Thursday, December 10, 2015

IT News Head Lines (Techradar) 11/12/2015


In Depth: Audi will use headlight lasers to protect pedestrians
In Depth: Audi will use headlight lasers to protect pedestrians

Into the Matrix

Audi's long had a fetish for cramming its headlights with an almost puzzling level of tech. So much so that it might lead one to wonder, why all the fuss? Are headlights really that important? Well, yes actually. And they're about to become even more so, with Audi taking them places you and I are unlikely to have ever imagined.
Most people think of headlights as an essential but boring component of any car. An area in which the potential for envelope pushing is fairly limited – they're lights, they light things, end of story. But Audi has an obsessive urge to expand what headlights are capable of, and ultimately what they're going to be used for.
The new Audi A4, which is already on roads in most of Europe, landing in Australia in February, and hitting other markets soon, is just the latest example of Audi's headlight ambitions. The car's optional Matrix LED headlights – first seen in the A8 – put on a light show that's as clever as anything you're likely to see on New Year's Eve.
The idea behind the technology is to enable drivers to enjoy the visibility that comes with using high beam at all times, without worrying about thoughtlessly blinding everyone else on the road.
"Fundamentally, you want high beam the whole time," says Steve Pizzati, the head of Audi Australia's driver training team.
"You want as much illumination as you possibly can. The only reason you dip it is because it annoys other people."


Audi achieves this by using a camera in the front of the car to detect the lights – both front and rear – of other vehicles, whether they're in your lane, a lane beside you, or passing in the opposite direction. It then tracks each vehicle's trajectory and can monitor up to eight vehicles at once. This data is transferred to the headlights, which use 50 individually-manipulated horizontal segments to dim the light only in parts of the road occupied by other vehicles, leaving the rest of your surroundings brightly illuminated for maximum visibility.
"The person in the other car is hardly even bothered." says Pizzati. "It's even better than the low beam you'll see from a regular headlight."
Audi Matrix LED
Even though the technology debuted a couple of years ago, watching up to eight panels of darkness move like inky fingers through the A4's bright spread of LED light – leaving tracked cars untouched – is still impressive.
Other vehicles aren't the only thing Audi's mindful of when utilising headlight technology to maximise safety. Pedestrians – yes, those pesky Lemmings that so enjoy stepping out onto the road without so much as a glance up from their smartphones – are protected, too.
Marker lights are used to alert the driver to pedestrians that are standing too close to the road for comfort. They flash three times in succession, both illuminating the pedestrian in eye-catching fashion for the driver, and sending a terse message to said pedestrian that they'd best not take another step forward or else they'll have to endure having Audi's four-circle logo permanently branded into their forehead.
The current generation's camera also recognises road signs and prevents the high beam lighting from striking them. This prevents the light from bouncing back glaringly into the eyes of the driver, which can temporarily blind them, or at the very least cause them to miss what the sign actually said.

The road ahead

All of this is where high-end headlight technology currently sits. But it's the tech beyond this generation that's particularly intriguing. Audi wants headlights to become more than a way of illuminating dark roads. It wants them to become a sophisticated form of communication – and we don't mean just flashing them at the slow driver ahead to express your frustration.
Audi's next generation of headlights – dubbed Matrix Laser – will be capable of spelling out words in front of the car, highlighting the edge of the road to help you stay on the smooth stuff, and providing markers that will help you navigate through unclear sections of carriageway.
While the Matrix LED headlights shield other drivers via 50 horizontal segments that can be turned on and off individually, the Matrix Laser technology has over 100,000 micro mirrors arranged in a grid. Each of these can be individually manipulated, generating enormous flexibility when it comes to which parts of the road are illuminated and which parts are not.
Audi plans to take this flexibility and use it to create headlight functionality that's never been available before. More than just a means of illumination, the headlights would become a tool that enables the driver to communicate with the world outside of the car.
Audi pedestrian
In one example, the sight of a pedestrian waiting to cross the road might cause the driver to stop, the car's headlights illuminating where the pedestrian wishes to walk. Within this illumination, footprints start to appear, the Matrix Laser system's micro mirrors having twisted in such a way as to create small footprint-shaped patches of darkness inside the arc of the headlights.
We could argue that this is a very high tech way of dealing with a situation where a simple flash of the lights or an even simpler wave of the hand might once have sufficed, but it's impressive and ambitious nonetheless.


Once the pedestrian starts passing in front of the car, Audi's system will monitor for other traffic. Should another car's trajectory be about to intersect with the pedestrian's path, the Matrix Laser system will automatically twist the micro mirrors to create a flashing "Stop!" sign at the feet of the pedestrian, alerting them to the danger.
This is highly inventive and all, but if someone doesn't have the sense to stay alert while crossing the road when not at a designated zebra crossing or traffic light intersection, we're not sure Audi should deny them their Darwin Awards nomination.
Perhaps more practical for the driver are two functions that the Matrix Laser system will offer to make navigating roads easier. The first is what Audi calls "Active carriageway marking," which creates a particularly bright line of light within the spread of the headlights to clearly mark the far side of the road, making it easier for the driver to keep track of the car's position.
Audi marker lines
The second takes this technology even further. In this instance, two of these lines appear in front of the car, clearly indicating its width to the driver. This enables the driver to accurately gauge if the car will fit within certain gaps in the road (e.g. between a truck and a line of cement road blocks for example), navigate around potholes, or more easily guide the car through tricky roadworks areas.
"Currently that technology would, quite frankly, be illegal" explains Pizzati, indicating that it's governments and legislation that are the biggest barrier to further integration of technology on our roads.
"But it goes to show some of the thinking that's coming up and where we can take this technology," he adds.
YouTube : v=uWFQ5enJoRM

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Review: WD My Passport X
Review: WD My Passport X
The PS4 and and Xbox One have some major differences, but perhaps none so much as how they deal with storage limitations.
While Sony lets users easily replace their internal hard drives (if you want to know how, read our how to change your PS4 hard drive tutorial), Microsoft locked down its console, instead allowing users to plug in external storage for extra space.
There's a lot to like about this strategy, especially given the sheer size of this generation's game installs. Being able to install more than just a handful of titles without deleting older games is an extremely useful addition to a console.
WD My Passport X review
It's also the incentive for products like the WD My Passport X. This 2TB hard drive is designed to be plugged into the back of an Xbox One and forgotten about, while boosting the number of games you can install on your console by a significant margin.
Of course, there's nothing stopping you from plugging in any number of regular external drives to the Xbox One for additional storage space – and in most cases that's probably going to be the cheaper option.
Pretty much any USB 2.0 device will let you stream video and music through the console, while USB 3.0 drives offer the ability to store games on an external drive.
But while many drives can work with the Xbox One, the My Passport X is designed to match the console's gaming aesthetic as well as guaranteeing compatibility.
WD My Passport X review


Measuring in at 110 x 81.5 x 20.9mm, the My Passport X is a sleek, compact enclosure for a 2TB drive.
The black plastic case is clearly designed as an homage to the latest Xbox console, with diagonal black lines matching the top of the Microsoft box, although WD's version is still fairly smooth to touch.
The USB 3.0 drive means that the only interface on the entire case is a port for the USB plug. The My Passport X gets all its power from the Xbox itself, so there's no need to plug in an external power supply.
WD My Passport X review
The supplied cable is fairly short, measuring in at about 50cm. While that may sound like a negative, in this case it actually makes a lot of sense – you'll plug the My Passport X into your Xbox One and generally leave it there, so it doesn't need a long cable to connect.
Once plugged in, a pinprick white LED illuminates to acknowledge that the drive in in use.

