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  1. Televisions have been getting slimmer and more compact as the years' pass. We've reached a point where even 4K panels are now available for as cheap as 40,000 in India. Sony's Bravia range has been an industry trendsetter followed by Samsung's inputs on QLED followed by LG. While the displays are getting better and better, the audio department hasn't progressed a lot. While the inbuilt speakers are great for day to day usage, they often lack bass and it tends to muddle when it gets busy. This is the main reason why investing in a good soundbar is a good choice. You experience a true-surround sound system without the hassle and frustration of wires and plug points. Although they cannot compete with home theatre systems, sound bar speakers are actually better alternatives than your TV's inbuilt speakers. We've compiled a list of soundbars you can buy in India under Rs. 10,0000: 1. Philips HTL2163B/12 Bluetooth: © Philips It has a 15 watts per channel output through a woofer and along with a passive subwoofer, the sound quality is well balanced. It can stream wireless music via Bluetooth so you never have to worry about wires or connections as well. It also supports Dolby Digital for top-notch surround sound experience and realistic spatial cues. Multiple choices of inputs allow you to easily play your music directly from your iPod/iPhone/iPad, MP3 player, or laptop. Simply connect your audio device to the audio jack to enjoy your music. It is also wall mountable. Buy from Amazon.in 2. Mitashi SB 2575 BT 2.1 Bluetooth: © Mitashi If you're on a very tight budget, this is a very good option because it also has features 10W per channel output with decent subwoofer impedance. It also has Bluetooth for hassle-free wireless connections and USB connectivity. This one is rich on bass but lacks a surround sound system as good as the previous Philips one. Mitashi says it has a 4000W PMPO (peak music power output) and a more premium design. It does weight slightly higher at 7 kilograms. Buy from Amazon 3. Blaupunkt Dolby: © Blaupunkt You can stream Dolby digital surround music wirelessly via Bluetooth with a powerful 80W output. The sound bar has surround sound adding perfect depth to your music listening experience. Moreover, you can stream your music in several modes including movie, music, news and surround. The active speaker system with firing subwoofer on the external side has proper depth. The sound bar has a powerful bass for the price the soundbar is offered at. Buy from Flipkart 4. iBall BT10 Sound Bar: © iBall The single unit sound bar sports a slim design and can be neatly installed inside your home with built-in wall brackets. The audio system comes with a remote control that allows direct soundtrack selections and offers beautiful harmony with your television set and interior. You can play the soundbar from any BT-enabled device. The sound is crisp and clear while the bass is quite satisfactory. Buy from Amazon.in 5. Dell AC511: © Microsoft This is the only soundbar in this list that does not have Bluetooth support. If you're looking for a soundbar for your computer display, this has to be a perfect choice. It is specially built to accompany Dell monitors and is aesthetically neat and with no frills. These are also one of the most compact but do not compromise on quality. Keep in mind, this does not come with an external sub-woofer. Buy from Amazon.in
  2. For the whole world, Chris Hemsworth as Thor is one of the most powerful superheroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But for his kids, he's just a goofy dad whose cheeky dance moves and crazy antics are worth watching on loop the whole day. From his 5-year-old daughter teaching him how to surf to his three-year-old son riding the waves perfectly, athleticism runs in the Hemsworth family. So much so, that even their dog is a great dancer and can give any of us a run for our fame (if we had any). Instagram After a cumbersome combat with Thanos, when Thor had some free time on his hands, he tuned into 'Wrecking Ball', the powerful heart-breaking ballad by his brother, Liam Hemsworth's girlfriend Miley Cyrus. Turns out, this was all that the Hemsworth clan needed to break the internet like it was nobody's business. What started as a ground breaking music video ended in a savage attack by a cowardly K9. Never work with Kids or Animals. #wreckingball #wreckingdog #daddydaycare #murderonthedancefloor @mileycyrus @liamhemsworth A post shared by Chris Hemsworth (@chrishemsworth) on May 23, 2018 at 7:05pm PDT Miley was so impressed by the fabulous dance routine performed by the Hemsworth clan, that she instantly replied to the video. Facebook Call it her overexcitement or carelessness, but thanks to her, a certain Chris Hemsworth from Philippines was trending on social media the whole time. Yes folks, you guessed it right! She tagged the wrong Chris and there couldn't have been a better day in his life. Facebook Well, no offense to both the Chris Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus, but at the end of the day it was the dog who stole the limelight with his amazing moves.
