What is DAC? Do I need DAC?

DAC, which stands for Digital to Analog Converter, is a chip that converts digital audio information into analog audio signal.  In simple words, DAC is a decoder that provides a much better analog audio signal by increasing the sound quality. Wait a minute, what is digital and what is analog? What does that have anything to do with us?  If you are a total beginner to this, please allow me to explain to you in simple words.  There are a lot of detailed articles out there, but we want to make it simple here.  First of all, let’s look at analog and digital signals.  To put this in a simple way, we can think of analog as a continuous transmission of audio and image that can be greatly affected by distance or surroundings; whereas digital is non-continuous and usually can be seen as the binary code in computer or cell phone system. (as the image above) Have you noticed that? Although computers and smartphones systems have a non-sequence digital signals still broadcast realistic sounds?  That is because DAC is more than just a conversion between digital and analog.  During the conversion, it enhances the signal and logic operation must the performed to restore the signal to its original state as undistorted as possible to optimize the music in your ear.  So with the help of DAC, the music sounds better, clearer and as undistorted as possible. We can go into details and more technical words on how the technology works, but we are trying to make this as simple as possible. Since we have got this far, one thing I would like to bring up is that all the major smartphone brands including HTC, Mi, Huawei, Google have removed the 3.5mm headphone jack and use one single type-C connector.  This revolutionary move has changed the whole market trend of DAC chips, the need of DAC has then increased dramatically.  Therefore from that moment on, all the adapters with a DAC chip becomes a necessity if you own one of those type-C mobile phones and demand for a High-Res sound quality. Below, we can simply show you how DAC will work for us.   You may also be wondering, if those companies removed 3.5mm jack, does that also mean we can no longer charge and listen to music at the same time?  That is why Pengo not only created the USB-C to 3.5mm Audio Cable but also the USB-C to 3.5mm Audio + Charge Adapter because Pengo has heard all your complaints!  Now you can charge while listening to music.   Hopefully now you have a better understanding about DAC as well as the basic principles that causes music to sound more realistic.  Finally, if you would like to learn more about some simplified technical knowledge, like and follow us on Facebook.  We also have occasional promotion campaigns for you, so don’t miss out on the good deals! *2018/10/23

How to Beat the Challenges of Streaming Your Xbox, PS4, and Nintendo Switch Gameplay