Setup and performance

The actual setup of the My Passport X drive is as simple as you could want it. Plug the drive into one of the Xbox One's USB ports on the back, and follow the on-screen prompts. It's worth noting that the drive isn't pre-formatted for the Xbox One, so if you just like the looks of it as a portable storage drive, you can plug it into your PC and copy files.
Once you do plug it into the Xbox One the first time, you'll have the chance to reformat the drive to store Xbox One games. After you've formatted though, it will only be available for Xbox One games.
WD My Passport X review
From there, you can either copy or move games stored on your internal hard drive to the My Passport X from the Manage Game menu on the Xbox console.
That process is probably a tad convoluted, but that's more a failing of Microsoft's UI than the hard drive itself.
Copying speeds are respectable. We moved Titanfall and all its DLC (which added up to 25.4GB) over to the My Passport X in about 23 minutes.
Installing Forza 5 directly to the drive itself took 32 minutes and 17 seconds compared to 33 minutes 20 seconds installing it to the Xbox One's internal storage. Obviously those numbers are fairly close, but it was nice to see the My Passport X edge out the smaller capacity internal drive.
WD My Passport X review
Booting up that same game from the hard drive was also ever so slightly slower, taking 30 seconds compared to the internal hard drive's 29 seconds.
Given the extra 2 terabytes will let you store as many as 50 extra games to your console before you need to think about deleting them to free up storage space, that performance dip is hardly a deal-breaker.


It may not be the cheapest USB 3.0 hard drive you can get, but there's a lot to like about the My Passport X.
The budget conscious will probably want to save their coins and get a cheaper USB 3.0-compatible external hard drive. It's definitely nice that the My Passport X matches the Xbox One's stylings, but you will ultimately leave it plugged in and hidden behind the console anyway, so styling probably doesn't matter.

We Liked

Plug it in, follow the prompts and you're on your way. There's no worrying about external power supplies, no challenges with complex UIs – this thing is simplicity itself to use.
More likeable is the fact that there's no noticeable performance drop when compared to the internal hard drive.
Booting a game from the My Passport X was comparable to booting it from the internal option, while installing the game was similarly timed.
Having that performance maintain while increasing the number of games you can keep stored is a great feature, and something all Xbox One users should probably take advantage of.

We disliked

A relatively short list here. Firstly, the process of managing games is ever so slightly convoluted – moving games between hard drives requires a couple of steps.
But that's a minor complaint, and one much more directed at Microsoft. Of bigger concern is the cost. At AU$200 (£90, US$130), it's fairly pricey for a 2TB hard drive, especially when you can grab other WD 2TB USB 3.0 drives for as low as AU$130 (£60, US$75).

Final verdict

For the pure simplicity of the drive itself, and the fact there's no significant drop in performance, the My Passport X is a solid investment for any Xbox One user desperate for more HDD storage.
Which, frankly, should be pretty much every Xbox One owner. With game installs coming in at 30GB and above, 500GB is a miserly amount, and multiplying that capacity by a factor of four is a great way to get the most out of your console.

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How to create your own Star Wars effects for free
How to create your own Star Wars effects for free
HitFilm has been providing Star Wars fans with the tools to help create their own fan films since just after the release of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace back in 1999.
Now, with the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens on the horizon, the company has released a free Special Edition of its editing, effects and animation software, HitFilm 3 Express, which comes complete with Star Wars-themed effects.
HitFilm 3 Express Special Edition: The Force, which is available to download for this month only, gives you the means to create your own lightsaber and lightning effects, regardless of your skillset or midichlorian count.
To make things simple, HitFilm has produced a pair of step-by-step video tutorials for how to achieve these awesome effects using its software, which you can watch below.
YouTube : :
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You can finally try the Pebble Timeline beta on your old model
You can finally try the Pebble Timeline beta on your old model
After promising it almost a year ago, Pebble is finally launching the Timeline interface beta for the Pebble and Pebble Steel.
Pebble launched the new software interface - which let's you see your your notifications, alerts, messages and apps in a chronological order - along with it's new line of smart watches back in February, adding at the time that it would make Timeline available on it's older models.
Timeline has been available on the Pebble Time, Time Steel and Time Round smartwatches, and though it's been nearly a year, Pebble has today announced that the revamped interface, which also lets you have an unlimited amount of apps, will finally head to the Pebble and Pebble Steel in beta form.
Pebble and Pebble Steel steel owners will need to apply to test the beta, which is currently only available to Android users.
And though the beta only supports English right now, Pebble says the final version will also support French, German and Spanish, as well as be available to iOS users.
Pebble plans to launch the final version of the Timeline interface for these two older smartwatches by the end of the month.

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Australia, you can now pre-order the Tesla Powerwall
Australia, you can now pre-order the Tesla Powerwall
With skin-searing sun and 1.5 million homes already hooked up to solar power, Australia is a perfect candidate for Tesla Energy's Powerwall. And now pre-orders for the device have finally opened.
Starting from today, anyone looking to trim their power bill can buy the sleek wall-mounted battery from Natural Solar or Origin Energy, but will have to wait until next year for delivery and installation.
Natural Solar has opened pre-orders for the 5kWp Powerwall to customers in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide, but says the rest of Australia will follow in a nationwide rollout.

And after all, you're my Powerwall

Origin is offering the Powerwall as both a stand alone unit ready to be integrated into existing solar systems, or as part of a package. These packages include Trina solar panels and a Solar Edge inverter, both of which have been approved by Tesla Energy to pair with the Powerwall.
According to Fairfax Media, Origin's packages will start from $16,500.
Natural Solar just pips Origin at the post in terms of installation, promising to get Powerwalls rolling out by January, while Origin customers will have to wait until February for installations to commence.
Electric dreams: There's over 500 Teslas on Australian roads

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Macs are overtaking PCs in the office, according to new report
Macs are overtaking PCs in the office, according to new report
Support for Apple's Mac hardware continues to climb. According to a recent report published by JAMF Software, 96% of the 500 IT professionals surveyed in September 2015 say their teams support Mac. Additionally, 81% support iPad and 84% support iPhone.
IT professionals recognize tangible benefits to switching to a Mac. Compared with a Windows-based PC, IT professionals say that the move to a Mac could result in an increase productivity, more employee engagement and a reduction in costs. These sentiments echo IBM's finding that switching to a Mac resulted in a saving of $270 (£177, AU$373) per user.
Additionally, 75% of those surveyed said Macs provide better security compared to rival platforms.

Support statistics

Mac support in the enterprise is higher than support for Windows PC. Only 92% of IT professionals say their internal teams support PCs, and 28% of those surveyed say they support Chromebooks. Support for Windows tablets is at 46%.
The JAMF report only cited support numbers, and the survey doesn't provide specifics about Mac adoption and deployment rates.
Sixty-four percent prefer Macs because Apple's computers are easier to manage than other computer platforms. As Apple standardizes on common protocols, less maintenance is required and supporting the platform becomes easier.
"While a lot of the attention of Apple's success has been on its iOS devices, the survey results also show that Mac will continue to replace the PC at an unprecedented rate because it empowers users to be creative, productive, and happier in their jobs," said Dean Hager, CEO of JAMF Software, in an interview with ComputerWorld.
With virtualization software like VMWare Fusion and Parallels Desktop, Mac users can run OS X and Windows apps on the same computer side-by-side. Running two OSes on a single device could result in big savings for businesses in terms of hardware, support and software costs. Macs also ship with basic productivity software, such as Apple's Pages, Numbers and Keynote apps.

User preference

However, it's not just IT departments that prefer to support, manage and deploy Macs. Users are also choosing Macs because of their own familiarity with the platform at home.
"As organizations continue to implement user choice programs, more and more employees are choosing Apple devices for work because this is what they prefer in their everyday lives," David Alampi, JAMF Software Vice President of Product Management and Marketing, told ComputerWorld. "As a result, Apple is seeing increased adoption in the enterprise because employees demand Apple."
Apple is still strong in the education market, with 94% of K-12 and 97% of higher education organizations supporting Macs.
Apple's growth comes at a time when the PC market as a whole is contracting. PC sales are expected to rebound in late 2016, according to a recent IDC report, as businesses begin to upgrade their commercial systems.

