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18 Mar

Smart TV Basics That you Need to Remember

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Smart TVs are gaining popularity by the day, as there are newer features being introduced with each product, which make life easier overall for the user. Many of today’s Smart TVs are compatible with a number of other devices you typically find inside a modern home, and help you to control these from a single source. These features have definitely had a hand in transforming a lot of people’s lifestyles. Below are a few basic things about the average Smart TV that should help you understand it better than you do already.

Connecting Your Smart TV To The Internet

Smart TVs use the internet connection in your home in order to bring you quality photos, audio, movies, and TV shows. They use either Wi-Fi or wired Ethernet to stay connected. There are several things that you need to take care of after setting up a Smart TV. One of the main ones is ensuring that Wi-Fi coverage from a fastest internet provider is available in the immediate vicinity of your Smart TV. If you have a router on a different floor, for instance, you may not be able to enjoy uninterrupted streaming.

Keeping the Connection Strong

If your smart TV is facing issues while operating, there are a few simple things you can do to ensure its connection to the internet stays strong. Ensure that your internet router is not more than three years old, so that you have a reasonable chance of getting better than good performance out of it. Also, the use of Wi-Fi range extenders and routers with mesh network are great options in cases where nearby placement is hard to achieve.

Setup, Apps, and Streaming

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There are no standard operating systems in place for Smart TVs. Each TV maker uses different firmware as well as graphical presentation methods. Interfaces and operating systems used are different for different companies.

Your experience watching videos from streaming services would almost always benefit from having the speeds guaranteed by any of the best internet providers out there. Meanwhile, you also get to use a number of popular apps which come included with most smart TVs these days. While lower-priced models promote only the most popular applications, the higher-end TVs provide more comprehensive sets of options in that area.

Does a Smart TV Crash?

Smart TVs also employ computer chips for upscaling, video processing, multiple screen display, and internet connection. That means they need memory to buffer streaming music and video, aside from additional processing power needed to make proper adjustments to rendered graphics. Sometimes this can cause a TV to crash, or exhibit glitches. That issue is mostly being eliminated with the use of quad-core processors, which bring more computing power to the table.

06 Mar

The Do’s and Don’ts to Follow When Using Public Wi-Fi

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Public Wi-Fi Guide

While it offers you free internet, public Wi-Fi network has little to no restriction. In a private network, on the other hand, restrictions as well as access rules are set up to give access to only a minimum number of users. However, if you are deprived of the internet or there are not many speedy and reliable services in your area, then you might want to look at the other options.

Not all residential users have direct access to some of the major internet providers in the nation. If that applies to you, and you do not have a connection from the best internet provider in your area, then you will want to rely on public Wi-Fi for your important tasks.

Some people hang around places such as a library, having access to the best internet provider therein, to connect to the internet. Seeing the lack of internet options there, such kinds of institutions and nonprofit organizations allow that as a gesture of goodwill. As you can see, in that case, one gets to access a private network, not a public network.

Do’s of Using Public Wi-Fi

  • Connect to a secured public network whenever possible.
  • Disable automatic connectivity option or setting in your device. This is one of the convenient features, available in most smartphones, tablets, and laptops, but it can connect your device to networks that you generally would not use. It is best to keep such settings disabled, particularly when you are traveling to an unfamiliar place.
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    Monitor Bluetooth connectivity. It is a good feature to use when in a private place. However, leaving it on when on a public place can pose a big threat to your cyber security. That is because while Bluetooth connectivity allows for communication from one compatible device to another, a hacker can also look for open signals to get access to your device.

  • Consider using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) to make sure your anonymity and privacy are protected when on public Wi-Fi. VPN protection services can encrypt the data people send and receive when using public Wi-Fi hotspots, securing their information from others who use the same connection.

The Don’ts

  • Do not access your personal bank account, or any sensitive data, when on a public network. This may also apply while doing shopping over a public Wi-Fi network.
  • Do not leave your device unattended in any public place, or stay fully engaged in an activity in such a way that that presents a chance for someone to steal your property.
28 Feb

US Justice Department Not About To Appeal the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

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AT&T emerged victorious despite the drawn out attempts of the Trump administration to block its 85.4 billion dollars purchase of Time Warner, as the US Justice department said that they will not fight an appeal court ruling that approves the deal. The acquisition of Time Warner by AT&T has been watched very closely after it came under fire from president Donald Trump. Trump opposed the merger as he saw it helping the CNN unit of Time Warner, which was accused by the president of broadcasting fake news.

There was a three judge panel on the US Court of Appeals for the Columbia district and they unanimously ruled in favor of the deal. They said that the case of the government that the merger will lead to increase in consumer prices was very “unpersuasive.” The decision of the panel ended a long fifteen-month effort by the Justice Department to block the merger.

