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Feb
8
Amazon might be reconsidering its second headquarters in New York
Posted by Nick Pino on 08 February 2019 11:39 PM

After facing opposition from lawmakers and residents, Amazon might not built its second headquarters in New York after all.

Sources who are “familiar with the company’s thinking” spoke to The Washington Post on Friday, and said the e-commerce giant might reconsider its deal in the face of vocal opposition to the deal. 

Even if the deal falls through with New York, the deal with Virginia would still stand. 

“The question is whether it’s worth it if the politicians in New York don’t want the project, especially with how people in Virginia have been so welcoming,” a source familiar with the matter told the Post.

The blowback began after an anti-Amazon rally that was held the day after the deal was announced and has been a point of contention at local town halls, according to Vox.  

Don’t celebrate / mourn the loss of Amazon just yet 

While the Post’s report cited two people who were familiar with the matter, a third has spoken to The New York Times’ City Hall reporter and said that there were no plans to abandon ship just yet.

To that end, Amazon has been issuing statements to media outlets telling them that the company has no plans to remove themselves from the deal and said “Whether it’s building a pipeline of local jobs through workforce training or funding computer science classes for thousands of New York City students, we are working hard to demonstrate what kind of neighbor we will be.”

Amazon is set to start construction on its second headquarters in 2020... as long as the company decides to stick with its original plans.


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Feb
8
Best 75-inch 4K TVs: the best home cinema-sized TVs you can buy
Posted by Jamie Carter,Nick Pino on 08 February 2019 10:15 PM

While TV tech is always changing, one thing has always held true: Bigger TVs will be cheaper next year than they were this year. The processes to make them will become more refined and streamlined, while more factories will be built to handle the influx of larger-sized TVs.

That doesn't mean that you should expect to buy a 90-inch flatscreen for pennies on the dollar, but that does mean that 70- and 75-inch TVs will be more affordable in 2019 and 2020 than any year prior to that. 

But, it's not all good news for fabulously large TVS: this size range, above all, is beset with cut-price offerings. Since top 75-inch TVs are always going to come with an eye-watering price tag, affordable brands have rushed in to make this once-unobtainable size much more affordable. The result is that many 75-inchers are being manufactured using legacy LCD technology, which was built for small screens and whose images fail to impress even at the 40-inch size. So at a screen four times bigger, the results are... well, what you might expect. 

While you might be tempted to go for the very lowest priced 75-inch TV, just remember that the technology employed to create a great picture is four times more important than at other sizes. 

TechRadar's 75-inch TV buying advice

First and foremost, be really careful about TV sales that sound too good to be true. If you see a 75-inch 4K TV for around $600, it's probably going to let you down in terms of picture performance.

So who's the main culprit that causes ugly images in the 75-inch range? Bad backlighting. While the cheapies use edge-lit LED panels that produce poor black levels and contrast, the bigger brands opt for either direct, full array LED panels – or in the case of LG, OLED panels. Both illuminate across the whole screen, and create both luscious color and 4K clarity.

Currently, our favorite 75-inch TVs are LG's series of OLEDs, which boast exceptional black levels and premium HDR. They're perfect for a dark room experience, like a home cinema, though for brightly-lit rooms you may want to consider Samsung's QLED TV series. Then there's Sony, whose efforts are impossible to ignore, and a few more affordable brands to tempt you to buy a 75-inch TV for relatively small spend.

Not sure where to start? Take a look at our favorite 75-inch 4K TVs right now, listed below for your convenience. Each series in this list has been tested and approved by our expert team of reviewers, so you can buy with confidence.

best 75-inch OLED TV: LG OLED77C8

Is this the best TV out there? This 77-inch 4K OLED TV delivers astonishing image quality, and despite its huge size retains much of the streamlined minimalism LG's C8 line-up is famous for. That's despite it not being as bright as LCD and QLED TVs, and not supporting the HDR10+ standard. However, that lack of brightness results in lusciously deep blacks that dramatically increase the dynamic range of its images. 

The roll-call doesn't stop there either: vibrant colors, wide viewing angles, instant response times, astounding detail with native 4K content, and a WebOS platform that remains the best smart TV platform around all help the OLED77C8 standout from the crowd. Aesthetically, LG's C8 Series of OLED TVs – also available in 55-inch and 65-inch sizes – go for size-zero looks, with a black metallic trim around the panel's edge that's just ridiculously small.