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Watch this flamethower-equipped drone roast a turkey
Watch this flamethower-equipped drone roast a turkey
Weaponized drones for the military are one thing, but this reckless marvel of ingenuity is another. In this video uploaded to YouTube, an unmanned aerial craft armed with a fully-functional flamethrower does a number on a turkey, resulting one the most bizarre uses for a drone that we've seen in a while.
YouTube :
The creator behind the video and drone, Connecticut teenager Austin Haughwout, is shown maneuvering the craft as it turns the backyard in to an aerial barbecue pit.
According to an interview with Haughwout's father via WTNH News, the turkey's immolation was done under what he believes to be safe conditions, away from people or dry brush and with fire extinguishers nearby.
While difficult to tell how safe the conditions were in this particular instance, experiments involving weapons and civilian drones concern both the public as well as drone advocates who could face serious regulation.
In fact, Haughwout made waves earlier this year when a drone he constructed armed with a functional semiautomatic pistol caught the attention of the Federal Aviation Administration.
Events like this, in addition to other recent incidents involving unmanned aircraft, led a task force assembling this fall to look over the matter, including stricter safety regulations and mandatory registration of all drones in the U.S.
Image Credit: Hogwit (via YouTube)

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Twitter's new emojis finally let you flip people off
Twitter's new emojis finally let you flip people off
Twitter has finally joined Apple's iOS and Android by adding support for Unicode 8.0, which brings with it diversity, tacos and the middle finger emoji.
Twitter quietly added support for the new emojis today, with Emojipedia tweeting the new "Twemoji" additions that can now be used in tweets even if your device doesn't support Unicode 8.0 yet.
The new emojis include racially diverse emojis, as well as tacos, the hyped-up middle finger, family emojis and 256 country flags. You can find the full list of Twemojis here.

Emoji in 140 characters

2015 has proven to be the year of the emoji, with the word 'emoji' even being named Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year.
The open source Unicode 8.0 came onto the scene earlier this year, with iOS 9.1 adding the new emojis in October.
Google also added support for the new emojis just two days ago, though only Nexus handsets have access to them right now.
And with Twitter recently introducing special Star Wars emojis, it's really no surprise to see the social media giant finally add support for these new emojis too.

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Updated: Mac or PC: what is the best platform for your small business
Updated: Mac or PC: what is the best platform for your small business


In the days of yore, when wearing flannel was an actual statement of musical taste and White House interns and car chases on California freeways were matters of great cultural concern, "working on the computer" meant working on a PC. Unless you were a graphic designer or editor, the only apple you touched was the red fruit in your lunch.
Of course, apples aren't just apples anymore. They're pods, pads and phones, and increasingly, the machines we do work on too.
Unlike the days of yore, small businesses now have a choice for their offices: Mac or PC (or both) – and it's one that could have repercussions throughout the life of the business.
It's not an easy choice either. What was once a major difference between the two platforms – software – is no longer. Popular office applications are widely available on both.
What then are the big differences between Mac and PC? Here's what your small business needs to keep in mind before taking the platform plunge.
Update: A recent published survey of 500 IT professionals found that 96% of businesses support Macs, compared with just 92% that support PC. Windows tablet support sits at 46%, compared to 81% of IT teams that support iPad.
Small business


It's no secret that Macs are expensive. Does the lack of a "budget" Mac make Apple platforms not budget friendly? Not necessarily.
Small businesses must consider not only the sticker price but also the lifelong maintenance costs of their new machines. And thanks to their dedicated hardware, Macs tend to have a longer lifespan and require less maintenance than their PC counterparts.
PCs tend to be fickle, and the cost of maintaining (and replacing) them may offset their relatively cheap purchase price. Factor in too the productivity lost during repair and PCs may not be the accountant's best friend after all.
Macs are not foolproof. Nor should the savings associated with their reliability be overstated. After all, even if a $500 PC has to be completely replaced within a six-year span (the average lifespan of a PC is three to five years), the total expenditure is still less than that of the cheapest iMac.
The integrated design of a Mac also makes it prickly to repair. Macs are designed to come to the party together and leave the party together. Apple wants its customers to upgrade to the next iteration if one aspect of its hardware malfunctions.
PCs however, swap components like teenagers swap spit. Small businesses won't have to buy an entirely new PC just because a video card thinks it should've been a barbecue grill. Macs may need fewer repairs, but when they do, they can be quite costly.
Ultimately the deciding variable is repair costs – which are difficult for even the clearest of crystal balls to predict. In the final analysis, small businesses should consider PCs and Macs – despite their very different prices – to be similar costs.

Customization and networking

As enterprise is its core customer, Microsoft has made hardware customization and network functionality and support a cornerstone of its design philosophy.
Apple on the other hand, has focused on user interface and plug-n-playability to appeal to its core customer: consumers.
Small businesses with limited IT support who rely on cloud-based storage and software will appreciate Apple's "it just works" philosophy. They can plug in their Macs, connect to the internet and go. But small businesses that need specialized hardware for their in-house servers may find Apple lacking.
The same dedicated hardware that makes a Mac reliable also makes it difficult, if not impossible to customize. When it comes to specialization and networking, PC is the platform of choice.
Windows based servers are the IT standard, and they are designed with the PC in mind. Sure, Macs will couple with a Windows network, but it will be an arranged marriage, requiring more resources and support to get them together. PCs and Windows-based servers have a natural affinity. Small businesses can save IT a lot of time by taking advantage of it.
Small business


There are two common consequences for businesses that lack proper computer security.
The lesser of the two is poor performance. We all know what that means. Applications slowly open, hourglasses appear whenever the mouse is clicked, and websites turn into still-life photos. And more importantly, productivity suffers as employees fight the machines that are supposed to help them.
The other, potentially devastating consequence, is data compromise. Employee files, accounting data, company secrets – the loss of any private data could lead to significant losses, fines and negative scrutiny for the business. Businesses cannot take the security of their computers lightly.
Whether it's because of sturdier architecture or lower market share (making them a less tasty target for hackers and malcontents), Macs are generally considered more secure than PCs.
All businesses have to regularly patch and upgrade their systems, as well as invest in robust antivirus and anti-malware software. But businesses using PCs can expect more viruses, malware and perhaps even hacker probing than their Mac using neighbors.
Organizations with highly sensitive data, like medical practices, may like the "incognito" factor that Macs provide, while others who have already invested in IT security may feel that the difference is inconsequential. You should carefully consider the consequences of security breaches, and add that to the overall cost calculus of your platform decision.


The prevailing wisdom used to be that the Mac, with its sharp display and intuitive interface, was best suited for creatives, while the spreadsheet and QuickBooks friendly PC got the job done for the rest of the business masses.
But nowadays, both platforms competently run Photoshop or Excel. And cloud-based applications like Office 365 have made it easy for either platform to access the full suite of business tools.
The problem is the two platforms often have trouble talking to each other.
Small business
With this in mind, small businesses must look to their employee and customer preferences when making their platform decision.
This is not as simple as "do they like one mouse button or two?" Employee comfort level with a platform's interface affects productivity. And customer ability to interact with and open files affects sales.
Small businesses often ignore or are ignorant of these factors, and they should be given more weight. Before wading into the Mac or PC analysis, businesses must first ask themselves "what platform is my industry using?"
Small business that adopt the same platform as their client and customers will have to spend less time troubleshooting compatibility issues and converting files, which will ultimately lead to smoother transactions. Great customer service is a small business's competitive edge. Their hardware cannot undermine it.