With every new generation of hardware comes new hardware and software features.  In the last generation of consoles, the Sony PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch both got dedicated “Share” buttons which are a great start for sharing your gameplay on these consoles, but they don’t come near to what’s possible on PC.  Additionally, a lot of accidents happen when people accidentally don’t record properly on miss-click the button in the heat of battle. There are many tutorials on YouTube right now how to capture gameplay on various platforms, which all involve a lot of extra hardware, work-around, and limitations.  Besides with companies like Microsoft and Sony continuously changing the firmware to add and remove features, even workarounds that previously worked have been cut, leaving gamers with fewer options. Nintendo Switch The Nintendo Switch as a handheld gaming system isn’t exactly what you’re thinking about when you talk about recording your gameplay. Record the last 30 seconds of gameplay.  Even then, you need to buy an additional SD card and you need a computer which can actually read that SD card.  Of course, this means that you can forget live streaming and the recorded resolution is actually only 720p, so your cool actions will actually look worse when you try to review them. The Nintendo Switch has a built-in screenshot/record function which allows you to take a screenshot or even if you can get over the technical hassle, do you really remember to push a button every time after you get a great kill, or perform an insane move?  You’re probably too focused on staying alive and playing the game. Another downside is that your screenshots and clips can only be shared on Twitter or on Facebook, which means that if you want to do anything else, you’ll find yourself using a PC anyway. Microsoft Xbox The Xbox One doesn’t have the built-in “share” button like the other console offerings, and with it being a Microsoft product, it is really trying to push other Microsoft products’ like its Mixer video streaming service.  That’s why you’ll find a generally younger audience playing Overwatch and Fortnite, which might be a concern if you like to stream using games or language that is considered 18+. Another issue with both the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 is that streaming does require resources, many users have encountered lag and with this being a console, there is not much to do in the way of troubleshooting. One weird thing that you will certainly notice when you try to set-up twitch on Xbox, is that you need to create an account on a PC first.  Besides not having a lot of options to set for streaming quality for a long time streaming with an Xbox still required you to use an old (and obsolete) Kinect camera. Sony PlayStation 4 Finally, the PlayStation 4 was the first console made for streaming, but after many years there are still some downsides.  Streaming directly from the PS4 has quite a huge impact on your video quality, no matter if you pick 720p or 1080p, with the latter only being available on the Pro model.  Another downside is that on YouTube it is limited to 360p, 480, 720 or 1080p, as other popular resolutions like 540p are not available. Trying to use a webcam on your PlayStation 4 while streaming, you’ll also find you’re limited to using a PlayStation Eye camera only. What about phones? Most USB Type-C enabled devices also have an HDMI output integrated into the Type-C port.  That means you can use most laptops and smartphones to connect to a TV or another HDMI device with the right cable. While the YouTube gaming App allows you to stream in 720p or 480p, it doesn’t allow you to stream in 1080p resolution. The Twitch route is even harder as it involves other apps that require annual subscriptions to even allow anything but the lowest-quality streaming from your phone to your PC. On iPhone’s Apple’s ReplayKit the hurdles are even bigger, to live stream on YouTube, you need at least 100 subscribers and then only a few games actually support ReplayKit.  For streaming to Twitch, you need actual application support which isn’t really automatic. The easiest solution for streaming of any platform The better solution that is free from all these limitations is an external streaming solution, like the Pengo 4K HDMI Grabber. The biggest advantages of the Pengo 4K HDMI Grabber are: · Allows streaming of every gaming platform with HDMI output · Complete freedom of streaming output and platform · No hardware limitations · Freedom of audio · Recording and streaming when you want · Play in 4K stream in any resolution from 360p to 1080p To put it simply, getting an external HDMI capture card such as the Pengo 4K HDMI Grabber (available now for less than $150 at Amazon) opens up the possibilities of streaming from gaming consoles and even phones without any of the limitations that the software platforms have. It connects to the HDMI port of your console or phone and through USB to any PC or Mac, it connects to any free streaming app like OBS, Gameshow, 1AV Streamer, and XSplit (paid) which allows you to stream to the streaming platform of your choice while you have control of your upload quality without being confined by the choices of big companies like Sony or Microsoft. *2018/12/06

What is USB Power Delivery?

USB-PD is the first new power supply specification proposed by USB-IF (USB Developer Forum) in 2012. The core idea is to meet the power requirements of various devices through a single USB cable, while increasing the charging speed and achieving two-way charging. To put it in simple words, in the future, consumers will no longer have to buy different charging cables for mobile phones, or for computers, or for TVs, etc., one cable will be enough! How does USB-PD do it? Aside from the additional chip placed on both end of the devices that allows them to communicate with each other and provide additional power. One, it can adapt to different voltage and current from different devices, and secondly, it can decide the direction of the charge! That is to say, if your monitor, laptop, and tablet supports USB-PD, then the device can be charged by other devices or be able to charge other devices. So when your laptop, tablet are low in power or you are unable to charger it, you can use the power of the monitor to provide power; and when the monitor needs power, it can also be powered by the host, laptop or tablet. Isn’t it great! Five Profiles for USB-PD Volt, Ampere Power supply Applicable device Profile 1 5V@2A 10 W   Portable devices such as mobile phones and digital cameras Profile 2 5V@2A、12V@1.5A 10~18 W   Tablet PC, external storage device Profile 3 5V@2A、12V@3A 10~36 W   Ultrabook, detachable tablet, etc. Profile 4 5V@2A、12/20V@3A 10~60 W   High-performance notebook, AIO computers Profile 5 5V@2A、12/20V@5A 10~100 W   Standard A/B and Type-C connectors for LCD monitors, flat screen TVs (If you forgot what is Volts (V), Ampere (A), Watt (W), please read this article) (You can also find more information about PD from our previous articles: article.) USB-PD relationship with cables So far, PD does not have a unique symbol for identification on the cables or connectors. Then, how do you know if this cable really supports PD? After reading the five profiles of USB-PD, you will know that if the cable can support PD, it can load up to 5A. If your phone, computer, or monitor supports PD, but your cable only supports 1A of charge- we regret to tell you but your cable may soon be damaged. (Pengo’s cables supports PD, takes all your worries away. Product link: URL) After this article, we hope you have more understanding of USB-PD. When you want to buy a charging cable, don't forget to be watch out for the specification markings on the packaging! Finally, if you want to know more technical information, like our Facebook Pengo page, we will have occasional activities and promotions for you and your friends! *2018/12/24    

