Roku Streaming Stick 4K Touts Faster Speed and Dolby HDR

Roku announced its Streaming Stick 4K, a $49.99 device that is faster with better sound integration than the popular Streaming Stick+ it replaces. Available next month, the Streaming Stick 4K offers a boot speed that’s about 30 percent faster, with a new long-range Wi-Fi receiver that boosts it up to twice as fast. It features Dolby Vision HDR, dynamically adjusting contrast frame-by-frame and adds the ability to create 5.1 surround sound. The new model also comes with a push-to-talk voice remote. Those who prefer hands-free can upgrade to the $69.99 Streaming Stick 4K+. Continue reading Roku Streaming Stick 4K Touts Faster Speed and Dolby HDR

Canon Ultra-Fast Mirrorless EOS R3 Hits Stores in November

Canon has set a November release and price of $6,000 for its highly anticipated EOS R3 mirrorless camera. The pro-series device features a 24.1-megapixel back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor, combined with Canon’s DIGIC X processor allowing 14-bit RAW files at an impressive 30 frames per second, video capability of up to 6K 60p RAW (4K 120p 10-bit) and ISO range of 100-102400 (expandable to 204800) for still images. Machine learning for eye- and body detection are among the features prompting Canon to call the EOS R3 a “monumental evolution” in digital imaging. Continue reading Canon Ultra-Fast Mirrorless EOS R3 Hits Stores in November

Government Accountability Office Calls for Faster Broadband

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report stating that the FCC’s current broadband minimum benchmark speeds — 25Mbps for downloading and 3Mbps for uploading — are too slow for many small business needs today. This benchmark was implemented in 2015 under FCC chair Tom Wheeler and was not updated by the next chair, Ajit Pai. Wheeler updated it from 4Mbps downstream and 1Mbps upstream during his four-year term, an increase opposed by Republicans and the broadband industry. Continue reading Government Accountability Office Calls for Faster Broadband

SpaceX Starlink Internet Slated to Go Live Globally in August

Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) has already launched 1,500+ satellites for Elon Musk’s broadband Internet network Starlink that is currently available in about a dozen countries. According to Musk, who spoke at the Mobile World Congress this week, Starlink will be beaming Internet everywhere in the world except polar regions by August. He added that Starlink should have about 500,000 users within the next 12 months and that SpaceX will have invested between $5 billion and $10 billion before cash flow becomes positive. Continue reading SpaceX Starlink Internet Slated to Go Live Globally in August

Amazon Sidewalk Will Launch Mesh Networks for IoT Devices

On June 8, Amazon will introduce its new Amazon Sidewalk program that allows some small smart devices — Ring Floodlight and Spotlight cameras, for example, and Echo Dot smart speakers and Echo Show smart displays — to share low-bandwidth home Wi-Fi networks among neighboring Amazon customers. On June 14, the network will expand to include third-party product Tile, connected to keys. All devices will become part of Amazon Sidewalk by default. The idea is that if one network drops out, the device can move to another nearby signal.

Continue reading Amazon Sidewalk Will Launch Mesh Networks for IoT Devices

Industry Alliance Promotes Secure, Royalty-Free IoT Standard

The Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA), an industry group spearheaded by Amazon, Apple, Comcast, Google and SmartThings and focused on the Internet of Things (IoT), has debuted Matter, an interoperable, secure connectivity standard for the future smart home. Formerly known as the Zigbee Alliance, CSA came together with those key Big Tech companies in 2019 to develop and promote an open IoT standard. Matter is a royalty-free unified IP-based connectivity protocol built specifically for IoT systems that enable communication among smart devices. Continue reading Industry Alliance Promotes Secure, Royalty-Free IoT Standard

Amazon and Apple Expand the Capabilities of Mesh Networks

Wireless bandwidth emitted by our Amazon and Apple devices is being used by other nearby devices to supplement existing Wi-Fi. Now, Amazon and Apple are expanding those programs. Amazon Sidewalk is adding post-2018 Echo devices including Echo speakers, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Echo Plus and Echo Spot devices and newer Ring Video Doorbell Pro models to communicate on the Sidewalk network via Bluetooth. Apple’s new AirTag device also sends out a wireless signal that can be used by iPhones, iPads and Macs in the area. Continue reading Amazon and Apple Expand the Capabilities of Mesh Networks