This is the second major court victory for AT&T in this regard, and has set the stage for the second best wireless carrier in the country to integrate their WarnerMedia business with their new Xandr advertising unit. “We are grateful that the Court of Appeals considered our objections to the District Court opinion. The department has no plans to seek further review,” said Jeremy Edwards, who is the spokesman for the Justice Department.

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Makan Delrahim, who heads the antitrust division of the US Justice Department phoned Paul Cappuccio, Time Warner’s former General Counsel, and David McAtee, AT&T current General Counsel, to congratulate them on the victory. McAtee said the merger “has already yielded significant consumer benefits and will continue to do so for years to come.” This deal is being seen as a very important turning point in the media industry, which has been upended by businesses like Google and Netflix that offer content online without any need for cable subscriptions.

The merger was announced in October 2016 and was closed on June 14 2018 after the U.S. District Judge Richard Leon ruling that the merger was legal under the US antitrust law. AT&T agreed to manage the Turner network till 28th of February, or until the conclusion of any appeal made by the US Justice Department. It was also agreed that AT&T will have no role in setting the prices of Turner to the distributors.

20 Feb

Telecom Giant in Trouble after Row with Employee

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One of the fastest internet provider in the country, Comcast® did not fail to yield to the requirements of an employee by declining to reassign her, according to a federal district court judge. The former employee had alleged that Comcast® failed to obey the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The employee, Brenda Turcotte, had her position automated and she was transferred to another dispatch work. However, her job was not easy because of the increasing work volumes, and the number of inbound calls affected her peace of mind. As a result, she took leave and made a request to the firm regarding the reassignment of dispatch job. According to the court though, she demanded jobs that were highly similar to the dispatch job. Besides, she failed to produce medical evidence to support her request and was unsuccessful in applying for jobs internally. Finally, she became an intern at another firm, ending her commitment with Comcast®.

The judge favored the cheap internet provider Comcast® in this case because it found out that Turcotte would have ended up doing the same job as she was presently doing, even if the transfer request was accepted. The ruling remarked, “It defies logic to argue that those jobs would have been a reasonable accommodation. If she could perform this function, Comcast® would have no obligation to accommodate her at all.”

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Turcotte highlighted the importance that the court gives to the ADA’s interactive process. “Managers need to be trained to dedicate extra time and effort to employees with disabilities when determining accommodations,” David K. Fram, the director of ADA and Equal Employment Opportunity services for the National Employment Law Institute commented in an interview. According to the court, Comcast® made a reasonable effort to cope with the request and make a resolution that would satisfy both parties. It said that the HR representatives and managers dedicated time to counsel, train, retrain, and organize internal job quests alongside Turcotte.

Furthermore, there were also faults on the employee’s side, which led to the verdict. Turcotte did not respond to the company’s requests for more information. She also did not reveal her true intentions to the company. Although ADA does not say that the interactive process is mandatory, it certainly favors employers who communicate well with their employees. If the employer causes the breakdown of the process, then they would be adjudged guilty of trying to take advantage of the disability. Similarly, if there were evidence that the employee caused the breakdown, then the employer would be at an advantage.

12 Feb

A Pro/Con Comparison of Free and Paid Internet Security Programs

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Internet Security Programs

You need an internet security software in order to protect your personal information from online threats. If you have been looking for an internet security program, you may have noticed there are plenty of options in the market that are fully free and some that necessitate a subscription. It need not always be an internet subscription, but anything that offers you the free service option.

Subscribing to an internet security product without having to pay for it might seem attractive at first, but the option is not all that it is cracked up to be. The first thing you have to note is that like most ‘free’ online services, free internet security suites are not actually so. They do not cost any money, though you have to ‘pay’ for them or they ‘cost’ you in some or the other way.

For instance, you subscribe to the best internet imaginable and your service provider offers you the so-called ‘free’ internet security suite for the subscription. On the plus side, you may even get it for a few of your devices from any of the internet providers that offer the same. This sort of internet security may not necessarily be bad, unlike the one that you choose to download from the internet and has only the basic security features.

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So be aware when someone tells you that all ‘free’ internet security suites are bad. There are some, which come at the cost of another subscription that actually offers advanced protection against threats such as phishing and so forth. However, a totally free internet suite from a no-name company might not be all that worth it.

Even the one from an internet service provider may mean that you will have to update it or activate a certain feature that consumes your data. However, even worse is that totally free internet suite option – instead of the free offer, you will have to give access to your browser use as well as internet activity. That is the one that costs you, may be not in the form of money but in the form of your privacy or data taken away.