Read the full review: LG OLED77C8

best 75-inch TV: Samsung QE75Q9FN / QN75Q9FN

Is QLED as good as OLED? The jury is out on that one. It's different, for sure; the full array LED backlighting on this 75-inch QLED TV can't get near OLED for contrast nor black levels, but it's higher peak brightness gives it an advantage for 4K HDR material. Consequently, the colour volume created by the Q9FN is awesome, especially at this mighty size. Brighter and more colourful than the first-gen QLED TVs, the Q9FN has HDR10+ and Q HDR EliteMax. 

Away from technology, it slips-up on styling. Despite an external connection box creating a one-cable TV, the basic chassis design both lacks wow factor, and is a little chubbier than it should be. We also noticed an issue with viewing angles that makes the Q9FN unsuitable for hanging on a wall at eye-line (not that you should be doing that anyway). Those foibles aside, this monster screen is nevertheless Samsung's best TV ever.

Read the full review: Samsung Q9FN QLED TV

best value big-brand 75-inch TV: Sony KD-75XF9005/XBR-75X900F

OK, it looks a little weird. Sony's decision to fit this 75-incher with two large feet gives it a slightly absurd look that's also impractical; who has a table that wide to put a TV on? Luckily, elsewhere the XF90 (called the X900F in the US) looks great, with a brushed metallic finish hiding some truly top tech for the money. Key is Sony's decision to use a direct LED lighting system with local dimming, which helps create some serious quality, particularly during 4K HDR material. 

Meanwhile, the effect of Sony's X1 Extreme video processor is to remove noise so intensely that new levels of detail are revealed. On a big TV, that's important. We also love the way the XF900 up-converts standard dynamic range (SDR) images to HDR. In fact, the only thing we're really annoyed about on the XF90 is its use of Android TV as its smart TV system, which (Chromecasting aside) is both cluttered and confusing. The X900F is also available as an 85-inch version in the U.S.

Read the full review: Sony XF90/X900F

best 75-inch TV: Hisense U9A (H75U9A)

A Chinese brand that's been trying to break the UK and US markets in the past few years, this is Hisense’s flagship TV. Is it the best 75-inch TV around? No, but it makes a play for the top spot by offering full-array LED local dimming for its LCD panel, which means lots of brightness and good black levels. In fact, it's so bright that 4K HDR material looks fabulous. That's probably more than can be said for its treatment of standard definition fare; mediocre upscaling that fails to clean-up the source, and some washed-out colours, are the low points. 

Another minor complaint is the chassis, which despite a premium metallic finish is a little chunkier than it could be. However, with a soundbar tucked away in its desktop stand, there's little to complain about when it comes to design. Solid audio reproduction – and at high volumes – is the final flourish on a TV that marks out Hisense as a serious AV brand to watch. 

Read the full review: Hisense U9A (H75U9A)

most affordable 75-inch TV: Hitachi 75HL16T64U

Hitachi's biggest ever TV – manufactured by Vestel – is not the best 75-incher around. In fact, it has some significant issues with its images. So why is it anywhere near out top five? Price, that's why. The 75HL16T64U is on sale for the price a TV four times smaller cost just a few years ago, and if you're after a budget home cinema, it's the one to go for. 

Does it look great? Not really; the 75HL16T64U's faux-metallic plastic isn't going to fool anyone, and the frame around the screen is pretty wide, too. This TV is all about practical pricing and design. YouTube and Netflix are here, though, and while black shades and dark colours don't look great, and nor does HDR material, the 75HL16T64U does manage to make native 4K material look both pin-sharp and completely free of motion issues. Paired with a 4K Blu-ray player, the 75HL16T64U is a bargain.

Read the full review: Hitachi 75HL16T64U

It was announced at CES 2019 that TCL's awesome (and inexpensive) 6-Series would be getting a 75-inch version starting in 2019. The TV will offer Dolby Vision support, and comes with Roku TV as its smart platform.

While TCL's 6-Series didn't impress us quite as much as the other TVs on this list, it is a competitive screen at its price point, offering bright, colorful HDR and exceptionally clear images. If you have deep pockets and a checkbook filled with blank checks, we’d still tell you to reach deep and shell out for LG’s C8 OLED or Samsung’s ultra-bright Q9FN QLED. But, as that’s not always realistic, TCL's fantastic 6-Series will provide you exceptional performance at a price more folks can afford.

