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The 5 Best Ultrawide Monitors for All Budgets in 2020

If you’re looking for a monitor upgrade, you’ll first need to establish your budget. Once you have that settled, you can narrow down which monitor you’re after, ranging from an entry-level product to splashing out on a luxury purchase.

Whether you’re after an affordable device or want to go all-out, here are the best ultrawide monitors for every budget.

Best Budget Ultrawide Monitor:
VIOTEK GNV34DBE Ultrawide Gaming Monitor

VIOTEK GNV34DBE Ultrawide Gaming Monitor VIOTEK GNV34DBE Ultrawide Gaming Monitor Buy Now On Amazon

First of all, let’s explore a model that won’t break the bank: the VIOTEK GNV34DBE. Despite having a gaming focus, it doesn’t hike up the price to appeal to avid gamers. It’s priced at a highly affordable level that makes it an ideal entry point for those curious about 1440p ultrawide monitors.

Even though it’s a relatively cheap widescreen monitor, it doesn’t skimp on the quality. For the price, you get a 1440p resolution, a 34-inch screen, and a screen curvature for further immersion. You can either place it on the monitor stand or mount it to a wall, depending on which would suit your space best.

Despite the monitor being one of the best in its price bracket, it’s still covered by some great protective plans. VIOTEK offers a three-year warranty plan for this monitor, which also comes with a “no dead pixels” policy. Should a dreaded dead pixel appear, VIOTEK will replace it.

Best Budget Ultrawide Gaming  Monitor:
LG 34GL750-B 34-inch Ultragear

LG 34GL750-B 34-inch Ultragear LG 34GL750-B 34-inch Ultragear Buy Now On Amazon $659.95

While the above monitor is perfectly fine for gaming, you can pay a little more for a few more features while still respecting your bank balance. The LG 34GL750-B 34-inch Ultragear has some nice extras for both Radeon and Nvidia users, so you’re in luck regardless of which you use.

If you use Radeon, this monitor supports FreeSync, which helps remove screen tearing while you game. It also supports Nvidia’s equivalent of this technology, G-SYNC. Aside from this, the monitor has some nice touches that come in handy when gaming.

For instance, its 1ms motion blur reduction keeps the action crystal-clear so you can always see what’s happening. Unfortunately, it’s a little lacking in the resolution department. While other ultrawide monitors use a 1440p resolution, this one only goes up to 1080p. As such, if the resolution is important, consider one of the other monitors on this list.

Best Gaming Ultrawide Monitor:
Alienware Curved 34-inch WQHD Monitor

Alienware Curved 34-inch WQHD Monitor Alienware Curved 34-inch WQHD Monitor Buy Now On Amazon $754.51

If going budget isn’t your style and you want the best that money can buy, look no further than the Alienware Curved 34-inch WQHD Monitor. This is one of the best ultrawide monitors for gaming as it is compatible with G-SYNC, has a 1440p resolution, and is curved for added immersion. On top of this, it has a 120Hz refresh rate, 2ms response time, and good color quality.

The monitor also features In-Plane Switching (IPS) technology to ensure the colors are always vibrant. IPS prevents colors from being washed out when viewed from an angle, so you can always ensure a great picture quality regardless of where you look at it from.

Finally, this Alienware monitor is perfect if you want something with a fantastic visual design. It uses the company’s Legend Industrial Design, which gives a sleek and stylish look which keeps your PC looking futuristic.

The Best Office Ultrawide Monitor:
Samsung 34-inch Ultrawide Monitor

Samsung 34-inch Ultrawide Monitor Samsung 34-inch Ultrawide Monitor Buy Now On Amazon $418.45

If you’re constantly changing windows while working, you’ll know the importance of having everything laid out in front of you. The Samsung 34-inch Ultrawide Monitor is impressively sized and is one of the best ultrawide monitors for work.

You may wonder why it’d be better to buy a single ultrawide monitor, rather than several smaller ones. With multiple displays, you can place a window in each one, making multitasking a breeze. This Samsung model emulates this setup using Picture-by-Picture (PBP), which allows two sources to show their inputs on each side of the screen.

You can go even further with Picture-in-Picture (PIP), which reduces the second image to 25 percent of the screen and allows you to move it around. With these two features, you can customize your monitor’s display to highlight what’s important to you.

Additionally, the 34-inch display has a ratio of 21:9, giving each window plenty of space, so your workspace won’t feel cluttered. Whether you’re doing in-depth research or coding multiple applications, this ultra-widescreen monitor is a fantastic addition to your office.

The Best Curved Ultrawide Monitor:
Dell U-Series 38-inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor

Dell U-Series 38-inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor Dell U-Series 38-inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor Buy Now On Amazon $1,097.77

If you’re after the best ultrawide monitor on the market, you’ll be delighted with the Dell U-Series 38-inch Screen LED-Lit Monitor. The impressive 38-inch screen is coupled with an immersive design to really draw you in. That’s not to mention the fact that it comes equipped with a stunning 3840×1600 resolution.

There’s also two HDMI ports, a USB-C connection, two USB upstream powers, and one USB downstream port. As such, you can use this monitor to extend the USB ports on your computer. This is a desirable convenience if, for instance, your PC is on the floor and you have to bend down to plug in devices all the time.

The 5ms response time means that this monitor isn’t as suited to gaming as the the Alienware WQHD. However, for all other graphical or media tasks, it’s a dream. If you’re after an immersive ultrawide screen, then the Dell U-Series 38-inch monitor might be right for you.

The Best Ultrawide Monitor for You

If you’re interested in an ultrawide monitor, there’s a device here to suit your needs. Whether you’re after a performance improvement or a high-value investment, there’s an ultrawide monitor for you.

That said, even casual gamers might find themselves more interested in the best 4K gaming monitors for all budgets instead. We’ve also explained the differences between LCD and LED displays.

Read the full article: The 5 Best Ultrawide Monitors for All Budgets in 2020

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The Best 4K YouTube Videos to Watch on Your New TV or Monitor

You’ve just purchased a brand new TV. Which 4K videos should you play to demonstrate the impressive quality and show off to your friends?!

In this article, we list the best 4K videos on YouTube, including 4K music videos, and 4K test videos. All of which are perfect for your new TV.

1. 93 Minutes of Open Ocean

Remember those 1080p looping fireplace videos that were all the rage when high definition first landed? It appears that this is the natural progression—over an hour and a half of the South China Sea, with no breaks, no repetition, and unfortunately nothing in the way of sound. Zen? Pointless? Who cares, just look at all that blue water…

2. Biosphere

In the same vein as documentaries like Samsara and Baraka (each of which peak at 1080p), Biosphere is a narrative-free documentary that takes an observant view of life on Planet Earth. Beautifully shot in glorious 4K, see Canada, Bhutan, Papa New Guinea, and Chile in stupendously high definition. The video even boasts a fittingly ambient soundtrack.

3. Bon Jovi – Livin’ on a Prayer

Today, you can find lots of 4K music videos on YouTube. Many artists record directly in 4K, while many more music videos have been digitally remastered up to 4K quality.

One such remaster is the official 4K version of Bon Jovi’s iconic rock song, Livin’ on a Prayer. Named by VH1 as the best song of the 1980s, the video offers an impressive insight into just how much the resolution of old videos can be improved when modern technology is applied to them.

Oh, and it’s also an absolute tune. After all, what is the point of 4K if we can’t play air guitar to it?!

