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Audio News for June 28, 2016

Consider a Home Theater Makeover If: You can’t tell the color orange from the new black on your favorite prison show; there’s motion blur when people are running; the speakers aren’t loud enough to hear Simon Cowell’s insults; there are more remote controls on the coffee table than people in your home. First, two things you should know about 4K TVs: If you sit close enough, the four times greater resolution provides so much picture details it’s almost like being there. Due to more 4K content now becoming available and falling prices, this could be a good time to invest in a UHD TV (not really 4K), provided it has HDR, high dynamic range brightness, to bring greater color and contrast to the screen. Some have “quantum dots” whose tiny nano crystals are laid out in sheets in front of the backlight source, producing a wider color palette and better brightness.

Sound bars are becoming more popular because they are less expensive than 5.1 or 7.1 surround speaker system, and easier to set up, and take up little room so become ideal for smaller rooms and apartments. A horizontal soundbar typically sits just under the TV screen. Many ship with a wireless (often so-called) subwoofer for placing somewhere else in the room. Today’s universal remotes are not only easier to program but can perform multiple functions with one button push.  Called “macros,” one button can turn on multiple components, switch inputs, in other words help you do more in less time. Some can also control other devices in the home, such as LED lights, drapes, Wi-Fi routers, video surveillance cameras, smart deadbolts, multi-room audio solutions, and more. Smart TVs aren’t new but they have gotten smarter.  Many include streaming video sources in addition to the original audio services. Some access social media, photo galleries, news, weather, sports scores, stock quotes and other personalized information. Many remotes will also let you wirelessly push content from your smartphone, table or laptop, to your big-screen TV.

Disconnection from Internet No Longer Prevents Hackers Getting Data from Your PC – Israeli scientists have demonstrated a new way hackers can extract data from even physically-isolated computers, with a new attack that gets data from the whirring sound of your PC’s internal fan. The malware program Fansmitter can acoustically exfiltrate data from air-gapped computers, even when audio hardware and speakers are not present. It regulates the internal fans’ speed to generate an acoustic waveform emitted by the PC. Binary data can than be modulated and transmitted over these audio signals to a remote mic or nearby mobile phone.

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