Exxon Mobil, the nation’s largest oil company, on Wednesday outlined a five-year plan to increase its earnings and grow its dividend while working to lower emissions in support of the Paris climate goals.
The Irving oil major said it is planning to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions from its oil and gas production by 15 to 20 percent from 2016 levels by reducing flaring and methane emissions by 40 to 50 percent by 2025. The company is planning to eliminate routine flaring, in which natural gas is burned off due to lack of gathering lines and processing facilities, by 2030.
Four years ago today on 3rd March 2017, the Nintendo Switch was first released across most regions worldwide.
With its monstrous sales records and incredible library of games, it’s not especially easy to remember how different things were for Nintendo before the Switch’s arrival. We all know the story of Switch’s predecessor, the Wii U – and how, despite a strong lineup of first-party greats, it ultimately disappointed in terms of sales and third-party effort – but Nintendo’s new console appears to have completely turned things around for the better.
The US Food and Drug Administration approved a device last week that may help prevent traumatic brain injuries in athletes by clamping down on blood vessels in the neck.
Odd, right? But it might have real potential. By slightly restricting blood flow through the internal jugular veins, the device, called the Q-Collar, increases blood volume in the skull, thereby limiting movement of the brain inside of the skull, which experts believe is what generally causes traumatic brain injuries.
As new research on brain injuries continues to emerge, experts have increasingly focused on ways to minimize the damage from repeated subconcussive impacts, which have been indicted for likely causing chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), the degenerative brain disease that has notoriously affected football players and that results from cumulative damage over time.
To assess the safety and effectiveness of the Q-Collar, the FDA ran a series of studies, including a prospective, longitudinal on 284 high school American football players that used pre- and post-season MRI scans and accelerometer data to track structural changes in the subjects’ brains that occurred throughout a season of play. The changes found affected deep white matter regions of the brain related to electrical signal transmission and were associated with repeated head impacts.
Significant changes were found in the brains of 73% of the no-collar group, while 77% of the Q-Collar group did not exhibit any significant changes.
Another study looked at female soccer players and had similar findings: The no-collar group, in general, had significant white matter changes, while the Q-Collar group did not. The soccer study, however, included another MRI three months post-season, which found that the white mater changes had either resolved or partially resolved, leaving open the question of whether the Q-Collar helps prevent the cumulative damage that leads to CTE.
It’s important to note that the Q-Collar is in no way an adequate replacement for a helmet and other appropriate protective gear, but it is a cool piece of gear that seems promising and might (hopefully) have benefits in a real and very scary corner of the impact and action sports worlds.
The Q-Collar is already for sale in Canada and is pending approval in Europe and the UK. Information about availability in the US will be available soon at https://q30innovations.com/.
More information about the Q-Collar and its FDA approval is available in the FDA press release.
This report assesses AR, MR, and other immersive technology components, the AR/MR ecosystem, and competitive landscape. The report evaluates market opportunities for hardware, software, and services. The analysis takes into consideration market drivers and constraints such as potential regulatory developments and associated implications.
The report provides detailed qualitative and quantitative analysis including forecasts for AR/MR by major hardware components, software, services, semiconductor components, and more for 2021 to 2026.
Select Report Findings:
Hardware is the largest market segment with HUD the largest component
The overall market is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 54.0% and reach $372 billion
Consumer electronics is the largest industry vertical whereas the military segment is expected to have the highest growth potential
Latin America is expected to have the highest growth with a CAGR of 77.0%. Brazil and Argentina are the major countries within the region
China, India, and Japan are leading countries in Asia Pac while South Africa, UAE, and South Africa are the major countries in the MEA region
North America is the largest region, followed by Europe. USA is the largest country in North America, while Germany, France, UK are in Europe
The report also provides specific insights and recommendations for major ecosystem constituents including Advertisers and Media Companies, Artificial Intelligence Providers, Automotive Companies, Broadband Infrastructure Providers, Communication Service Providers, Computing Companies, Data Analytics Providers, Equipment Providers, IoT Suppliers and Service Providers, Semiconductor Companies, Smart City Systems Integrators, Social Media Companies, and Software Developers.
Assisted or Augmented Reality (AR) represents a live (direct or indirect), view of a physical, real-world environment in which certain elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input. In addition to a visual overlay, AR may also provide audio and tactile inputs to the user, and rely upon presence and positioning technologies to present location-specific sensory inputs and information to the user. In this manner, AR represents a blending of information technology and media within a real-world environment for the benefit of consumers, businesses, and industrial users.
Mixed Reality (MR) represents a form of hybrid reality in which physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real-time. With MR, either virtual objects are digitally mixed into reality or real-world objects are merged into virtual worlds. The latter case is sometimes referred to as “Augmented Virtuality”, and is one step closer to a more evolved Virtual Reality (VR), as real-world objects in a virtual world take on a sense of permanency with real objects, appearing to actually exist within the virtual world.
Adding to this sense of permanency, real-world objects in a virtual world may be digitally controlled. Conversely, MR may also support the manipulation of virtual objects permanently placed in the real-world. In either scenario, MR will be an important aspect of telerobotics and other forms of teleoperation.
