NBN cuts entry-level broadband prices, nixes differential pricing for video


NBN Co has detailed a price cut for entry-level broadband services that could make it more economical for retail service providers (RSPs) to offer ADSL-equivalent plans.

The company said it planned to shave at least $16.80 off the additional monthly charge levied on entry-level services once an extremely low usage threshold is passed.

NBN Co in June launched an industry consultation on its wholesale broadband pricing, with the company indicating it wanted to encourage the take-up of higher speed services as well as make NBN services more attractive to low-income households.

The company today revealed it had launched a second round of consultation, with NBN Co indicating it would move to quickly cut the wholesale pricing of low-end broadband services.

The company has a complex pricing structure for its entry-level 12Mbps services. A basic service with 150Kbps of included capacity has an effective wholesale price of $22.50. That can be used to serve households that are only interested in voice services or that have very low data needs.




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Capto makes video editing quick and seamless for under $20



TLDR: From screen capturing to editing and creating post-ready videos, Capto puts all Mac video features under one roof for $16.99

Just like everything else in the digital space, video editing and the process of creating video for websites and social media has transformed mightily in the past decade. While some hardcores want all the tools and features for cutting a Hollywood blockbuster on their MacBook Pro, most have significantly more modest goals.

They want to capture a video from a webpage and share it. Or paste together two iPhone videos and upload it to YouTube. Or put a pretty graphic on their kid’s recital video and send it to Grandma. 

Capto is an app that’s all about helping users handle the kind of everyday projects they need done. You can give Capto Screen Capture and Video Editing for Mac a try now at almost half off the regular price, only $16.99 from TNW Deals.

With Capto, you can open your frame, set your parameters and record anything playing on your desktop. No, really…anything. Full screen, a small portion, a specific window — everything is on the table.

Once you’ve got your raw vid, Capto’s editing capabilities allow you to make all the changes you envision. Whether that means simple trimming of a clip or some deeper edits, including cropping and joining multiple videos together, Capto’s easy-to-use interface and sneaky powerful toolkit can help you crank out your video in minutes.

Capto automatically archives saved videos, generates screenshots and makes finding and curating your videos easy. Then with a single click, you can export a final product that’s suitable for posting to a website or social platforms from Facebook and YouTube to Instagram, Tumblr, Dropbox and beyond.

A $29.99 value, this discount offer shaves $13 off your final price, getting you all of Capto’s features for just $16.99 while this offer lasts.

Like this deal? Check out Vault — you’ll get four premium tools, including NordVPN and Dashlane, to supercharge your online security. Try it free for 14 days now!

Prices are subject to change.


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For $20, you can do video green screening without the Hollywood budget



TLDR: XSplit VCam lets streamers add easy greenscreen effects for $19.99  

If you’ve ever done any live streaming, or even if you do regular video calling, you’ve probably thought about exactly what the person on the other end of that camera is seeing. And we don’t just mean you. We mean what’s going on behind you. 

We mean that mess of dirty clothes on the floor. Or the bad lighting.  Or even just those ugly utilitarian while walls.

The process of green screening cleans up your background, but green screens take up space and can cost time, money and energy to get right. XSplit VCam is an app that makes creating a seamless video background almost effortless — and right now, it’s on sale for just $19.99, almost 60 percent off from TNW Deals.

XSplit VCam is startlingly simple to use. Just add it as a camera source, flip on your webcam — and you’re off. With XSplit, you can take the current background of your video and add some adjustable blur, helping drive attention to the person at the center of the footage. Or, you can remove your background altogether by inserting the jpg, gif or png image you want or by replacing it with a full web page of your choice.

As for compatibility, XSplit works with most of the major streaming apps from Skype and other videoconferencers to broadcast quality services like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS).

Whether you’re chatting with friends and vlogging or conducting remote work calls, virtual interviews or other tele-conferencing, XSplit VCam boils features you’d expect to find in a video production studio into one app. Regularly $49.95, this limited-time offer cuts the price down to only $19.99.

Like this deal? Check out Vault — you’ll get four premium tools, including NordVPN and Dashlane, to supercharge your online security. Try it free for 14 days now!

Prices are subject to change.


