Multi-Standard Wireless Charging, the Wave of the Future? Maybe. Maybe not.

Wireless Charging was supposed to be the next big thing- and for the last few years it’s been on the brink of reaching mass appeal. It sounds like an amazing idea. We all have smartphones, and most of us have the same problem. We are on them constantly, and they lose charge quickly. Mine always dies at the most inopportune time, like when I’m waiting for a text or phone call, or when I’m using my GPS. If there is not a cable around, we are basically out of luck. That’s why this new technology sounds so attractive. But it hasn’t quite caught on that way yet, despite the fact that the technology has been around since about 2009.

For the last few months there have been rumors that these are supposed to be popping up at large-chain coffee shops, and other big retailers. That sounded great. We were getting excited to be able to walk into Starbucks, get some coffee and plop our phone down to catch a quick charge. It hasn’t happened yet though.

Inductive charging technology (global standard) was created by the “Wireless Power Consortium,” which is a group of manufacturers from America, Europe and Asia that worked together to come up with this global charging standard. Some of the industry’s heaviest hitters were involved in the creation of this new technology. Sony, Toshiba, Verizon, Motorola and Hitachi-LG are all on board in the Wireless Power Consortium, along with around 130 other companies. Even with all these powerhouses behind it, wireless charging has been slow to catch on with the masses.

My guess is that part of the issue might be that only a handful of phones come with the wireless “receiving chip” inside them. To date, Nokia, HTC, Sharp and a small handful of others are the only companies to start implementing these chips directly into some of their phones. Otherwise you need to put a receiving case on the phone to allow it to charge on a wireless pad. Currently, the charging cases that have come out are pretty plain; most of the ones that I have seen come in standard black. Some people prefer their cases in different colors, or decorated with different designs. Then there are some folks who prefer no case at all. In order for case-less charging to be possible, Apple would have to get on board with their iPhone and Samsung with their Android etc., and they too would have to implement wireless cards directly into their phone.

A company called Broadcom might have a promising solution as well. They gathered the Alliance for Wireless Power A4WP, Power Matters Alliance (PMA) and the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) together to create a multi-standard charging chip. This chip is rumored to be inexpensive to make, which could make wireless charging more attractive to a lot of people. Broadcom says they are in the stages of a release date.  We are still waiting patiently.

Those Curvy 4K’s

There’s a new revolution happening in the television industry, and you may have not heard about it just yet. The audio/video industry came out with some news this year regarding high definition TV when it introduced 4K Ultra High Definition. 4K is the highest resolution available for televisions currently.

 Until recently 1080p ruled the A/V world. This was the standard for the last few years, succeeding the high definition but lower resolution 720p. Now with the introduction of 4K, the resolution bar has been raised. 4K resolution uses four times the amount of pixels that are used in 1080p. The way 4K differentiates itself is that it does not use a backlight; and refers to the horizontal resolution whereas the 1080p refers to the vertical resolution. The amount of pixels used also increases the physical size of the television as well, most TV’s being manufactured are over 50 inches. Some manufacturers are also starting to implement 4K into monitors as well.

The new term “OLED” is also being thrown around, but what does it mean? OLED is the next big thing on the market regarding displays; not to be confused with regular LCD’s. OLED is known in the industry as “Ultra HD.” This new technology is ultra lightweight, and thinner than current LCD’s. OLED stands for “organic light-emitting diode” and refers to the way that this grid will transmit light. The name stems from the organic materials that it uses in its design. OLED has a faster refresh rate than any LCD currently on the market. There have been a few reports of color balance issues, but these kinks will most likely be worked out as the technology improves.

OLED also brings another design option to the table. Curved TV’s are slated to be the next big thing in the TV world. Curved screens were considered a thing of the past and flat screens became the industry standard back in the early 2000’s. Fourteen years later, that decision is being reevaluated. The difference in design being that the old screens curved outward and the new technology features the screen curving slightly inward. This is to give the viewer an experience of being surrounded by the TV. The curved screen will also look brighter and will bring a better view to side-sitters who are not sitting front and center.

Like most technology when it first gets introduced, it is so new that it hasn’t totally caught on in the mass market. This is partially due to the bloated costs of these giant new TV’s and monitors. This is typical of new technology; slowly there are affordable versions that are being made available to the public.




Rear Projection TV and a PS3

Rear projection TV’s are quickly becoming a thing of the past, but they are still in existence and can still be useful today. Today’s question revolves around hooking up a gaming console to an older TV. How is this done?

Q: “I am trying to connect my PS3 to an older rear projection TV. The TV has a spot for an HD input, the inputs are for the R/G/B Hsync and Vsync, then the red and white audio. The problem is that the component cable for the PS3 only has the R/G/B and audio. I tried hooking it up and I just get a scrolling image that is really distorted that just kind of goes up and down the screen like an old VCR with bad tracking. This was the only component cable I could find for the PS3, unfortunately the TV does not have HDMI inputs so this is my only option for hooking it up. Please help or tell me what I need to do. It also has the standard yellow red white, S-video connection too. And then something that looks similar to an Ethernet port but I know that isn’t what it is.”

 A: RGBHV is a 5 RCA video connection that has the same signal as a VGA computer connection. You cannot connect a video game system’s component video (red/green/blue) into that. If the TV had a DVI input that would work.

So it sounds like your best option is a composite video cable made specifically for the PS3. These consoles usually come with the cable included; if you misplaced it they are super affordable.


The Desktop Monitor Game

Today’s question deals with how to turn a regular desktop monitor into a gaming monitor.


