If you own one of these smart televisions, you need to know about any security and privacy issues they may have. Get the latest here!
"There’s a good chance your smart TV is spying on you. Smart TVs often analyze the videos you’re watching and report back — whether you’re watching live TV, streaming videos on a service like Netflix, or playing local video files. Worse yet, this can be a security problem." Read this article for more information on how to stop snooping!
As always, The GoTo Tech Guru is here to help! Call or email us anytime!
Whether it is television shows, movies, radio or your own personal content, people are getting rid of cable and satellite television providers daily. Easy-to-use devices like the Google Chromecast, Roku, AppleTV, and the new Amazon FireTV make it easy to stream content to your television.
This comparison guide is to help people better understand what is out there and what advantageous certain devices offer. It offers more layman’s style explanatory descriptions and comparisons. For more information and/or to install one of these streaming devices, call TheGoToTechGuru!
With more TV options, how do you pick the best for you? All have positives and negatives, so here is a list of Pros and Cons for YouTube TV, Sling, PlayStation, and DirecTV.
We've likely all seen some sort of computer hacking on TV shows and movies. But how realistic are they? While it's often over dramatized (ie. it's much less exciting in real life), sometimes it's not that far off from the truth. The biggest difference is that in real life, it takes much longer than on TV. Surprised?? Read this article to see how it's done! Although often plausible, in many cases, fiction is truer than real life!
Broadband is offered in 4 major flavors today: Cable, DSL, Fios and Satellite. There is a lot of confusion between these, so here's what you need to know.
Cable can offer not just TV, but internet and landline VOIP (Voice Over IP; ie. internet telephone) telephone services as well, depending on your cable company and what package options they offer. There are a few main differences between cable and the alternative DSL and Fios options. Cable uses a copper line from the cable company to a junction box in your neighborhood or apartment building/condo complex and is split amoung your neighbors and you. As such, the bandwidth is shared with all your neighbors. Thus, if a few select people are gaming or doing heaving downloading, everyone else's bandwidth degrades.
DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line and is for internet connectivity only, not for TV. It uses the regular telephone copper wire between the phone company and your home. You must have regular telephone service from your phone company in order to get DSL, but your telephone itself does not use it since it is just for internet access. Unlike cable, this line is dedicated to your dwelling so is not shared with your neighbors. It is typically slower than cable and Fios but is faster than satellite. It is the least expensive of these options.
Fios stands for Fiber Optic Service and is offered by Verizon. It is called by other names by other companies like AT&T and Qwest. Fios can be used for TV, internet and your landline phone. A fiber optic cable is run from the phone company to your house, so it is dedicated and thus bandwidth is not shared with your neighbors. If you install Fios, you MUST use the fiber optic telephone service since it replaces your regular copper-based landline phone. You still get a landline phone but it will be fiber based vs. copper based. It is the fastest of the three options because signals run through fiber optic cables and thus travel literally at the speed of light! Fios does come with a backup battery for when the power goes out, enabling you to make phone calls, watch TV and access the internet for a limited time. ***Of the four broadband options, Fios is the fastest and best option*** The downside of Fios is that when the power goes out and backup battery runs out, your landline phone won't work (with your old copper-based telephone you could still make calls). But you always have your cellphone!
Satellite currently only offers TV and Internet. Internet-wise, it is the slowest and most expensive of these options. Placement of the satellite dish MUST have a direct line-of-sight view of the satellite. This means the dish must be able to communicate with the satellite via a 100% unobstructed view. This means no trees, buildings and the like can be between your dish and the satellite. If you live in an extremely rural part of the world, like way out in the country, satellite may be your only option.
There are other considerations, especially when installing these in your home (placement, etc), so call TheGotoTechGuru for help!
If you have cable TV, you have a cable modem/router that you're most likely renting from the cable company. Did you know you can buy one, often better than what the cable company offers and stop paying that rent? Yep, it's true! Yes, there's configuration that needs to be done and you'll need to secure your home network, but that's what TheGoToTechGuru does! Call or email us for a free consult and stop paying unnecessary rent to the cable company!!
Netflix recently opened an ability for you to download movies, allowing you to watch movies offline like on an airplane. This capability is only available on iOS and Android apps, so not on Windows or Mac OS as yet. It is also currently only offered on certain movies. For how to download movies on your iOS or Android device, click here!