Quiet the voices

There's a lot of flag-waving in the Mac vs. PC debate (especially on the internet), and small businesses should beware the passions it inspires.
The "right" platform is one that serves the small business's needs. As long as your business understands its customer and employee preferences and is realistic about its networking, customization and security needs it will make the right decision.

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Review: Updated: Sling TV
Review: Updated: Sling TV

Features and FAQ

Update: Sling TV has announced that it will add local content from Univision and UniMas to its standalone Sling Latino package.
Original review below...
Imagine everything you liked about cable. You probably enjoyed surfing the channels, watching the shows people were talking about when they aired instead of months after. And, if you were lucky enough to own boxes of a certain caliber, pausing and rewinding said TV shows in real time.
Now, imagine everything you hated: the costly bill at the end of the month, the bulky, expensive equipment that marred the side of your house and entertainment center. Not to mention the service contract that never seemed to end.
But what if you could get everything you loved about TV without any of those gripes?
That, in a nutshell, is Sling TV.
It's live TV streaming whenever and wherever. No contracts, no equipment and no costly statement.

Sling TV? Is it the same thing as a Slingbox?

While there are some concepts borrowed from Slingbox, Sling TV is in a different league when it comes to cutting the cord.
Sling TV is a US-only service offered from DISH that allows you to watch the channels you'd typically find on basic cable for $20 a month without a contract, subscription to DISH or any pesky cable equipment on your roof or in your living room.

What devices can I use to watch it?

Create an account on DISH's website and use that info to login to the app on iOS, Android, Amazon Fire TV and Amazon Fire TV Stick, Google's Nexus Player, Xbox One, the new Chromecast via the Sling TV app and Roku TV. The service will also work on select LG and Samsung smart TVs, and on Macs and PCs via a website portal.
Sling TV review
The system is more eloquent than apps like TWC TV or Xfinity, and while the latter is almost universally available, trying to remember whose name and email you use to login can ruin a session before it even starts.
It's also worth noting that Sling TV has partnered up with T-Mobile to offer subscribers unlimited streaming video on their T-Mobile smartphones and tablets without eating into their LTE data.

What channels are included?

So far, channels on the basic, $20-per-month plan include ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Travel Channel, CNN, Cartoon Network, ABC Family, Disney Channel, AMC, IFC and, most recently, A&E, History, H2, Lifetime, Bloomberg and most recently, Polaris+.
The biggest change to this roster is HBO. Starting April 12 for the premiere of the new season of Game of Thrones, Sling TV will offer live HBO for $15 a month to current "Best of Live TV" subscribers. Also new is the addition of DishWorld multi-lingual content to Sling TV.
In addition to the base subscription, seven add-on packages are available for $5 apiece each month:
  • Kids Extra, with Disney Jr, Disney XD, Boomerang, Duck TV, and Baby TV.
  • Sports Extra, which includes the SEC Network, ESPNEWS, ESPNU, Universal Sports, Univision Deportes, beIN Sports, ESPN Buzzer Beater, ESPN Bases Loaded, ESPN Goal Line, Campus Insiders and Outside Television.
  • Lifestyle extra, with Cooking Channel, DIY, truTV, WE tv, FYI, and LMN.
  • Hollywood Extra, which includes live and video-on-demand content from EPIX, EPIX2, EPIX3, EPIX Drive-In, Sundance TV and Turner Classic Movies (TCM)
  • World News Extra, with HLN, News 18 India, Euronews, NDTV 24x7, France24 and RT.
  • Deportes Extra includes Azteca, beIN Español, beIN HD (English), Univison, Univision Deportes and UniMás.
  • Películas & Novelas Extra includes Azteca Corazon, Cinelatino, De Película, De Película Clasico, Pasiones, Univision tlnovelas, Univision and UniMás.


Now, remember when you asked about Slingbox? Well, it's true, Sling TV and Slingbox share a few similarities beyond the first syllable.
Sling TV allows you to pause, rewind and fast-forward live TV on some channels (note the word "some" there), and grants you the ability to watch shows a few days after they've aired.
Sling TV
Also similar to Slingbox, Sling TV lets you watch its service on most mobile devices anywhere in the world. That is, as long as you can establish and maintain a bitrate of about 1.5 Mbps for high-quality streams, 0.8Mbps for medium resolution, and 0.5 Mbps for low-quality.

Sling TV on Roku

TechRadar was given two platforms to test Sling TV. One was Roku (specifically on a Roku 3) and the other was iOS, which we'll get to in a minute.
By and large, the experience on Roku was everything I've come to love about a cable box: simple functionality, clean layout and crisp picture. Installing the app was as easy as going to Roku channel store, finding the Sling TV app and pushing it to my Roku 3.
Coming from the home screen, Sling TV's interface loads up In a matter of seconds. The time it takes to get from home screen to live TV is astonishing - it's leagues faster than the time it takes my DirecTV cable box to boot up.
Once loaded, the stream was crisp and clear. (This obviously is a YMMV situation, as my home setup isn't identical - or even necessarily in the same ballpark - as everyone else.) A quick test of my network showed I was pulling around 26Mbps over Wi-Fi, which worked fairly well at high-quality 1080p 99% of the time.
Sling TV
The only stark contrast to traditional cable, at this point at least, is the amount of content available on Sling TV.
Comparatively, the 40-or-so channels offered on Sling TV are just a drop in the bucket compared to the over-800 I have available on DirecTV. And because you aren't able to record a show like you can on TiVo, you're limited to watching whatever's on or whatever's been on in the past few days.

Sling TV on iOS

Sling TV on iOS is a vastly different experience. Not only are you trading down to a smaller screen size, but you're also losing connection stability and clean interface of the set-top app.
Using an iPhone 5S for testing, I took Sling TV with me for a gauntlet of daily errands. As you might expect, over LTE the stream was nearly flawless. Dropping down to 3G, however, presented real problems as seconds slipped away to buffering screens.
Sling TV review
Problematically, when you return home, continuing what you were watching on your phone isn't as simple as starting up your Roku. You'll need to go into the menu, find the show you were watching and rewind it manually.
Trying to use both a phone and a Roku at the same time won't work either. DISH is clearly (and rightfully) afraid of the account-sharing trap that has befallen HBO Go and Netflix, and doesn't allow two devices using the same account to run the service simultaneously.
Overall, I found the iOS experience less enjoyable than the set-top app, but still impressive. Being able to take TV figuratively anywhere is an appealing, practical proposition for morning commuters or long-distance travelers.

Sling TV on Amazon Fire TV

Sling TV made a splash this week by offering a a free Fire TV Stick to new subscribers. To activate your subscription on your new device, check out Sling TV on the "featured app" section of the storefront, start the download, enter in your account info and soon you'll have live TV on your favorite Amazon device.
The interface on Amazon Fire TV looks almost identical to the service on Roku, which is to say clean and convenient. Pressing the "list" button on Fire TV remotes brings up a channel listing while the three media control buttons do their things on playback-enabled channels.
The service looks a little clearer than it did on Roku - Sling probably set the highest visual quality as a default on Amazon devices - but it does seem to hit a few more snags. The system was stuck in buffering for such a long time at one point that it completely shutoff. Whether this was a one-time fluke or a persistent problem remains to be seen...
Sling TV on Xbox One

Sling TV on Xbox One

When I heard Sling was shooting for five platforms in five months, I had my doubts it could keep up with the development pace. Yet here we are just two months later talking about the fourth version of the system, Xbox One.
If you've used the service on any of the set-top boxes so far, you'll probably know what to expect here.
The channel interface is brought up with a flick of the stick in any direction, while the menu button (formerly known as start) opens up a menu for video-on-demand movies. Last but not least is the share button (again, formerly known as back) that brings up a menu that filters channels by category.
One major change worth noting is that Sling - unlike some apps on Xbox One - actually utilizes the Kinect to take in voice commands and allows you to pin both video-on-demand and specific channels to your home screen.
During testing I noticed a fair bit of latency (38ms compared to 30 on my tablet), which caused the service to stop and stutter multiple times. This occurred with a 4.24Mbps download speed and could be a worrying sign for potential Xbox One users.
Overall the service looks great and is functionally stable on Xbox One, but its performance - as users have noted in the comments - will definitely vary depending on your connection speed.
[Editor's Note: We haven't tried the service on a web browser and Android TV, however we will update the review with that section when it becomes available.]