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Snap’s new Spectacles capture 3D video and aim for the luxury crowd


When Snap first revealed its Spectacles in 2016, they were something of a mini-phenomenon. Here was a pair of wacky sunglasses sold through wacky vending machines that could record video in a circular format. At the time, some thought pivoting into hardware could be the company’s defense against increasing encroachment from Facebook. Now we know that’s not the case.

Despite Snapchat’s waning popularity after Facebook’s properties copied all its best features, the company isn’t totally giving up on Spectacles. Today it announced the Spectacles 3, introducing a second camera for better AR and pivoting to appeal a more luxury crowd. Accordingly, the price has shot up from $150 to $380.

At first glance, that price jump is alarming; you’d think Snapchat would want to keep the price low to sell more glasses. But perhaps this new approach makes some sense. Instead of a cheap gimmick, the glasses come off as more of a luxury item; that certainly seems to be the goal Given snaps new the aesthetic of its marketing materials.

Basically, the few people who do use Spectacles regularly (if they exist), would probably be willing to pony up for it. In fact, Snap notes the news specs are a ‘limited release.’

Aside from the new looks, the big hardware change is the addition of a camera, which lets you capture depth information using the parallax effect. Both cameras can capture HD footage at 60 FPS, and four microphones help record clear audio. Snapchat is creating new 3D effects for the second sensor, and you can use an included ‘3D viewer’ – basically Snap’s version of Google Cardboard – to watch your recordings scenes in 3D.

There’s 4GB of storage onboard, and you can capture 70 videos or 200 photos on a charge. Rounding out the hardware is a new flat leather case which will recharge your glasses in 75 minutes (the case itself is charged via USB-C).

At this point it’s hard to imagine Spectacles will be a big hit for Snap, especially given the glasses still seem to be limited to posting on Snapchat and require manual syncing to your phone. Still, the high-end pivot could help Snap start reshaping its image.

The new glasses come in Carbon (Black) and Mineral (Rose Gold) colors. They’re available to pre-order from Snap now, and will be released November.

Via The Verge

For more gear, gadget, and hardware news and reviews, follow Plugged on
Twitter and
Flipboard.

Published August 13, 2019 — 20:21 UTC




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Walmart pulls violent video game images out of respect — respect for whom?



After the terrible shooting in an El Paso Walmart, the company is apparently taking steps to respect the deaths of twenty-two people. It’s doing this by removing signs advertising certain video games — which begs the question: how exactly is this supposed to help?

The company documentation listing the changes was discovered by journalist Kenneth Shepard, who tweeted it out. The rules include turning off any demos for violent games, remove any signage advertising shooters, and cancel any events that promote combat- or shooting-based games. The company also asks that no videos depicting violence or hunting be shown in the electronics or sporting goods section.

Now, in Walmart’s defense, a spokesperson said this wasn’t going to be a permanent change — it’s a temporary measure specifically made in response to the deaths. The galling part is that they said they did this, “We’ve taken this action out of respect for the incidents of the past week.”

If this has been done in a vacuum, it would be a little bizarre, but not particularly untoward. But given recent attitudes towards so-called “violent video games,” this doesn’t feel like a move made to honor the dead or comfort the living. This is out of respect for the myriad politicians (the President included) who are choosing to blame entertainment that displays simulated violence over the grab bag of other, more likely motivations that drove Crusius to shoot his fellow humans.

A common response to this is to decry the irony of Walmart still selling guns while trying to respectfully curtail video game advertising. Granted, it wouldn’t be the first major chain store to jettison guns post-tragic shooting: Dick’s Sporting Goods removed assault-style rifles from its stores in the wake of the Parkland shooting. It received no small amount of backlash following this choice, and when sales of firearms overall declined, it stopped selling them altogether. Reportedly, its sales have gone up as it’s used the store space to stock more of its better-selling items.

But expecting Walmart to remove guns entirely, especially while anti-gun control advocates are still whipped into a veritable froth, is, I think, to expect too much. It’s already stopped selling assault-style rifles, and I think it would take a big dent in its gun sales before we saw any real change.

Walmart CEO Doug McMillon — who has been critical of the President’s responses to national tragedies in the past — said in a LinkedIn post that his company intended to be “thoughtful and deliberate in our responses. He also said,  “[We] will act in a way that reflects the best values and ideals of our company, with a focus on serving the needs of our customers, associates and communities.”