“So I wanted to use my Vizio smart TV as my gaming desktop monitor. Now my smart TV doesn’t have a VGA port or anything to do with VGA so I took an HDMI cable and plugged it in my PC then plugged the other end into my tv then I plugged the TVs power cable into the power strip I have then into the TV. So I turned my TV on and checked both HDMI 1 and HDMI 2 and it says (no signal) please help don’t get all techy-tech on me because I’m not the best with tech.”

Our first suggestion is to turn the computer off and restart it. Then we would ask if the PC is connected to a standard monitor? The PC should be off when you are plugging everything in.

Once your computer is shut down, restart it with your TV set to the correct input (Whatever HDMI input you plugged the HDMI cable into should be labeled as input 1 or 2). If the PC doesn’t automatically detect the TV as your monitor, you’ll need to connect a standard computer monitor to play with the resolution settings.

In these situations, the number one troubleshooting step is to restart your system. This will usually fix any glitches that are occurring.






Card Readers

Today‘s question deals with transferring data from a camera to a PC through a micro SD card reader.

“I’m looking for an adapter to download pictures from a micro SD camera
to a computer with a USB port.”

This solution is easy.

Most Micro SD card readers manufactured today are small enough to
fit on a keychain; most are only a few inches tall and super
lightweight. They come in all types of colors and are simple to use.
Micro SD card readers are plug-n-play right out of the box.
These readers will not only allow you to transfer photos to your PC,
but also music and other documents. Card readers are cheap too;
they usually sell for a couple of bucks. Just pop your Micro SD card
into the reader, plug it into your computer’s USB port, and let the
card reader do the work for you.

Past 1080p and Beyond

Today’s question is regarding the newest TV resolution on the market: 4K

 “Do I need a new receiver for the 4K TV I ordered? I ordered a 4K TV and I know that 4K Ultra HD can run through HDMI cables but I just to make sure, that i don’t need a new receiver. I have a Denon AVR-E300.”

 Here are the specs for your receiver on Denon’s website. It lists 1080P as the max resolution. So it can send 1080P to your TV. Your TV would then be responsible for up converting that to the 4K resolution.

I am not seeing any mention of 4K anywhere on the Denon website. 1080P is the highest resolution listed. This is most likely because the receiver was listed before 4K made its debut. As for hooking everything up by HDMI, please keep in mind that all of our HDMI cables support the new 4K resolution.

~Cable Markings~

CM, CMR and CMP are all markings that can be found on different cables, but what are the differences between them all? We sorted them out and came up with a list of some of the more confusing codes.

 PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride) is a standard jacket used to cover cables. CM, CMG and CMx Rated cables are typically jacketed in PVC. These are all considered “general purpose” cables, and are designed to partially self-extinguish when burned. These are meant to be used in home and workstation environments, and are one of the most common cable types used. These can be dangerous if they happen to catch fire. When exposed to fire, these cable jackets can form HC1 fumes, which are highly flammable and pose a health hazard.

It is because of this that PVC cables are not a safe choice for industrial buildings. Instead there are much safer options, which are specifically designed for use in larger structures.

The space between the structural floor and the ceiling is typically considered the “plenum” area of a building; this can also be found under a raised floor. This area of a structure is used for air circulation throughout the entire building through vents and shafts; so in the event of a fire it is crucial that the cables running through this space do not emit toxic fumes.

There are cables that are made specifically for these areas.

CMP Rated: This is a traditional “plenum cable” that is designed to extinguish when exposed to fire, and are put through numerous fire safety tests in accordance with the National Fire Protection Association. These cables are encased in a flame-retardant jacket that is designed to release low amounts of smoke compared to regular PVC cables.

CMR Rated: This type of cable was meant to be run between floors and in elevator shafts. This is known as “riser rated cable.” These cables self-extinguish when burned vertically and are flame retardant.








DVI Monitors Vs Duplicate Images

Today’s question is in regards to splitting DVI monitors up:

   “I recently purchased two Mini DisplayPort to DVI Converter, but is there away to split the two DVI monitors up instead of having duplicate images?”

 The answer is:

You can’t get two different pictures with the same video card. In order to have separate images on each monitor, you would need to install a second video card in the system. Each monitor needs its own source to give you extended desktop. You can add an external HDMI Video Card along with an HDMI to DVI cable. This would be the easiest solution.

Keep in mind that if one monitor is higher quality than the other, you might need to change the resolutions on the more powerful monitor to match the lesser one.

Siamese Cable

Today’s question revolves around surveillance cable:


“I am looking for cable for my security camera. It would need to handle video audio and electric for the camera. I would need at least 1000 feet.”

If the camera system uses a coax cable for video in your setup, your best bet is to go with a Siamese RG59 coaxial video cable with the DC power bonded together. The Siamese cable consists of two 18AWG stranded power lines insulated together with an RG59 coaxial cable. These cables come in 1000 feet spools, but keep in mind that they arrive with raw ends, and you will have to add connectors yourself.

In the event that you need to bury the cable outside, make sure the cable is labeled “direct burial.” This means it is manufactured to hold up against the elements. These types of cables are best purchased in bulk, as the cable will need to be longer in order to be buried.

HDMI Lengths

Today’s question revolves around HDMI lengths and accessories. 


“I want to hook up my desktop to my HDTV with an HDMI cable so I can watch videos from my computer to my TV. But the distance between my desktop and my TV is like 8 feet. Is there an 8 foot HDMI cable available for purchase? Or is there an extender I can buy?”

The quick answer is: yes. HDMI cables come in a bunch of different lengths ranging from 1 foot to past 100 feet.

Something to keep in mind though is that here are some limitations on the length of HDMI cables, with longer cables having issues like weak signals and picture instability. Typically these issues arise when a cable reaches over 50 feet. When purchasing any cable past this length; it is a good idea to utilize an HDMI extender. This will strengthen the signal and heighten the picture stability.