Sling TV is a great solution for users of a certain lifestyle, like restaurant owners who only use ESPN and CNN, or cord-cutters who know exactly the channels that they like.
If you don't fall into those groups, you're not out of luck. The service is just starting, and with more content packs en route, your favorite set of channels may be just a few months out.
Curmudgeons, however, could easily quote Shakespeare's famous line in Romeo and Juliet: "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

We liked

At its core, there's a lot right with Sling TV. It presents the clearest alternative to cable we've ever seen. Plus, when combined with a movie streaming service like Netflix, Hulu or Amazon and an HD antenna, provides a nearly complete solution.
There's no setup, no fees, and no contract. It's simple, just the way we like it.
Sling TV is also awesomely and incredibly convenient. Whether you're trying to quickly catch up on a show on the go with the iOS app or bunkering down for a marathon on your PC, accessing the service isn't a problem.

We disliked

But no matter how much I liked the service and its convenience, there are still some glaring issues Sling TV needs to fix to score my full recommendation.
DISH still hasn't found the right balance between cost, content offered and features, like letting an additional viewer watch simultaneously or enabling every channel to offer pause, rewind and restart options.
Seriously, the lack of pause and rewind on every station, or a way to record live TV to watch later, is a bummer. And while traditional cable may have cost upwards of $70 per month, there are easily over 100 channels of content available in those services. It can be argued that a typical user only watches seven or eight in a given week but, even so, the options are always there. Sling TV users aren't so lucky.


Yes, DISH is offering a $20 a month, contract-free plan that can be streamed to any mobile device and most set-top boxes. But that $20 could easily turn into $30 by the time you tack on the additional two packages. Add on a few more and you'll quickly find yourself paying the same amount you gave to the cable company before cutting the cord.
And $20 a month for 20 channels doesn't present the same content-to-dollar ratio that a service like Netflix or Amazon Instant provides, especially when you consider that you can only have one device active at a time.
Pending a change in pricing or device limitations, though, Sling TV could finally be the straw that breaks corporate cable's back. It's quick, convenient and fits into your life whenever and wherever you are. One thing I won't miss? The customer service.

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In depth: 4K TV and Ultra HD: Everything you need to know
In depth: 4K TV and Ultra HD: Everything you need to know


4K: Everyone wants it and no one knows why. It's the hottest techy buzzword of the past few years, and it's a technology that's rewriting the rulebook when it comes to image quality.
It affects not just the world of 4K TV and cinema, but also cameras and image capture, smartphones and tablets, computer monitors and PC games - practically anything that displays images or records video.
4K TV sets are now available from most of the major TV manufacturers, but they're merely the tip of a very cool technological iceberg. There's plenty to delve into with the new technology - we'll cover what OLED, High-Dynamic Range and Quantum Dot in a minute - but before we get ahead of ourselves let's make sure we all understand the basics. What the heck is 4K and why should you care?

What do I need to know about 4K?

In a minute we're going to explain precisely how 4K is defined, how it works and why you should care, but to tell you the truth, you only need to know one thing about it: 4K means more pixels.

That's it?

That's it.

How many more pixels are we talking about?

About 8 million. Which is around four times what your current 1080p set can display. Think of your TV like a grid, with rows and columns. A full HD 1080p image is 1080 rows high and 1920 columns wide. A 4K image approximately doubles both those numbers, yielding approximately 4 times as many pixels total. To put it another way, you could fit every pixel from your 1080p set onto one quarter of a 4K screen.

Why is it called 4K?

Because the images are around 4,000 pixels wide. And before you ask, yes, the industry named 1080 resolution after image height, but named 4K after image width. For extra added fun, you also might hear this resolution referred to as 2160p. Welcome to the future. It's confusing here.

Do all those extra pixels matter?

They matter very much. More pixels means more information. More information means sharper pictures. Sharper pictures are more engaging. More engaging content is more fun. And fun... well fun is the thing, isn't it?

So I'll see a huge difference?

That's where it gets sticky. We're talking about a similar jump in resolution as the one from SD (480 lines high) to HD (1080 lines high). And 4K screens are noticeably sharper than 1080p screens. But there are a few reasons you might not feel the same thrill you did when you upgraded your old CRT to a flatscreen.
When most people went from a 480 to a 1080p set, there was a good chance they were making a big jump in TV size as well. In terms of wow factor, display size is more powerful than any resolution jump could ever hope to be. Last time around most people got big jumps to both screen size and resolution. But this time screen sizes are staying about the same, with the most popular models falling in the 40 inch to 70 inch range.
4K and Ultra HD
Most importantly, though, you'll only be able to see the resolution difference on a 4K set if you're 1) watching 4K content through it and 2) you're sitting close enough.

Sitting close enough?

Yup. Remember when Apple made a big fuss about "retina" displays a few iPhones back? "Retina" refers to screens that have sufficient resolution that at a normal viewing distance your eye can't make out individual pixels. Get far enough away from a 1080p set and, hey presto, It's a retina display! More importantly, at that same distance, your eyeballs won't be able to squeeze any more detail out of a 4K image than a 1080 one. If you're at "retina distance" from your 1080p set now and don't plan on moving your couch closer, upgrading to 4K may not make a big difference to your experience. This chart shows how close you need to sit at any given screen size to see the difference.

So I should sit closer?

Oh my yes. The ability to get up close to the screen without the image breaking down is one of the most intoxicating things about 4K. Sitting closer allows the same sized screen to fill more of your visual field, which yields greater immersion. The up-close factor is one of the reasons 4K computer monitors have become one of the technology's fastest growing sectors. 4K monitors remain pin-sharp even when you're just a foot or two from the screen, as you are when you're sitting at your desk.

Difference between Ultra HD and 4K

Technically, "Ultra High Definition" is actually a derivation of the 4K digital cinema standard. However while your local multiplex shows images in native 4096 x 2160 4K resolution, the new Ultra HD consumer format has a slightly lower resolution of 3840 X 2160.
This is one reason why some brands prefer not to use the 4K label at all, sticking with Ultra HD or UHD instead. However, the numerical shorthand looks likely to stick. As a broad brush label it's so much snappier!

Why should I care about 4K Ultra HD?

There are many reasons why 4K should make you rethink your next TV purchase (actually, there are eleven and you can read about them here), not all of them immediately obvious.
Photographers who routinely view their work on an HD TV are seeing but a fraction of the detail inherent in their pictures when they view them at 2160p.
A 4K display reveals so much more nuance and detail – the difference can be astonishing. While 3D has proved to be a faddish diversion, 4K comes without caveats. Its higher resolution images are simply better.
The higher pixel density of a 4K panel also enable you get much closer without the grid-like structure of the image itself becoming visible –this means you can comfortably watch a much larger screen from the same seating position as your current Full HD panel. Currently all available 4K Ultra HD TVs are in excess of 50-inches.

You also said "and up." Can UHD also designate higher resolutions than 4K?

Yes. This is the slightly confusing part. An 8K display would also be UHD.

What is this 8K you speak of?

It's the next resolution standard up from 4K. Basically it doubles the pixel height and width again to yield approximately 32 million pixels. It's a regular pixel party.

That sounds awesome. Should I just get one of those?