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Dutch police SMS-blasted fire witnesses with link to an ‘adult video’


In an unfortunate mishap, Dutch police accidentally texted a link to an adult video to 1,900 witnesses of a house fire, which took place last month in the town of Nieuwleusen.

In the text, police encouraged witnesses to come forward with information that could help them figure out what caused the fire, as a result of which a 22-year-old man lost his life. Instead of a link the official police website, though, the text took recipients to an explicit video.

The police today sent an SMS blast [Dutch: SMS-bom] to people with a link that is incorrect,” the police wrote in a statement. “A number of characters have dropped from the link in the message, creating a completely different type of link. This link leads to a page that we do not support.”

We regret that this was how it went,” the statement continued. “Shortly thereafter, we sent a second SMS bomb with a working link.”

Police is currently investigating arson as the possible cause of the fire. Indeed, police apprehended the victim’s 16-year-old brother as a suspect, local outlet RTV Oost reports.

Credit: RTV Oost

Interestingly, the link leads to a YouTube video, which has since been removed. Considering Google’s video sharing platform prohibits hard-core porn, it’s possible the clip wasn’t as raunchy as footage you’d find on actual porn sites. However, the video was certainly labeled as adult content, and accompanied by a warning to viewers, according to the police.

But then again, pirates have previously been able to exploit loopholes in YouTube to upload pornographic material.

According to stats from Bitly reviewed by TNW, the link has accumulated 66 clicks at the time of writing. It’s worth noting that a chunk of those clicks likely comes from people looking up the link after Dutch media shared screenshots of the erroneous text.


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Samsung’s Note 10 will be ‘a pro studio in your pocket’ with new video tricks


Samsung’s Note 10 is due to be revealed tomorrow, but that isn’t stopping the leaks from coming. Though we already seem to know every aspect of the devices, a new leak shared by Droid Life comes from very official-looking promotional materials, confirming much of the hardware changes we’ve heard so far and highlighting some new software tricks too.

Most notably, the leak confirms the Note 10 will come in two sizes, a 6.3-inch Note 10, and a 6.8-inch Note 10+, as well as a third Note 10+ 5G. Samsung is leaning into the extra power of its Note series by marketing the devices as full-fledged computers. One of the images reads:

With the Galaxy Note10 we haven’t just made a new smartphone. We’ve designed a computer that’s a gaming console, that’s a film studio, and an intelligent pen, all in one device.

Speaking of ‘film studio,’ Samsung seems to be placing a particular emphasis on video this time around, perhaps to steal some of the thunder from LG’s V series. In particular, Samsung highlights the ability to use studio lighting effects and shallow depth of field with video – basically portrait mode applied to motion. The company says it’s improved the quality of its lenses, and on the audio front, the Note 10 uses three microphones that can ‘zoom’ into specific areas to match your video’s field of view.

The devices have tiny bezels with one central camera – Samsung is only using one front-facing camera here, unlike the two in the S10+. Perhaps the company decided it wasn’t getting much use out of the depth sensor on that model, opting to minimize the camera‘s effect on the screen real estate instead.

There are some functional differences between the small and larger models. Naturally, the larger one has a bigger battery, at 4,300 mAh vs 3,400, though they both feature Samsung’s new ‘Superfast’ charge. The bigger model also features a time-of-flight camera sensor for more accurate depth effects.

The leak also confirms rumors of air gestures coming to the new S-Pen, which Samsung refers to as a “magic wand for your smartphone.” This is perhaps Samsung’s way of taking on Google’s Soli radar integration in the Pixel 4, without having to build in complicated chunky sensors into the front face of the device. Otherwise, it can do the other things you expect from the S-Pen, such as behaving as a remote shutter or providing handrwiting-to text conversion.

Last but not least, the prices: The Note 10 will cost $949, and the Note 10+ $1,099. There will be deals and trade-in options, but it’s clear Samsung is positioning these as premium devices second only to the Galaxy Fold.


on Droid-Life


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President Donald Trump blames video games (again) for mass shooting



The weekend was a particularly hellish one, as mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Dayton, Ohio occurred in less than 24 hours. At least 31 people died and countless more were injured. As Americans are rocked by the tragedy and attempt to understand it, the President has gone on record to finger video games as the cause yet again — the favorite whipping boy when the goal is to make a big noise and ultimately do nothing.