The primary goal of AR is to enrich the user’s perception of the real-world, providing information and insights that otherwise would not be obtainable. AR use cases have grown substantially across many industry verticals within the last two years, providing significant market momentum, and indicating great promise to transform communications, content, and commerce across a wide range of sectors. The goals of MR are broad, yet directionally focused on a true merging of real and virtual worlds, which we believe will be a major catalyst for wide-spread acceptance and usage of VR across all major industry sectors.
AR and MR Market Developments
The growing demand of AR in the entertainment, retail, and defense sectors is encouraging manufacturers to expand their business. Both traditional advertisers and digital media companies need to get ready for increased altered reality. Advertisers are looking at using augmented reality as part of a marketing drive in order to attract new customers as well as retentive existing ones.
Apple is planning to launch its first augmented reality headset in 2022. It will follow that with a smaller pair of AR glasses in 2023. The AR smart glasses market is picking up pace as it inches away from being a niche product to becoming an industrial and enterprise problem solver. Mass consumer adoption is elusive, if not years away, but the market is building its ecosystem, refining hardware, and taking a more realistic approach for the long-run ramp-up of smart AR glasses.
AR and MR Market Outlook
The total global augmented and mixed reality market is expected to reach $103.9 billion growing at 79.2% CAGR. Hardware is the major component in the total global augmented and mixed reality market. The software segment is expected to reach $32 billion with a CAGR of 89.2%. Hardware components in training and education are anticipated to propel the market growth in the forecast period. The service segment is expected to reach $6.7 billion with a CAGR of 105.8%.
Augmented and Mixed reality forecasts through 2026
Identify market leaders and their strategies and solutions
Understand the market dynamics within the AR/MR ecosystem
Understand the relationship between AR/MR and other technologies
Identify high-potential investment areas for AR/MR application development
Key Topics Covered:
1.0 Executive Summary
2.0 Introduction 2.1 Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality 2.2 Augmented Reality vs. Virtual Reality and Merged Reality 2.3 Augmented Reality Value Chain 2.4 Market Drivers 2.4.1 Increasing Demand of AR Devices in Healthcare 2.4.2 Growing Demand of AR Devices in Retail & E-Commerce 2.4.3 Increasing Application of AR in the Gaming Industry 2.5 Challenges 2.5.1 High Set-up Cost 2.5.2 Reconfiguration of Applications for Various Platforms 2.5.3 Limited Content
3.0 Augmented Reality Ecosystem 3.1 AR Hardware vs. Software 3.2 Mobile AR vs. Dedicated Hardware 3.3 Marker Based Reality vs. Marker Less Reality 3.4 Mixed Reality and Reconfigurable Workforce 3.5 AR Application Landscape 3.5.1 Consumer Electronics 3.5.2 Industrial 3.5.3 Enterprise 3.5.4 Military and Defense 3.6 Regulatory Landscape 3.6.1 Digital Millennium Copyright Act 3.6.2 Communication Decency Act 3.6.3 Federal Trade Commission 3.7 Competitive Landscape
4.0 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market Drivers and Opportunities 4.1 Consumer Awareness and Acceptance 4.2 Compelling Applications 4.3 Business-to-Business Apps and Services 4.4 Teleoperation and Tele-robotics
5.0 Company Analysis 5.1 Google Inc. 5.2 DAQRI 5.3 Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. 5.4 Seiko Epson Corp. 5.5 Sony Corporation 5.6 Qualcomm Inc. 5.7 Microsoft Corporation 5.8 PTC Corporation 5.9 Apple Inc. 5.10 HTC Corporation 5.11 Niantic Inc. 5.12 EON Reality Inc. 5.13 Magic Leap 5.14 Intel Corporation 5.15 Facebook Corporation 5.16 Wikitude GmbH 5.17 Zugara Inc. 5.18 Blippar 5.19 Upskill 5.20 Infinity Augmented Reality Inc. 5.21 Atheer Inc. 5.22 Marxent Labs LLC 5.23 Inglobe Technologies 5.24 ScopeAR 5.25 Catchoom Technologies 5.26 Ubimax GmbH 5.27 ABB
6.0 Market Analysis and Forecast 6.1 Global Augmented and Mixed Reality Market 2021 – 2026 6.1.1 Total Market Size 2021 – 2026 6.1.2 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Segment 6.1.3 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware Type 6.1.4 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by AR Device Type 6.1.5 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware Component Type 6.1.6 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Sensors Type 6.1.7 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Semiconductor Component Type 6.1.8 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Software Segment 126.96.36.199 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Software Functions 188.8.131.52 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Software Type 184.108.40.206 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Service Type 220.127.116.11.1 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Professional Service Type 6.1.9 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Type 18.104.22.168 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Marker Based Reality Type 22.214.171.124 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Markerless Reality Type 6.1.10 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Technology 6.1.11 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Industry Vertical 126.96.36.199 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Consumer Electronics Application 188.8.131.52 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Entertainment Application 184.108.40.206 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Enterprise Application 220.127.116.11 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Retail and E-Commerce Application 18.104.22.168 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Healthcare and Medical Application 22.214.171.124 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Industrial Application 126.96.36.199 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Military and Defense Application 6.2 Regional Market Forecast 2021 – 2026 6.2.1 Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Region 6.2.2 North America Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country 