.

4K TV sets are now available from most of the major TV producers, but they're merely the tip of a really cool technological iceberg. There is lots to delve into with the new technology - we'll cover what OLED, High-Dynamic Range and Quantum Dot are in a minute - but prior to we get ahead of ourselves let's make sure we all realize the fundamentals. What the heck is 4K and why should you care?

What is 4K?

In a nutshell, 4K means a clearer image. It's a lot more pixels (8,294,400 to be precise) on the screen which creates photos that are crisper and capable of showing a lot more detail than standard HD.

What is the resolution of 4K?

4K resolution, at least the way most TVs define it, is 3840 x 2160 or 2160p. To put that in perspective, a full HD 1080p image is only a 1920x1080 resolution. 4K screens have about 8 million pixels, which is around 4 times what your current 1080p set can display.

4K Resolution

Why is it called 4K?

Simply because the photos are around 4,000 pixels wide. And before you ask, yes, the industry named 1080 resolution right after image height but named 4K following image width. For additional head scratching, you also may hear this resolution referred to as 2160p. Welcome to the future. It's confusing right here.

Do all these extra pixels matter?

They matter very much. More pixels implies more details. Much more details means sharper pictures. Sharper photos are a lot more engaging. Much more engaging content material is much more fun. And enjoyable... well entertaining is the point, isn't it?

Best Buy Co, Inc.

So I'll see a huge difference?

That's exactly where it gets sticky. We're talking about a comparable jump in resolution like the one from SD (480 lines high) to HD (1080 lines high). And 4K screens are noticeably sharper than 1080p screens but the jump is less apparent. Because of these factors, you might not really feel quite the same thrill you did when you upgraded your old CRT to a flat screen.

When most people went from a 480 to a 1080p set, there was an excellent chance they had been making a large jump in TV size as well. In terms of wow aspect, display size is much more effective than any resolution jump could ever hope to be. Last time around most people got huge jumps to both screen size and resolution. But this time screen sizes are staying about the same, with the most well-known models falling in the 40 inch to 70 inch range.

Most importantly, though, you will only be able to see the resolution difference on a 4K set if you are 1) watching 4K content through it and 2) you happen to be sitting close enough.

Sitting close enough?

Yup. Bear in mind when Apple made a large fuss about "retina" displays a couple of iPhones back? "Retina" refers to screens that have enough resolution that at a regular viewing distance your eye cannot make out individual pixels. Get far enough away from a 1080p set and, hey presto, It's a retina display! Much more importantly, at that same distance, your eyeballs will not be able to squeeze a lot more detail out of a 4K image than a 1080p screen. If you're at "retina distance" from your 1080p set now and do not plan on moving your couch closer, upgrading to 4K might not make a huge difference to your experience.

So I must sit closer?

Oh my yes. The capability to get up close to the screen without the image breaking down is one of the most intoxicating things about 4K. Sitting closer permits the identically sized screen to fill much more of your visual field, which yields greater immersion. The up-close factor is one of the reasons 4K computer monitors have turned out to be one of the technology's fastest expanding sectors. 4K monitors stay pin-sharp even when you are just a foot or two from the screen, as you are when you are sitting at your desk.

Difference between Ultra HD and 4K

Technically, "Ultra High Definition" is actually a derivation of the 4K digital cinema standard. Nonetheless, while your local multiplex shows pictures in native 4096 x 2160 4K resolution, the new Ultra HD customer format has a slightly reduced resolution of 3840 X 2160.

Click to view this in UHD
This is one reason why some brands choose not to use the 4K label at all, sticking with Ultra HD or UHD instead. Nevertheless, the numerical shorthand looks likely to stick. As a broad brush label, it really is so much more snappier!

Why should I care about 4K Ultra HD?

There are several factors why 4K should make you rethink your next TV purchase (actually, there are eleven and you can study about them right here), not all of them right away obvious.

Photographers who routinely view their work on an HD TV are seeing but a fraction of the detail inherent in their pictures when they view them at 2160p.

A 4K display reveals a lot more nuance and detail – the distinction can be astonishing. Although 3D has proved to be a faddish diversion, 4K comes without caveats. Its larger resolution pictures are simply better.

The greater pixel density of a 4K panel also allow you get much closer without the grid-like structure of the image itself becoming visible –this indicates you can comfortably watch a lot larger screen from the identical seating position as your present Full HD panel. Currently, all obtainable 4K Ultra HD TVs are in excess of 50-inches.

You also mentioned, "and up." Can UHD also designate greater resolutions than 4K?

Yes. This is the slightly confusing element. An 8K display would also be UHD.

What is this 8K you speak of?