Absolutely not. The 8K standard is primarily for the exhibition market (aka movie theaters). To make that many pixels matter, you need to be feeding a truly gigantic screen and sitting right in front of it. Besides, you can't buy an 8K screen today without having it custom built, which would cost approximately seven hojillion dollars. And there's no commercially available 8K content. You'd need to get movies directly from distributors the same way theaters do. You do not need this unless you are Jerry Bruckheimer. (If you are Jerry Bruckheimer, though, give me a call. I know a guy.)
4K and Ultra HD

My friend told me about 4K OLED. What's that?

More acronyms! Isn't this fun? OLED - organic light emitting diodes - have been around for some time, but producing big screens using this technology has proven to be prohibitively expensive, something which has so far prevented OLED television from being a mainstream proposition.
It's a real shame because OLED technology can be stunning, offering vibrant colors, deep blacks and bright whites. But don't give up hope just yet. Several companies (most prominently LG) are laboring away to bring OLED to 4K televisions. We recently took a look at LG's new 4K OLED sets, but while they're gorgeous, pricing remains sky high. Hopefully that will change soon, though. "I believe the price and yield rate will be higher immediately and the price will be down," Mr K I Kwon, president of LG Electronics UK, told TechRadar recently. We hope his predictions hold and we aren't ruling out OLED as a big player in the next generation of televisions.

I've heard Netflix is going to start streaming in something called HDR. What is that?

HDR, UHD, OLED ... there's no shortage of acronyms in home entertainment.
HDR, or high dynamic range, is a concept borrowed from digital imaging which combines three images - one with normal lighting, one with underexposure and one with overexposure - to give more contrast to an image or video. Netflix will be the first content provider to release HDR video in 2015.
You won't necessarily need a UHD screen to get it, but to really see a difference in picture quality you'll want to step up to the higher resolution.

Quantum Dot sounds like theoretical physics

It does indeed. But unlike some problems in theoretical physics, the solution is already here. Quantum Dot displays (QD for short) are simply LED panels with a thin film of nano-crystals in between the backlight and the display. Manufacturers like LG and Sony claim that this increases color depth by around 30% without adding extra pixels or implementing a wacky algorithm to digitally manipulate the display.
We went hands on with a few QD panels at CES 2015, including the LG UF9400 Quantum Dot 4K UHD TV and Samsung SUHD Curved TV, which uses a variation of Quantum Dot. We liked what we saw, mostly, and especially on the Samsung SUHD. The LG had some issues with oversaturation ... but that may be fixed by the time the TV comes to market in Q2 2015.

What about 4K content? Can I get that?

Yeah, about that... There's actually not much 4K content to be had right now.

Why not?

Because every 4K frame contains four times the information of HD, 4K content is four times more bulky than regular HD content in terms of its raw file size. That makes it a challenge to get it to you. Broadcast TV hasn't made the 4K switch yet (indeed, it's only recently that hard drive sizes have gotten big enough to manage DVRing HD programs comfortably). There is a 4K Blu-ray standard coming, but the Blu-ray disc association is only just finishing it and won't start licensing it to manufacturers until early 2015. Victor Matsuda, chairman of the Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee told us we should see 4K players and discs in time for the 2015 holidays.
On the streaming side, bandwidth is a definite issue. The internet's bandwidth is already dominated by Netflix's traffic, prompting ISPs to go after them for extra cash, and that's with most of its streams at SD and HD levels. Upping everything to 4K doesn't sound like a reasonable option just yet. And even if it were possible to stream 4K content to everyone without breaking the internet, streaming 4K content requires a 25Mbps or faster downstream internet connection, which is faster than most people have at the moment.

So what can I watch?

The good news is many new films and some TV shows are now filming in 4K as a future-proofing measure. The bad news is all that content will have to wait until we have established avenues for getting it to people. Your best UHD options right now come from Sony and Netflix, with Amazon to follow suit this fall.
Sony launched its Video Unlimited 4K service in 2013, which offers more than 70 films and TV shows for rental or purchase. It requires Sony's 4K Ultra HD Media Player, the FMP-X1 ($350), which comes with a 2TB hard drive and is only compatible with Sony 4K TVs. 24-hour TV show rentals are $4 and 24-hour film rentals cost $8. Film purchases are $30. It's not exactly instant gratification, though. Once you rent or buy something, it needs to download to your player, which Sony estimates can take 8 to 15 hours, depending on your Internet connection, so you'd better think ahead if you're planning a 4K movie night.
If you want to watch right away, Netflix is testing the 4K streaming waters with select shows (House of Cards, Breaking Bad, The Blacklist) and films (Ghostbusters, The Smurfs 2) if you own a Samsung, Sony or LG 4K TV and have a 25Mbps internet connection. Currently, however, the content selection is limited at best. And contains The Smurfs 2. Netflix has announced that it will require new subscribers to be on the highest tier four-stream Family Plan in order to access 4K content. Existing subscribers will be grandfathered into 4K for two years on their existing lower-tier plans.
In addition, Amazon recently announced that it would begin streaming 4K content to TVs by select manufacturers in October. By the time the holidays roll around, it looks like 4K pioneers will have at least a few options to choose from.
4K TV and Ultra HD

Is it me or are those options are almost comically limited?

It's not you.

Why are we even talking about 4K then?

Because it's awesome. Seriously, the pictures look amazing. You're going to love it.

How does that help if there's nothing to watch?

It's a fair point. There is definitely a chicken and egg problem here. No one wants to spend money putting out 4K content until there's enough significant demand for it, and that means 4K sets showing up in homes. But 4K sets are a tough sell if there's nothing to watch on them except regular HD content. Which means we've been in this weird in-between time, waiting for significant numbers of people to make a relatively illogical decision to buy an extra-expensive TV that will only look marginally better than their old one for the next year or two.

That's really dumb.

Hey, let's be careful with our mean words! Still, you've got a point. The current situation is a little silly. But 4K is legitimately awesome. And we're going to get there. We went through a similar transition a few years back with the move to HD (which came complete with the HD-DVD/Blu-ray format war and massive marketplace confusion) a few years back. Luckily that transition was eased a bit by the simultaneous move to the flatscreen form factor and a significant jump in screen sizes.

What kind of cables will I need for 4K?

The two standard cables you're most likely to use are either a standard HDMI or if you're connecting a PC to a Ultra HD monitor, DisplayPort.
HDMI cables now come in two flavors: 1.4 and 2.0. HDMI 1.4 cables are the super inexpensive kind found at the dollar bin of your local electronics retailer. They're cheap and can output a 3820x2160-resolution at 30 frames per second. HDMI 2.0 is the latest spec and can output video at Ultra HD resolution at 60 frames per second. (But more on that below!)
The other type of cable you can use is DisplayPort. DisplayPort carries 4K image and audio signal from most high-end graphics cards to monitors without any noticeable artifacts or delays.

So should I buy a 4K set now or should I wait?

It depends. If you want the absolute best TV you can get right now and don't mind paying a premium for it, it's a 4K set. If you're buying from one of the top tier manufacturers, you're going to get a good product that's reasonably future-proofed. As we said before, the sets look great. However, don't expect to be watching most of your video content in 4K for another two to three years. And make sure any set you buy has HDMI 2.0 ports (the first wave of 4K TVs used the previous HDMI 1.4 standard).
On the other hand, if you're price sensitive or want to wait until the content side of the equation is a bit more solved, it absolutely makes sense to wait. You're not missing out on much at the moment. There are incredible values to be found in generously-sized 1080p sets right now. And 4K sets are only going to get cheaper.
Scott Alexander originally contributed this article

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Shut up, Siri: Cortana now chats with iOS and Android
Shut up, Siri: Cortana now chats with iOS and Android
If you're eager to get access to Cortana, Microsoft's digital assistant, on iOS, Android and Cyanogen phones, the wait is over. With the new cross-platform Cortana app, you'll be able to take Windows 10 alerts and reminders with you regardless of your phone's manufacturer.
The Cortana apps are specifically designed to provide an extension to the Windows 10 operating system for users who haven't bought into Windows 10 Mobile. With the new apps, you can set location-based reminders from your Windows PC that track your iPhone and tell you to pick up groceries when you pass the nearest Whole Foods.
You can also set Windows 10 to send your Galaxy S6 a missed call alert if someone attempted to ring you on your desktop while you were travelling on business. This feature also enables you to set up an auto-text that will alert callers that you are away from your desk and unable to take the call.