6.2.3 Europe Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country 6.2.4 APAC Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country 6.2.5 MEA Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country 6.2.6 Latin America Augmented and Mixed Reality Market by Hardware, Software, Service, Market Type, Technology, Industry Vertical, and Country 6.3 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Forecast 2021 – 2026 6.3.1 Global Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units 6.3.2 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Device Type 6.3.3 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Industry Vertical 188.8.131.52 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Consumer Electronics Application 184.108.40.206 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Entertainment Application 220.127.116.11 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Enterprise Application 18.104.22.168 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Retail and E-Commerce Application 22.214.171.124 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Healthcare and Medical Application 126.96.36.199 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Industrial Application 188.8.131.52 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Military and Defense Application 6.3.4 Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Region 184.108.40.206 North America Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country 220.127.116.11 Europe Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country 18.104.22.168 APAC Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country 22.214.171.124 MEA Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country 126.96.36.199 MEA Augmented Reality Device Shipment Units by Country
7.0 Conclusions and Recommendations 7.1.1 Advertisers and Media Companies 7.1.2 Artificial Intelligence Providers 7.1.3 Automotive Companies 7.1.4 Broadband Infrastructure Providers 7.1.5 Communication Service Providers 7.1.6 Computing Companies 7.1.7 Data Analytics Providers 7.1.8 Equipment Providers 7.1.9 IoT Suppliers and Service Providers 7.1.10 Semiconductor Companies 7.1.11 Smart City Systems Integrators 7.1.12 Social Media Companies 7.1.13 Software Developers
This year looks very much like the year of Mini LED. The technology, which sees the traditional LEDs of a TV backlight miniaturised in order to increase contrast, is a feature of the 2021 line-ups of most major TV brands, including LG and Philips.
For those brands, Mini LED TVs sit below their OLED models, but for Samsung, Mini LED is its flagship technology (assuming you discount its eye-wateringly expensive new Micro LED sets). The company has developed its own Mini LEDs, which it says are even smaller and more efficient than those of its rivals, and combined them with its existing Quantum Dot tech to create a range of premium TVs that it calls Neo QLEDs.
The QE65QN95A is the first Neo QLED we’ve tested. It’s the top 4K model in Samsung’s 2021 range, and it purports to offer a huge upgrade on last year’s equivalent without any increase in price.
This is the model that Samsung is pitching against LG’s incredibly popular C-class OLED, the 2021 version of which (the C1) we have yet to review. When it does appear, the C1 is going to have its work cut out because the Samsung QN95A is the best QLED there’s ever been, and that makes it a serious challenger to even the best OLEDs.
The Samsung QE65QN95A is priced at £2999 – exactly the same price its predecessor, the QE65Q95T, launched at, despite this new model representing what appears to be a serious technological upgrade.
The QN95A is exclusive to Europe. US buyers instead get the QN90A, which does without the QN95A’s One Connect box and has just one HDMI 2.1 socket (the QN95A has four). Confusingly, the US QN90A is different to the European QN90A, which is more heavily downgraded. Apparently, Europe will in fact get an as-yet-unannounced model called the QN94A, which will be the same as the US’s QN90A.
If you’ve completely lost track, it’s no surprise. It feels as though Samsung has gone out of its way to make its model structure even less coherent than it was in 2020. Sony, meanwhile, is putting a concerted effort into unifying its model numbers across all regions, and LG has been doing that for years, at least in terms of its OLEDs.
Besides the benefits in terms of contrast, a Mini LED backlight is much slimmer than one consisting of standard LEDs. Samsung has also worked hard to reduce the distance between the backlight and the Quantum Dot panel, making the whole display section slimmer.
Samsung QE65QN95A tech specs
Screen type QLED
Backlight Mini LED
Operating system Samsung Tizen
HDR formats HDR10, HDR10+, HLG
Of course, a TV also needs to pack in processing hardware and speakers, but Samsung has still managed to reduce the thickness of the QN95A to just 2.6cm, down from the 3.5cm of last year’s Q95T.
That doesn’t make the QN95A as thin as an OLED is at its thinnest point (the LG CX is under 4mm thick here) but its uniform depth measurement means it is much thinner than most OLEDs are at their thickest points (the CX is 4.7cm here) and arguably makes for a more stylish, picture frame-like proposition when wall mounted.
The QN95A also gets the new, redesigned version of Samsung’s One Connect box. The concept is the same – all connections, including power, go into a separate unit that’s connected to the TV via a single cable – but the chunky brick design has been replaced by one reminiscent of a stack of five or six placemats. While this One Connect can be mounted to the rear of the stand of Samsung’s 2021 8K models, it can’t be mounted to the QN95A at all.
Also slightly disappointing is that the cable that runs between the One Connect box and display is significantly thicker and less flexible than that of previous versions. Samsung says the cable has changed in the name of “performance stability and durability”, but we weren’t aware of any issues with the previous design.
While the move to a thicker wire is a bit of a shame, having just one cable running to the display rather than multiple HDMIs and power is still undeniably neater. And, if your set-up means that the One Connect box will be visible in your TV rack, this new version is significantly easier on the eye than its predecessor.
