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Exclusive: Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review: An impressive Google TV for a sizable premium

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Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review: An impressive Google TV for a sizable premium

#Sony #KD32W830K #Smart #Review #impressive #Google #sizable #premium

Pros:
– Good colour reproduction and contrast
– Variety of input/output ports
– Dual band WiFi
– Latest version of Google TV
– Works with Alexa-enabled smart devices too
– Access to picture and sound adjustments on the fly

Cons:
– HD Ready, not Full HD
– Expensive
– Dated TV design, cluttered remote

Overall Rating: 3.8/5

Price: Rs 28,990

With so many budget smart TV brands plying their trade in India, at times one tends to forget that the big boys are still around. And what’s more, they are present in the most popular 32-inch segment too! Sony served us a timely reminder of that with the recently launched W830K series. As expected, it carries a premium price tag with the promise of a superior picture quality and performance. But does it do enough to change mindsets? Let’s find out.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Design and connectivity: 7.5/10
Sony hasn’t bothered going bezel-less and opted for a more classical design with narrow but distinct bezels on all four sides. Though there is nothing glaringly bad about it, it feels a tad dated. The elongated chin below the bottom bezel, which hosts a power LED and IR receiver, adds a bit of character to the design. The TV can be wall-mounted or placed on a desk using the bundled stands. The desktop stands hold the TV firmly in place. The wall mount kit isn’t bundled but would be provided during installation if required. 

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The necessary screws are bundled along with a wireless remote control and a pair of AAA batteries. Though the aesthetics of this TV didn’t wow me, there were a couple of design elements that I liked here. Firstly, the stands are attached towards the centre of the TV rather than near the edges, making it possible to place this TV on a smaller desk. Secondly, the side ports are located near the left edge of the TV making them easy to access even after wall-mounting it. On the flip side, certain ports placed at the back of the TV will be hard to reach.

Speaking of ports, you get three HDMI ports – one of which supports ARC, two USB 2.0 ports, optical audio out, 3.5 mm headphone jack, coaxial A/V inputs and a LAN port. Wireless connectivity options include Bluetooth 5.0 to connect wireless speakers/headphones and even a keyboard or mouse. You also get dual band WiFi with support for 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands and a/b/g/n/AC standards. Thus most of the key connectivity bases are covered on this Sony TV.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Back ports

Image Credit: Tech2 | Ameya Dalvi

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Features and specifications: 7.5/10
This TV has a 32-inch panel with a resolution of 1366 x 768 pixels and a 50 Hz refresh rate. I was hoping Sony would go Full HD here but that’s not the case. Neither the panel type nor peak brightness figures have been mentioned here. It does support a couple of basic HDR formats like HDR10 and HLG. This TV is powered by a quad-core chip with four ARM Cortex A55 cores that can clock up to 1400 MHz and a Mali-G31 GPU. You get 1.5 GB RAM and 16 GB of internal storage, more than half of which is available for your needs. 

Sound output is rated at 20 Watts RMS with support for Dolby audio. Given that it is based on Google TV platform, it has Chromecast built-in and you can cast content on it from compatible apps on your Android phone or tablet. Something unique here is that this Sony TV works with Alexa-enabled smart devices too, and they can be controlled from here along with those in the Google ecosystem. It is also compliant with Apple AirPlay and HomeKit.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Remote

Image Credit: Tech2 | Ameya Dalvi

You get a wireless remote control that operates over IR and Bluetooth both. Though it doesn’t miss out on any important keys, it has far too many buttons and feels cluttered. The remote has hotkeys for Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube and YouTube Music. The remote is voice enabled, so you can bring up the Google Assistant by pressing the corresponding key and issue voice commands. 

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – User interface: 8/10
The Sony KD-32W830K runs the latest Google TV based on Android 11 for TV. Most of the features are similar to Android TV but with a slightly different user interface. In fact, it seems Google is moving towards having a uniform UI for both as newer Android TV updates on several TVs make the interface look a lot like that of Google TV. The UI is quite polished and assigns a higher priority to content discovery instead of installed apps.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Google TV UI

It shows you suggested content from various OTT platforms which the AI believes would interest you. Don’t worry if it feels random at the beginning; it is expected to get smarter as you watch more content on it. There’s Google Play Store that gives you access to a lot more apps. Apps for quite a few popular OTT services come preinstalled on this TV. Their subscriptions need to be purchased separately though and you have to login to each service that you wish to watch here. 