HDMI - DVI - VGA

We’ve started the digital world with VGA and moved to DVI sockets, now to the current HDMI world.  Why and how is HDMI winning?  What kind of secrets we don’t know about?  Let us first explain from the beginning.  VGA The VGA connector introduced by IBM in 1987 and everyone should be familiar with it (most schools still use projectors that only support VGA connectors).  You can also see VGA connectors on most of our desktops.  The VGA connector is often referred to as the D-sub connector, in fact the D-Sub refers to all the trapezoidal internal pins with pins, not just a VGA! The biggest difference between VGA and DVI / HDMI is the analog signal transmission.  (If you forgot and you are not sure what analog or digital means, please refer to this article.)   Perhaps many people will think that VGA does not support high resolution but in fact VGA transmission cables can support up to 2560×1600P!  However, VGA easily gets transmission interference by other signals, so in order to avoid video interference, keeping and viewing at 1920×1080P or below resolutions is more stable. Although in 2010 many manufacturers jointly decided to completely eliminate the VGA interface in 2015, thus the VGA connector has been removed as the newer laptops are getting thinner and thinner.   There are still too many existing and professional devices using the VGA interface to output images, therefore the VGA era should not be completely over just yet.   DVI In 1999, after VGA was introduced for 12 years and has been widely used;  Intel, HP and COMPAQ jointly released DVI in order to replace VGA. DVI is most commonly divided into three types: DVI-A (analog), DVI-D (digital), DVI-I (mixed).  DVI-D and DVI-I are divided into single channel and dual channel.  In single channel, DVI can support 1920×1200@60 Hz, which is slightly higher than our usual 1920×1080@60 Hz.  Therefore, the most common DVI screen is the DVI-D Single Link connector.  In dual channel, DVI can support up to 2560×1600@60 Hz resolution, which is slightly higher than 2K (2560×1440 @ 60 Hz). Everything seems great, but why didn’t DVI take over the market?  First, because the size of the DVI connector is too big, it is difficult to accommodate the smaller size notebooks;  second, it was affected by the tariffs of various countries.  From 2004, the European Union began to recognize DVI monitors as TVs, it increased from a 0% import tax on computer monitors to a 14% import tax on TVs;  In 2006, Taiwan decided to have DVI monitor classified for TV tariffs.  A 13% of goods tax plus 10% of the import tax, making a total of 23% tax.  Therefore the manufacturing cost for DVI monitors became more expensive than a VGA monitor.  Many manufactures went back to producing VGA LCD monitors while DVI interface can only be found in middle and high-end products.  The DVI ear is bound to be limited,thus the VGA will not disappear anytime soon. HDMI In 2003, TOSHIBA, SONY, Panasonic and other home appliance manufacturers promoted HDMI, which was originally designed for TV, DVD and Blu-ray players.  It is not only  smaller in size and has the ability to transmit sound and video simultaneously, HDMI is also supported by leading film production companies such as 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., Disney, Samsung Electronics, and other cable TV systems. There are many HDMI versions, and the most common ones are 1.4 and 2.0 and the 2.1 version was introduced back in 2017.  The 1.4 version can support 1080P@120Hz; the 2.0 version can support 4K @50/60Hz and support 21:9 aspect ratio;  2.1 version can support 4K@120Hz and 8K@60Hz, its transmission bandwidth also increased significantly.  It is worth mentioning that HDMI has added an Ethernet channel after version 1.4, but nowadays the average family will not apply this function and it will also depend on how HDMI is going to develop in the future!   HDMI is better than DVI and HDCP is one of the reasons (Forget what HDCP is? Come see this article: URL) HDMI started supporting HDCP in 2003, but DVI joined later in 2007.  This is why many movie companies support HDMI at an early stage.  We hope you have a basic idea of these three types of connectors.   In short, the advantages of HDMI are: the ability to transmit sound at the same time, small size, high quality, easy to plug, supports HDCP and so on.  HDMI should have a stable and long-lasting position in the market, unless there is a new development of a new connector.  We hope you like our simple version of HDMI introduction.  Finally, if you want to learn more about technology, please join and like our Facebook Pengo page.  We will have occasional activities! *2019/02/13

What is PPS ?