The One Connect box also gives the QN95A a more advanced set of connections than other 2021 Samsung models such as the QN90A. It’s all down to the HDMIs: all four of the QN95A’s HDMI sockets are 2.1-spec, while its siblings get just one HDMI 2.1 socket. That probably won’t make a huge difference right now, but anyone planning to buy both the PS5 and Xbox Series X will need more than one HDMI 2.1 socket to take full advantage of both consoles, and there will only be more HDMI 2.1 sources in the future.
Of course, simply having HDMI 2.1 sockets isn’t enough to guarantee support for all of those fancy next-gen HDMI features, but the QN95A offers support for eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel), ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode), [email protected] (aka High Frame Rate) and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate). VRR is supported in all three of the formats currently available: standard HDMI VRR, Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync (this is the first TV to be FreeSync Premium Pro-certified, in fact).
As is probably already clear, Samsung is even more committed to courting gamers than before, going as far as creating the ‘Game Bar’ – a pop-up menu that gives you quick access to various game-related features and delivers live information on the signal being received, including the VRR format and frame rate. Input lag, meanwhile, has been reduced to under 10ms, which is entirely imperceptible. If you don’t mind sacrificing a little of that speed, you can enable some gaming-specific motion smoothing, although we don’t find that necessary during testing.
Finally, on the gaming front, the HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group) setting that was added to Samsung’s 2020 QLEDs via a software update late last year is also present on the QN95A. This is well worth using in conjunction with your console’s HDR calibration settings as it results in a more accurate picture with deeper blacks and more detailed highlights.
Samsung has also long been the market leader when it comes to integrated streaming apps, and the QN95A is just as well-appointed as its predecessors in that regard. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Apple TV, Google Play Movies & TV and Rakuten are all present in 4K and HDR; BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, All 4 and My5 complete the set of catch-up apps; Now TV and BT Sport are also here; and Spotify, Tidal, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, BBC Sounds and TuneIn mean every major music and radio app is on board, too. In short, there’s no app of significance that’s missing here, and there are loads of niche apps in there too.
There is, though, an HDR format of significance that’s missing – Dolby Vision. While Samsung’s rival HDR10+ has made undeniable in-roads in recent years, Dolby Vision is clearly the more dominant format and it’s very hard indeed to see the power balance shifting. Even if Samsung truly believes HDR10+ is better, it should by now be offering Dolby Vision support as well.
The operating system is more or less unchanged from last year, which is no bad thing. It’s still the best in the business, slickly getting you to the content you’re after quicker than any rival. One new feature that has the potential to be great is Multi View, which allows you to split the screen in two and watch an HDMI source in one window while you access an app via the other. We could see this could be useful for watching two football games at once, for example, one via your Sky Q box and the other the BT Sport app, but currently the only apps supported in Multi View are YouTube and a wellness app called Calm, rendering it almost useless.
The QN95A’s new remote has a useful new feature, though: on the bottom is a light panel that allows it to be charged via sunlight and even house lights. It works really well – during testing, the remote’s battery level doesn’t drop below about 95 per cent as it constantly tops itself up. That said, the remote does also have a USB-C socket that can be used as a backup charging method.
Under the TV’s skin is a new version of Samsung Quantum Processor, called the Neo Quantum Processor 4K. The big new feature here is referred to as Ultra Precision Light Driving, which involves more precise dimming and a local power distribution feature that sends power to the brightest areas of the picture and away from the darker parts. It also works in conjunction with a sensor integrated into the TV’s frame to adjust brightness and contrast in response to ambient lighting conditions. There’s a new level of ‘deep learning’ applied to contrast enhancement, too.
Of course, the biggest new feature of the QN95A is its Mini LED backlight. Samsung explains that the majority of a typical LED’s size is made up of its protective packaging and light-guiding lens, both of which it has done away with for its so-called ‘New LEDs’. Not only that, but it has also miniaturised the LEDs themselves, to astonishing effect: the new LEDs, packaging and all, are a fortieth the size of their traditional counterparts and look like little more than sparkly grains of sand.
Instead of a lens, this New LED backlight works with a new ‘micro layer’ that guides the light through the quantum dots (which provide the set’s colours). The result is apparently no light leakage or blooming.
Crucially, because the New LEDs are so much smaller, significantly more of them can be packed in, creating more individual dimming zones in the process. While Samsung doesn’t quote official figures for these dimming zones, we understand that the QN95A has just under 800 of them. Last year’s Q95T and Q90T are thought to have had around 120 dimming zones each so, on paper at least, this appears to be a massive upgrade that should have a startling impact on contrast.
Kicking off with the 4K Blu-ray of John Wick: Chapter 3, it quickly becomes clear that this is a massive upgrade in real terms, too. Not only does the QN95A go vastly brighter than the OLED competition, in most conditions it combines bright and dark picture elements unlike any commercially available TV before it. As John cuts through the chandelier shop near the start of the film, the warm, piercing light contrasts brilliantly with the rain-soaked streets in the background, with the bulbs and the glass sections of the chandeliers sparkling to a degree that makes the Award-winning Philips 65OLED805 look decidedly dull.
Crucially, this brightness doesn’t come at the expense of black depth, which is close to OLED-quality. If you look closely at a still image, you can see that the top black bar loses a bit of purity as one of the shining bulbs lingers at its edge, but in action, this isn’t noticeable. What’s more, there’s no obvious haloing around bright objects on dark backgrounds, or any other real hint that this is a backlit telly. It’s not totally perfect, but it could be argued that it’s close enough to not matter.