4. Peru and Machu Picchu

Devin Super Tramp’s YouTube channel is a bounty of ultra HD video, and it’s well worth a trawl (and a follow) if you’re looking for short, sharp bursts of 4K content. Of all the videos on his channel, one that really stands out is the result of a trip to Peru and its most famous landmark, Machu Picchu.

Some of his other best 4K videos include footage from Saudi Arabia, The Bahamas, California, and Hawaii.

5. New York in 4K

Around The World 4K is a new international YouTube project focused on capturing every corner of the world in ultra high definition, “for the pleasure and entertainment of our dear viewers” over the coming two years. They’ve stopped off in Chicago, the Grand Canyon, London, Niagara Falls, and their most popular video to date, New York.

The five-minute-long video takes you on a whistlestop tour of some of New York’s most famous landmarks, including the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and the Brooklyn Bridge.

6. A Timelapse of the Surface of the Sun

Advances in space photography have enabled humanity to capture some incredibly impressive sights of distant galaxies, star clusters, and cosmic phenomena on the fringes of the known universe.

Point the lens closer to home, however, and the results are just as impressive. Take this 4K timelapse video of the Sun from October 14th to October the 30th 2014, complete with the largest observed sunspot in 22 years and backed by the Sun’s “heartbeat.”

The video lasts for almost eight minutes.

7. Gigapixels of Andromeda

Your 4K TV doesn’t just do wonders for video, but also for images. What better image to explore than the largest one ever taken by NASA? This 4.3 GB, 1.5 billion pixel-rich shot of the Andromeda galaxy features over 100 million stars, thousands of star clusters, and a total visible area of 40,000 light-years.

And if you want to feel really small and insignificant, this is just one galaxy… hundreds of billions of other galaxies also exist.

8. 4K Corsica

The French island of Corsica in the Mediterranean Sea is low-key one of the most beautiful places in Europe. With looming rocky mountains, turquoise seas, and abundant wildlife, the island could have been specifically designed to create the best 4K videos in the world.

To see what we’re talking about, check out this hour-long tour of the island from above. Then read our article detailing the best ways to find cheap flights and book your next vacation!

9. A Category Five Hurricane

In nature, very little can compete with the awe-inspiring power of a hurricane. Having gone through the eye of the category four Hurricane Odile in Mexico in 2014, it’s something I can personally attest to.

October 2018’s Hurricane Michael was even more powerful than what I experienced. With 160mph winds, it became the first category five storm to make landfall in the US since 1992’s Hurricane Andrew. It caused more than $25.1 billion of damage across the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico.

This 4K video shows what it was like for those who were unlucky enough to be caught in the storm. The footage of the aftermath of the storm is truly harrowing.

10. Promotional LG Video

This LG promotional footage is a great video to use if you need a 4K test video to set up the color balances on your new 4K TV. Given that it’s a promotional video for a TV manufacturer, you can be sure the images are super crisp, colorful, and vibrant. Under the hood, it might be an ad, but it’s still mesmerizing.

For an alternative 4K test video, check out Sony’s similarly impressive promotional ad. It features wild animals, impressive natural scenery, and perfect slow-motion captures. The Dolby Atmos promo video is another solid 4K option.

Learn More About 4K Videos

Of course, you won’t only find 4K content on YouTube. Netflix offers 4K video, as does Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and many of the other big streaming services. But they often charge more to access the content. However, you can watch 4K videos on YouTube entirely for free.

If you would like to learn more about 4K videos, make sure you read our article detailing the difference between 4K and UHD and our list of the best 4K streaming devices available to buy right now.

Read the full article: The Best 4K YouTube Videos to Watch on Your New TV or Monitor

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Video Cable Types Explained: Differences Between VGA, DVI, and HDMI Ports

As technology has progressed, so, too, have the cables we need for our devices. Even though many manufacturers are moving to wireless solutions, you’ll likely always need some form of cable.

This is especially true for video devices. Televisions, monitors, and peripherals need a wide variety of cables and connections to work correctly. So, what are the differences between them all, and which ones do you need?

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular video cable types and when you may want to use each one.

VGA Cables

VGA display cable

VGA stands for Video Graphics Array. The connection was developed by IBM in 1987, making it one of the oldest video connections still in use today. It was widely used for video cards, TV sets, computer monitors, and laptops.

VGA can support resolutions up to 640×480 in 16 colors, although you can increase the colors to 256 by lowering the resolution to 320×200. This is known as Mode 13h and is commonly used when booting your computer into Safe Mode. Mode 13h was often used for video games in the late 1980s.

VGA is capable of transmitting RBGHV video signals, which includes, Red, Blue, Green, Horizontal Sync, and Vertical Sync. The iconic blue adaptor comes with a screw on either side to secure the connection. The socket consists of 15 pins, arranged in three rows of five.

It has since been surpassed by digital connections like HDMI and DVI but is still popular thanks to the resurgence of retro gaming and its inclusion on cheaper monitors and displays.

RCA Cables

RCA cable
Image Credit: William Krapp/Flickr

The RCA lead is one of the most visually identifiable video cables. The red, white, and yellow plugs are synonymous with audio/visual equipment produced in the 1990s and early 2000s. It was also the primary connection for many games consoles, including the Nintendo Wii. Most televisions no longer support RCA inputs, but there are still plenty of ways to connect your Nintendo Wii to your TV.

The name doesn’t refer to the technology itself, but to the company that popularized it, the Radio Corporation of America. The red and white connectors provide audio, while the yellow offers a single channel composite video.

When used together, the three cables transmit stereo audio with video up to 480i or 576i resolution. Just as with VGA, the once-popular RCA cable has been superseded by the digital DVI and HDMI connections.

DVI Cables

DVI video cable

The Digital Visual Interface, or DVI, was launched in 1999 by the Digital Display Working Group as the successor to the VGA cable. DVI connections can transmit uncompressed digital video in one of three different modes:

  • DVI-I (Integrated) combines digital and analog in the same connector.
  • DVI-D (Digital) supports digital signals only.
  • DVI-A (Analog) supports analog only.

DVI-I and DVI-D can come in single or dual-link varieties. Single-link can support 1920×1200 at 60Hz while adding a second digital transmitter for dual-link means the resolution can be increased to 2560×1600 at 60Hz.

To prevent forced obsolescence of VGA devices, DVI was developed to support analog connections using the DVI-A mode. This meant that DVI connections and devices could be backward-compatible with VGA connections.

HDMI Cables

HDMI cable
Image Credit: Lord_Ghost/DepositPhotos

The most popular digital video connection is the High Definition Media Input, also known as HDMI. This proprietary interface was created by a group of electronics firms, including Sony, Sanyo, and Toshiba. HDMI connections transfer uncompressed video and audio to computer monitors, TVs, and DVD or Blu-ray players.

There have been many iterations of the HDMI standard to accommodate advances in technology. The most recent is HDMI 2.1, which was launched in 2017. Among other technical changes, this update improved support for 4K and 8K resolutions and increased the bandwidth of HDMI up to 48 Gbit/s.

Importantly, HDMI cables are backward compatible, so that you can use a cable with the latest features on older devices. The reverse is also true, meaning you can use an older cable on devices made to the HDMI 2.1 standard. This is useful, as the HDMI Forum previously ruled that no HDMI cables or devices can display which standard they were manufactured to, making it impossible to determine your setup’s configuration.

