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Projectors have always been a polarizing topic among home theater enthusiasts. Some have long sworn by them, touting the benefits of being able to conjure a 100-inch display out of thin air, while critics claim they’re virtually useless in anything other than a pitch-black room. It’s a debate that has raged for a long time, but even the biggest projection critics have to admit that projector technology has come a long, long way in recent years.

Unless you’re a home theater aficionado there’s a good chance you’ve never heard of XGIMI. The company makes projectors and, well, nothing else. But by being a one-trick pony, the company has been able to pour everything they have into building projectors that range from tiny and portable to beefy and ultra-powerful. The all-new XGIMI Horizon Pro definitely falls into the latter category, and I’ve been test driving it for a few weeks now.

As someone who never thought he’d be wowed by a home theater projector, I have one thing to say: Wow.

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There are two Horizon models. There’s the standard model which tops out at 1080P and the Horizon Pro which beams its images at 4K. The standard model is priced at $1,099 while the Pro version will set you back $1,699. I tested the Pro model, so I can’t speak to the picture quality of the standard Horizon projector, though the device itself is identical in most other features. From here on out, all of my impressions will be of the Horizon Pro.

The projector is absolutely packed with bells and whistles, and it starts with Android TV. Using Android TV as the OS means that the device is essentially its own Chromecast, so if you want to cast screens from other devices without plugging them in, it’s super easy. There’s one small asterisk here that I’ll address in a minute, but in my testing, the built-in Chromecast worked well.

The 4K picture is honestly incredible, especially for a projector that is designed to be portable. I first tested it on a flat wall in my living room that is painted a medium gray color. This isn’t the most ideal situation for any projector, but the picture that I got was shockingly good. Further testing on a proper projector screen yielded predictably excellent results, with bold colors and lots of brightness, even in a room with five windows.

The Horizon Pro is rated at 2,200 ANSI lumens. That might not sound super bright, especially if you’re not familiar with the ANSI standard, but it is. ANSI lumens are a standardized brightness measurement that is more accurate for comparing one device to another than, say, LED lumens or light source lumens. To give you an idea of how the conversion works, 1,000 ANSI lumens are roughly equivalent to 2,400 LED lumens or a whopping 17,000 light source lumens. So, if you’re comparing the 2,200 ANSI lumens that the Horizon Pro puts out to other devices, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples.

What impressed me most about the projector wasn’t the picture itself — which, again, is fantastic — but the features that ensure you get the most screen real estate possible. The Horizon Pro features autofocus, obstacle avoidance, screen alignment, and (the holy grail of them all) auto keystone correction. It takes about three button presses (from the excellent remote that is included) to enable auto keystone. In my first test, I had it pointed at a small section of a wall with multiple problems. The image overlapped a 90-degree angle and a door frame, as well as a light on a table below. Here’s what it looked like:

Yeah, that’s not going to work. I clicked to start the auto keystone and waited roughly 5 seconds. Here’s what it did:

I don’t care how big of a naysayer you are about home theater projectors… you have to admit that this is absolutely awesome. It basically plasters a high-resolution display anywhere you want it, automatically. Pretty nifty stuff!

The Horizon Pro includes a bunch of additional inputs including two HDMI 2.0, two USB 2.0, a LAN port, headphone jack, and optical audio. It obviously also features built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.0, as you’d expect from a device like this.

Speaking of audio, a pair of Harman/Kardon speakers give the projector some pretty serious audio chops as well. It’s fine for most viewing situations, though if you’re investing in a projector like this you’ll probably opt for a full speaker setup at some point in the near future.

After playing around with the device for a few weeks I can say that I’m incredibly pleased with it. It’s dead quiet — seriously, I have to check if the power light is on on the top after I push the remote button as it powers up because it makes so little noise — and the picture and sound are both great. That said, it’s not totally perfect.

The one drawback here is that XGIMI hasn’t been able to get certification from certain streaming services for the device. You can watch a ton of different built-in streaming services, and with the Play Store you can download a bunch more, but some heavy hitters like Netflix and Disney Plus are missing.

XGIMI says it’s working on getting certification to be able to allow these services, but for now, you’ll have to actually plug something in — like a Chromecast or Roku stick — using one of the HDMI ports if you want to stream Netflix and a couple of others. If you’re paying $1,699 for a projector you’d expect to be able to watch Netflix on it, but then again, if you’re paying that much for a projector, another $50-$100 for a streaming device probably isn’t a big deal either. In fact, there’s a good chance you already own one, which would make this issue disappear real quick.

If you’re looking for a 4K projector and you have the money to spend, it would be hard to do better than the Horizon Pro. Boasting up to 300 inches of screen real estate, you’re never going to find a 4K TV that rivals what this thing can do, especially when you factor in portability and ease of use. It made me a believer in projectors, which is an achievement in itself.

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Naabiae Nenu-B is a Medical Health Student and an SEO Specialist dedicated to flushing the web off fake news and scam scandals. He aims at being "Africa's Best Leak and Review Blogger" and that's the unwavering stand of Xycinews Media.

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E-Games

Super Mario World Is Now Playable In Widescreen

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Gif: Super Mario World Widescreen

Software engineer and SNES ROM hacker Vitor Vilela has led a team which has created and released Super Mario World Widescreen, a download that lets you play Nintendo’s Super Mario World—first released in 1990—on modern widescreen displays.