That said, the QN95A is, like its predecessor, a little cautious when confronted by small bright objects in otherwise overwhelmingly black images. During the opening scene of It, Pennywise’s eyes should glow menacingly bright out of the gloom of the basement, but they’re barely noticeable here. As the camera heads through the tunnel towards daylight for the start of the film, it’s clear that the TV is holding back, presumably for fear of introducing blooming, and it makes the image less exciting than it should be.
The same trait is clear in the company logos and intro text at the start of Blade Runner 2049. It could be that Samsung is playing things just a little too safe here, but crucially, these ultra-high contrast images are relatively uncommon, and in isolation, the Samsung’s delivery rarely looks wrong. It’s only in a side-by-side comparison with one of the punchier 2020 OLEDs that this reticence becomes clear.
The only other slight flaw in the QN95A’s delivery is regarding the balance of dark detail and black depth. Not that the TV isn’t capable of both, but we struggle to find the perfect balance. There’s a dedicated Shadow Detail setting that does exactly that but it also somewhat washes out the image. Switching the Contrast Enhancer to High, meanwhile, reveals so much dark detail that it feels as though artificial light is being added to some dark scenes.
We’ve always appreciated Samsung’s bold and straightforward picture settings, but for this TV, a Contrast Enhancer setting between Low and High might have proved perfect. As it is, you have to trade just a bit of dark detail to get inky blacks, or have slightly artificially boosted shadow detail.
Ultimately, though, the QN95A is a stunning performer overall. It’s so dynamic and vibrant that it makes its rivals look flat and boring. Whites, in particular, are incredibly pure and punchy, from John Wick’s shirt to the fluorescent lights hanging from the ceiling of the first-floor armoury above the chandelier shop.
Colours are incredibly lush, too, but also natural and controlled – as long as you tone down the Colour setting just a bit. It’s the perfect foil for the comic book-style exaggeration of John Wick 3, pumping up the pink of the shirts of the call centre staff and bringing the Marrakesh market to life with its varied and vibrant hues.
Switch to 1917 and the vibrancy is tempered by a slightly unexpected degree of naturalism. Some TVs we’ve reviewed have, in their quest for vibrancy, pushed the green fields at the film’s start from verdant to lurid, but the QN95A doesn’t fall into this trap and the film is delivered with both punch and poise.
The same effortless balance is applied in regards to detail and sharpness, too. Where some TVs, including previous Samsung models, can over-sharpen edges and details, giving everything an artificially etched look, the QN95A ensures that everything is crisp and clearly defined without any of that exaggeration. The detail is all there, but it isn’t rammed down your throat, and that’s the way it should be.
In 2020, Samsung took a big step forward in terms of motion processing, and it’s good to see that that balance of smoothness and naturalism continues into 2021. Again, you need to select the right setting: the default Auto setting is forced and unpleasant, but switching to Custom and setting Blur Reduction and Judder Reduction to 10 and 3 respectively keeps motion controlled without adding fizz around fast movement or any of the dreaded soap opera effect.
Switching from 4K to 1080p with the Looper Blu-ray, it becomes clear that this Samsung takes a surprisingly subtle approach to SDR content. While many TVs attempt to give SDR content an HDR sheen, the QN95A opts instead for subtlety. Compared with the Philips OLED805, the Samsung’s image is less dynamic and instantly exciting, but also more nuanced in its shading and a fair bit more detailed. Both approaches have their merits, but Samsung’s feels more authentic.
The same relative characteristics are present as we switch to our trusty Dirty Harry DVD. While the Samsung is once again less punchy in its delivery, it’s subtler and cleaner, too.
Considering the QN95A’s sound system is essentially invisible, it packs in a large number of drivers – eight of them, in fact – in a 4.2.2 arrangement that Samsung refers to as OTS+ and is rated to 70W. ‘OTS’ stands for ‘Object Tracking Sound’ and refers to the fact that the system is designed to create a sense of three-dimensionality akin to Dolby Atmos. All of which makes it slightly baffling that the QN95A can’t natively play Dolby Atmos soundtracks, although it can pass them out to a connected speaker system (even a Samsung soundbar).
Regardless of the tech involved (or not), the QN95A puts in a solid audio performance that’s clear, direct and punchy but with good weight and openness. It delivers a strong sense of space and atmosphere while ensuring that dialogue and effects are presented clearly. Detail levels are high by the standards of an integrated sound system, too.
That said, the QN95A’s speakers struggle with the super-deep bass at the start of chapter 2 of Blade Runner 2049, with its woofers flapping uncomfortably. This is far from the only TV to have problems here – LG’s CX OLEDs suffer at least as badly – but it’s a shame all the same. Still, we would always recommend partnering a TV as impressive as this with a dedicated sound system, and this flaw only reinforces that message.
If you are determined to stick with the Samsung’s integrated speakers, Adaptive Volume is best switched off as it tends to sound quite forced and hard, but Adaptive Sound+ is worth using as it adds spaciousness and a slight sense of cinematic envelopment. Amplify is worth trying, too: it sacrifices a bit of low-level dynamic subtlety for bigger overall dynamics and more punch, making it useful for action films. Standard is probably better if you want to use one setting for all content, though.