Read the full review: TCL 6-Series


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Feb
8
Trump anticipated to ban 5G networks from using Chinese tech
Posted by David Lumb on 08 February 2019 10:00 PM

Sometime in the next few weeks, Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order that would ban equipment made by Chinese telecoms from US wireless networks, sources told Politico.

The order has reportedly been long-delayed, and a report indicated the Trump administration was and there’s been internal pressure in the Trump administration to sign the order before the Mobile World Congress (MWC) industry convention in Barcelona at the end of the month. 

The order plays into the Trump administration’s trade war and tensions with China, but it also reflects the US, European and Western-allied countries’ apprehension to install Chinese telecom tech into their current and future wireless infrastructure. 

The US government has been the most outspoken in its suspicions that companies like Huawei have uncomfortably close ties to the Chinese government, and alleged that the company’s tech may even endanger wireless network security with preinstalled backdoors granting Chinese government access -- insinuations Huawei has vehemently denied. 

Naturally, this is all heating up as 5G looms, which will require specialized infrastructure to make networks ready for the new wireless standard. 

The US government has reportedly singled out Huawei in particular, banning its tech (along with tech from ZTE) from government use last fall and urging allies not to buy Huawei communications technology. The larger ban Trump is expected to sign in the next few weeks was originally reported to concern only Huawei and ZTE, but now it’s now rumored to include telecom equipment from all Chinese companies. 

 Where does that leave the US? 

There are other companies to turn to, of course, but Huawei leads the global telecom equipment field with 28% of the market, per Telecom Lead ( ZTE has just over 5%, below Cisco, Ericsson and Nokia). 

But Huawei’s share of the US telecom equipment market is smaller than other countries like the UK, instead mainly supplying smaller American wireless providers, many in rural and remote areas. Banning Huawei could hurt those small carriers, the company stated, and could leave the country falling behind in 5G.

In any case, should the ban be signed, the US will head into MWC with a more concrete policy about who it’s inviting to build out American infrastructure as the world marches toward 5G.

  • We're still not sure when the Samsung Galaxy S10's 5G version is coming -- here's all we do know

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Feb
8
Amazon offers suggestions on facial recognition guidance
Posted by Anthony Spadafora on 08 February 2019 08:02 PM

As criticism over its facial recognition system Rekognition has grown among lawmakers and consumers alike, Amazon has come out in favor of legislating the technology and has even proposed guidelines on how to do so.

In a blog post, Amazon Web Services' VP of Global Public Policy, Michael Punke laid out five proposed guidelines on how the technology should be used responsibly.

However, Punke's suggestions come at a time when the company has been criticized for selling Rekognition to law enforcement agencies despite the fact that researchers claim to have discovered gender and ethnic biases in the system.

Currently there are no federal rules regarding the use of facial recognition technology which is why Washington lawmakers are considering creating their own bill to regulate its use.

Federal regulation

In his blog post, Punke suggested that federal regulation is necessary to control the use of facial recognition technology, saying:

"We understand why people want there to be oversight and guidelines put in place to make sure facial recognition technology cannot be used to discriminate. We support the calls for an appropriate national legislative framework that protects individual civil rights and ensures that governments are transparent in their use of facial recognition technology." 

While Amazon is now supporting the idea of federal regulation, the e-commerce giant has been hesitant to support Washington's state legislation due to a provision which would require facial recognition software to be open to third-party testing.

Facial recognition has huge implications for law enforcement but its potential for misuse is too high for the technology to be used without proper safeguards in place.

Via ZDNet

  • We've also highlighted the best VPN to help protect your privacy online

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Feb
8
New MacBook Air deal brings it to that magic $999 number
Posted by Joe Osborne on 08 February 2019 07:14 PM

If you were burned by Apple price spiking the new 2018 MacBook Air over its previous models, B&H Photo and Amazon are thinking of you.

Both retailers have slashed a cool $200 off the list price for an entry-level MacBook Air, likely for a limited time given just how big of a name "MacBook Air" is.

If you're on Amazon, only the silver and gray colors are available at the discounted rate at the time of writing. Over on B&H, it's solely the gray model that's enjoying the price cut, again at the time of writing.

Simply put, this is the price that Apple should have gone with when releasing the new MacBook Air in the first place. Now's your chance to get one of these gorgeous laptops at the price it was meant to be.

Via The Verge


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