FCC Approves New Connectivity Fund for Schools, Libraries

The FCC unanimously agreed to enact the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program to provide resources for U.S. schools and libraries to buy laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband connections for online learning during the pandemic. Starting on May 12, the program, part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, will also provide $50 per month to low-income households and $75 to households on Native American lands to pay for broadband services and $100 towards buying a laptop or tablet. Continue reading FCC Approves New Connectivity Fund for Schools, Libraries

Startup Debuts a DVR-Like App for Media Content: ‘Channels’

Startup Fancy Bits, founded by two former GitHub employees, has launched Channels, a kind of DVR for the streaming age. The $8 per month service pulls video from feeds as disparate as cable channels, live streaming apps, on-demand services and over-the-air broadcasts and places them into a single app. “What we’re building towards is something that was sort of built 20 years ago,” said co-founder Jon Maddox. “Really, we’re just trying to make this single place for people to go watch their TV that everybody is looking for.” Continue reading Startup Debuts a DVR-Like App for Media Content: ‘Channels’

Wi-Fi 6 Will Eventually Benefit Homes with Connected Devices

Wi-Fi 6 has arrived, promising faster speeds, broader coverage and the ability to share connections across a single household’s wireless devices. The latter means that if one device is consuming huge amounts of data, it will not slow down the household’s other devices. The new generation Wi-Fi actually debuted in 2018 but is only now affordable enough and more widely available on Internet routers to become mainstream. While consumers can now purchase smartphones and computers including chips that enable use of Wi-Fi 6, the tech’s real benefits will likely have a stronger impact once households have more connected devices. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6 Will Eventually Benefit Homes with Connected Devices

Linux Foundation to Host Open-Source Magma Project for 5G

In 2019, Facebook developed open-source network software Magma to help in the speedy, efficient buildout of mobile networks. Now Magma is poised to bring together the software and hardware sides of 5G. Magma provides a software-centric distributed mobile packet core and tools for automating network management that integrates with the existing back end of a mobile network. Importantly, it also meshes with new 5G networks as well as existing LTE networks, which makes it easier to enhance and build mobile networks at scale. The Linux Foundation will now work with groups to host the next stage of Magma’s evolution using a vendor-neutral governance framework. Continue reading Linux Foundation to Host Open-Source Magma Project for 5G

Wi-Fi 6E Certification Program Paves the Way for New Devices

The Wi-Fi Alliance began its Wi-Fi 6E certification program for devices built to transmit signals on the newly launched 6GHz band. Introduced just before CES 2021, the program comes in time to certify next-generation devices that can take advantage of the fastest speeds ever available with Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6, which began its rollout in 2019, adds access to the 6GHz band after the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to open it for unlicensed use. Until now, Wi-Fi use has relied on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6E Certification Program Paves the Way for New Devices

Amazon Sidewalk Rolls Out with Echo, Ring Software Updates

Amazon is slowly rolling out Amazon Sidewalk, first revealed in 2019 as an effort to create smart neighborhoods via wireless Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and 900MHz radio signals that can expand the connectivity reach to up to half a mile. Using a small amount of the home’s Wi-Fi bandwidth, Amazon Sidewalk can connect the user with any compatible device, such as garage door openers or outdoor lights, without any additional hardware. Amazon has unveiled it first as a free software update to Echo speakers and Ring cameras. Continue reading Amazon Sidewalk Rolls Out with Echo, Ring Software Updates

Private 5G Networks Bring Services to Rural U.S., Companies

Private 5G networks are being built across the country, mainly intended to connect machines rather than smartphones. This follows in the footsteps of utility companies, retailers and large enterprises that once built their own private 4G networks. Private networks are more readily customized and can offer better reliability and security than Wi-Fi over large areas. In rural Wisconsin, for example, WiConnect is benefitting from 5G to keep its 1,400 households connected to a broadband network that’s faster than ever before. Continue reading Private 5G Networks Bring Services to Rural U.S., Companies

WiSA: Wireless Speaker and Audio Advances Home Theater

WiSA — wireless speaker and audio — offers the promise of changing and simplifying home theater setups by getting rid of speaker wires and even the A/V receiver. WiSA, which has support from 60+ manufacturers of home theater gear, including LG, TCL, Toshiba, Klipsch, and Bang & Olufsen, is a hardware and software specification for high resolution digital audio. As such, it can send audio wirelessly from a sound source to up to eight powered speakers within the same room, using 24-bit 48kHz or 96kHz signals. Continue reading WiSA: Wireless Speaker and Audio Advances Home Theater

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