While Mini LED might not quite be the revolution that Samsung is pitching it as, it’s still a substantial upgrade to an already excellent range of TVs. The overall contrast offered is staggering, and the QN95A combines near-OLED black levels with awesomely crisp white highlights and fabulously vibrant colours, all while retaining an effortless sense of naturalism.
Throw in the best, most app-packed operating system in the business, a delightfully slim design and a full set of next-gen HDMI sockets and this is (a lack of Dolby Vision support aside) as complete a package as can be imagined.
It’s early days for 2021 TVs, but Samsung has thrown down the gauntlet in emphatic style and it will be fascinating to see how its rivals respond.
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) — The Rochester City Council voted to extend the contract with The Landing through summer, but’s not quite a done deal.
The Landing has been a place where people experiencing homelessness can find safety and extra support. Its mission is to get people off the streets and help them move forward with their lives.
Its been operating at the old Silver Lake Fire Station in Rochester since November through a six-month contract with the city. The contract was set to expire May 15, leaving the founders of organization unsure of its future.
On Tuesday, The Rochester City Council voted 5-2 to extend the contract through Aug. 31.
The Landing Co-Founder Dan Fifield said although he’s happy about the extension, he’s worried about the fate of the vulnerable population they serve. He said some people in the city need to see helping the homeless as more of a priority.
“It’s good news that we have more time,” Fifield said. “My question is, how do I tell my 210 unique individuals that we’ve had come through our doors since February 1, that they’re not worth having services for anymore? To have the attitude that this isn’t necessary, the statistics prove that it’s totally necessary. These services are fundamental to somebody’s existence.”
Since the center opened, 143 people have secured transitional or permanent housing, and the Rochester Police Department has seen a decrease in incidents.
The extension through August will be funded with CARES Act money, totaling $158,000.
Fifield said future plans for The Landing will be discussed this weekend at a board meeting. He said eventually, the plan would be for the organization to have its own permanent building.
The venture would need to be funded through grants and fundraising, which can take a lot of time.
“Our friends here need the help of the community,” Fifield said. “They don’t generally want to be in this position. If anybody doesn’t understand that, feel free to contact me, and I’ll explain how these things happen.”
The City of Rochester Parks Board still needs to give final approval on the contract extension Tuesday afternoon.
Epic Games has officially acquired Tonic Games Group, the development company behind Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout. Epic shared the news while also confirming, “your gameplay isn’t changing and Epic will continue to invest in making the game a great experience for players across platforms.”Furthermore, Epic has said, “your favorite colorful beans will still stumble through the chaos on PC, PlayStation, and soon Nintendo Switch and Xbox.”
Alongside revealing that the Fall Guys team has already grown from 35 to 150, Mediatonic promised that “your gameplay isn’t changing” and that this acquisition will help them bring a ton of features already seen in Fortnite and Rocket League, other games owned by Epic.
Have you played Fall Guys: Ultimate Knockout?
These features include account systems, cross-play, squad vs squad modes, and more.
While Mediatonic mentioned Fall Guys will continue to remain on Steam, it had nothing more to announce regarding a possible move to a free-to-play model.
As to why Mediatonic chose Epic, the developer said they’ve been “mutual friends for a while” and that the team has “a lot in common and share a lot of the same goals.”
“It’s no secret that Epic is invested in building the metaverse and Tonic Games shares this goal. As Epic works to build this virtual future, we need great creative talent who know how to build powerful games, content and experiences,” Epic Games founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said.
Ankeny police said the Lakeside Center, a polling location, has been evacuated Tuesday after a suspicious device was found at the scene.Police are asking people to avoid the area around 400 NW Lakeshore Drive while they await additional resources.The center is a polling location for Ankney’s special election Tuesday. Voters have been told they can cast their ballots at other locations while the center is closed.Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said at approximately 9:25 a.m., staff was alerted by a passerby that there was a suspicious device in the vicinity of the polling location. Fitzgerald told KCCI the device looks like a pipe bomb.Fitzgerald said Ankeny police were contact, as well as the Secretary of State’s Office was for protocols on how to proceed.Polling staff is on site, but not inside the building, to redirect voters to other polling locations, Fitzgerald said, and all votes currently cast at the location are still legitimate. None of the other polling sites are suspected to be in danger. Fitzgerald said it is believed to be an isolated incident.Check the KCCI Breaking News and Weather App for updates on this developing story.
ANKENY, Iowa —
Ankeny police said the Lakeside Center, a polling location, has been evacuated Tuesday after a suspicious device was found at the scene.
Police are asking people to avoid the area around 400 NW Lakeshore Drive while they await additional resources.
The center is a polling location for Ankney’s special election Tuesday. Voters have been told they can cast their ballots at other locations while the center is closed.
Polk County Auditor Jamie Fitzgerald said at approximately 9:25 a.m., staff was alerted by a passerby that there was a suspicious device in the vicinity of the polling location. Fitzgerald told KCCI the device looks like a pipe bomb.
Fitzgerald said Ankeny police were contact, as well as the Secretary of State’s Office was for protocols on how to proceed.
