By BeauHD from Slashdot's needle-in-the-haystack department
williamyf writes: I have always been of the idea that my TV shall be non-smart, leaving the smarts to connected equipment (in my case my Synology NAS running Plex and a combination of Chromecasts and laptops do the trick). I think that most of my Slashdot brethren are of a similar persuasion. But, over the years finding decent non-smart TVs is becoming harder and harder, unless your are prepared to pay much higher prices for industrial/signage equipment, or are prepared to deal with slightly inferior specs and quality, or get an old (possibly second hand) set, or are prepared to do long, hard internet searches for that needle in the haystack (all slashdot readers can google, but here at least we can hear firsthand experiences from technically-minded people, and not fake-ish reviews).
In view of the recent story about Samsung TVs being bricked by a firmware update, I ask the Slashdot crowd to amass our collective knowledge and see: What TV makers make decent non-smart TV sets? Which are these sets? Requirements: non-smart, no apps on the TV, no app on the smartphone, no nothing -- the dumber the better. OTA tuner optional. 1080p50/60 or higher (1333x768 was barely adequate in 2008, but KRAP in 2017). 16:9 or 21:9. From 35 inches (for the master bedroom) to 70 inches (for the middle class living room in an apartment complex). Real remote (not app in a phone) with at least volume up/down, input change and sleep function, plus all needed to configure the set. Lots of HDMI 2.0 (or higher) ports. A decent assortment of legacy ports (including component, composite, S-Video). HDR capable. Good build quality. Good price (Ideally slightly lower than similar smart TVs, since we are forgoing the hardware needed for the smart part, as well as the ongoing support cost for firmware updates). Good image quality. Decent warranties. Reputable manufacturers. Reputable sellers.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's coming-soon department
Apple is planning to unveil an upgraded Apple TV set-top box that can stream 4K video and highlight live television content such as news and sports. Bloomberg reports: The updated box, to be revealed alongside new iPhone and Apple Watch models at an event in September, will run a faster processor capable of streaming the higher-resolution 4K content, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the plans aren't yet public. The 4K designation is a quality standard that showcases content at twice the resolution of 1080P high-definition video, meaning the clarity is often better for the viewer. Apple is also testing an updated version of its TV app, which first launched in 2016, that can aggregate programming from apps that already offer live streaming. Apple is seeking to revive its video ambitions with the new product. In order to view 4K video, users will need to attach the updated Apple TV to a screen capable of showing the higher-resolution footage. In order to play 4K and HDR content, Apple will need deals with content makers that can provide video in those formats. The Cupertino, California-based technology giant has begun discussions with movie studios about supplying 4K versions of movies via iTunes, according to people familiar with the talks. The company has also discussed its 4K video ambitions with content companies that already have apps on Apple TV, another person said. Popular video apps on the Apple TV that support 4K on other platforms include Vevo and Netflix.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's sensitive-information department
Documents published by Wikileaks reveal a secret project to siphon out data through its technical liaison service, dating back to 2009. The Verge reports: The program, called ExpressLane, is designed to be deployed alongside a biometric collection system that the CIA provides to partner agencies. In theory, those partners are agreeing to provide the CIA with access to specific biometric data -- but on the off-chance those partners are holding out on them, ExpressLane gives the agency a way to take it without anyone knowing. ExpressLane masquerades as a software update, delivered in-person by CIA technicians -- but the documents make clear that the program itself will remain unchanged. Instead, the program siphons the system's data to a thumb drive, where agents can examine it to see if there's anything the partner system is holding back. If the partners refuse the phony update, there's a hidden kill-switch that lets agents shut down the entire system after a set period of time, requiring an in-person visit to restore the system.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's discriminatory-practices department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: AT&T is facing a complaint alleging that it discriminates against poor people by providing fast service in wealthier communities and speeds as low as 1.5Mbps in low-income neighborhoods. The formal complaint filed today with the Federal Communications Commission says that AT&T is violating the Communications Act's prohibition against unjust and unreasonable discrimination. That ban is part of Title II, which is best known as the authority used by the FCC to impose net neutrality rules. But as we've explained before, Title II also contains important consumer protections that go beyond net neutrality, such as a ban on discrimination in rates, practices, and offerings of services.