What else?

If you're new to the Windows ecosystem, you can look forward to accessing Cortana for its traditional features, such as vocally searching for static information, like the weather or a contact's phone number.
You can also use the digital assistant to automate tasks, like composing an email or creating a calendar entry. This year, Cortana even began scanning your email to automatically track flights and shipments, and offer exclusive discounts to users who land on participating retail websites.
Unfortunately, iOS and Android devices won't have the same functionality as Windows 10 Mobile-based devices. For example, Cortana won't be able to open and adjust your phone's settings or open other applications. You also won't be able to initiate Cortana simply by saying, "Hey Cortana," which is kind of a drag.

Why is Microsoft playing ball?

For Microsoft, 2015 has been the year of Windows 10. Unlike previous versions of Windows, which Microsoft primarily crafted for desktops, Windows 10 is supposed to be a ubiquitous operating system that lives on phones, tablets, PCs and even the Xbox One gaming console.
Unfortunately, Microsoft's footprint in the mobile operating system market has barely cracked 3%. New Windows 10 Mobile-based phones like the Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL aren't likely to make a huge dent in overall market share, despite a few standout features.
However, by enabling iOS and Android users to access Cortana's features, Microsoft is expanding Windows 10's footprint, and by default, making it more ever-present in your life. If Cortana makes an impression on you while you're using an iPhone, a few cool Windows 10 Mobile-only features might be what it takes to get you to (maybe, possibly) consider a Windows device for your next handset.

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Review: Brother MFC-J6925DW
Review: Brother MFC-J6925DW

Introduction and design

To innovate, printer manufacturers have experimented with different technologies to make their boxy designs stand out. Epson's EcoTank technology on the WorkForce ET-4550 (US-only $499, about £320, AU$678) makes high volume printing easy with large ink tanks that don't need to be replaced as frequently, and HP promises fast print speeds with PageWide, a technology that speeds up printing with nozzles that cover the width of the page.
Brother is taking a more moderate approach with its Business Smart Pro series, and the Brother MFC-J6925DW ($309, £205, AU$428) aims to deliver a solid balance between print quality, cost and speed.
As a printer capable of handling wide format A3 paper sizes, the MFC-J6925DW competes most closely against Epson's WorkForce WF-7610 ($150, £99, AU$207), a printer that can handle 11 x 17-inch prints. What sets the MFC-J6925DW apart from the competition is Brother's INKvestment cartridges, a system that deliver quality, affordable prints with low up-front replacement cartridge costs.
With INKvestment cartridges, Brother delivers lower per-page print costs without requiring users to purchase expensive high capacity or high yield cartridges, making it more cost effective than HP's OfficeJet Pro X 576DW ($354, £232, AU$497).


Brother may be one of the first companies to resolve a pain point with printer designs, achieving a frustration-free package design that doesn't require the an excessive amount of tape and plastic to protect the printer during transport.
All you'll need to do is lift the 36.4-pound (16.5kg) printer from out of its box and set it on a flat surface to get started.
Measuring 21.8 x 17.0 x 12.2 inches (55.3 x 43.2 x 31cm), the MFC-J6925DW feels substantial, but it shares similar weight and dimensions to other wide format printers, like the Epson WF-7610. The MFC-J6925DW is 4.8 pounds (2.2kg) lighter than the Epson, and it's more compact. The Epson is 0.5 inches (1.3cm) wider, 2.1 inches (5.3cm) deeper and 1.2 inches (3cm) taller in height than the Brother.
Unlike the all-black Epson, the MFC-J6925DW comes in a matte off-white finish with black accents.
At the front, there is an articulating 3.7-inch (9.4cm) touch panel, with a touchscreen and a touch-sensitive number pad. The touchscreen supports swipe gestures, making it easy to move between different menu screens.
The all-touch interface along with the angular line design and a trapezoidal cube body give the MFC-J6925DW its modern aesthetic, which looks less imposing than the boxy Epson. However, I preferred having access to physical buttons on the number pad on the Epson.
To the left of the touchscreen, a USB port and SD card slot are concealed behind a cover. Once you pull down the lid, you can access content on your removable media to print without having to connect a laptop or smartphone. The cover helps to protect the printer's clean lines, but can be cumbersome if you're frequently printing from or scanning to removable media.
The MFC-J6925DW ships with four ink cartridges for black, cyan, yellow and magenta. The cartridges load into a compartment on the right side of the printer that's accessible when the cover is removed.
At the front, users will have access to two paper trays. Each tray can accommodate up to 250 sheets of A3 size paper, allowing users to print 11 x 17-inch jobs. The dual-tray design gives the MFC-J6925DW more flexibility than its rivals. This means that users can now have two smaller, dedicated trays for two different paper sizes.
Additionally, there is a top-loading 50-sheet manual paper feeder on the rear of the printer, bringing the overall sheet capacity to 550 sheets if you max out all the paper trays.
At the top, you'll find the flat-bed scanner and automatic document feeder (ADF). The 35-sheet, single-pass duplex ADF is concealed behind a flip-out cover, designed to preserve the printer's angular aesthetics. Once the cover opens, it serves as a support to hold larger paper originals for scanning, copying and faxing.
At the rear, you'll find a permanently affixed power cable and a USB port with a clever cable management design to keep things tidy.

Performance, specifications and costs

After I connected the power source and installed the cartridges and paper, the MFC-J6925DW printed a test sheet. Once the print quality is confirmed, the setup process will continue.
You'll be able to set different paper sizes for each of the paper trays, which is done via the touchscreen. The touchscreen is easy to use, and there is an audible click whenever an input is made. The setup process takes only a few minutes, and it's much quicker than on competing HP and Epson printers, which require up to 20 minutes for extensive first-time printhead calibrations.
The Brother MFC-J6925DW comes with built-in Wi-Fi support, so you'll be able to connect the printer to your local network. Network connectivity extends the functionality of the printer, allowing you to print from Android and iOS mobile devices, scan directly to your cloud storage service and download Brother templates to print documents, like calendar templates, forms and lined paper for note-taking.
The touchscreen adds versatility to the MFC-J6925DW. The UI is easy to navigate, and you can save custom print settings and configurations as shortcuts.

Printer specifications

Print speed: 22 black ppm; 20 ppm color
Print resolution: 6000 x 1200 dpi optimized dpi
Paper sizes: Up to A3 or ledger
Paper capacity: Tray 1: 250 sheets; Tray 2: 250 sheets; Manual: 50 sheets
Dimensions: 21.8 x 17.0 x 12.2 inches (W x D x H)
Weight: 36.4 pounds

Print performance

The Brother MFC-J6925DW is a fast printer that delivers great print quality. Brother claims there is zero delay in getting the first page out, and I found that to be true. It took a second or two to start printing the first page, and letter-size prints take a few seconds to print.
Print speed is rated at up to 22 pages per minute in black-and-white mode and 20 pages per minute in color mode, and my results matched Brother's claims with around 19 pages in a minute. These speeds are faster than the Epson WorkForce WF-7610's speeds of 18 pages per minute for black-and-white, and the MFC-J6925DW prints twice as fast as the Epson in color.
If you're willing to sacrifice a little bit of print quality for faster speeds, you can use Fast Mode. Photos will lose the rich saturation in regular mode, but you'll be able to print black-and-white documents at up to 35 pages per minute and color documents at 27 pages per minute.
Brother INKvestment
Photos look surprisingly sharp and detailed for an office printer, especially when using photo paper. Photographers can bypass connecting a PC or Mac when printing photos. You can scan to a USB flash drive or print from an SD card or flash drive. Additionally, smartphone photographers and tablet owners can print directly from their mobile devices with AirPrint, Google Cloud Print, Mopria, Brother iPrint&Scan, and Wi-Fi Direct. Smartphone users can also connect to the printer with NFC.
Maximum resolution on the MFC-J6925DW is 6000 x 1200 dpi. For offices working with graphic files, the biggest downside the MFC-J6925DW is that borderless printing is only available on smaller formats, and you can't print borderless A3-sized photos. The Epson WorkForce WF-7610 is capable of delivering borderless prints in sizes up to 13 x 19 inches.