HDMI uses the same video format standards as DVI, so the two are compatible through the use of an adaptor. As no signal conversion is necessary, there is no loss of quality either. Although, unlike HDMI, DVI does not support audio.

There are three commonly used HDMI connectors. Type A is the full-sized HDMI connection for use on TVs and home theater equipment. Mini-HDMI (Type C) is frequently used on laptops and tablets, while Micro-HDMI (Type D) is mostly used on mobile devices.

DisplayPort Connections

DisplayPort cable
Image Credit: Davis Mosans/Flickr

DisplayPort is a digital display interface developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). DisplayPort can carry digital video and audio, making it functionally similar to HDMI. As of DisplayPort 2.0, these connections support resolutions up to 8K, High Dynamic Range (HDR) at higher resolutions, and better support for multi-display configurations.

However, HDMI and DisplayPort were designed for different markets. While HDMI is primarily for home entertainment, DisplayPort was designed for connecting computing devices to monitors.

Due to their similar functionality, it is possible to connect DisplayPort and HDMI devices together using a Dual-Mode DisplayPort adapter. DisplayPort operates using packet data transmission, most commonly used in Ethernet and USB connections. Thus, making it ideal for use in computing rather than home entertainment.

Thunderbolt Connections

Thunderbolt 3 cable
Image Credit: Tony Webster/Flickr

Thunderbolt is an interface commonly found on Apple computers, iMacs, and MacBooks. Intel developed the standard with support from Apple as a means to connect peripherals to your computer.

The connection made its debut with the launch of the 2011 edition of the MacBook Pro and is still commonplace on the company’s hardware. If you own an Apple computer, it might be worth checking out the best Thunderbolt accessories for your Mac. Like other video connections, Thunderbolt cables integrate other technologies into a single device.

The connection combines PCI Express and DisplayPort, while also providing DC power, enabling up to six device connections on a single cable. To complicate matters, there is an overlap between Thunderbolt and USB Type-C. Thunderbolt specifications have been integrated into USB standards across the years.

With the introduction of Thunderbolt 3, all Thunderbolt cables share the same connector as USB Type-C cables. This means you can use the cheaper USB-C cable with Thunderbolt ports and devices. However, performance will be limited as USB-C cables don’t support the same rates of data transfer or power.

The Right Video Cable for Your Needs

When a new technology hits the market, manufacturers compete to make their version the global standard. This is why there are so many video cable connection types that are still in use today.

However, standardization is possible. In the mid-2000s, each cell phone would come with a proprietary charger. These days, it’s almost guaranteed your smartphone will charge via a micro-USB or USB-C connector.

The same is true of video standards, where HDMI has become the most common connection. If you need a new cable, then consider one of the best HDMI cables for Smart TVs and displays.

Read the full article: Video Cable Types Explained: Differences Between VGA, DVI, and HDMI Ports

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10 Home Office Workstation Tips: Boost Productivity and Reduce Stress

If you spend a long time at a desk, you probably find that your body aches, your eyes are sore, and you feel fatigued. You shouldn’t underestimate the boosting effects of an ergonomic desk setup.

We’re going to show you how to set up your desk at work and optimize it for maximum productivity. Follow these steps and you should notice improvements in your physical health and your work efficiency.

1. Chair Height

Office chair

Endless sitting is one of today’s biggest killers. You can help combat that by taking regular breaks, but you also need to have a good and supportive seat in the first place.

At the very least, use a chair with a back and one lets you adjust the height of the seat. For best results, your thighs should be parallel to the ground when sitting and your knees should be at a 90-degree angle.

A quick trick for getting the right height in one shot is to stand in front of your chair and adjust it so that the edge of the seat touches the bottom of your kneecaps.

Chair depth is important too. You should always sit with your bottom to the very back of the seat, and there should be about one fist’s worth of space between the edge of the seat and the back of your calves. If the seat is too deep, you’ll be prone to sliding forward and slouching, and it will hinder circulation to your lower legs.

2. Desk Height

The problem with the chair tip above is that the correct chair height often puts you in an uncomfortable position relative to your desk.

Ideally, your elbows should rest by your ribs and form a 90-degree angle with the desktop, allowing your forearms to rest parallel to the ground. If there’s a mismatch between your chair height and desk height, there are a few workarounds you can try.

If your desk is too low, try placing your desk on furniture risers, which can raise the height by several inches if needed. However, you do want your desk to be stable and not shake. If you have a desk with interchangeable legs (like the ones from IKEA), swap them out for a better size. Otherwise, you’ll just have to buy a taller desk.

Utopia Bedding Adjustable Bed Furniture Risers Utopia Bedding Adjustable Bed Furniture Risers Buy Now On Amazon $16.99

On the other hand, tall desks can lead to wrist issues or shoulder/neck issues depending on how you adjust to the excess height.

One solution is to install a keyboard tray under the desk so your arms don’t have to reach so high.

Another option is to raise your chair height and use an adjustable footrest to keep your knees at a 90-degree angle.

Mind Reader Comfy Adjustable Height Foot Rest Mind Reader Comfy Adjustable Height Foot Rest Buy Now On Amazon $20.78

3. Monitor Height

Monitor on desk

After adjusting both chair and desk heights, you’ll likely run into a third problem: your computer monitor is either too high or too low. If you’re using a laptop directly on top of your desk, then your screen is definitely too low.

Incorrect monitor height can lead to all kinds of physical problems like dry eyes, eye strain, neck strain, tight shoulders, tension headaches, and more—and these inconveniences will destroy your productivity if you don’t nip them in the bud.

Ideally, the top of the screen should line up with your eyes when sitting up straight in your chair and looking straight ahead. Ideally, you should use a monitor that you can adjust the height of.

If your monitor doesn’t support that, or you’re on a laptop, get an adjustable monitor stand. On a laptop you should use an external keyboard when using a stand so that your arms remain in the correct 90-degree position.

AmazonBasics Adjustable Computer Monitor Riser Desk Stand AmazonBasics Adjustable Computer Monitor Riser Desk Stand Buy Now On Amazon $22.49

4. Monitor Distance

On the one hand, it’s true that the distance between your eyes and the monitor has no direct effect on your vision—that’s one common monitor myth. But there is an indirect effect: the distance may cause you to crane your head or stop blinking your eyes or constantly squint, all of which can cause various kinds of strain.

There isn’t a “best” monitor distance because it will vary for everyone and depends on monitor size, screen resolution, how good your eyesight is, and the space limitations of your desk.

Start with the monitor at arm’s length and adjust so that you can read without having to tilt your head or hunch forward.

5. Lighting Setup

Computer in dark room

Long-term exposure to artificial lighting can lead to mood and productivity issues. It can even contribute to seasonal affective disorder (“winter depression”). Natural light plays an important role in mental health, so don’t neglect the position of your desk relative to the windows in your office.

Whether your work desk is under natural or artificial light, you should make sure that your screen brightness matches the brightness of ambient light. Lots of light around you? Brighter screen. Not so much light? Darker screen. This will prevent eye strain, which can lead to computer fatigue and deadened productivity.

6. Workstation Clutter

Cognitive clutter is real. The messier your workspace, the more mental energy is required to process all of that messiness, and that mental energy detracts from your other tasks. If you think of your brain as a CPU, workspace clutter is like a rogue app that takes up CPU cycles even while idle.