"This complaint, brought by Joanne Elkins, Hattie Lanfair, and Rachelle Lee, three African-American, low-income residents of Cleveland, Ohio alleges that AT&T's offerings of high-speed broadband service violate the Communications Act's prohibition against unjust and unreasonable discrimination," the complaint says. AT&T is not immune to the ban on discrimination "merely because its discrimination is based on investment decisions," the complaint also says.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's pushing-the-limits department
An anonymous reader shares a report: Reddit user beaston02 was determined to find the true ceiling of Amazon's cloud storage plan, which was killed off in June. He decided to push its limits with a petabyte of porn. For reference, a petabyte is one million gigabytes. "It is nearly entirely porn," he told me in a Reddit message. "Ever since I got into computers, I found myself learning more, and faster when it was something more interesting. Call me crazy, but women interest me more than most other things on the internet and there is a huge amount of data being created daily, so it was a good fit for the project." He said it took five or six months to collect one petabyte of porn, and he stopped collecting just shy of 1.8 petabytes. How long would it take one to consume 1.8 petabytes of porn? 1.8 petabytes is about 23.4 years of HD-TV video, but webcam streams are nowhere near that quality. A few good folks crunched the numbers: 720p is about two gigabytes per hour, and at 900,000 hours, that's 102 years of straight calendar time. If the videos are even lower quality, say, 480p, that's around 0.7 gigabytes per hour, or 293 years and six months.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's future-investments department
CEO Tim Cook said on Thursday that Apple will invest at least $1.3 billion in the first phase of an Iowa data center project. The data center will be built near Waukee, Iowa, creating 50 permanent jobs with more than 550 jobs supported by construction, Apple said in a statement. CNBC reports: "Apple is going to continue to invest in that future, for Waukee, for Iowa and for America," Cook said. It will get $208 million in state and local tax benefits, according to The Associated Press. "Apple has been searching for the perfect location and I am so proud to say that they found it right here in Iowa," Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said, noting the state's educated workforce, stable climate and low-cost, renewable energy. "Iowa workers give companies a leg up at the start.... it is just a blessing to be in the heartland of America." The 400,000-square-foot data center will "strengthen the relationships" in Iowa, where 30 Apple suppliers, including 3M and Qorvo, already operate, Cook said.Read Replies (0)
By BeauHD from Slashdot's safety-concerns department
An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: When Elon Musk announced last fall that all of Tesla's cars would be capable of "full autonomy," engineers who were working on the suite of self-driving features, known as Autopilot, did not believe the system was ready to safely control a car, according to the Wall Street Journal. The WSJ report sheds more light on the tension that exists between the Autopilot team and Musk. CNN previously reported in July that Musk "brushed aside certain concerns as negligible compared to Autopilot's overall lifesaving potential," and that employees who worked on Autopilot "struggled" to make the same reconciliation.
A major cause of this conflict has apparently been the way Musk chose to market Autopilot. The decision to refer to Autopilot as a "full self-driving" solution -- language that makes multiple appearances on the company's website, especially during the process of ordering a car -- was the spark for multiple departures, including Sterling Anderson, who was in charge of the Autopilot team during last year's announcement. Anderson left the company two months later, and was hit with a lawsuit from Tesla that alleged breach of contract, employee poaching, and theft of data related to Autopilot, though the suit was eventually settled. A year before that, a lead engineer warned the company that Autopilot wasn't ready to be released shortly before the original rollout. Evan Nakano, the senior system design and architecture engineer at the time, wrote that development of Autopilot was based on "reckless decision making that has potentially put customer lives at risk," according to documents obtained by the WSJ.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's amazonization department
Amazon announced today that its $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods will close this Monday, Aug. 28, and revealed how it plans to lower prices and integrate its Prime membership program into the Whole Foods checkout process. From a report: Amazon said that starting Monday, it will lower prices of items at Whole Foods like organic bananas, brown eggs, salmon, ground beef, and more. It also plans to "make Amazon Prime the customer rewards program at Whole Foods Market and continuously lower prices as we invent together," as Jeff Wilke, CEO of Amazon's consumer business, said in a press release. Amazon will place its Amazon Lockers package pickup machines in some Whole Foods stores. It will also make Whole Foods' private label products available on its website, on AmazonFresh, on Prime Pantry, and Prime Now. Whole Foods CEO John Mackey will stay in his current role, and Whole Foods' HQ will remain in Austin. The grocer will maintain operations under its current brand.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's what-we-do-on-our-phones department
Today comScore released its 2017 US Mobile App Report, which among other things, lists the top mobile apps in the nation. From a report: Between smartphones and tablets, Americans spend more than half of their digital media consumption time -- 57 percent -- in apps, according to the report. That's about the same as a year ago -- evidence that the dramatic shift to mobile has now leveled out in the U.S. These are the winners, according to comScore, as measured by their penetration of the U.S. mobile app audience: Facebook (81 percent), YouTube (71 percent), Facebook Messenger (68 percent), Google Search (61 percent), Google Maps (57 percent), Instagram (50 percent), Snapchat (50 percent), Google Play (47 percent), Gmail (44 percent), and Pandora (41 percent). 8 out of 10 apps here are owned by Facebook and Google.Read Replies (0)
By msmash from Slashdot's inside-baseball department
By msmash from Slashdot's where-we-are department