  3. Apple Watch has been dominated by wristwatch sales all over the world and now, it beats traditional watches when it comes to sales figures. We tested the watch for three weeks ever since it launched in India, and we've been using it on the Airtel network. The Apple Watch Series 3 was already a perfect smartwatch in our opinion and with the added feature of making and receiving calls, without ever having a phone with you, makes the evolution of the smartwatch a bit more exciting. The cellular version of the AW series 3 is an independent device that doesn't need a smartphone in order to work. It can be used for all daily activities such as fitness tracking, step counting, listening to music and now making calls. Here's our detailed opinion on the new Apple Watch and why we feel it is the best one yet. How Is It Different? Well, it isn't much different from the GPS variant of the AW Series 3 aside from the fact that this model can make cellular calls. The cellular model has LTE connectivity and also has more storage i.e. 16GB. Aside from those factors, the AW Series 3 Cellular is not much different, i.e. the dimensions, processor, weight, and display are exactly same. This also means if you are a previous Apple Watch user, all your accessories are compatible with the cellular variant. © Apple The Cellular version also has a red dot on the crown which basically distinguishes it from the generic Apple Watches out there. This makes this version of the Apple Watch a little bit more special and sets you apart. The Apple Watch Series 3 cellular also has an exclusive watch face called 'Explorer'. Basically, it is very much similar to the 'utility' watch faces with the addition of a signal strength indicator. If you want to know more about our opinion about the design, performance, battery life and build quality of the Apple Watch Series 3, you can read our review of the GPS variant here. How Does One Set it Up? Setting up the cellular model of the AW Series 3 is fairly simple, however, a word of caution — it currently only works with Airtel and Jio for postpaid customers. Getting it set up is very easy as it shares your existing mobile number with the Apple Watch. Once you initiate the setup, a prompt will appear asking if you want to set up mobile data. Follow the easy steps and sign in to your network provider's account. Once done, you're all set up and ready to go. Be aware though the cellular services will not work in International roaming and will also like a normal Apple Watch when you do not have connectivity. Cellular Connectivity © YouTube The Apple Watch Series 3 has been known for having a better battery life, GPS, and waterproofing. With the additional feature of cellular connectivity, we have to review its call quality and other capabilities. By default, the Apple Watch has data connection which means, you do not need to carry your iPhone with you. The smartwatch can even stream music directly from Apple Music to your Bluetooth connected device without having the phone around you. This is the first time a smartwatch is truly independent of a smartphone. © YouTube The call quality is great on the cellular version, in fact, while testing, a simple phone call with my fiancé showed us how good it was. The call quality was as good as you would expect from a smartphone, and one could only notice I was using a smartphone when I pulled my arm away from my mouth while talking. The system behind this technology is quite smart, as the smartwatch is smart enough to direct calls to your watch instead of your phone when appropriate. Having said that, using cellular features has a downside as it will use more battery life and cost more if you want this feature on your Apple Watch. Apple has already thought of this and the way it works is that, the cellular capabilities only come to play when it is unable to reach your iPhone. If the Apple Watch Cellular is not connected to your iPhone via Bluetooth, or you are far away from your phone, the App Watch will automatically start using cellular services. Once you are near your iPhone, it will automatically switch off cellular features in order to conserve battery. The Final Say Even though the cellular variant of the Apple Watch Series 3 looks identical to the previous model, it does more than any smartwatch can do today. It gives you the freedom to not be tied to your smartphone and enjoy your workout without any distractions. If you happen to get an important phone call or text, you don't need to have your iPhone around to carry out tasks. So if you're the kind of person who gets important phone calls while you're out for a run, the cellular variant will be the perfect companion for you.
