Hands on: Westinghouse’s WhiteBoard is an 84-inch Windows 8 LED monitor (and 4K TV)

Westinghouse-4k-windows8-2

What would you do with an 84-inch computer monitor with 4K UltraHD resolution?

Westinghouse Digital, a company better known for making high-definition televisions than PCs, is branching out into the interactive whiteboard business with massive PC-TV hybrids that understand touch. Although an LED WhiteBoard makes more sense inside classrooms and boardrooms than your home, the company is open to the idea of offering the device to consumers, as long as they don’t mind ponying up $16,000 for the bragging rights ($15,000 if you don’t need the built-in PC that powers the 4K screen) – and have the space for it.

We got a chance to see this 84-inch WhiteBoard up close, so scroll on down to see what we think.

It’s practically an interactive wall

First of all, you can’t help but notice the LED 4K Monitor’s size: it’s huge and makes you feel tiny when standing next to it – the 38.5-inch InFocus Mondopad has nothing on this beast. Unlike a big-screen HDTV where you’d step as far back as possible to take in all the screen, you need to stand pretty close to this WhiteBoard to use its touchscreen, which makes you feel as if  you’re playing with an interactive wall rather than just a monitor.

To make touch possible on such a large surface, Westinghouse uses its proprietary Infrared Touch rather than the capacitive technology that is in your mobile devices. What this means is the WhiteBoard uses IR cameras hidden along the edge of the screen that track the location and movement of your fingers, so it can understand your touch controls. You (and another user) can use up to six fingers at the same time to zoom in, out, and to poke at the virtual keyboard. For example, we were able to doodle on the WhiteBoard with our finger, while another Westinghouse representative used his hand to capture screenshots. The WhiteBoard’s touch system felt responsive to our gestures: we didn’t notice any significant lag in the brief time we were playing with the device.

WhiteBoard app 

Since the point of the demo was to show off the WhiteBoard’s touch features – rather than its 4K UltraHD, 3840 x 2160 pixel resolution LED screen with 178 degree (vertical and horizontal) viewing angles – we didn’t get to watch any 4K sample reels to check out its screen. Instead, we got to play with the company’s own WhiteBoard app that runs on top of Windows 8 (you can also opt for Windows 7).

Westinghouse Whiteboard toolbar

You can access the basic WhiteBoard touch features from Desktop mode, which, as you can see in the photo, looks just like a vertical toolbox. Say you want to scribble some notes about a webpage; all you have to do is select the pencil tool on the toolbox before you start your annotations.

If you want to do much more than just highlight some text with the basic tools, you can use the full-featured WhiteBoard app. To make the WhiteBoard particularly useful for meetings and for school, the app lets you set different backgrounds like blank sheet music for music class, or blank field-of-play diagrams for coaches to call plays.

Westinghouse Whiteboard demo

You can also import and edit photos, create stamps of shapes, and type out text and math formulas so that they’re neater than just your chicken scratches.

Westinghouse Whiteboard_app options-2

There’s a PC in here

Westinghouse Whiteboard ports-2Behind the gigantic 84-inch screen is a little PC with a third-generation Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM (expandable to 8GB), a 500GB hard drive, Wi-Fi (not 802.11ac), an Ethernet port, 6 USB ports, as well as dual HDMI and VGA-outs to make it easy to connect the WhiteBoard with other audio visual equipment. The whole setup is surprisingly compact, and you can hardly tell that there’s a computer inside unless you peak in the back.

If you’re willing to make do with a smaller display that offers just 1080p HD resolution, a 70-inch WhiteBoard can be had for $8,000. A 65-inch and 55-inch option are also available for $7,000 and $5,000, respectively. You can even knock $1,000 off these prices if you choose to go without an integrated computer and just hook up your own PC to the WhiteBoard via HDMI.

The WhiteBoard is definitely geared more for school and meetings than for homes, but it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine such a large touchscreen PC-TV hybrid taking over your family room or basement for gaming. We’re already seeing 20-plus-inch all-in-one computers and tablets geared for homes, so why not a gigantic 84-incher? These Westinghouse WhiteBoards won’t be available until this fall, and we could possibly see smaller models with more family-friendly price tags coming to our homes in the near future.

[Video from Dick DeBartolo’s YouTube channel]

Gaming

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.
Computing

PDF to JPG conversion is as quick as a few clicks with these simple methods

Converting file formats can be an absolute pain, but it doesn't have to be. We've put together a comprehensive guide on how to convert a PDF to JPG, no matter which operating system you're running.
Computing

Gmail's unsend email feature is one of its best. Here's how to use it

Everyone has sent a message they wish they could take back. How great would it be if you could undo that impulsive email? If you're a Gmail user, you can. Here's how to recall an email in Gmail.
Computing

How to change your Gmail password whenever you want in just a few quick steps

Regularly updating your passwords is a good way to stay secure online, but each site and service has their own way of doing it. Here's a quick guide on how to change your Gmail password in a few short steps.
Computing

Lost without Print Screen? Here's how to take a screenshot on your Mac

Whether you prefer to use keyboard shortcuts or applications such as Grab and Preview, this guide will teach you how to take a screenshot on a Mac. Once you know how, you'll be able to capture images within seconds.
Computing

Converting files from MKV to MP4 is quick and easy. Just follow these steps

MKV files have their place, but if you would rather convert your videos from MKV to MP4, there are two methods we consider the best and most efficient for getting it done. In this guide, we'll walk you through them step by step.
Computing

Listen up Apple: Here’s how to fix the Touch Bar once and for all

If you’re wondering what the point of the MacBook Pro’s Touch Bar is, you’re not alone. We know it’s got potential, but it’s never managed to hit the heights of what it promised. Here’s what Apple must do to change it for the…
Computing

Google Chrome 76 will stop websites from seeing users in Incognito Mode

Google Chrome 76 will implement a fix that will stop websites from detecting visitors who are in Incognito Mode. Google acknowledged that the change will complicate matters for publishers who have metered paywalls on their news websites.
Gaming

Be forewarned, these free MMORPGs will slay your spare time

Have ample time on your hands and an unquenchable thirst to beat, battle, and blast your way through worlds of fantasy and sci-fi splendor? Check out our picks for the best free MMORPGs.
Computing

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are tools you can use both online and offline. This step-by-step guide will instruct you on how to use them.
Computing

Need to rip audio from a video? Here's how to download music from YouTube

Ripping audio from YouTube has never been easier, but with so many tools on offer, which is the best? Our guide will teach you how to download music from YouTube with two different tools. Just proceed with caution.
Computing

M4A is great for quality, but not for storage. Here's how to convert to MP3

Despite its remarkable ability to retain audio fidelity at a smaller size, M4A files aren't the best when it comes to compatibility. Check out our basic guide on how to convert M4A files to MP3.
Computing

If you work in an office, you should know how to recall an email in Outlook

If you're an outlook user who sent an angry email and really wish you hadn't, then you're in luck. There are ways to recall that email, but you'll have to act fast. Here's how to recall an email in outlook.
Computing

Need a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator? Here are our favorites

Photoshop and other commercial tools can be expensive, but drawing software doesn't need to be. The best free drawing software is just as powerful as some of the more expensive offerings.