Alan Buckingham

The march to 4K continues as DISH announces Joey set-top box with Ultra HD


Despite the fact we now have 5K available, most people still haven't even made the leap to the Ultra HD, or 4K, technology. Satellite TV provider DISH Network is taking aim at that crowd now, announcing it will be moving into this growing field. With the failure of 3D, it seems TV makers have finally found a viable way to lure people into buying a new set or box.

The company is announcing the new Joey, a set-top box compatible with this latest video technology. It claims "that it will be the first pay-TV provider to launch a 4K ‘Ultra HD’ set-top box. Named the 4K Joey, the unit is designed to easily integrate with DISH’s Hopper Whole Home HD DVR system".

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Sling TV comes to Xbox One, brings exclusive offer along

xbox one

Sling Box and Xbox may have similar names, but they are rather different technologies. However, that doesn't mean the two products can't get together to improve the entertainment in your living room. That's exactly what is now happening as Microsoft announces Sling TV (a bit different from Sling Box) for its gaming and entertainment console.

Sling TV which will be coming to the Xbox One, adding even more entertainment options. The service will carry many channels, including live sports, news, internet video and more. The new partnership has been announced by Xbox Live chief Larry Hryb, or Major Nelson as he is more commonly known.

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Roku introduces more TVs at CES 2015, brings 4k to the mix


2014 was a big year for Roku, with the debut of the streaming stick as well as Roku TVs. But 2015 promises to be even bigger, with announcements coming out of the Consumer Electronics Show taking place in Las Vegas this week. The set-top box maker has a lot to talk about for the new year.

To start out, Roku claims TCL will release a whopping 12 new models of TVs featuring the software. All will be coming in the first half of this year. The new lineup will come with varying hardware configurations that promise different designs.

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Nest will now work with your door locks, light bulbs and more

Nest spy

In 2014 the Internet of Things became both a fascinating and scary thing, thanks to interesting products and a few hacks. Nest, while remaining the darling of this new industry, had its own set of problems with the potential issues found in its smoke detectors. But last year is all behind us, and hopefully 2015 holds more promise than problem.

Now the Google-owned company is announcing new functionality for its popular thermostat and perhaps scary smoke detector. The tiny wall and ceiling devices are getting a boatload of new functionality, involving that whole Internet of Things.

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Seagate announces line of new hard drives, including cloud and wireless


Just when you thought hard drive technology had reached its limits we started getting even more technology and almost ridiculously large capacities. Now Seagate, a well-known name in the industry, is taking things a step further with its pre-CES announcements. It's one of many companies that try to beat the rush of news that takes place during the Las Vegas show.

First up is a new drive that comes with Seagate's Personal Cloud system. The one drive and two bay systems allow the user to store content in the ether. This provides easy access from mobile devices and is handy when you are away from home. This is essentially a NAS device and it does automatic backups of all of the computers on your home network. A dashboard makes it easy to control from both Windows and Mac. No mention of pricing or availability is made.

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Acer announces Aspire V 17 Nitro notebook with Intel RealSense 3D camera

Aspire V17 Nitro Black Edition VN7-791_backlit keyboard

Acer, with its Aspire line of laptops, has become one of the top hardware makers. Now, as CES 2015 fast approaches, the company is descending on Las Vegas with a stellar lineup of new products, some of them quite intriguing. That's the case with its new notebook announcement.

The latest model, an Aspire V 17 Nitro notebook, packs in a 3D camera -- the Intel RealSense, which senses motion. This allows it to understand and respond to movements. Acer claims this will enable more interaction with games, applications and even web pages. All of this without the need to touch the keyboard.

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Windows 8.1 vulnerability discovered by Google security researcher

cyber security

When you are the top anything in this world it not only brings fame or notoriety, but it also provides a target. In the case of Microsoft's Windows, it has become the bullseye that bad guys aim for. Sometimes it's the bad guys who get there first, sometimes it's the security researchers who report the issues. In the latest case, it was thankfully the good guys.

The problem with this flaw is that it would allow a bad guy to bypass authentication on a system by using a generated token. Worse, while the flaw isn't part of User Account Control, the proof of concept released does use this part of Windows.