And that’s why clearing clutter is good for productivity. It’s one of those things that you don’t realize is bogging you down, but as soon as you take the time to clean up, you’ll notice the cognitive benefits right away—and the benefits cannot be understated.

As a rule of thumb, if you use it every single day, then it can stay on your desk. Otherwise, stash it away in a drawer or cabinet and pull it out as needed. Keep a trash bin next to your desk so you can effortlessly toss waste.

Paper documents quickly add up. But they are also the easiest to manage from the onset. When you need to save a document, scan it as a PDF before tossing it. If you work a lot with paper, then a fast scanner is a worthwhile investment.

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7. Office Environment

Office environment

You’d be surprised how much one single change in environment can impact your workflow. If the room feels like a sterile hospital ward, your brain might refuse to work—unless you prefer it to be sterile, in which case plants and decorations could just end up as distractions.

There is no such thing as a “perfect” office environment as everyone is different. The important thing is that you identify what works for you and make it happen.

Indoor plants have been shown to prevent fatigue during attention-demanding work. Warmer office temperatures have also been linked to improved output and fewer mistakes.

For the color of walls, reds and whites can stifle productivity while soft blue and green colors can aid in concentration.

8. Remove Fun Distractions

Related to your office environment is the need to remove any fun distractions from your desk or surrounding area. It can be hard to be totally productive when something more interesting, like a book, TV, or games console, is right nearby.

If possible, move these distractions into another room so you’re less tempted. This should include your phone, providing you don’t need it for work—otherwise, you might see a flashing notification and get pulled away.

9. Get a Standing Desk

Standing desk
Image Credit: Juhan Sonin/Flickr

Standing desks are a fantastic way to keep you productive and help combat the detrimental impact of sitting for too long. However, a standing desk in itself isn’t the golden solution.

You must use your standing desk properly to reap the ergonomic benefits. The tips outlined above about posture still apply here, otherwise you’ll feel the ache in your feet, back, and neck.

Most importantly, perhaps, is that you don’t just stand all the time. This is as bad as sitting all the time. Instead, switch between the positions in regular intervals. You will probably need to start off with smaller standing periods to get your body used to it, but eventually aim for half standing and half sitting.

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10. Stay Hydrated

Being well hydrated is not only good for your general well-being, but it’ll also keep you focussed and productive. Keep some water on your desk so that you can sip from it whenever needed and so you don’t need to go to keep going to the kitchen.

You don’t need to excessively drink water. Just have some when you’re thirsty. To help ensure you have enough water on hand, you might want to buy a large BPA-free water bottle.

Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle, Cosmo, 32 oz Nalgene Tritan Wide Mouth BPA-Free Water Bottle, Cosmo, 32 oz Buy Now On Amazon $9.82

More Tips to Help You Stop Bad Office Habits

Follow these tips to improve your desk and you’ll soon find that you feel more positive and productive. Set your desk equipment up properly, have a pleasant environment, and look after yourself.

If you want some more advice to help with productivity, check out the bad habits that are making you tired at work.

Read the full article: 10 Home Office Workstation Tips: Boost Productivity and Reduce Stress

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How to Use Your Laptop Like an External Monitor

Using an extra monitor for work is a fantastic productivity boost. No more split-screen action between Microsoft Word and Chrome. No more having to prioritize which window goes on top. A multi-monitor setup also looks cool, plus you can use the extra screen as a media display when not in use.

If you don’t have an extra monitor but have an extra laptop, you can repurpose the laptop as a sort of second screen. Here’s how you can use your laptop as an external monitor!

How Can You Use a Laptop as a Second Monitor?

Multi-monitor systems are relatively common. You’ll see them everywhere. Your doctor might use a second monitor for notes, and another for diagnoses. Using a second monitor can boost your productivity by giving you the extra screen real estate you need.

Creating a multi-monitor setup with a laptop is a one-way process. It’s likely your laptop only features an outgoing VGA, DVI, or HDMI cable. You can plug a monitor in and use the laptop on both screens. Perfect, right?

What about if you don’t have the right cable? In that situation, you need to use a KVM switch. A KVM switch is a physical switch you can turn to switch your system to another network. For instance, back in the day, you might have had to turn a switch to connect your system to a printer.

To use your laptop as a second monitor, you need KVM software. You install the software on your desktop and your laptop, and the local network creates a bridge of types between both devices. You can control your desktop and your laptop from a single keyboard and mouse, turning your laptop into a second monitor. The rise of KVM software is one reason why you no longer need a dedicated KVM switch!

Using KVM Software for a Second Monitor Laptop Setup

Two of the biggest reasons for using more than one monitor are working space and frustration with the split-screen. Several applications let you easily share your mouse and keyboard between laptop and desktop.

Note that you cannot drag-and-drop an active window across KVM software. It just doesn’t work like that. However, some tools let you drag-and-drop a file to open on the laptop you use as a second screen.

It isn’t quite the same, but it is better than nothing and often faster than using a cloud drive (and especially a USB flash drive).

1. Input Director

input director global preferences

Input Director is a handy free virtual KVM program. The installation package gives you the option of being the Master (Server) or the Slave (Client). Run the Master installer on your primary system, and the Slave installer on your laptop.

Once installed, you can configure the location of the laptop you are using a second screen in relation to your primary monitor. You can add the Slave using its network IP address, or the hostname provided in each Input Director window.

Input Director has some neat features, including Cursor Wraparound which lets you take your cursor off of any screen to another (rather than running in parallel), and the all important shared clipboard which allows you copy between devices.

Download: Input Director for Windows (Free)

2. ShareMouse

sharemouse monitor manager

ShareMouse is one of the simplest, but also best virtual KVM tools to turn your laptop into a second monitor. ShareMouse is full of decent features, coming with shared clipboards, drag and drop file sharing, and an interactive monitor manager.

You can also set your unused monitor to fade when you’re not using it. It makes it easy to keep track of which screen you’re using, as well as saving power on your laptop.

ShareMouse is free for Non-Commercial Personal Use. But you are limited to a maximum of two monitors. Or, you can register for professional use, granting you up-to 19 networked monitors/systems, encryption, and a handful of other tools for $49.95.

Download: ShareMouse for Windows | macOS (Free)

3. Synergy

synergy share mouse laptop

I used Synergy for a long time until switching to ShareMouse. Still, Synergy remains an excellent open source virtual KVM tool. It is well suited to turning your laptop into a second monitor, featuring drag and drop file sharing, shared clipboard, and encryption.

Synergy isn’t free. It comes in two flavors; a Basic version for $29, and a Pro version for $39. The basic version has seen a steep rise in price in recent years (from $10 to $29), and the Pro version has jumped up, too. Synergy developer, Symless, is also working on Synergy 2, so that could explain the price jump.

One cool Synergy feature is that you can install it on your Raspberry Pi and use it as a central controller for every system attached to your network. Synergy is also available for an extensive range of operating systems, including Windows, macOS, Ubuntu, Debian, and other Linux distros.

Download: Synergy for All Operating Systems ($29 Lifetime License)

4. Mouse Without Borders

mouse without borders share screen

Mouse Without Borders is a workspace unification application developed by The Garage. The Garage is an internal Microsoft development team that employees can use to incubate and build personal ideas into real-world projects.

The Garage has overseen some fantastic projects, including the Microsoft Launcher for Android, the Microsoft Health Bot Service, and Eye Control for Windows 10.