Print costs

Like Epson's EcoTank technology, the Brother's INKvestment system is designed to not only lower print costs, but also reduce your up-front investment every time you need to order new cartridges.
Brother's black ink cartridge is priced at $25 (£16, AU$34), while the color cartridges are less than $15 (£10, AU$20) each. You can make up to 2,400 black-and-white prints using the black cartridge, and each color cartridge is good for 1,200 prints. To replace a set of cartridges, your ink investment will be less than $70 (£46, AU$96).
With these yields, print costs average one cent for black-and-white prints and five cents for color prints. These costs are on par with the HP Officejet Pro X576dw, a bulkier workstation-class inkjet printer, but to achieve this efficiency on HP's unit, you'll have to spend $119 (£79, AU$164) on each high capacity cartridge, placing your ink investment at $476 (£316, AU$659) for a four-cartridge system. However, with offices that print a lot, the HP's investment may be worth it given that it's capable of extremely fast print speeds, up to 70 images per minute in fast mode.
This means that the replacement cartridge cost for the MFC-J6925DW is one-seventh that of the OfficeJet Pro X576dw.
Epson color ink bottles are priced at $12 (£8, AU$16) each, and the black ink bottle costs $19 (£12, AU$26), placing your EcoTank ink investment at $58 (£38, AU$80). At this pricing, color prints are roughly one cent each, making the Epson the most affordable model.
However, we found print speeds of the WorkForce ET-4550 to be too slow compared to competing printers, which could make the printer ill-suited for high volume print jobs despite the high capacity EcoTank ink design. With black-and-white jobs, the WorkForce prints nine fewer pages each minute than the MFC-J6925DW.

Scanning and copying

Scanning and copying speeds on the MFC-J6925DW are on par with the A3 WorkForce WF-7610. The single-pass duplex ADF scanner is capable of copying color documents at nine pages per minute and black-and-white documents at 12 pages per minute. However, you'll likely be limited by the 35-sheet capacity of the ADF for larger scan jobs.
With internet connectivity, scans can be uploaded directly to services like Google Drive, Evernote and Evernote Business, Dropbox, and OneNote.
Brother's Cloud Apps add additional value to businesses that need to digitize paper documents. For example, you can use the Scan to Office document to convert a hard copy document into an editable Microsoft Word document. You can use the Outline and Remove feature to scan a document and remove red ink in the digital copy.
Copies can be enlarged or reduced in 1% increments between 25% and 400%.


If you need print sizes up to 11 x 17-inch, few printers can offer the versatility of the Brother MFC-J6925DW business inkjet. On paper, the MFC-J6925DW's feature may seem on par with competing multifunctions, but the standout feature is that Brother has managed to create a printer that offers a balance of speed, quality and cost.
Ironically, as a printer, the scanner function will help businesses bridge the digital divide with smart tools that will help digitize hard copies. While the printer is capable of creating affordable, great quality prints, the scanner will help business users digitize documents and move towards a paperless office.

We liked

Brother delivered a well-rounded printer in the MFC-J6925DW. For businesses looking to digitize their hard copies, Brother's Cloud Apps provide useful tools to simplify scanning. These tools, for example, can remove red ink from scanned documents or parse text into an editable Word document without the need to connect a PC or buy expensive software.
Dual paper trays and a manual paper tray make the MFC-J6925DW versatile at handling print jobs with different paper sizes, with support for up to 11 x 17-inch prints.
In addition to delivering reasonable per-page print costs, good print speeds and great quality prints, replacement ink cartridges are also very affordable.

We disliked

If you don't need the 11 x 17-inch print and scan capabilities, a standard letter-size MFP will likely come in a more compact package and at a more affordable price. Despite support for A3 or ledger paper size, the MFC-J6925DW, unfortunately, isn't able to print borderless photos, which means your overall print area will be reduced.

Final verdict

Even though the MFC-J6925DW doesn't deliver the best quality prints or the fastest print speeds, the multifunction printer offers a nice balance between cost, quality and speed. As an office printer, it is more than capable of handling color and black-and-white prints, and support for wide format paper will benefit those who need to print larger graphic projects, newsletters and photos.
Where the MFC-J6925DW shines is its cloud-connected software. Even though rival printers from Canon, Epson and HP support printing from cloud apps and scanning to the cloud, the MFC-J6925DW goes a step further in helping businesses digitize hard copies with innovative OCR features. These include removing red ink from originals in the scanning process, scanning hard copies as editable Microsoft Office documents and the ability to scan portions of pages to digitize relevant bits of notes.
For frugal businesses that do not want to make high up-front investments in replacement cartridges, Brother's INKvestment technology makes cartridge replacements affordable. Additionally, there is also long-term savings with low per-page print cost.
The Brother MFC-J6925DW is a versatile, cost-effective multifunction printer with tools designed for businesses that are looking to migrate to a digital workflow.

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The Google Play Music family plan sweetens the pot with YouTube Red
The Google Play Music family plan sweetens the pot with YouTube Red
Google's Play Music family plan is finally here, and it's taking on Apple Music in the US by including YouTube Red as part of the subscription.
Google announced the it's Play Music family plan in September, which matches Apple's Music price at $14.99 per month, and includes unlimited, ad-free access to up to six people under the one plan.
According to Google's blog post, Google Play Music includes "unlimited access to more than 35 million songs and the ability for each family member to stream simultaneously on any device."
But the search giant is now sweetening the deal - at least for US users - by including YouTube Red as part of the family plan subscription, which gives you ad-free YouTube access as well.
The Google Play Music family plan will be available "in the coming days" in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, France and Germany, with more countries "coming soon."
You'll need an Android device to get signed up, but you'll be able to access Google Play Music on Android, iOS and the web.

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Uber's new app delivers food, not rides
Uber's new app delivers food, not rides
Uber is also bringing out a new app, and it will be giving you lunch instead of a lift. uberEATS, a feature on Uber's main app to deliver meals with a tap of a screen, is becoming its own separate service.
According to a report in WIRED, uberEATS' new app allows users to order food the same way as with the original Uber app, but with expanded features. It is currently exclusively available in Toronto, will it is undergoing testing before expanding out to other locations.
uberEATS has undergone tweaks both technical and aesthetic to stand on its own, but competes with other meal-on-demand services like Seamless and Grubhub. While food delivery apps have become a crowded space, Uber's Head of Everything, Jason Droege, feels that the transition is natural for them.
"We felt we needed to resist the urge to overcomplicate things," said Droege. "With Uber, you hit a button, get a ride. When you think of thousands of meals, all of a sudden that experience starts to need its own world to make it as simple as possible."
Available in 12 cities since its announcement last year, uberEATS allows Uber users to select from an updated-daily menu of dishes created by local restaurants that are then delivered straight to their location.

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Available Tags:Audi , Mac , TV , Everything , iOS , Android , Brother , Google , YouTube

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