So what’s the difference between an electrical power strip and a surge protector? The typical power strip provides nothing more than multiple outlets along a single “strip”. This “strip” plugs into a single electrical wall outlet, thus allowing multiple electrical devices to be plugged into a single electrical wall outlet. A surge protector also provides these, but guards against power surges often generated by lightning, thunder storms and when your power is first restored after an outage. Power surges can easily short-out electrically sensitive devices such as your TV, DVR, Roku, PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, router and the like, because the surge contains far more power than these sensitive devices can handle. This will literally burnout your device(s).
Surge protectors are not usually recommended for high power appliances such as blenders, lamps, microwave ovens, washers/dryers and the like. Do NOT combine high power appliances and your surge protection strip on the same electrical wall outlet and power circuit as changes in high power appliance draws can cause internal surges.
Energy absorption / dissipation is what handles surges in electricity. This rating, given in Joules, tells you how much energy the surge protector can absorb before it fails. The higher the Joule number, the better the protection. Look for a Joule rating greater than 1,000, even more if you can afford it.
Response time is also important. Since surge protectors don’t kick in immediately, the longer the response time, the longer your electrical device is exposed to the power surge and the greater risk of damage. Look for a surge protector with a response time of less than one (1) nanosecond.
Finally, look for an indicator light that tells you if the protection is functioning.
If you have an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS), these only provide limited surge protection, usually in the low-to-mid 100-300 joule range. If your device(s) have a need for both a UPS and surge protection, you can consider plugging a surge protection strip into the UPS, however, depending on the devices' power demand, you likely won't be able to connect more than 1-3 devices into a single surge protector since the power strip plugs into a single UPS plug and this one plug handles a lower total power than a wall outlet.
For questions or to have the proper UPS / Surge Protector installed in your home/office, contact the TheGoToTechGuru.
You’ve likely heard the term “Podcast” quite a few times over the years, but what is it? The term came from when the original Apple iPod was popular, combined with the word “broadcast”, hence “Podcast”. Basically, a Podcast is an electronic audio or video recording of a news article, story, music collection or the like. Gone are the days of needing to time your radio listening or TV viewing to a specific time or miss it! Now you can just download it on-demand from the Internet to your PC, Mac, smartphone or tablet and listen / watch it at your convenience like on an airplane or during a long commute. There are thousands of Podcast shows and topics to choose from and they are usually free to listeners. So how do you find a Podcast? Many organizations provide Podcasts of their programs, like National Public Radio (NPR.org), listing them on their websites. You can also find Podcast listings using more centralized sites and utilities like Apple iTunes (for Apple products), Stitcher Radio or Podcatcher (for Android).
To download Apple iTunes, click here.
To download Stitcher Radio, click here.
To download Podcatcher, click here.
If you’re still considering a media box like Roku and others, but aren’t clear on the differences in features, here is a great article to help you decide between the Amazon Fire TV vs. Apple TV vs. Roku 3 vs. Chromecast. For more help or to install your media box, contact TheGoToTechGuru!
A Digital Video Recorder (DVR) is the equivalent of the old video recorder (VCR), only instead of a tape cassette, the DVR records TV shows onto a high capacity internal hard drive. DVRs connect to your TV in very much the same way your old VCR did and records off the same cable input. One advantage of a DVR is that the hard drive has tons of space to record multiple programs without you having to constantly swap out tape cassettes that only recorded a few hours each.
Many DVRs can record up to 450 HD hours if not more! Some DVRs even allow you to record more than one simultaneous show! The DVR will also follow the show time, so if it is delayed or cancelled, it will adjust the program recording accordingly. When watching a recorded show, most DVRs will remember where you left off, even if someone watches a different show before your return to finish it. Best of all, when watching “live” TV, you can do instant replays on-demand because most remember the last 10-20 mins of the live programming!
Now, instead of having to adjust your schedule to sit in front of your TV, you can watch shows at your convenience, when you want! The best DVR (and defacto standard) to get is TIVO due to wide TV compatibility and upfront purchase. You can also download your recorded shows to your PC with TIVO. Don't get the ones from your cable company otherwise you'll be paying monthly rent and if you change cable companies, you'll have to return that DVR and lose all your recorded shows! With TIVO, you use the same DVR so changing your cable company doesn't matter. To learn more about DVRs, read here! For more information or installation of your DVR, contact TheGoToTechGuru!
I love technology and how it enhances our lives! Just think, without the Apollo moon missions, we might not have calculators! Imagine!!