It is the subsequent resolution standard up from 4K. Basically, it doubles the pixel height and width again to yield approximately 32 million pixels. It's a regular pixel party.

That sounds awesome. Should I just get one of those?

Absolutely not. The 8K screen is mainly for the exhibition industry (aka film theaters). To make that many pixels matter, you need to be feeding a genuinely gigantic screen and sitting right in front of it. In addition, you can't purchase an 8K screen today without having it custom built, which would cost around seven gazillion dollars. And there is no commercially accessible 8K content. You'd have to get movies straight from distributors the same way theaters do. You do not want this unless you are Jerry Bruckheimer. (If you are Jerry Bruckheimer, however, give me a holler. I know a guy.)

My friend told me about 4K OLED. What is that?

More acronyms! Isn't this enjoyable? OLED - organic light emitting diodes - have been about for some time, but creating big screens using this technology has proven to be prohibitively costly, one thing which has so far prevented OLED television from being a mainstream proposition.

It's a genuine shame since OLED technology can be beautiful, providing vibrant colors, deep blacks, and bright whites. But never give up hope just yet. A number of companies (most prominently LG) are laboring away to bring OLED to 4K televisions. We lately took a look at LG's new 4K OLED sets, but while they are gorgeous, pricing remains sky high. Hopefully, that will alter quickly, though. "I think the value and yield rate will be greater right away and the cost will be down," Mr. K I Kwon, president of LG Electronics UK, told TechRadar lately. We hope his predictions hold and we aren't ruling out OLED as a big player in the next generation of televisions.

I've heard Netflix is going to commence streaming in something called HDR. What is that?

HDR, UHD, OLED ... there is no shortage of acronyms in home entertainment.

HDR, or high dynamic range, is a notion borrowed from digital imaging which combines three images - one with regular lighting, one with underexposure and one with overexposure - to give more contrast to an image or video. Netflix was the first content provider to release HDR video in 2015.

You won't necessarily need a UHD screen to get it, but to actually see a difference in picture quality you'll want to step up to the higher resolution.

Quantum Dot sounds like theoretical physics

It does indeed. But as opposed to some problems in theoretical physics, the remedy is currently right here. Quantum Dot displays (QD for short) are simply LED panels with a thin film of nanocrystals in between the backlight and the display. Companies like LG and Sony claim that this increases color depth by about 30% without having to add extra pixels or implementing a wacky algorithm to digitally manipulate the display.

88" Class - LED - Curved - 2160p - Smart - 3D - 4K Ultra HD TV
Ultra-Expensive but Ultra-Cool
We went hands on with a few QD panels at CES 2015, including the LG UF9400 Quantum Dot 4K UHD TV and Samsung SUHD Curved TV, which uses a variation of Quantum Dot. We liked what we saw, mainly, and specifically on the Samsung SUHD. The LG had some issues with oversaturation ... but that could be fixed by the time the TV comes to the marketplace.

What sort of cables will I need for 4K?

The two standard cables you happen to be most likely to use are either a regular HDMI or if you're connecting a Pc to an Ultra HD monitor, DisplayPort.

HDMI cables now come in four flavors: high speed with ethernet high speed without ethernet normal speed with ethernet and normal speed without having ethernet. Regular speed cables are capable of 1080i but are not capable of managing the bandwidth of 4K. High-speed cables can do something bigger than 1080. Now, as long as you're making use of the same class of cable, there is no distinguishable difference in terms of performance between one manufacturer's set of cables and another's.

The speed of your connection will rely on the varieties of connectors, which consists of HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2. and HDMI 2.0a. HDMI 1.4 connectors have a 3820x2160-resolution at 30 frames per second while HDMI 2. is the latest spec and can output video at Ultra HD resolution at 60 frames per second. HDMI 2.0a is capable of HDR, which is limited to a particular variety of televisions from each manufacturer.

The other kind of cable you can use is DisplayPort. DisplayPort carries the 4K image and audio signal from most high-finish graphics cards to monitors without any noticeable artifacts or delays.

So must I have a 4K set now or should I wait?

It depends. If you want the absolute best TV you can get right now and do not mind paying a premium for it, it is a 4K set. If you are getting it from one of the leading tech companies, you're going to get a great product that is reasonably future-proofed. As we stated just before, the sets appear great. Nevertheless, don't count on watching all of your video content in 4K for another year or two. And make sure any set you acquire has HDMI 2. ports (the first wave of 4K TVs employed the previous HDMI 1.4 normal).

Best Buy Co, Inc.

On the other hand, if you're value sensitive or want to wait until the content material side of the equation is a bit more solved, it totally makes sense to wait. You're really not missing out on much at the moment. There are extraordinary values to be found in generously-sized 1080p sets right now. And 4K sets are only going to get more affordable.