President Donald Trump gave the usual post-tragedy press conference today, and for the first few minutes, he was doing okay. He referenced the El Paso shooter’s reported hate speech and racism, saying, “In one voice, our nation must condemn racism, bigotry, and white supremacy. These sinister ideologies must be defeated. Hate has no place in America.” He also acknowledged that the Internet “has provided a dangerous avenue to radicalize disturbed minds and perform demented acts.”

Then he said:

We must stop the glorification of violence in our society. This includes the gruesome and grisly video games that are now commonplace. It is too easy today for troubled youth to surround themselves with a culture that celebrates violence. We must stop or substantially reduce this, and it has to begin immediately. Cultural change is hard, but each of us can choose to build a culture that celebrates the inherent worth and dignity of every human life.

There it is: the distraction we all knew was coming.

This is in spite of the fact that nothing about the lives of either El Paso shooter Patrick Crusius or Dayton shooter Connor Betts suggests they were avid gamers. We know they both had access to guns, and early reports indicate both subscribed to some truly repugnant rhetoric about other people: Crusius allegedly published a manifesto in which he decried the “Hispanic invasion of Texas,” while Betts is believed to have kept a “hit list” of his classmates while still in school.

The reason everyone’s focusing on video games in particular (this time) is because, in the El Paso shooter’s alleged screed, he says, “Don’t attack heavily guarded areas to fulfill your super soldier COD fantasy.” So you know, he’s actually saying don’t do what you see in video games. But apparently the mere mention was enough for Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick to claim we must reinstate prayer in schools to counterbalance it. GOP House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy later echoed the sentiment:

Keep in mind this isn’t the first time Trump has used video games as a scapegoat for a mass shooting. Shortly after the Parkland shootings, he met with video game developers — including reps from ZeniMax and Rockstar — to discuss the issue. All that came of this meeting was the bizarre spectacle of a sizzle reel of video game violence being hosted on the White House’s official YouTube channel.

Nothing of import was done, and that appeared to be that. And now that two more shootings have left dozens dead, it’s time to dig up the dead horse for another good thwacking.

Maybe, as a gamer, I’m biased in dismissing this theory out of hand. But the evidence of both years of study and mass anecdote would seem to contradict the core of this theory: if video games cause us to devalue human life and desensitize us to violence, why are the killings upon which they’re blamed attributable only to a subset of young Americans who inevitably have more going wrong in their lives than playing too much Fortnite? I would say we all know video games aren’t the problem, but apparently we don’t all know that.

In addition to video games, Trump also called on social media sites to “develop tools that can detect mass shooters before they strike.” Because yeah, big tech companies that make virtual entertainment are causing the problem, but big tech companies that monitor and store every scrap of our personal information are going to fix it.

To be perfectly fair to the President, he’s not the first to decry video games. But this tiresome old song just needs to stop being sung, if only because it detracts from examining the real issues (probably the intention, if I’m permitted to think aloud). If anyone still needs a good sound bite regarding the link between video games and real violence, I turn to the late Antonin Scalia (not someone whom I typically agree with). Scalia delivered the majority opinion in the case of Brown vs. Entertainment Merchants Association, in which the state of California attempted to criminalize selling violent games, and he said this:

These studies have been rejected by every court to consider them, and with good reason: They do not prove that violent video games cause minors to act aggressively (which would at least be a beginning)… They show at best some correlation between exposure to violent entertainment and minuscule real-world effects, such as children’s feeling more aggressive or making louder noises in the few minutes after playing a violent game than after playing a nonviolent game… And [Dr. Anderson] admits that the same effects have been found when children watch cartoons starring Bugs Bunny or the Road Runner.


President Trump Address on Mass Shootings
on C-SPAN




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YouTube Premium is rolling out 1080p video downloads



There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are happy to watch videos at 480P and those who will fight for every last pixel. If you’re in the latter camp, I have some good news for you: YouTube will now allow you to download videos for offline viewing in 1080p.

