Trial Evidence Alleges FBI Used Geek Squad To Find Child Porn

March 13th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, Digital Camera/Camcorder, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News

 

Planning to bring your PC, smart TV or similar Internet connected device to a service center for repair? You might want to make sure you don’t have any photos or documents on there that a service technician could consider illegal.

On the heels of the explosive allegations dump on WikiLeaks last week that the CIA and MI5 might have developed methods of hacking into smart TVs and cell phones to listen to private conversations through device microphones, comes a new report via the website OC Weekly citing “recently unsealed documents” that allegedly show the FBI has relied on Best Buy’s Geek Squad technicians to uncover and turn over potentially illegal photographs (like child pornography) and documents taken from the hard drives and storage components of customers’ devices that are in for repair.

Best Buy vehemently denies the claims.

Read more on the alleged Geek Squad spying charges after the jump:

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Hisense To Scale Back 4-Year 4K Ultra HDTV Warranty

March 9th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Connected TVs, HDMI, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, UHDTV

 

One of the industry’s best warranties on a 4K Ultra HDTV set is about to go away, giving you about three weeks to take advantage of it.

Hisense USA said Thursday that it is reverting back to its previous warranty coverage period of one year parts and labor for all new televisions sold in the United States of America and Puerto Rico, effective April 1, 2017.

Read more on Hisense’s revamped warranty policy after the jump:

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Sony Revises 4K Ultra HD Bravia A1E OLED TV Prices

March 9th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, HDMI, HDR, News, OLED, Streaming Services, sub woofer, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV, Video Processors

                      The Sony 77-inch Bravia A1E 4K Ultra HD OLED TV at CES 2017

UPDATE! Sony formally announced pricing on its first large-format 4K Ultra HD Bravia A1E OLED TVs Tuesday, boosting manufacturers suggested retail selling prices by $1,000 each on the 55- and 65-inch models over what was original given to dealers several weeks earlier.

The last-minute price adjustment will make the previously announced suggested retail prices the Unilateral Pricing Policy (UPP) (or everyday) prices, several weeks after models begin shipping, sources told HD Guru.

The Sony Bravia A1E 4K Ultra HD OLED TV line will be released in three sizes: the 55-inch Sony KD-55A1E ($4,999.99 suggested retail price, up from $3,999.99 previously shared with dealers) and the 65-inch KD-65A1E ($6,499.99 MSRP, up from $5,499.99 previously given to dealers).

Sony’s official price announcement did not reveal pricing on the 77-inch KD-77A1E. Dealers will begin taking pre-orders on the 55- and 65-inch models effective today (March 14th) at the $4,999.99 and $6,499.99 MSRP prices. Shipments will begin in April. The $1,000 lower UPP prices are expected to take effect later in April or May, sources told HD Guru.

Sony’s official announcement did not include pricing on the 77-inch model. Sources said that model will ship closer to September, with a pre-order price of $17,999.99. The pre-order date is to be announced later. However, the planned everyday (or UPP) price will be $14,999.99, sources said.

All prices are subject to change.

Sony’s OLED models have flat screens and none support 3D.

For comparison purposes Sony’s flagship Z9D high-performance 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV series, introduced last summer, carry UPP prices of $5,499.99 for the 65-inch model, $8,999.99 for the 75-inch model and $59,999.99 for the 100-inch model. The Z9D models are to remain in Sony’s line through the calendar year, but dealers who have spent time with them tell us the A1E OLEDs seem every bit as good, if not superior to the Z9Ds in picture performance. The key differences there will be in screen sizes with only one common size — 65 inches — between the two lines.

Read more about Sony’s April delivery of the A1E OLED TV models after the jump:

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Denon Unveils HEOS AVR With Sleek Contemporary Design

March 8th, 2017 · 2160p, Amazon, Audio, center channel, HDMI, HDR, News, rear surround channel, Sound Systems, Surround Sound, Surround Sound Systems, UHDTV

                                                                The Denon HEOS AVR

Denon unveiled Wednesday a new audio/video receiver (AVR) supporting its HEOS wireless music system and bringing a new sleek modern design to the category notorious for its traditional black box appearance.