If you already have an internet connection, and are just looking for a security suite, then your best option is to purchase one from a reputed antivirus company. Even the internet service providers are offering ‘free’ security suites of reputed brands. While you might be a touch daunted by the initial configuration options, the best internet suites will actually make configuring your preferred features as seamless as possible.

05 Feb

What you Need to Know about Internet Agreements and Related Costs

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The advertised price is seldom the same as what you actually pay. It is true of most services, including cable and internet. The costs outlined here are not the only ones that you might see on your invoice. They are the most common expenses, which the average consumer has to understand before signing up.

Contract versus No-Contract Internet

When you subscribe to an internet service, several companies will offer a cheaper price to you if you put pen to paper. Usually, the service contract period is up to two years. If you live in the US, your service provider might not give the best internet option to you sans a contract.

In the long run, contract service can at times be a relatively better deal. This is especially true for bundle subscribers, as the best pricing typically comes with an agreement. If you intend to live at your present address for a couple of years at the least, contracts with that duration are worth considering. Oftentimes, the pricing is significantly lower, and there are service providers who “lock in” the price, so that you do not have to bother about it rising unexpectedly, as it does at times with “month-to-month” service.

Nonetheless, you have to understand that breaking an agreement can result in early termination fees. Most service providers allow you to cancel at no cost in the initial fifteen days or so, though afterward, you need to pay to move, even when you are switching since it fails to deliver the promised speeds.

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A month-to-month plan is better for short-term residents and renters and usually more flexible on the whole. If you feel you might have to switch before your agreement is over, then consider a no-contract service. There are service providers who offer internet-only packages without a contract; some providers have this policy. Keep in mind that such internet plans often cost extra 10 dollars or so a month for the flexibility. If you intend to stay with the exact best internet service for multiple years, then this cost can add up quickly.

Most internet users usually rent a router and/or modem as part of service. TV subscribers also lease set-top boxes, DVRs, and other equipment from their cheap cable operator. Each of them comes with a leasing fee (typically about 5 to 15 dollars a month). They can show up on your cable bill as “modem fees”, “equipment fees”, “technology fees”, and the like.

31 Jan

Why is the Subscriber Count of Netflix® Soaring High

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When Netflix® reported their fourth quarter results, the subscriber growth of the company continued the steady march upwards. The percent of the global paying customers increased by 26% per year to more than 139 million. The inclusion of 8.84 million subscribers has exceeded the 7.6 million users anticipated by Netflix®. They continue to confound skeptics by bypassing their own forecasts. However, what is leading to the addition of more subscribers.

Netflix® has long known that it is the content that matters. Since their starting, they have made use of massive amount of data that they have collected from their viewers to find out the money to be spent for their various licensing programs, the list of original programs that would be appealing to more people, and the genres to invest in. As per the latest research, this can be a good advantage for Netflix.

“Certified Fresh” Movies

Various analyses made, focusing on streaming television and cord cutting shows that Netflix® offers more movies that the viewers wish to watch when compared to the other streaming service providers. The data was used from Rotten Tomatoes to compare the popularity of the movies that are found on the top most streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video, AT&T’s HBO Now®, Hulu, and Netflix®. A movie that is deemed “Certified Fresh” by Rotten Tomatoes will be maintaining a rating of 75% or more getting 80 reviews for a wide release and 40 reviews for a limited release.

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The analysis found that Netflix® had more than 596 “Certified Fresh” movies in their catalog, which is much more than Amazon Prime, Hulu, and HBO Now® combined. Amazon had the greatest selection of movies with 17,461 movies, which is followed by Netflix® with 3,839 movies, Hulu with 2,336 movies and HBO Now® with 815 movies.

Netflix® wins the battle when it comes to quality as well. While 15.5% of the movies that were available for streaming on Netflix® were “Certified Fresh”, Hulu had 9.6%, HBO Now® stood at 4.7%, and Amazon Prime, just 1.3%. This is just one measurement. However, it shows the improving quality of the library of content of Netflix®, which is attracting more and more customers to the streaming service.

22 Jan

4 Ways to Get Internet for a Lower Monthly Cost

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Monthly Internet Cost

Even if you are happy with your existing internet service provider, you might still be paying more for the service. Some ways to find a cheap internet service or lower your monthly bills are outlined below.

Reduce your Internet Speed

A few internet providers offer plans that promise downstream speeds of 100 megabits per second or more. However, not all residential users require that much speed. You could choose a different plan and decrease your bill by 35 dollars or more, depending upon your service provider. Determine the internet speed you want, and contact the carrier to choose a different or lower speed tier package. This speed requirement might depend on your monthly usage; if you do basic surfing and stream video and audio on a single device, you can choose an alternative plan that is lower in price.