Polling staff is on site, but not inside the building, to redirect voters to other polling locations, Fitzgerald said, and all votes currently cast at the location are still legitimate.
None of the other polling sites are suspected to be in danger. Fitzgerald said it is believed to be an isolated incident.
Check the KCCI Breaking News and Weather App for updates on this developing story.
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Ankeny Police & Fire are currently on scene at the Lakeside Center investigating a suspicious device. The Lakeside Center has been evacuated. Please, avoid the area, updates will follow. #Ankenylakeshore@CityOfAnkeny
MSI says it designed its Z490 boards specifically for Gen 4.0 support from the very beginning by implementing ” PCIe 4.0 ready clock generator, lane switch, redriver, PCIe slots, and M.2 connectors.” You can see the list of supported motherboards below.
Of course, other manufacturers have designed their Z490 motherboards for Gen 4.0 support, but it remains to be seen whether these manufacturers will fully support PCIe 4.0 in all areas or if it will be supported in a limited capacity, say only on certain slots. We’ve reached out to MSI for clarification on the matter.
At least we know for certain that MSI is living up to Z490’s promise by providing PCIe Gen 4.0 support to customers who want to upgrade to Rocket Lake without the hassle of upgrading the motherboard as well. We expect that other vendors will come forward with BIOS updates as we move closer to the Rocket Lake launch at the end of the month.
Hollywood horror, especially supernatural horror, has been largely defined by Christian imagery, which is part of why Keith Thomas’ debut feature The Vigil feels so refreshing. Steeped in the Jewish tradition of shemira — the watching-over of a body from the time of death until burial — the film mines spiritual ideas which may not be immediately familiar to most goyim audiences. But Thomas’s 90-minute, one-location Yiddish and English story is so fine-tuned, and so emotionally riveting, that it feels like the work of a seasoned maestro who’s been dealing in these themes for decades.Horror films in Yiddish are rare. Unless you count the few Yiddish lines in Demon (2016), you’d have to go back as far as Michal Waszynski’s Dir Dybbuk in 1937. Writer-director Thomas, a rabbinical school dropout, was keenly aware of the lack of traditional Jewish supernatural horror when he made the film, and he attributes this to Judaism’s comparative lack of concepts like the Christian Hell and its demonic emissaries. 2012’s The Possession comes to mind as mainstream Jewish horror, but even that film felt like The Exorcist (1973) with some specifics shuffled around.
From where, then, does Thomas mine his terrors? One answer seems obvious: the film forces its characters to look inward at both personal and cultural loss. The other answer, however, isn’t one you’d expect: The Vigil’s horror is just as technological as it is supernatural.
The story spans a single night and follows Yakov Ronen (Dave Davis), a young Hasidic man in New York who attends a support group for those who’ve left ultra-Orthodoxy behind. He feels isolated even in social settings. Money is tight, forcing him to choose between meals and medication, and he hasn’t yet grown comfortable with dating norms; his group-mate Sarah (Malky Godlman) puts her number in his phone when he can’t figure out how. There’s also something deeper troubling Yakov — something more painful than these new fears of technology and intimacy — which the film holds back on revealing until the moment is opportune. Perhaps it waits a little too long, but scenes, where the tension dissipates are few and far between
When the group session ends, Yakov is approached by his former rabbi Reb Shulem (Menashe Lustig, subject of semi-autobiography Menashe), who offers him an overnight job for a quick payday. It seems like Yakov’s money woes might be temporarily soothed, but Shulem has other motives: the job is that of a shomer, or a guardian for a recently deceased Hasidic man named Mr. Litvak (Ronald Cohen), and Shulem hopes the tradition will nudge Yakov back towards his religious roots.Yakov agrees to the money, though not to Shulem’s spiritual advances, and heads straight to the Litvaks’ dingy two-story residence in Borough Park. Complicating matters is the fact that the widowed Mrs. Litvak (the late, inimitable Lynn Cohen) suffers from dementia, but the task seems simple enough: Yakov must watch over the deceased for five hours, until sunrise. However, something is amiss, both with the body and with the darkened surroundings. Yakov has been taking pills, so it could all just be a trick of the mind, but he soon begins to see and hear things lurking in the shadows. He also discovers that Mr. Litvak had become obsessed with a mazzik — a malevolent demon from Talmudic lore — which he believed had been haunting him, and would pass to a nearby soul upon his death. Could Yakov be that soul?
The Vigil feels like a tug of war between tradition and modernity. Yakov hopes to leave behind his old Hasidic life and assimilate into gentile society, but upon entering the Litvaks’ home, he’s immediately surrounded by traditional imagery, which reminds him of a past in which he stuck out sorely, in even in a city as multicultural as New York. One such sleep-deprived flashback involves an antisemitic attack, during which Yakov’s payos (or side-curls) and traditional Hasidic garb turned him and his younger brother Burech (Ethan Stone) into instant targets. Yakov may not bear the physical scars of this incident, but it weighs on him emotionally and makes his new buzz-cut appearance feel like an attempt to suppress this painful history.
“The Vigil feels like a tug of war between tradition and modernity.”