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Want to watch live sports? You have one less option as Wiziwig shuts down

When it comes to cord-cutting, there are few options available to the sports fan. While some sports provide options for online subscriptions, the NFL is not among them, forcing fans to use "alternative" methods for watching their team play on Sunday. As the regular season ends, so does one of the best sources for accomplishing this. is closing its doors, after providing live streaming sports of all varieties to its users. The website cites a change in law in Spain that would possibly trip it up, resulting in ridiculously heavy fines if found guilty, which seems likely.

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Roku looks back at 2014 by the numbers


2014 could be viewed as the year of set-top boxes. 2015 is likely to see even more action, as more of what we watch moves to online content, be it Amazon Prime, Netflix, Hulu Plus, the new CBS offering, or one of the lesser known competitors. When you take all of that into account, you'd assume it would have been a big year for Roku, and you'd be right.

Today the company ran down the numbers for 2014 and they were a bit staggering in terms of just how well the set-top box maker has performed.

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Sony talks PlayStation Network outage, doesn't name Lizard Squad

sony ps4

The news the past couple of days has been filled with security, or lack thereof, as the case may be. Really, it has surrounded DDoS attacks launched against gaming networks. Both Sony and Microsoft experienced outages beginning Christmas day. The attacks have been credited to hacking group Lizard Squad.

According to security researcher Brian Krebs, the group has done a poor job hiding its members' identities. "While most of the group’s acolytes are known to U.S. enforcement investigators, many are minors, and the sad truth is that federal prosecutors don't really know what to do with underage felons except to turn them into informants".

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My favorite tech products of 2014 [Alan]

Cloud 2014

2014 is quickly winding down and the calendar will soon turn over to 2015. But it was a good year for technology, which began, as always, in Las Vegas with annual CES. Of course, that's when we get a glimpse of products that may or may not ever see the bright lights of a store showroom. But we aren't here to talk about what could have been, but instead, what really is on the market. Nothing fancy here, just solid pieces of equipment.

Over the course of the past year I was fortunate enough to try out many products. There were really no duds in the batch, but some managed to distinguish themselves from the competitors. Now we've reached that time where it can be revealed. And, just so you know, it goes in no particular order.

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Santa brought you a Roku 3? Here's what to do first


The market is thick for set-top boxes these days, but Roku 3 tends to be the most popular choice with many consumers. It's simple to set up and has perhaps the most content. The "channels", as Roku calls them, are an ever-growing ecosystem of networks and online content.

The steps for getting it up and running are fairly simple. The box will help you along, walking you through each step. The first, and most obvious, is plugging it in to an outlet and then connecting the HDMI cable.

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Santa brought you an Amazon Fire TV? Here's what to do first


This year Amazon jumped into the set-top box market with a remarkably mature competitor. Since its release, the Fire TV has continued to accumulate features and improve. In fact, it's now serious competition for the likes of Roku and Apple TV. So did you find one under your tree this year? If so, there are a few things to know.

First, and perhaps most obvious, you need to  have an Amazon account. That shouldn't be a barrier for most people. You'll just need to enter your email and password to get up and running on your new set-top box. It also needs to connect to Wi-Fi, unless you can use a wired connection (which is better). If your router is password protected then that will be the final entry to start.

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It's time to track Santa and Google Maps wants to help


"Marley was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that"…. Oh wait you want some happier news. Well, there is some -- you can track the progress of Santa tonight, just so you know where the big guy in the red suit is at all times.

Google Maps is once again providing the data on the sleigh ride. You can follow the progress around the world using the GPS equipped on the vehicle. There's more to it than just tracking though. You can open all sorts of options.

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Microsoft and the Irish government appeal case over emails stored in Ireland

Apple, Amazon, HP, Verizon and others back Microsoft's fight against US government

By now you've likely heard that the US is trying to seize emails held by Microsoft on foreign soil, something that you'd think it has no right to do. After all, the US government may have some reach, but grabbing from another nation seems to be extending it quite far. Both company and country are baulking at the prospect.

None of us wishes for a criminal to not be caught, but we want it to be done legally. Now Microsoft has officially filed its amicus brief in the New York court of appeals, with general counsel Brad Smith.

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