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Crucially SMWW keeps the game’s original 8:7 pixel aspect ratio, meaning that no matter how wide you stretch the display, “the screen you will see is like how would you see on a real TV screen connected to the SNES, except expanded to the widescreen resolution!”

Super Mario World is now available in widescreen

Left: playing SMW using a regular widescreen mod | Right: playing SMW on this custom widescreen release
Screenshot: Kotaku

While standard 16:9 and 16:10 monitor resolutions are supported, Vilela is also working on some other, funkier aspect ratios, like 2:1 and even 21:9 for anyone with an ultrawide monitor.

It’s available here, but before you go rushing to download it, there’s some stuff you need to know. Firstly, the download link is just for SMWW, and doesn’t contain a ROM of Super Mario World itself. You’ll have to find that…elsewhere.

And secondly, you’ll also need to download the emulator bsnes_hd, since the only way SMWW was made possible was because bsnes_hd allowed Vilela to increase the game’s horizontal resolution by 96 pixels, from 256×224 to 352×224. bsnes also allows many other SNES games to run in widescreen as well, though not to the same level of tailored perfection as we’re seeing here (as you can see in the comparison screenshot above, simply running SMW in bsnes has some framing issues).

You can check out a trailer below:

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Get free AirPods with Apple’s 2021 Back to School sale

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School is just now ending in many states around the country, but that didn’t stop Apple from kicking off its back-to-school sale this week. If you’re in the market for a new device ahead of the coming school year, Apple is giving away a free pair of AirPods with your purchase of any eligible computer or tablet. This includes the MacBook Air, MacBook Pro, 24-inch iMac, Mac Pro, Mac mini, iPad Pro, and iPad Air, which leaves you with plenty of options.

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If you decide to take advantage of the promotion, all that you need to do is head to Apple’s Back to School landing page, select your Mac or iPad of choice, and proceed with the checkout process. After you’ve decided which model you’re going to choose, you’ll reach a page where you can add AirPods with a charging case (normally $159.99) to your order free of charge.

If you’d prefer to have a wireless charging case, you can upgrade for $40, and you’d rather get a pair of AirPods Pro, it’s going to cost you $90. You can also opt not to take the free AirPods at all, but even if you don’t need the wireless headphones, they’d probably make a solid gift.

In addition to the AirPods offer, Apple is also giving current and newly accepted college students and their parents, as well as teachers and staff, 20% off AppleCare+ for the products they buy.

It’s also worth noting that all new Apple devices come with three-month free trials to both Apple Arcade and Apple TV+. For quite some time, Apple was giving consumers a free year of Apple TV+, but as we learned earlier this week, the company actually wants people to start paying for the streaming service at some point. Therefore, all of the initial free trials from 2019 that have been extended multiple times will finally be ending in July. Furthermore, eligible devices activated July 1st, 2021 or later will qualify for offers of 3 months free Apple TV+, so if you want a full year (as well as some free AirPods), you might want to place your order soon.

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Everyone’s binge-watching this raunchy new Netflix comedy right now

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For anyone in the US who’s been going through Schitt’s Creek withdrawals and could use a hilarious new comedy from our neighbor to the north, especially as an antidote of sorts to the pandemic and all kinds of other negative news in the world right now, rejoice — Netflix has you covered, in the form of a raunchy sitcom from Catherine Reitman.

Season 5 of her show Workin’ Moms just got added to Netflix in the US a few days ago, and already it’s one of the most-watched Netflix shows, having rocketed up the streamer’s ranks of what’s popular across the service at any given moment. Reitman, the daughter of famed Hollywood director Ivan Reitman, not only stars in the series but she always writes and directs, and as of the time of this writing the series is currently the #4 most-viewed TV show on Netflix in the US. Originally broadcast in Canada via the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), this comedy is built around the following, according to Netflix’s summary: “Maternity leave is over, and it’s time for these four moms to return to work while navigating kids, bosses, love, and life in modern-day Toronto.”

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Reitman will already be familiar to American audiences thanks to acting in such productions as It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Friends With Benefits, and Knocked Up. Her Workin’ Moms cast also includes Dani Kind, Juno Rinaldo, and Jessalyn Wanlim.

As far as how much of the show is available on Netflix right now, subscribers can stream all five available seasons of the show. Reitman recently took to Instagram to confirm that Season 6 of the show is a go, it having been renewed by CBC. In terms of when that means we can expect it to make its way to Netflix — don’t expect it before 2022, probably mid-year.

Check back here this weekend, meanwhile, for our latest complete rundown on what’s hot and being binged the most right now across all the major streaming services, from Netflix to Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, and more. Our list comes, as always, from the team at the streaming search engine service Reelgood, which regularly shares with a BGR a snapshot of what shows and movies are the most popular on a weekly as well as monthly basis among its millions of users.

Reelgood, by the way, is a great service to be aware of, if you’re not already and if you’re a streaming power-user. It aims to be a one-stop-shop that makes finding shows and movies to watch convenient, especially since it gets a little hard to keep track of which service has this or that new TV show — and since they’re all constantly adding and removing content pretty regularly.

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