As well as these projects, you can use Mouse Without Borders, a virtual KVM tool that “makes you the captain of your computer fleet.”

In typical Microsoft fashion, Mouse without Borders uses a system of codes to connect your systems, also displaying the network adapter you’re connecting through. It also comes complete with drag-and-drop file sharing, and a useful Clipboard feature.

Download: Mouse Without Borders for Windows (Free)

Use Your Laptop As Second Monitor with Windows 10 Project to This PC

Windows 10 has an integrated Miracast feature that allows you to use your laptop as a second monitor. The Project to This PC function works using two Windows 10 computers and allows you to either Extend or Duplicate your primary display onto the secondary screen.

The result is a handy option to get a second monitor up and running, especially as it doesn’t require any third-party software.

How to Use Project to This PC with a Laptop Second Monitor

windows miracast project to pc options

On your laptop, head to Settings > System > Projecting to This PC. From here, you can select the projection settings for your setup, including which devices can connect, if new devices must request a connection, and whether pairing devices must enter a PIN before connecting.

If you’re only using your laptop as a second monitor at home, you can allow any device and leave the PIN blank.

Now, on your main PC (the one you want to project from), press Windows Key + P, then select how you want to project your screen. As you want to use the laptop as a second monitor for productivity, you should select Extend.

Select your laptop when the option to connect appears, and you’re good to go. Better still, you can use the Windows 10 Miracast feature to project your Windows 10 computer or laptop to your TV, too.

Use Your Laptop as a Second Monitor with spacedesk

If you find the Windows 10 Miracast option a little underwhelming, you can opt for a third-party option instead.

spacedesk is a free app that allows you to extend your desktop to a secondary display using your local area network, either via a wired or Wi-Fi connection. You load spacedesk on your main PC and the laptop you want to use a second monitor, connect the two, and begin boosting your productivity.

The major plus to spacedesk is that you can connect more than one additional screen to your main PC. If you want to use your second monitor laptop as well as connect a tablet as a third display, you can do that. The same goes for your smartphone, an additional laptop, and so on, connecting up to four simultaneous monitor displays.

How to Use spacedesk to Turn Your Laptop into a Second Monitor

First up, you need to download and install spacedesk on your primary PC:

Download: spacedesk for Windows 10

You can also find spacedesk download links for Windows 7 and 8.1 using the above link.

Next, you need to download and install spacedesk Windows viewer on your laptop:

Download: spacedesk Windows viewer for Windows 10

Scroll past the download links for the main spacedesk app to find the links for the spacedesk Windows viewer.

windows 10 spacedesk connection manager

Once the installation completes, open the spacedesk application on your primary system. The spacedesk app on the main PC acts as a server for incoming connections, allowing you to mirror or extend your desktop display to another system.

Now, head back to your laptop and open the spacedesk Windows viewer application. You should see a connection option for your main PC, which will turn your laptop into a second monitor.

Before opening the connection, change the connection settings using the Functionality menu. From here, you can ensure you can use the keyboard and mouse of the remote device, plus set the screen resolution of the connection.

The screen resolution should default to 1920×1080 but will also fall back to a lower resolution if you require it.

Create the spacedesk settings for your setup, then Connect to the Primary Machine by selecting the computer name from the list.

Use a Physical KVM Switch for Second Laptop Monitor Use

Now, if you do want to go down the physical KVM switch route, that’s fine. I have a KVM switch on my desk for when I need to plug in a Raspberry Pi or two, and a KVM switch can have other uses, too.

Here is a basic KVM switch you can use to upgrade that old laptop to a second monitor.

UGREEN USB 3.0 Switch Selector

UGREEN USB 3.0 Switch Selector UGREEN USB 3.0 Switch Selector Buy Now On Amazon $48.59

If you’re using a laptop as a second monitor, you don’t need to worry about the “V” aspect of the switch so much (the V stands for video, which your laptop monitor already has!). As such, you can use a USB sharing switch to divvy up your mouse and keyboard input.

The UGREEN USB 3.0 Switch Selector is a basic input/output box, taking USB connections from four devices and allowing you to switch the output between two separate computers. Plug one output into your main PC and the other into your laptop and you’re all set.

Can You Use a Laptop as an External Monitor?

You can use a laptop as an external monitor… of sorts. I know, I know. It isn’t like being able to drag-and-drop an active window into a second monitor. However, using a virtual KVM is easily one of the next best things.

You can make much more efficient and productive use of your laptop as a second monitor using one of these tools, despite the occasional problems with multi-monitor setups. So, why not give them a try?

Furthermore, here are steps to creating the perfect multi-monitor setup. If you’ve decided to go for a single ultrawide monitor instead of a second, external monitor, try these virtual monitor apps to make the best of your new setup.

Read the full article: How to Use Your Laptop Like an External Monitor

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Monitor Buying Guide: 8 Tips for Choosing the Right Monitor

Computer monitors are an oft-underestimated part of the computing experience. People who don’t flinch at spending $1,500+ on a laptop computer will often buy a monitor based exclusively on price.

That’s a shame; the monitor influences everything you do on your PC. It can make games more impressive, movies sharper, and documents clearer.

The plethora of products on the market can make finding the right one hard; what do you even need to look for in a monitor? Keep reading our monitor buying guide to find out.

1. Monitor Sizes

You can find anything from sub-20-inch monitors all the way up to 70 inches and beyond. Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. You just need to make sure you pick the monitor size that’s most appropriate for your needs.

Most visual experts agree that if you’re sitting at a desk and are a typical distance away from your screen, 32 inches offers the ideal distance-to-size ratio for your eyes. It has become the standard monitor size for most desktops.

Some people will need to go smaller due to size constraints, whereas others may need to buy something much larger for the extra screen real estate. As a general rule of thumb, you’ll never regret buying a monitor that’s too large; you will regret buying one that’s too small.

2. Monitor Resolution

Display resolution is often used as a selling point for a monitor. The higher, the better. A high resolution will result in a sharper image, but you need to know about some potential downsides as well.

One problem is the perceived size of text and icons. If you increase the resolution of a display without increasing its physical size, everything on that display will appear smaller. For many people, this is not an issue, but users with poor eyesight may have problems with a display that features a high resolution and a small display size.

There are options to increase the text size. Windows has built-in accessibility tools, and you can always use the zoom features of browsers and text editors. However, zooming can also cause formatting issues. If you are concerned about your eyesight, picking a monitor with a low native resolution is the easier solution.

Gaming also can conflict with a high display resolution. Modern monitors work best when displaying content at their native resolution, but if your graphics card isn’t powerful enough, you may have to turn a game’s resolution below the monitor’s native resolution. Doing so will usually result in a slightly blurred image—still playable, but far from ideal.

3. Monitor Purpose

Building on the first two points, you need to ensure you have a clear idea of what you will primarily use your monitor for before you hit the shops. It will affect which monitor specs you should prioritize while browsing.

For example, if you’re buying a new screen for gaming, you should aim to buy a model with speedy refresh rates and lower response times. Or if you’re someone who does a lot of work with Photoshop or video editing suites you’ll need to make sure the new monitor has high levels of color accuracy. General users might be happy with a regular high-contrast screen.

4. Monitor Specs

When you’re shopping for a new monitor, you’ll end up coming across a slew of terminology and specs that might not make a whole lot of sense.