  4. This week, we were inspired to discuss home automation after @Joel R raised the question in a topic. With so many commercial options available now, such as Alexa, Siri and Google Home, we started discussing what automation we have in our homes. This week we'll focus on the a few team members who have heavily automated teams. Although @bfarber's answer "I have kids to help automate the home" was a clear winner. Marc S (Support technician & cycle injury enthusiast) For me I just have Hive, which is automation for my central heating system, and an Echo. So I can tell my heating to switch on and off by speaking to the echo if I wish, but to be honest its very rare that I do so. I tend to just use my phone, as it would rely on me being in the same room as my echo. I have some lights which are on sensors in my en-suite, and in my entrance hall. I have thought about getting bulbs I can switch on and off with voice control, but I'm honestly not sure how much they would be used in comparison to what they cost to buy. Because of the way my lights are configured, it would cost a fortune to do (for example my living room would need 5 bulbs for the main light). If I decided to go down that route, I would be looking for lightswitch adaptations, rather than bulbs. Andy (Developer and Support technician) This is a hobby of mine so might be a long answer! When I fully renovated my apartment I took the opportunity to go wild and put structured cabling and do all the prep work for a complete system. I use a system designed and manufactured by a company in my local area (Idratek.com) as the “controller” which handles heating, lighting, presence detection, intercoms, door locks etc and binds everything together. I installed everything myself and in total used about 2km worth of cat5e wiring with hidden magnetic reed switches recessed in door and window jams. I’ve then extended this by adding integrations with other things such as Hue lighting, automated curtains, zoned heating, a smart kettle and cameras etc. A particular favourite of mine is the integration with Logitech Squeezebox. If somebody rings the doorbell or calls me on Skype then the volume automatically decreases in the room I’m in so I can take the call. This system goes beyond the mainstream ad hoc automation kits such as Hue and other retail “smart” products in that it’s not just motion detection but presence. So for example if you’re in a room and the doors and windows are closed the system knows you are in that room until the door is opened. So if you’re sat still reading the light won’t turn off on you but it will still turn off automatically as soon as you leave. There’s no relying on extended 10 minute time outs. Lighting is controlled using internal and external light level sensors too so there’s no messing about adjusting the on/off times with seasonal changes. The system has all the usual smartphone controls but the idea is that it is truly “smart” in that once set up there is little intervention required. Heating is weather compensated for example and although curtains open automatically once the sun comes up, they won’t do so if you’re still in the room to prevent inadvertent flashing to neighbours. If you open a window in a room then the radiators in that room and connecting rooms are automatically switched off so you’re not wasting money heating the outside. I like to kid myself that I’m saving money but in reality the money I have spent probably exceeds any savings I will make in two lifetimes. So if I’m not saving money at least I’m being eco friendly whilst having some fun seeing how far I can push the tech. Mark W (The Senior Developer) I'm not as crazy as Andy, but I do have quite a bit of stuff: All the lights in the house are Hue. These are coupled with motion sensors (Hue motion sensors which also handily double as temperature and light sensors) but for completeness, I took all of the light switches off the walls, replaced the switches with a blank plate which I then added Hue Dimmer Switches on top of - this means that I can still use "normal" light switches when I want to. I have a Hive thermostat, and wrote a Homebridge plugin (https://github.com/mark-wade/homebridge-hive) to allow me to control it with Homekit, which is what I use to tie all my stuff together (Homebridge itself is running on a Raspberry Pi) I have a coffee machine and kettle from Smarter, which I also have Homebridge plugins for. Every room has a Sonos (Play:1 in bedroom and bathroom, Play:3 in office, kitchen and living room), again with Homebridge plugins I have automation set up to: Turns the lights and music on and off as I move throughout the house Turn the coffee machine on after I go into my office in the morning Turn everything off and turn the thermostat down once everyone has left the house But, because I use Homekit to tie it all together, I also use Siri quite a lot. "Hey Siri, turn the coffee machine on" literally never gets old. I'd really like to get a smart door lock and window blinds, but I'm still waiting for products that are actually decent to arrive on the market (there's a lot of US-centric stuff available, but here in the UK we normally need to wait a bit longer). Mark H (Support Technician and part-time Phil) I use an ISY-994i by Universal Devices, which controls *almost* all lights in the house, the door locks (Schlage Z-wave), and is integrated with my: Elk security system OneLink fire/CO alarms 3 Raspberry PI's with temperature sensors (DS2482-100 I2C to 1-Wire IC) Logitech Harmony Davis weather station (Vantage Pro 2) The mobile App I use to control this all, is Orchestrated Mobilinc. Daniel (Support Technician and Developer) A Raspberry Pis running HomeBridge 2 Amazon Dots + 3 Logitech Harmony Hubs & Elite Controllers allow me to control everything via remote controls, phone or voice. Lights: Hue Sound: Sonos in all rooms I have also dozen of homekit compatible sockets to control some none smart devices via the system. The Harmony Hub but also the Raspberry allow me also to control Dyson Fans. Since I moved to a Samsung Phone it's quite a mess because I had to find an alternative to control the homekit stuff Quite clearly, giving developers a box of gadgets and some spare time can lead to very creative things. Do you have any home automation? Do you prefer Alexa to Google Home? Do you also want to move into Andy's house? Let us know.
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