Thursday, 14 January 2016

Ultra HD Blu-ray: The Last Format?

Ultra HD Blu-ray: The Last Format

CES saw the announcement of new Ultra HD Blu-ray players, while studios are lining up to release movies on the format. But, David Crookes asks, is this the peak for optical media?

Whether you’re watching The Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime Instant Video or catching up with Orange is the New Black on Netflix, one thing’s for sure: there’s no physical disc in sight. But this, as we’re often told, is the future. Netflix not only has an impressive 33.3 million subscribers, it’s growing fast, month by month, doubling its stock price in 2015 thanks to a push towards increased original programming. The simplicity of having thousands and thousands of titles at your fingertips without the need to move off the sofa and mess around inserting media is proving to be a major draw.

10 Good Reasons To Upgrade To Windows 10

10 Good Reasons To Upgrade To Windows 10

Mark Pickavance presents the flip-side of sticking with Windows 7, and why you might want to consider upgrading

In a previous issue, I talked about many valid reasons why you might want to stick with Windows 7 instead of accepting Microsoft’s unique offer of a free upgrade to Windows 10. Yet there are a number of aspects to Windows 10 that might convince you to switch over and leave Windows 7 behind. Here are some of them:

Has ‘Offline’ Become A Dirty Word?

Has ‘Offline’ Become A Dirty Word

Mark Oakley prefers single-player campaigns, but does the industry really care about gamers like him?

If running around virtual environments with a huge gun is your kind of thing, the arrival of Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 and Star Wars: Battlefront was most likely fantastic news. Even if it’s not, we can take it as read that Activision’s long-standing shooter franchise is insanely popular and, hey, everyone loves Star Wars, right?

Remembering… The Hobbit

Remembering… The Hobbit

Pale, bulbous eyes and having Thorin singing about gold are a couple of examples that will undoubtedly spark fond memories of playing The Hobbit on the Spectrum, C64, Dragon or BBC computers back in 1982.

The Hobbit is one of those games that everyone of a certain age has played at least once in their lives. Regardless of whether you owned one of the aforementioned 8-bit machines or not, there was a pretty good chance that at some point in your youth you viewed the line-by-line loading of the images and marvelled at the block fill colouring.

Playing with PDFs

create a PDF

We look at a few ways in which you can create a PDF without spending a small fortune

The PDF (Portable Document Format) specification has been around since 1993 and has remained the global standard for sharing documents between platforms ever since.

These days we take it for granted, in spite of just how versatile and ingrained into the history of the internet it really is. And with the ability to view a PDF from within any operating system, it can be easy to overlook its importance in the formation of the backbone of the digital age.

Cyberpower Steam Machine K

Cyberpower Steam Machine K

A new generation of living room PC gaming

The highly anticipated Steam Machines are finally here, and gamers can now get their hands on the accumulated technology that Valve and a collective of manufacturers has been busy preparing for us. But was it worth the wait?

With the Steam Link and Steam Controllers now readily available, the Steam Machine concept is designed to bring Valve into the living room and on the TV, with an eye for taking valuable territory from the consoles. PC gaming has taken a lot of flak in recent years, but it’s not quite as dead as the critics would have you believe, and it’s rise again could well be thanks to the efforts of the Steam Machine.

Hi-Tec Trek Plus Wearable

Hi-Tec Trek Plus Wearable

Our new goal is a beach body for summer, but we could do with some help

The new year is a traditional start to the ‘new you’ change of lifestyle. A time when you can get to shed those extra Christmas pounds and prepare yourself for the summer holiday. More importantly, though, it’s about beginning to look after your health, and the Trek Plus can help you achieve those fitness goals.

Wearables are nothing new; ever since the first pedometers appeared, users have been fascinated by long lists of stats generated from their daily stroll to work or wherever. These days, the wearable has evolved into something that can monitor your every slightest detail. These wearables are the new must-have accessory, so Hi-Tec needs to pull something pretty special out of the bag to compete with the likes of Fitbit.

Corsair Katar Gaming Mouse

Corsair Katar Gaming Mouse

The simplicity of Corsair's latest gaming mouse wins over Mark

The Katar design ditches the superfluous and instead focuses on what gamers need out of a precision pointing device. Precisely, the combination of a high optical sensitivity, with plenty of available adjustment and comfort for prolonged gaming sessions.

The chosen sensor is one of the highest polling I’ve yet seen at 8000dpi, though you can easily drop that rate with one of the four programmable keys to something more practical.

Asus Chromebit

Asus Chromebit

A computing platform that redefines the definition of small form factor

When I told my wide that the Chromebit was a computer, she really thought I’d been on the Christmas sherry again. That’s not really surprising, because this device is the size of a decent bar of chocolate, if you remember what size that was before all our confectionery started to shrink uncontrollably.

Removing the easily losable cap from one end reveals an HDMI blade that you can use on any suitable monitor or TV, and at the other end is single USB port that you can use for peripherals if you also own a USB hub.