The new product called simply the “Denon HEOS AVR” will ship in April at a $999 suggested retail and has been designed to deliver a 5.1-channel surround sound experience without rear-channel cables cluttering the room.

The receiver is said to provide the simple set-up and operation of a soundbar with the higher quality surround sound of a 5.1 speaker arrangement.

Read more on the Denon HEOS AVR after the jump:

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Is The CIA Bugging Your Samsung Smart TV?

March 7th, 2017 · 2160p, 3D HDTV, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Connected TVs, Home Automation, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, Streaming Services, UHDTV

           Samsung UN65ES8000; group photo ©iStockphoto.com/Jennifer Byron

As the HD Guru first warned you back in 2012: your TV can be hacked to spy on you.

WikiLeaks Tuesday exposed the hidden dangers that might lurk in your smart TV with the release of secret documents showing that the CIA has devised a means of listening in on owners of Samsung smart TVs, and conceivably other devices, through built-in mics used to collect voice commands.

WikiLeaks published an assortment of documents Tuesday that it said reveal some of the sneaky tricks employed by the CIA’s hacking programs including a claim that the agency can hack into consumers’ personal electronic devices — specifically Samsung smart TVs — and listen in on private conversations without the users’ knowledge.

The alleged program, called “Weeping Angel,” was said in a WikiLeaks statement to have been developed in association with British spy agency MI5. It places hacking software in the device to keep microphones (these are typically in the remote control of Samsung TVs) active after the user thinks the television has been shut off.

“After infestation, Weeping Angel places the target TV in a `Fake-Off’ mode, so that the owner falsely believes the TV is off when it is on,” reads a statement from WikiLeaks announcing the latest documents posting. “In ‘Fake-Off’ mode the TV operates as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the Internet to a covert CIA server.”

If the release is authentic, it would be the latest in a series of sensitive document dumps that have rocked government agencies and corporations allegedly engaging is questionable activities. It is said to be one of the largest releases of documents from the CIA, specifically, to date.

Read more on the Wikileaks smart TV eavesdropping release after the jump:

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Nanosys: New Quantum Dot 4K Ultra HDTV Flavors On The Way

March 6th, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Amazon, Connected TVs, Curved Screen, HDR, LCD Flat Panel, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, OLED, UHDTV

 

One of the hottest announcements at CES 2017 last January was Samsung’s unveiling of its new QLED 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV series using the latest advancements in quantum dot technology.

Samsung has a number of investments in the quantum dot field, not the least of which is its equity stake in Silicon Valley-based Nanosys Technology. Nanosys worked closely with Samsung engineers on developing the new Q Series sets, which deliver new levels of brightness, color and viewing angles.

Beyond Samsung, Nanosys is working with other television manufacturers and brands as well.

At CES, Nanosys announced its involvement in 25 products across a host of brands including: TCL (X1, X2, X3 series), Hisense (H10D, MU9700), Sharp (P9500), LeEco (u85, 65 & 55), Samsung (Q series), Acer (Predator HDR monitor), ASUS (ROG HDR monitor), and others.

Meanwhile, the company also discussed next-generation quantum dot solutions, and even demonstrated a forthcoming quantum dot color filter replacement technology for the first time. Nanosys calls this color-filter approach “Photo-Emissive” quantum dots, and it’s poised to revolutionize future generations of LED LCD TVs by allowing existing quantum dot tech “to effectively double the efficiency of an LCD, bringing better benefits to not only LED LCD TVs but to OLED, WOLED or microLED displays as well,” the company said.

As reported here earlier, Nanosys also continues to work on its Hyperion quantum dot technology, which will help deliver displays covering better than 90 percent of the BT. 2020 color space, which has thus far been unattainable in consumer products.

Read more on Nanosys quantum dot technology advancements after the jump:

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Judge Rejects Vizio’s Call To Dismiss Privacy Violation Claim

March 3rd, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Connected TVs, electronic program guides, Full Array LED Backlit with Local Dimming, LED LCD Flat Panels, News, UHDTV

                                A Vizio 2017 E-Series XXL 4K Ultra HD LED TV with HDR

Vizio continues to fight legal complaints for its alleged datamining activities through its smart TVs with word this week that a federal judge presiding over a class action lawsuit rejected a bid to dismiss allegations that Vizio violated federal video privacy law.

