4K HDR. Is it worth the investment?

I recently purchased a 4K 10bit HDR Monitor, the Acer ET430K, and without a doubt it’s lovely in 4K. But this week saw a much needed update to VideoLan (VLC), it now finally supports 4K and 8K hardware playback, something severely lacking in previous releases, even 4K playback was tricky and I used MPC-HC for that, now VLC also supports HDR too.

When I bought the monitor I also dropped £50 on a new BDXL drive (Asus BW-16D1HT), this will let me rip UHD movies to my WD EX4100 and play them back anywhere. I was initially surprised by the file size, they’re big, but only twice the size of a bluray at 1080p, yet they contain  four times the resolution, 10 bit colour (instead of 8 bit) and for the most part improved audio with more channels and higher resolution.

So I went to my local CEX and bought some UHD movies, The Hateful Eight, The Martian, Logan, and Alien Covenant, and after watching them initially in 4K SDR or 8bit colour I was a little unimpressed, but I was using MPC-HC to play them back, MPC-HC has hardware playback but no support for HDR, and at the time VLC didn’t. My initial misgivings were found-less, once VLC 3.0 launched I immediately saw the difference that HDR gives. I will say that 4K is very nice, but to be honest, it’s the difference with HDR that you’ll immediately notice. And all I can say is WOW. It’s HDR that will sell more TV’s and monitors than 4K alone.

Here are some screenshots from these films, sadly you really won’t be able to enjoy them as they are… you’ll need a 4K HDR screen.

What is HDR? Basically HDR (High Dynamic Range) means richer colours, more contrast and brightness this gives a scene better definition without losing details like increasing brightness and contrast will. It’s one thing that’s hard to quantify, but once you’ve seen it you’ll know it.

So does 4K 10bit HDR make a real difference… OH HELL YES it does. Be warned though, there are many 4K 8bit HDR screens out there, and they use software to push this to 10bit, they are severely lacking, they cannot and never will render 10bit properly. So be warned… don’t be duped into buying an 8bit screen, insist on HDMI 2.0 (this meets the bandwidth requirements of 4K HDR @ 50hz) and you should be ok, though always check with the internet before buying.

So is it worth the investment? For gaming on the PS4 and PC, yes it’s worth the entry fee alone. As for movies? HELL YES.

Another thing to consider, if you don’t use the TV’s built-in tuner or smart services then why bother with a TV, get a monitor instead. Monitors don’t have this stuff and as a result you should get a better image from it than a similar priced TV.

Save Wizard MAX PS4 Review

EDIT: added more screenshots

 

Save Wizard MAX PS4 Review

After several comments yesterday telling me I had my original review wrong, here I am trying to put right that wrong.

I was initially reviewing savewizard.com (AVOID unless you you only have access to US games on PSN). For me, it promised much and delivered nothing. And yesterday I was issued a refund at last.

Absolutely avoid: https://shop.xploder.net/xploder-ps4-edition nothing good will come of it.

At least I could now buy and try Save Wizard MAX for the PS4, this promised a lot, being able to cheat by hacking save games is no mean feat, once you edit a save game the data changes and there’s something like a fingerprint system that checks to ensure you don’t cheat. Edit the data and this fingerprint changes too, and the game will not load.

Save Wizard MAX is able to over come this limitation, how I’m not sure… maybe it’s voodoo, maybe it’s Gandalf the Gray. Who knows? I heard a rumor years ago that it’s something to do with cross save with the PS Vita, and seeing as the Vita was hacked, so was the signing of save games.

Either way it doesn’t really matter, what matters is that this is just like the old school cheat disks/cartridges that used to popular with the likes of SNES, Megadrive, PS1 and PS2. You can manually edit codes to achieve a cheat (tricky but doable), or you can just browse and download one already made. They currently have 655 games in their database and a total of 46,748 cheats for those games. Not too shabby eh?

Checkout this screenshot from The Last of Us Remastered I took today:

YES I have nearly 10,000 of everything!

Granted it only works from a save game, so there’s a little to and fro copying to a USB drive, use the editor on the PC, copy it back… but if you can’t wait 2-3 minutes for the whole process, then there’s no helping you no matter what.

 

So a big thank you to Kitsune and ss4gogeta069 for putting me right… eventually. SS4gogeta069, had you been polite and informative right off the bat then there wouldn’t be a need to fall out. I’m man enough to know when I am wrong, and even admit to it, calling me a tool got you nowhere. That said, I’m sorry if I came over as a bit of a dick yesterday, I initially thought you were being antagonistic, while in reality you were trying to put me right.

