CES ’14 Roundup: Are Gamers Getting Steamed for 4K?

To sum up what last week’s Consumer Electronics Show was all about, plenty of 4K televisions and Steam machines will be entering into the market. That will be great for video enthusiasts wanting a bit of extra oomph from their Blu-ray movies and video gamers will wonder what’s next to enjoy. With multiple hardware manufacturers clambering on board to develop boxes that will run SteamOS, the console gaming war is going to get a lot more interesting.

When the PS4 and Xbox One has been reported by the Business Insider to not support this latest generation of televisions natively, maybe PCs and Valve’s product will pick up “Steam.” Some service is going to be needed if Sony and Microsoft’s products are going to stay ahead of the game. PCs have always been easier to upgrade whereas enclosed systems are not. With SteamOS, the reliance on making the games delivered through this digital delivery system will be with the drivers and hardware manufacturers. Users can install any graphic card they want in their computer boxes and make the games shine like it was freshly pressed from the laundromat.

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Two such cards videophiles can lust for are AMD’s Radeon R9 290X and NVIDIA’s GeForce GTX 780. Computer monitors supporting 4K will soon be coming and the initial prices will be steep. Dell and Sharp has the 24 Ultra HD Monitor and PN-K321 4K LED-Backlit display. With a starting price tag that hovers around $3K, not everyone will be ready to jump into the new display bandwagon. Graphic designers, CAD/CAM Enginners and video engineers may since these units will be tuned to a higher colour spectrum and crisp resolution is a must. Identifying a muddy black or a satin black on an object can be important. Accurate colour representation is important in print design.

The majority of the games that are now available will not give players time to admire the pretty scenery. But for a true-to-life experience, console devices will need to be able to transition to the latest display technologies fast and furious. Not many games really need the realism, but in an age where the visual eye-candy tends to help sell the product more, the game developers might want to change their tune in terms of what needs attention on a video screen.

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The main problem is the graphics cards of today are designed to pump out the images in a maximum resolution of 1080p. That is, they are capable of pushing a pixel count of 1920×1080 pixels. Interlacing (1080i) blends two smaller sized pictures of 540 pixels to form a detailed picture. This interpolation is how older displays, namely Cathode Ray Tube displays, work to make their pictures.

In an age where CRTs are practically gone, just what players want will drive the next generation of games. When games rarely lets players sit idly by to admire the beautiful scenery in photo-realistic moments, the point is moot. The beauty with open box systems is that it can be upgraded to the latest technologies without any fuss. The Ps4 and Xbox One are already looking like yesterday’s news thanks to the product line announcements thanks to CES ’14.

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About Ed Sum

I'm a freelance videographer and entertainment journalist (Absolute Underground Magazine, Two Hungry Blokes, Vivascene and Otaku no Culture) with a wide range of interests. From archaeology, popular culture, video games, movies, technology and paranormal studies, there's no stone unturned. Digging for the past and embracing "The Future" is my mantra.

Posted on January 16, 2014, in Event Coverage, Opinions And Editorials and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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