Here are some of the important monitor specs that you need to consider:

  • Refresh rates: Refers to the number of times a monitor updates its screen every second. Don’t consider less than 75Hz. Gamers need at least 140Hz.
  • Response time: The amount of time it takes for a monitor to change a single pixel from black to white. Top-end monitors can have rates of as little as 0.5Hz.
  • Aspect Ratio: The most commonly seen ratio in the shops is 16:9. Laptops are seeing more 3:2 displays, while 16:10 is also popular among desktop users.
  • Curvature: A monitor with 1500R has a radius of 150cm and a suggested viewing distance of 1.5 meters. The lower the number, the greater the curvature.
  • Brightness: We’re not going to get into the details of how brightness is measured. Suffice to say, you should not buy a monitor with less than 250 cd/m2.
  • Viewing Angle: Measured in degrees, it tells you how far from the center of the screen you can move before the image becomes unviewable. Aim for a minimum of 170 degrees.

5. TN vs. IPS vs. VA Panels

You also need to consider the various panel technologies; manufacturers use the different techniques used to build distinct types of computer monitors.

Initially, the most common type of panel was TN (Twisted Nematic). In recent times, TN panels have been superseded by IPS (In-Plane Switching) screens.

IPS monitors are popular because of their ability to display accurate colors and their wide viewing angles, both of which are lacking in TN screens. The tradeoff is that IPS panels typically have slower response times and lower refresh rates. Indeed, some of the best TN panels are better than the worst IPS panels.

VA panels offer a compromise between the TN and IPS screens. They have better color and viewing angles than TN screens, but worse refresh rates than IPS panels.

Of the three types, IPS panels are the most expensive variant.

5. Ports

No self-respecting monitor will ship without an HDMI port. But you need to consider what other tech you own and what ports it needs.

VGA and DVI connections are still knocking around on some legacy devices, while other standards like DisplayPort and USB-C are also becoming more common.

6. Don’t Buy Online

It’s a basic lesson that applies to not only monitors but also TVs, laptops, tablets, and virtually any other device with a display. Glossy images and fancy online marketing are not sufficient to truly gauge a monitor’s picture quality. You need to get down to the nearest Best Buy and see it with your own eyes.

Even then, it’s not always easy. Stores are unusual places, with lighting that is much brighter than a standard home environment and plenty of distractions. For a more definitive word, check out trusted review sites, and even user reviews.

7. More Money, More Quality

There is more to a display than the panel. For example, cheap monitors often come with inexpensive plastic stands that wobble and don’t offer ergonomic adjustments. Expensive monitors usually come with tilt, pivot, and high adjustments as standard.

Warranty is important, too. Many cheap monitors come with a one-year warranty, while more expensive models often offer a three-year or five-year warranty. Any added protection beyond the standard one-year warranty adds value to a monitor that you’re considering.

(Note: To learn more about using your monitor in an ergonomic way, have a look at our list of the best computer chairs.)

8. Buy for the Long-Term

A good monitor built five years ago is still a decent monitor today. And monitors are typically fairly reliable pieces of tech.

Ergo, you should buy a monitor under the assumption that you will be keeping it for some time. Cheap monitors are appealing, but they also lack input options and have so-so image quality. When spending your money, consider the value that you are receiving for your dollar. Do you really want to be staring at a sub-par display for a decade?

Learn More About How to Pick a Monitor

Picking the right monitor for your needs is not an exact science. You need to weigh up the pros and cons of the various specs, technologies, and price points before you make your choice.

If you would like to learn more about how to pick a monitor, check out our lists of the best curved monitors and the best cheap gaming monitors.

Read the full article: Monitor Buying Guide: 8 Tips for Choosing the Right Monitor

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The Quickest Ways to Turn Your Screen Off in Windows

Do you know how long it takes until Windows automatically turns off your screen?

Unfortunately, Windows 10 does not offer a convenient keyboard shortcut to switch off the display. But we’ll show you the easiest ways to control your screen and turn it off when you want. Not only will this save you energy, but you’ll also prevent screen burn-in and long term damage.

Windows 10 Power Management Settings

Windows 10 offers multiple power management settings. Let’s see how you can use these to control your screen on and off time.

How to Make the Screen Turn Off Automatically in Windows 10

To control how fast your displays turns off, head to Start > Settings > System > Power & sleep and customize the times under Screen. On battery power, we recommend letting your screen turn off after 5 minutes or less. When plugged in, you can let it stay on for a little longer, but 10 or 15 minutes should be your max.

Windows 10 power & sleep settings that control how quickly the screen turns off on battery power or when plugged in

Note that this setting won’t impact games or video-based media since those should keep your display always on. This means you can continue to watch a movie or a show without the screen turning off on you, even when the screen off times are set to merely minutes.

How to Turn the Screen Off Using the Power Button

Now, letting Windows turn your screen off automatically when it’s been inactive for a few minutes is great. But you can save even more battery power if you turn your screen off manually. While your PC monitor has an off switch, your laptop might not have a button to turn off its screen or backlight. So if you’re using a laptop, we’ll show you how to repurpose the power button to turn off the display.

On the Power & sleep settings window described above, find Related settings and click Additional power settings. This will open the old Windows Control Panel.

Alternatively, press Windows key + Q, search for Control Panel, open the respective result, and manually navigate to Power Options. In the left-hand pane, click Choose what the power button does.

Control Panel windows to choose or customize a power plan

In the next window, under When I press the power button, you can make it tun off the display while on battery or plugged in. Click Save changes to lock in your preferences.

Control Panel window that lets you set the power button to turn off the display

Now all you have to do to turn off your laptop’s screen is to press the power button. Not that you can still shut down your computer forcefully (in case it’s locked up) by holding the power button for a few seconds.

Do You Not See the “Turn Off the Display” Option?

You probably have a computer with Modern Standby. To find out, press CTRL+R, type cmd, and click OK to open the command prompt. Type powercfg -a into the prompt and hit Enter. If you see the option Standby (S0 Low Power Idle), you have a Modern Standby machine. You might also see that other standby options are not available.

Windows 10 Command Prompt listing available Standby options

How to Add “Turn Off Display” on a Modern Standby Windows 10 PC

Turning off the display using the power button is such a convenient solution. Fortunately, there’s a way to add it back. But we’ll have to head into the registry to do this. Please follow these instructions carefully as you won’t want to break anything critical.

Press Windows+R to launch the Run menu, enter regedit, and click OK to open the Windows Registry Editor.

Within the registry, head to the following location:

ComputerHKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMControlSet001ControlPower

Once there, find the entry CsEnabled, change its value from 1 to 0, and click OK to save your changes.

Edit DWORD value of CsEnabled in Windows Registry

Now exit the registry editor, reboot Windows, and return to the system settings outlined above to find the “Turn off display option” back where it belongs.

The Best Tools to Turn Off Your Screen in Windows

Maybe you don’t want to manually turn off your PC monitor. Or maybe you don’t want to change your power button’s default settings. Well, just use a third party Windows tool to turn off your display. Below are the three best ones.

Turn Off Monitor

Turn Off Monitor is a small executable utility that just does one job: turning your display off. You don’t have to install it. Just download the file, unpack the ZIP archive, store the utility on your desktop, and double-click whenever needed. You can assign a keyboard shortcut to run the utility, which I’ll explain below.

If you see a security warning, you can bypass it by removing the checkmark next to Always ask before opening this file.