Are we all friends again? Hope so – Fist Bump… Don’t leave me hanging 🙂

So yes, this one works with every region except Japan, and it works very well too. I’d highly recommend this if you need a little help like I did. TLOU is bloody hard and this made it much easier to get the Survivor+ trophies.

AND DON'T DO LIKE I DID and get domains confused. You need https://savewizard.net

Dead Nation – Apocalypse Edition Cheats

Table Top Racing Cheats

Table Top Racing Cheats

 
So as you can see from the screenshots, cheating and hacking can be done on the PS4, though these only apply to single player games.

Save Wizard for PS4 Review

Not to be confused with Save Wizard MAX (<— This one actually works.) for the PS4

Caveat Emptor.

I recently purchased the PS4 Save Wizard, I just wanted a little help with The Last of Us getting the platinum trophy. So I downloaded, installed, and purchased the Save Wizard in good faith that it’ll work.

It wont, it only works with US games and refuses to do anything with any other region.

So I tried to contact them via their website contact form several times, every time you submit a form it just refreshes the page, so I filed a dispute with Paypal, and left it for 72 hours… no response, I escalated the dispute and found my key for the save wizard was cancelled and they still failed to respond to paypal. However in 1 week I will be issued an automatic refund.

It’s still pisses me off that I now have no refund and software that doesn’t work as advertised.

Caveat Emptor – Buyer beware.

It’s a shame too, the PS3 version has a work around that the PS4 version doesn’t have.

So my advice is to stay clear of it. https://www.savewizard.com/ if you have anything other than a US PSN account and games, and https://shop.xploder.net/xploder-ps4-edition avoid too. The Xploder uses user generated save games.

https://www.savewizard.net  makes use of actual cheats. These work on all regions EXCEPT Japan.

 

ACER ET430 Monitor Review

I had to wait a while for this to come back into stock at Currys.co.uk, I’d had my eye on it for a while, it’s just a little outside my budget of £500, but the delay gave me an extra few weeks to save the extra £50.00

Now I’ve finally got it, I have to say I’m impressed, its 4K and supports 10bit HDR, 43 inches corner to diagonal corner, it supports HDMI 2.0 and Display Port normal and mini.

Initially I could not get my PS4 Pro to display in anything other than 1080P, after some time messing around with safe mode and nothing working, I started to unplug the PSVR and Elgato HD 60, and there lay the problem, the ELGATO HD 60 will only pass-through 1080P, so I stripped out the HD 60 and left the PSVR connected and boom! Everything worked fine, 2160P full RGB and HDR 🙂

I fired up The Last Of Us remaster and it’s utterly stunning, the resolution upscale and the HDR inclusion just made it look stunning. But I also noticed another thing, if you play TLOU for any amount of time, your team GLOW when they walk out of sight, this means you can see where your team is. On my previous monitor, an LG ultrawide monitor, there was some ghosting from the glow, not on this bad boy though. I will miss the ultrawide, they’re awesome for PC gaming and movies. Movies don’t have the black bars and the extra width give you an edge in almost any game that supports 2560 x 1080, which is most modern games.

Did I have to get a 4K panel? Not really, it doesn’t complete me, but having a 4K capable Mac, PC and PS4 Pro and not having a 4K screen… it’s a waste, it’s like employing a cleaner to do the dirty work, but in another life they were a world renowned network admin. But that’s what this panel does, it restores the balance, and seeing what 4K HDR looks like… it’s like going from VHS to 1080P.

Specs:

  • Response 5ms
  • 2 x HDMI 2.0
  • 2 x display port
  • 1 x mini display port
  • 43 Inches
  • 4K and 10bit HDR
  • Contrast: 100,000,000:1
  • Brightness: 350 cd/m²
  • Screen type: IPS

There is a minor downside though, who ever thought that having the ports underneath the back of the screen is a numpty. Getting access to them has meant taking the panel down, connecting/disconnecting and putting it back. It’s all a bit of a farce. Still, once you’ve finished you should be good for quite some time. My advice is to plug-in all the cables if you can, even if you don’t use them… leave them plugged in to make life easier later in case you do need them.

Overall I’m seriously impressed, it’s a beautiful screen, 4K looks amazing, HDR also looks nothing short of stunning, and considering there’s no TV tuner, no catch-up TV or anything like that, you can see why this monitor is probably a better purchase than a TV of the same price. You’ll get more bang and less stuff you don’t need.

AWESOME Screen, if you’re in the market for a monitor. It even sounds OK too. Not as good as dedicated speakers… but seriously, not too bad either.

Nice one Acer.

DOOM on the PC running a 6600K (watercooled) and a GTX 1070

Destiny 2 on the PC running a 6600K (watercooled) and a GTX 1070