Android Police first spotted the update, and the company confirmed to multiple sources that the feature is rolling out to “most Premium markets,” with more to come.

Until now, YouTube has limited downloads to 720p. While not the worst thing in the world – especially considering downloads are only available on mobile devices – it’s not up to snuff for most flagship phone screens, let alone an Android or iOS tablet. This is made worse due to compression artifacts; you might technically be watching a 720p video, but the effective resolution of highly compressed video is lower.

1080p should be a significant upgrade for mobile devices with high-resolution displays, though it will obviously take a greater toll on your storage. And as before, you’ll need to have a YouTube Premium subscription to download videos in the first place.

The feature appears to be rolling out slowly, so don’t be surprised if you don’t see it on your device yet, but it’s only a matter of time. Of course, for some of us, 1080p won’t be enough; I’ll be truly impressed when I can watch 8K on my 6-inch phone screen, thank you very much.


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The rundown on common game console video outputs


Welcome to TNW Basics, a collection of tips, guides, and advice on how to easily get the most out of your gadgets, apps, and other stuff.

There’s no school like the old school, and that goes for game consoles as well. Even with the rise of retro consoles like the SNES Classic or the PlayStation Classic, there’s no beating the originals. But how do you hook up such old consoles to new TVs? There are a few different options available.

When I went to the National Videogame Museum recently, my favorite exhibit was the mock-up 80s living room, complete with the curved-screen CRT monitor hooked up to an Intellivision. It brought back memories of a simpler time and reminded me I’m of the last generation to grow up without HD (at least until I was about 14 when my parents bought our first HDTV).

But fortunately, we’re past the days of CRT monitors. So where do our old consoles fit in? Here’s a simple explanation of what kinds of outputs retro consoles have (starting roughly with the third generation).

Note: We’re limiting this article to just describing the different kinds of video outputs available, rather than giving specific instructions on how to hook everything up. There are ways to connect just about every console to any kind of TV out there, so this is more of a beginner’s guide.

HDMI

This is the modern standard, and pretty much the only output available on current-gen consoles. I’ll be surprised if you can find any other way of hooking a PS4 or Switch up to a TV. Luckily several consoles one-generation removed from the current one also have HDMI outputs — the Xbox 360 and PS3 have HDMI slots.

Still, there are some consoles that don’t have this. The Wii, for example, doesn’t have an HDMI output, though it can be modded with simple additions. Many older consoles can be modded to work with HDMI, but it’s tricky. If you have other options, it’s a good idea to use them instead.

Component

Component video usually comes with red, blue, and green RCA cables, along with red and white audio cables. Several seventh-gen consoles such as the Xbox 360 and the PS3 have official component connections. Component can give you a fairly high-resolution image, and it’s not yet an old enough that it’s been completely phased out.

Some older consoles are also component-compatible. The GameCube, for example, had a special digital a/v output that was only compatible with a rare component cable. That particular cable now commands a princely three-figure price on eBay.

S-Video

S-Video is a standard definition video, recognizable by its four-pin connector. You can find S-video cables for Nintendo consoles, such as the SNES and the GameCube — though many Nintendo consoles have multi-out slots that work with many different kinds of cables, including S-video.

Composite

Composite video cables are recognizable by their colors: one red, one white, one yellow. This one is fairly common on TVs still, and is often a good option for any consoles that would be tricky to convert to HDMI. Luckily composite and component inputs are often grouped together on TVs, as the audio is the same for both.

Several consoles have a “multi-out” port and came with custom RCA composite cables. The Xbox, Xbox 360, and several Nintendo consoles have such ports, which can be used with many different cables. Sometimes composite was packaged with S-video in 2-in-1 cables for these consoles, which gives you some options.

Coaxial

The single-pin coaxial port, also called RF (radio frequency) is most common on the oldest consoles. Many second- and third-gen consoles, such as the Atari 2600, the Sega Genesis, and the NES, have an RF coaxial output.

Coax is commonly used to connect cable boxes. As such, many TVs still have one (though given the times, it’s understandable if you don’t have cable anymore). If you have one, this is the easiest way to hook up your old-school consoles.

This post includes affiliate links to products that you can buy online. If you purchase them through our links, we get a small cut of the revenue.


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