In a bit of bad timing, the news came as Vizio announced the accumulation of new customer service awards and introduced its 2017 lineup of E-Series 4K Ultra HDTVs with HDR support and a built-in Chromecast smart TV system.

U.S. District Court Judge Josephine Staton of the Central District of California ruled against Vizio’s claim that the Video Privacy Protection Act doesn’t apply to device manufacturers. The 1988 law prohibits video providers from disclosing personally identifiable information about individual video-viewing history.

Staton is presiding over a group of consolidated lawsuits filed by consumers across the country against Vizio for allegedly selling them televisions without adequately communicating its practice of private viewer data collection with the intent to share or sell it to third parties for advertising, sales and other purposes.

In rejecting Vizio’s argument, Staton ruled that Congress intended video privacy law to apply to companies “in the business of delivering video content,”  which would include Vizio, according to a report on MediaPost.

UPDATE! In a statement on the decision, a company spokesman said: “Vizio is pleased that the Court recognized that many of plaintiffs’ claims, including their claims for fraud, are simply not supported by plaintiffs’ factual allegations.  We continue to believe that the entirety of Plaintiffs’ lawsuit should be dismissed, as the lawsuits are based on inaccurate speculation and legally without merit.  We will continue to aggressively defend our company in this matter.”

Read more on the ruling in the class-action datamining case after the jump:

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Review: LG Signature 65W7 4K UHD OLED TV Is The Best Yet

March 3rd, 2017 · 2160p, 4K Flat Panel, 4K LED LCD, Audio, Connected TVs, Dolby Atmos, electronic program guides, HDMI, HDR, height channels, LG Electronics, object-based audio, OLED, OLED, Sound Bars, Sound Systems, Streaming Services, Surround Sound, Surround Sound Systems, UHD 4K OLED, UHDTV

 

We keep saying this, but the rate by which flat-panel televisions based on organic light emitting diode (OLED) technology is evolving gets more astounding every year.

This week we had the chance to test the just-released LG Signature Series 65-inch W7 ( a.k.a.-“wallpaper”) TV and, frankly, it blew us away. The LG 65W7 presented the very best picture we’ve tested and sets a very high bar for other manufacturers to reach with their 2017 flagship TV introductions.

We thought last year’s models were impressive, but this year LG made remarkable advancements addressing some niggling problem areas: The 65W7 extended both color volume (the ability to present natural color shades over a wide range of brightness levels) and color gamut, the latter measured at 97.7 percent of the DCI-P3 color space recommendation for professional movie theaters. The set also removed an overall slight green tint to the screen to present an image that looks much closer to actual D65 daylight. In black level performance, the display brought out much finer detail in deeply shadowed areas of the image, and this is one of the biggest changes in this year’s OLED class.

For 2017, LG’s “Perfect Black” technology is, well.. more perfect. We measured the set at zero black level, even running motion targets designed to trick the display into maintaining the “OLED Light.” This is the self-emissive light OLEDs produce to present a picture. As mentioned, this was enhanced by the ability of the W7 to produce more levels of gray shading to bring out fine details in areas that were previously crushed (or engulfed) into the surrounding dark background.

The W7 also boosted peak luminance to a measured 902 nits – that’s 80 percent better than the 540 nits the Ultra HD Alliance established as a minimum expected for an “Ultra HD Premium” certified OLED television set.

More impressive is the fact that although the 65W7 has a relatively steep $7,999.99 UPP price, the company said that the exact same picture quality and performance should be found in all 2017 OLED TVs right down to the entry B7 series. That series is due out later in the year at a price to be announced. For comparison sake, the lowest priced 65-inch 2017 OLED TV announced so far is the LG OLED65C7, which is $3,500 less at $4,499.99, but you don’t get the slick two-piece “picture on wall” design or the special Dolby Atmos soundbar.

Read more of our review of the LG Signature Series 65W7 4K Ultra HDTV after the jump:

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