Negotiate your Internet Bill

Tell your service provider that you have found a cheap internet plan elsewhere, and that you need to opt for it instead. Be polite yet firm enough in conveying this to your existing carrier. The better you back up this stance, the better the leverage you will have. So research promotional prices your provider and its rivals offer to new customers now – be ready to cancel the service and subscribe to another one that offers a better deal in comparison.

Bundle your Services

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If you already subscribe to cable, then you can save over 1,000 dollars in the course of two years with some service providers by bundling it with internet. Be wary of the upsell. Some operators may try to talk customers into extra speed or TV channels for 5 or 10 dollars a month. That monthly increase adds up to a bigger cost over time, and in turn defeats your main aim – to save money.

Use your Own Cable Modem as Well as Router

If you are planning to stay with one ISP for a few (contractual) years, it might be even more cost-effective to use your own equipment unit rather than renting the hardware. Many services charge 10 to 15 dollars a month to rent it. If you stay with such types of providers for a couple of years, the overall costs would be 240 to 360 dollars. You can purchase a top-rated router and modem for less than 200 dollars. Moreover, remember that some service providers will not offer support or personal hardware troubleshooting.

11 Jan

Digital Divide and the Initiatives to Tackle it

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Digital Communication Facts

The term ‘digital divide’ refers to the connectivity gap, meaning the gap between regions and demographics that have access to today’s communications and information technology, and those that have limited access or no access at all. This technology can comprise telephone, TV, personal computers, as well as the internet.

Before the twentieth century, the term referred mainly to the division between people or regions with telephone access and those without it. After the late 1990’s though, its use primarily started to describe the divide between those with and without access to the internet, especially broadband.

This divide usually exists between people in cities and rural areas, between educated and uneducated sections of society, socioeconomic groups, and the more as well as less industrially developed countries. Even among a population with some access to today’s technology, the divide can be apparent in the form of slower personal computers, lower-speed Wi-Fi connections, and restricted subscription-based content access.

In this day and age, the digital divide is a reality even in developed nations. For instance, not all areas in the United States of America have access to the broadband internet. Even as technology keeps becoming more and more affordable and internet access keeps expanding across the country, studies have revealed that millions of Americans still lack a cheap and reliable internet broadband connection. Many of them who lack the access to it reside in rural areas.

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The digital divide affects peoples’ lives in many different ways. Since they are deprived of access to the internet, some of them have to rely on public internet access spots. However, this divide deprives them of job or education opportunities.

While adoption of smartphone technology is growing even among low-income and minority groups, data plans’ rising costs and the complexity of doing tasks as well as transactions on phones can hinder the closing of the connectivity gap in some ways. Still, the US takes steps to tackle the digital divide. The best internet service providers have a commitment to reach out to underserved or unserved areas in the country to the Federal Communications Commission. They also offer low-cost or best internet service that unserved or underserved subscribers can afford.

Besides, major internet providers take initiatives to improve the digital literacy of rural or low-income people. Some of them even provide free laptops or computers to those who do not have the same, to access the web.

07 Jan

3 Surefire Ways to Cut the Cord and Their Benefits

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Are you tired of very high prices, hidden fees, as well as the customer service that several satellite and cable cum internet providers offer? What about programming packages with channels you do not really need? Then, it may be high time for you to cut the cord.

For years, big broadcasting companies and cable TV providers have had the exclusive rights to carry a number of premium channels on their TV platforms. As a result, they were the means for audiences to access their desired programs, but that is no longer the case.

Nowadays, you do not necessarily require a cable service or subscription to receive these TV channels. In case you need content for free, one of the best ways for that is to go the free streaming route. In case you need regular TV programs for a relatively cheaper price, then you could subscribe to one or more streaming services.

As you can see, there are a few cord cutting options for you. Let us take a closer look at what each of them comprises.

Option One: Antenna

In the era of cord cutting, television antennas are back in style! An antenna lets you get TV shows from over-the-air (OTA) channels. You simply have to connect either an indoor antenna or outdoor antenna to your TV set to get programs from any network-affiliate or local channels.

In case you need to get free programs from your preferred networks, then this is the ideal way to do it. It is also one of the simplest methods to cut the cord. However, it is important to note that a customer having an analog TV set might have to use a “converter box” for digital.

Option Two: Streaming

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Streaming basically means you can access TV shows and movies over the web. With this method, you do not need to have satellite or cable services, or a TV antenna. However, you do require a speedy internet connection that is suited for your data usage.

Most internet providers give information about speed tier plans and what they are suited for, on their websites, so customers can easily choose plans as per their data consumption patterns or requirements.

Option Three: Antenna Plus Streaming

This is the priciest option for cord cutters. Still, it allows you to access free local channels over the air, while still letting you get more content over the web. This is also an ideal option as it brings a lot of content that you get to watch on-demand.

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