As the performance of mobile phones becomes stronger and the screens become larger and larger, the power consumption of mobile phones has also increased dramatically, and fast charging has become an indispensable part.  However, each brand develops their own fast charging technology and many of them are incompatible with each other which brings the consumer an abundance of inconvenience and it is a waste of resources. In 2017, the USB-IF Association added Programmable Power Supply (PPS) to the USB PD 3.0 standard, expecting a unified specification for today's fast charging solutions.  In that same year, Qualcomm’s QC4.0 complied with PPS standards, reaching a unified charging scheme.  So what is Programmable Power Supply (PPS)? The PPS standard refers to the power supply can exchange data with the power supply every ten seconds, so that the power supply can dynamically adjust the output voltage and current according to the condition of the receiving product specifications.  The voltage range is between 3~ 21V, with increment of 0.02V.  Due to PPS, USB-IF Association has also added "PPS Voltage Step Test" and "PPS Current Limit Test" to ensure that the current and voltage dynamic adjustment of the device during the charging process are in compliance with the Association's specifications. Note:  There are two types of fast charging modes, one is high voltage and low current, and the other is low voltage and high current.  The disadvantage of the first mode is because while the withstand voltage of the mobile phone battery is 4.2V, but the input charging voltage is 9V, it is necessary to reduce voltage to 4.2V in the mobile phone.  The reduction of voltage will increase the current and cause the mobile phone to easily overheat.  This is the reason why you feel the increase in temperature on your mobile phone. *2019/01/18

Change to USB Type-C! It’s Better!

In the spring of 2015, Apple was the only company to release a laptop with one USB Type-C connector.  The USB Type-C gradually became popular leading to extensive discussions among the tech savvy network.  With an increasing demand in the market, USB Type-C can now be found in various kinds of computers and mobile phones.  What are the advantages of USB Type-C? What is the relationship with USB PD? (Forget what USB PD is?  Please read this article) The advantages of USB Type-C are in fact very consistent with today’s technology trend.  The compact design and fast transmission speed are compatible with practically all modern devices; Not only is it light and slim, but it is also able to transfer larger data volume.  Unlike other USBs, the USB Type –C has a reversible design that allows the connector to be plugged in from either side.  The way that this goal is achieved is actually quite simple but smart—that is, all the signals are aligned symmetrically.  This way, the user can easily plug it in once allowing an immediate recognition from the other end.   The USB Type-C USB 3.1 can support three different USB PD specifications 5V/12V/20V to reach a wider charging range, thus devices can charge all at once with one single cable. Unlike the majority of USB types in the market, the USB Type-C can deliver high-definition video and audio.  The original USB-A can also deliver a high-definition video and audio but only with the upgraded USB 3.1 Gen2 version which is very rare to find in the market.  In general, the USB 2.0 does not have the ability to transmit files because it does not have enough bandwidth.  USB Type-C Alternate Mode (or Alt Mode – Full-Function) on the other hand, can deliver movies with more than 4K quality, which is currently the highest resolution in the market.  When connecting a HDMI adapter, DisplayPort adapter, or VGA adapter, verify that your devices supports USB-C Alternate Mode.  Here comes the good news!  The MFI-certified Lightning to USB Type-C cable is expected to be available in early 2019 (To know more about MFI, please read this article).  At the moment, many Lightning to USB Type-C cables on the market are not certified by Apple hence the quality is difficult to be determined.  Nonetheless, Pengo will soon be releasing its very own MFI certified cable soon providing one of the highest quality products in the market.   Hopefully we gave you a little bit more understanding regarding USB Type-C (USB-C).  If you would like to know more about some technical information, please like our Pengo Facebook page and follow us. We will have occasional activities and promotions for you! *2019/02/18 *2020/05/20 revised