Open File - Security Warning window

Note that in Windows 10, when you used this utility and are ready to resume work, the screen will wake to the lock screen. If you’d rather not type in your login credentials every time you turn off the screen, you could disable the lock screen. However, that means anyone will be able to access your desktop while you’re not around.

The download for Turn Off Monitor is provided by Softpedia, one of the safer sites for free software downloads. A similar tool that works exactly like Turn Off Monitor is Display Power Off (via Sourceforge).

Turn Off Screen

Someone at Microsoft must have noticed how nice it is to have a shortcut to turn off the screen because they wrote a script for it. Fortunately, they also made that script available through TechNet, from where you can download the batch script file for free.

Save the BAT file to your desktop and double-click to run it. You can even change the icon and assign a shortcut, which you can find instructions to below.

NirCmd

NirCmd is a command-line utility, which can complete a range of tasks, including turning your monitor off. You can run NirCmd without installation. However, if you want to use it regularly, it’s more convenient to install it and thus not having to type the full path every time you want to run a command.

To install NirCmd in Windows 10, unpack the ZIP archive, right-click nircmd.exe, and select Run as administrator. Next, click the Copy To Windows Directory button.

NirCmd, copy file to windows directory

Confirm with Yes in the following window. Once the operation is completed, click OK in the previous window.

NirCmd, install command line utility

Now that you installed NirCmd, you can use it to turn off your monitor and complete other tasks. Admittedly, opening the command line and typing a command every time you want to turn off your screen is probably the most inconvenient solution of all. However, you only have to do it once in order to create a shortcut, which you can then assign a hotkey to.

Click Windows key + R to open the Run utility, then type cmd and click OK.

In the command line, type the following command:

nircmd.exe cmdshortcutkey "c:temp" "Turn Monitor Off" monitor off

Hit Enter to run the command.

If you did not copy nircmd.exe to the Windows Directory, spell out the full path. Instead of “c:temp” you can choose any other location for the shortcut file. “Turn Monitor Off” will be the name of the shortcut file, but you can choose a different name.

How to Assign a Hotkey to Run Any Tool

This works for any executable, including the tools above. First, right-click the EXE file and select Create shortcut. Note that you have already created a shortcut for NirCmd if you followed the steps above.

Next, right-click the shortcut file and select Properties. Place the mouse in the Shortcut key: field, which should say “None”, and click your keyboard shortcut, for example, Ctrl+Alt+J. Click OK to confirm.

create a hotkey in Windows 10

Finally, test your shortcut key and enjoy!

Your Monitor Under Control

We showed you how to control your computer display, from customizing power settings to using third-party utilities to turn the screen off.

Ready to customize Windows 10 a little more?

Read the full article: The Quickest Ways to Turn Your Screen Off in Windows

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What’s the Difference Between 4K and Ultra HD (UHD)?

If you’re in the market for a new TV, you’re probably thinking about getting a 4K or Ultra HD model. Is there a difference, and what exactly should you be looking for when you buy? Here’s what you need to know before diving in.

What Do the “Ultra HD” and “4K” Labels Mean?

Let’s start by defining “HD.” High Definition Television (HDTV) is the standard that’s been in use for over a decade, and you’ll find it difficult to buy a TV that isn’t at least “HD Ready,” which means capable of displaying at a resolution of 1280×720 (720p).

Most modern TVs are at least “Full HD,” which means capable of displaying at a resolution of 1920×1080 (1080p).

The “p” stands for “progressive,” meaning that the entire image is drawn each frame. The alternative is “i” for “interlaced” (as in 1080i, another HDTV standard), meaning odd and even lines are displayed in alternate frames. This results in a lower quality picture.

Along those lines, the term 4K refers to any display format with a horizontal resolution of approximately 4,000 pixels. This is slightly confusing as TV resolutions, at least up until this point, have generally been referred to by the number of vertical pixels. TVs with this many pixels are “Ultra HD,” or UHD for short.

Comparison of TV resolutions
Image Credit: Patryk Kosmider/Shutterstock

This switch isn’t entirely arbitrary. Unlike TVs, digital movie theater standards have traditionally emphasized horizontal resolution. The Digital Cinema Initiatives (DCI) standard is the most common for digital production and mandates a resolution of 4096×2160.

4K vs. UHD vs. 2160p

UHD-1 is the closest TV display standard to the DCI standard and refers to a resolution of 3840×2160. This resolution is four times the pixel count of Full HD. Most modern TV displays are UHD-1 as the wider aspect ratio of DCI 4K is not suitable for most TV content. However, they are both almost universally referred to as 4K.

UHD-1 is often referred to as 4K UHD or just 4K. Some people occasionally refer to UHD-1 as 2160p. When you see any of these terms, they typically mean the same thing. When it comes to TVs, there is no difference between 4K and UHD.

Note: There is also Full Ultra HD, sometimes called 8K, which refers to a resolution of 7620×4320. This is quadruple the pixels of 4K and sixteen times larger than Full HD. But 8K is still in a relatively infantile stage. For the most part, when you see the Ultra HD label on a Blu-Ray movie or elsewhere, you can take it to be referring to 4K.

Can You Notice the Difference Between HD and UHD?

Comparison btween HD and UHD
Image Credit: scyther5/Shutterstock

While the content situation has improved, most people probably won’t notice the higher resolution even when watching native 4K content.

If you’re sitting less than six feet away from a 55-inch TV and you have perfect vision, you might notice a difference. At greater distances, smaller screen sizes, or less clear eyesight, you probably won’t. In most circumstances, the difference is marginal and may not be worth the cost of upgrading.

Yet there may be other valid reasons to make the upgrade. The higher resolution may not benefit you much, but there are other features of UHD TVs that may persuade you. Not all UHD TVs have them, however, so it’s important to tread carefully.

Ultra HD Premium

The new Ultra HD Premium standard specifies increased color depth (over a billion colors) and a higher dynamic range so the quality of the picture should be noticeable compared to prior standards.

The Ultra HD Premium logo is a guarantee that the device meets the standards and is able to display UHD content as it’s meant to be seen. Manufacturers like LG, Panasonic, and Samsung have embraced the Ultra HD Premium standard. So have content providers like Netflix, Warner Bros, and 20th Century Fox.

home-entertainment-2016-ultra-hd-premium

Sony doesn’t use the logo even though it was part of the UHD Alliance that developed it, but many of its TVs meet or exceed the required specifications.

Do You Need a 4K or Ultra HD TV?

4K content can stream to a 1080p TV. Ultra HD Blu-Ray disks play on older televisions. The latest generation of video game consoles will work as well. If you already have a TV, you can continue to use that TV and still view whatever you want.

Ask yourself if 1080p looks insufficient. If you think HD content still looks beautiful, you may do well to save your money. Most content is still made with 1080p displays in mind. And you won’t be doing yourself any favors buying a 4K TV if you primarily watch DVDs, which max out at 480p.

But there are reasons to want an UHD TV. If you have a home theater room where you’re seated further back from the screen, or you’re in the market for a new TV regardless, it makes sense to go for 4K. If you enjoy playing games at their maximum resolution, that will soon mean getting a 4K TV.

A Few Other Points to Consider

If you do take the plunge and treat yourself to a new UHD TV, you may need to make some other upgrades to get the most out of it. Your existing devices, cables, and services will all still work but they may not allow you to view UHD-quality pictures.

