Plus, the virtual reality rollercoaster designed to be experienced while riding a real-life rollercoaster.
By Jason Imms on May 16, 2014 at 11:10 am
Welcome to the Friday Tech Roundup! Contained herein is your weekly dose of some of the best tech news from across the Internet, rounded up for your edification and entertainment. Read on for all the details of adaptive refresh mechanisms coming to monitors near you, Microsoft’s further responses to Xbox One customer feedback, and Telstra’s 4G in-flight coverage trials.
DisplayPort 1.2a specification, now with added Adaptive-Sync
We recently reported on the fact that the VESA display standards organisation recently announced that a new feature called Adaptive-Sync has been added to the DisplayPort 1.2a specification. This means that an impressive G-Sync-like adaptive refresh mechanism could be built into nearly every desktop monitor in the not-too-distant future, removing the exclusivity that NVIDIA must have been hoping to enjoy. Let’s take a closer look at the tech behind adaptive refresh, and its predecessor V-Sync.
Much like G-Sync, Adaptive-Sync provides the ability for the display to synchronise its refresh rate with the frame output of the GPU. Currently the only option available to gamers for smoothing their display output is the V-Sync toggle. With V-Sync turned off, the maximum framerate is greatly improved, but the image output is subject to tearing. Tearing occurs when the GPU pushes new images to the display faster than its fixed refresh-rate, resulting in two inter-mixed images split horizontally at the point that the monitor is at in its refresh cycle.
Image credit: The Tech Report
With V-Sync turned on, tearing is eliminated by having the display hold back images from the GPU until they are fully rendered and ready for display. This usually makes for a vastly smoother result, but in slower machines can result in significant dips in framerate if images aren’t rendered in time for the next display refresh cycle.
These two options have sufficed for years, and are a product of the fact that display technology and GPU technology have had inherently different priorities constraining image output rates. With the proliferation of adaptive refresh displays and competitive compatible video cards, we should finally see an end to this issue, resulting in super-smooth visuals from sufficiently powerful PCs.
Microsoft announces new Kinect-less SKU for Xbox One, and changes to Xbox Live
In a move that leaves us questioning what Microsoft could possibly have left to announce at E3, the company announced on Tuesday that it would be making a new Kinect-less Xbox One SKU available for AUD $499 from June 9. On top of this news Microsoft also announced that its Games with Gold program would be expanding to PlayStation Plus proportions. From June onwards, Games with Gold will become bound to your Xbox Live subscription, and like PS+ all games acquired through the program will become unavailable should you cancel your subscription.
The first round of games to be available via the service on Xbox 360 are Dark Souls, Charlie Murder, and Super Street Fighter IV: Arcade Edition, while Xbox One owners will get Max: The Curse of Brotherhood, and Halo: Spartan Assault. Finally, users will no longer be required to have an Xbox Live account in order to use a number of popular applications, such as Machinima, Twitch, Upload, Netflix, Internet Explorer, Skype, OneDrive, OneGuide, and more.
Telstra testing in-flight 4G coverage for Australia
In a bid to provide affordable Internet access to Australian air-travel customers, Telstra has been trialling a new method of broadcasting its 4G network that should allow for a stable and fast connection, even at 500 knots and 35,000ft. Thus far, trials for Telstra’s Skinet [sic] service have been conducted for flights on board a propeller aircraft, and a Cesna Citation Mustang private jet between Melbourne and Sydney. The tests proved that stable download speeds of up to 15 megabits per second were possible at speed and altitude, though it remains to be seen whether similar results can be achieved on a densely packed airliner.
Road to VR merges real-world thrill-seeking with virtual reality
Two Englishmen have developed a rollercoaster demo for Oculus Rift, which stands out from its similar brethren by being designed to be experienced while simultaneously riding the actual, physical rollercoaster. The developers used a publically-available 3D model of an undisclosed UK theme park’s rollercoaster to produce the Oculus Rift side of the experience in Unity. They then smuggled a laptop and the VR headset onto the physical rollercoaster and synced the virtual ride with the real-life one. The concept of experiencing a VR rollercoaster while riding an actual rollercoaster might seem redundant, but the idea is for future versions of the application to augment the physical experience by providing visual experiences and feedback that would be impossible in the real world. Think about crumbling tracks and hill-climbs replaced with a tow from a friendly passing griffon, or something.