Jewish trauma plays a key part in the film’s creeping horrors, though strangely, some of the experiences Yakov recalls may not even be his own. The film frequently circles back to a scene from the Holocaust — specifically, an anonymous Jewish man being forced, by a Nazi officer, to do terrible things to survive — and though the film doesn’t provide a direct explanation, it offers hints that the mazzik may be able to conjure other people’s memories. The only thing Yakov knows about Mr. Litvak is that he survived the Holocaust — but no matter whose memories these are, they evoke a larger, more violent history whose specter Yakov can’t escape.
Yakov’s flashback and these mysterious World War II memories are linked aesthetically to some of the abstract, seemingly supernatural goings-on around the Litvaks’ home. The result is a narrative continuum in which intergenerational trauma defines not just the characters, but the physical spaces around them. The attack in Yakov’s past unfolded on a darkened street, and the house he now finds himself in is engulfed in shadow; when the demon first takes physical form, its legs peek out from behind a wall, evoking an image from Yakov’s flashback best left unspoiled. Similarly, the Holocaust memory involves a woman turning her head back to gaze at the mysterious man, and Mr. Litvak’s description of the mazzik (in a video he recorded) involves a ghastly figure with its head turned backward, forever cursed to gaze into the past. The mazzik’s horrific appearance is revealed slowly, and it thankfully doesn’t end up a deflating CGI-fest like many monsters of its ilk (the otherwise adept His House comes to mind). As much as the mazzik embodies physical torment, it’s also a twisted mirror to personal and generational survivor’s guilt. For the most part, the film’s scares emanate from within.
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But even though tradition is where the horror seems to originate, modernity isn’t the answer. In fact, escape from tradition is framed as equally terrifying, when it involves traumas unaddressed. The question of why Yakov can’t simply leave the house is answered in delightfully gory fashion, and the film even takes a few sharp turns into tech thriller territory. At first, this feels like throwing too much at the wall just to see what sticks — strange videos, phone calls, and text messages keep entering the film’s fabric — but it slowly ends up working on numerous fronts.
For one thing, Yakov’s own perspective becomes less reliable as the night wears on (and he certainly can’t trust Mrs. Litvak’s), and as technology evolves, a digital image can be as easily manipulated as a distant memory. So the concept of truth, both internal and external, becomes increasingly hazy. For another, the film also begins to fold tradition and modernity together in intriguing ways. The camera constantly holds on dark corners and negative spaces — we love a good “What’s in the shadows?” story, don’t we, folks? — but each time the film displays texts and other media (right beside the main character, à la Sherlock or House of Cards), it overlays these messages and videos over dark corners of the screen. At first, the light emanating from them feels like a respite; Yakov retreats into his phone as a distraction from whatever he may (or may not) be seeing. But soon, even his phone — his window into modernity, and his escape from the Litvaks’ home — becomes a source of unease. The personal intimacy of texts, calls and video chats feels uncanny and uncertain when he sees and hears things he shouldn’t even on his screen. Light becomes just as chilling as darkness.
Some of the film’s techniques may feel familiar (especially with regards to jump scares), but the way Thomas & co. capture intimate spaces have a unique finesse. For one thing, the film’s use of anamorphic lenses — so often associated with either portrait-like close-ups or gorgeous landscapes — makes even empty space feel disorienting. A simple pan across the darkness, from a distracted, dimly lit Yakov to the body he’s watching over subtly distorts his own body as he’s pushed to the curved corner of the frame, foreshadowing physical horrors yet to come. Zach Kuperstein’s low-light, high-contrast cinematography is downright eerie. The few times he lets brightness enter the frame, it’s immediately turned into anamorphic flares, with light once again becoming as disorienting as darkness. Whatever the shadowy mazzik comes to represent for Yakov, there’s no escape from it.
Without getting into too much detail, the major exception to this aesthetic approach arrives at a key story moment, when Yakov decides to face his traumas head-on by finally embracing some part of himself he left behind. The scene is lit by Shabbat candles, rather than electric and electronic sources which keep flickering in and out. The candles never waver; thanks to tradition, Yakov briefly knows stability. His embrace involves him wrapping the straps of a tefillin — a black leather box inscribed with Torah verses — around his arm as the music swells. It’s a deeply reconciliatory moment, of a man finding fleeting comfort amidst emotional turbulence, and Yakov’s resolve also makes him feel a boxer taping his wrists before a dangerous fight. Although, on a deeper level, it feels like the bonds between his past and present being reforged, albeit temporarily, as he searches for a path to spiritual healing.
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That aforementioned emotional musical swell is an exception too. It’s the only time Michael Yezerski’s score is populated by traditional string instruments. During the rest of the film, Yezereski fills the soundscape with a combination of deeply unsettling electronic sounds and, if you listen closely, human voices crying out in agony. The music practically saws its way through nerve and muscle until it touches bone; every element of the film is jarring on the surface, but when you dig a little deeper, it reveals something both more spine-chilling and more recognizably human.
Shapeless shadows begin to take familiar forms. Mysterious sounds begin to resemble footsteps. And the performances by Dave Davis and Lynn Cohen force their way past two-dimensional horror tropes — a troubled man who might be an unreliable narrator, and an old woman uncomfortably close to demonic conspiracies — until they become deeply moving portraits of lingering trauma, and the way grief manifests in mind, body, and spirit.