While HD content that’s been upscaled to UHD will look fine, the visual quality is not on part with content natively produced in UHD.

That means to experience 4K you will have to do more than get a new TV. Here are other changes you may need to make:

  • You will need fast reliable broadband. 4K content requires more bandwidth than HD.
  • You may need to change your cable or satellite subscription plan to get access to UHD content. It will probably cost more.
  • Your old Blu-Ray player will also need replacing. UHD Blu-Ray players will upscale existing 1080p Blu-Rays as well as play the higher resolution (and more expensive) UHD discs.
  • You may want a new HDMI cable. While HDMI 1.4 is capable of displaying UHD resolutions, HDMI 2.0 is needed to display them at 60 frames per second.

Streaming platforms like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Disney+ all have growing catalogs of UHD content. To take advantage of this, you’ll need a streaming device that can handle UHD (unless your TV comes with these services built-in).

Here is our head-to-head comparison of four of the best 4K streaming devices on the market.

Read the full article: What’s the Difference Between 4K and Ultra HD (UHD)?

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The 7 Best Curved Monitors

Choosing between a flat and curved monitor is one of the biggest choices you’ll have to make when buying a new monitor. The most popular brands in tech are releasing more and more curved monitors, making your decision even more difficult. Once you see the smooth curved edges on these monitors, it’s hard to resist buying one for yourself.

Whether you’re looking for a curved monitor for your gaming setup or for your office, we’ve put together a list of curved monitors for all uses. We’ll give you a brief rundown on why you should buy a curved monitor, and then introduce you to the best curved monitors on the market.

Why Buy a Curved Monitor?

Curved monitors aren’t just a trendy gaming fad—they actually serve a purpose other than looking cool. Having a curved monitor can actually reduce eye strain, as it has less distortion than flatscreens. They also give you a more natural field of view, which makes staring at a screen much more tolerable for your eyes.

Curved displays also provide an improved and immersive viewing experience when compared to flatscreens. You’ll get a wider field of vision, along with a picture that has more depth. This makes playing games more realistic. Even if you’re not a gamer, you’ll find that curved monitors are easier on your eyes and feel more natural to use.

1. Best Curved Monitor for Everyday Use:
Samsung LC24F396FHNXZA

Samsung LC24F396FHNXZA Samsung LC24F396FHNXZA Buy Now On Amazon $129.99

Need a new monitor for your workstation? The Samsung’s 23-Inch FHD Curved Monitor offers a super slim design that will look sleek on your desk—it has a thickness of less than half of an inch! Looks aside, this Samsung curved monitor also comes with plenty of features for a reasonable price.

The Eco-Saving Plus feature conveniently lowers the screen’s brightness to conserve power. Although this monitor isn’t specifically for gaming, it has Game Mode to enhance your gaming experience. Games are still playable on this monitor—a 4ms response rate and FreeSync compatibility let you switch between work and play.

2. Best Cheap Curved Monitor:
Sceptre C248W-1920RN

Sceptre C248W-1920RN Sceptre C248W-1920RN Buy Now On Amazon $104.97

If you’re a gamer on a budget, or just need a cheap monitor for professional use, you can’t go wrong with the Sceptre 24-inch Curved LED Monitor. For just a little over $100, you can get a curved monitor with a 75Hz refresh rate, a thin bezel, and 1080p resolution.

The 8ms response rate is a bit slow for gaming, but this isn’t surprising for such an affordable monitor. For added convenience, it also comes with HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort inputs so you can plug-and-play.

3. Best Curved G-Sync Monitor for Gaming:
Alienware AW3418DW

Alienware AW3418DW Alienware AW3418DW Buy Now On Amazon $699.00

When you’re serious about gaming, you’ll want a monitor that can respond as fast as your reflexes. The Alienware 1900R 34.1-Inch Curved Gaming Monitor does just that. The 34-inch display has a speedy 120Hz overclocked refresh rate, a 3440 x 1440 WQHD resolution, as well as a 4ms response time—all those specs make it worth the splurge.

This monitor lets you adjust the display for the type of game you’re playing. It includes three preset settings for RPG, RTS, and FPS games, and even lets you input three custom modes. Plus, it comes with Nvidia’s G-Sync technology.

4. Best Curved FreeSync Monitor for Gaming:
ASUS TUF Gaming VG32VQ

ASUS TUF Gaming VG32VQ ASUS TUF Gaming VG32VQ Buy Now On Amazon $414.99

For a gaming PC with an AMD graphics card, you’ll want a monitor with FreeSync. The best FreeSync option is the ASUS TUF Gaming 32-Inch Curved Gaming Monitor. It offers a 144Hz refresh rate, as well as a 1ms response time.

Not to mention that it brings Extreme Low Motion Blur Sync and Shadow Boost to the table—these two features create crisp and clear gameplay. The built-in ASUS eye care allows for long gaming sessions without fatigue.

5. Best 4K Curved Monitor:
MSI OPTIX MAG321CURV

MSI OPTIX MAG321CURV MSI OPTIX MAG321CURV Buy Now On Amazon $359.99

The HDR-ready MSI OPTIX 32-Inch Non-Glare 4K Curved Gaming Monitor will give you impressive picture quality. With a refresh rate of 60Hz, and a 4ms response time, you can definitely use this monitor for 4K gaming. Just keep in mind that this is a FreeSync monitor with limited G-Sync compatibility.

The monitor features a DisplayPort, HDMI input, as well as USB Type-C inputs. Given that, the MSI OPTIX is a solid addition to the growing list of the best curved 4K gaming monitors.

6. Best 27-Inch Curved Monitor:
AOC CQ27G1

AOC CQ27G AOC CQ27G Buy Now On Amazon $249.99

A 27-inch monitor is the perfect size—it’s not too big, and it’s not too small either. The AOC 27-Inch Curved Frameless Gaming Monitor gives you a fantastic QHD 2K resolution, as well as a quick 1ms response rate. This monitor even has a 144Hz refresh rate and FreeSync compatibility.

This AOC monitor is called frameless for a reason. It has an ultra-slim bezel that promotes more immersive gaming sessions. While this isn’t the cheapest monitor out there, it’s worth the extra cash if you’re looking for reliable performance and immersive gameplay.

7. Best Large Curved Monitor:
LG 38GL950G-B

LG 38GL950G-B LG 38GL950G-B Buy Now On Amazon $1,896.99

The LG 38-Inch UltraGear Nano Curved Monitor is expensive, but the high price tag is definitely justified. For one, the huge 38-inch width coupled with a QHD+ 3840 x 1600 resolution will make you feel like you’re actually inside of your game. You can also expect smooth game performance with a 144Hz refresh rate and 1ms response time that will only amplify your gaming experience.

Even the look of this monitor won’t disappoint. It comes outfitted with eye-catching circular RGB lighting on the back. If you’re worried about having such a large screen sitting on your desk, remember that you can easily adjust this monitor’s height and angle.

Will You Upgrade to a Curved Monitor?

Curved monitors are the future—you just can’t beat the immersive qualities and comfort the come along with one. Although some might think that curved monitors are a short-lived fad, it seems that they’re here to stay. When you consider some of the best curved monitors on this list, you won’t be disappointed.

As you probably know already, monitors can be very expensive. For budget-friendly monitors, check out this list of the best cheap gaming monitors.

Read the full article: The 7 Best Curved Monitors