There is a dedicated settings button on the remote that gives you quick access to picture, sound and other settings on the fly irrespective of the app or input in use. The UI is fairly simple to use and the learning curve isn’t steep.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Picture quality: 8/10
The picture quality of the 32W830K is pretty good despite being just a HD-ready TV. The panel is bright and the colour reproduction is quite impressive as you would expect from a Sony TV. The picture is tuned well out of the box, and you have further scope for adjustment if you wish to. If I have to point out certain minor issues, the reds seem slightly boosted and the default contrast is a tad aggressive. Both can be addressed from the settings by lowering or switching off all the automatic contrast settings and lowering the saturation just a little bit. 

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Post that, the contrast is generally quite good with impressive black levels for the segment. Details in darker areas in certain scenes in our test videos were visible for most parts. The only real issue here is the moderate sharpness due to the low resolution. Mind you, the picture doesn’t look washed out or dull, but at times you wish for it to be a tad sharper. HDR performance is acceptable, but on a 32-inch HD-ready screen I wouldn’t assign too many points for it, nor should you expect something spectacular. 

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Centred stands

720p and 1080p content (scaled down) looks vibrant on this TV with lively colours. A special mention for the skin tones that look quite natural on this screen, something that budget TVs can’t get right most of the time. Lower resolution videos up to 480p are perfectly watchable too given that this is a smallish screen. The viewing angles are generally good with the colour shift being noticeably only from sharp angles. All said and done, the picture quality of the Sony KD-32W830K is impressive for a 32-inch TV.

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Audio quality: 7/10
This Sony TV delivers a warm and punchy sound output. You get a pair of bottom firing speakers rated at 20 Watts RMS that delivers Dolby-certified audio. The audio output of this TV is loud and clear for compact to a mid-sized room. There is ample clarity in the vocals and a bit of bass to go with it. The speakers are tuned well out of the box and I did not feel the need to tinker with the audio settings. 

The speakers are good enough for general audio needs like watching the news, sports, the odd webseries or listening to music. If you crave for extra thump in the audio, you have more than a handful of audio outputs on this TV like HDMI ARC, optical audio out, headphone jack and Bluetooth to plug in a soundbar or a speaker system. 

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Overall performance: 7.5/10
The TV takes about 45 seconds to boot up when you switch it on from the mains, which is a little slow for an Android/Google TV. Post that, if you switch it off and on from the remote, the TV comes back on in just a couple of seconds from standby mode, which is good. But there’s something interesting that I noticed here. When you turn on the power from the mains, the TV starts to boot up but the screen stays off. So if you turn the TV on from the remote a minute later, you may feel that it starts almost instantly.

There is no noticeable lag in operation, be it the menus or when watching content. There was a slight delay in the voice assistant’s response initially, but it seemed to get better over the course of testing. The default media player on this TV isn’t the best I have come across for watching videos. Some of our test videos being played from a USB drive had the wrong aspect ratio and I couldn’t find any option to fix that. Using a different player like VLC or MX provided a far better experience. However, this TV cannot play 4K videos through USB. Given that this is not even a Full HD screen, such a requirement would be rare, but it would have been nice if it did.

 

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV – Price and verdict
This is where things get a little tricky. The Sony KD-32W830K smart TV can be purchased for Rs 28,990 with a one year warranty. That is almost twice the price of certain budget 32-inch Android TVs with similar features but inferior picture quality. Similar sized smart TVs from LG and Samsung also sell for a good Rs 10,000 lower. One can even get certain 43-inch Ultra HD (4K) Android TVs for the price of this Sony TV. So why should one buy this?

Sony KD-32W830K Smart TV Review Side ports

Frankly, there is no clear answer. The only scenarios I can think of for buying this TV are either you are a loyal Sony fan or have a space crunch and want to buy a premium 32-inch TV with superior picture quality and good connectivity options. While there is nothing glaringly wrong about this Sony TV, I feel 29K is too big a price to pay for a 32-inch HD-ready TV irrespective of the brand. Had it been a Full HD TV, I would have given it a bit more leeway.

If you have that kind of budget and space is not an issue, you would be better off buying a 43-inch 4K Android TV from a brand like Hisense. You can even squeeze in a 43-inch Full HD smart TV from the likes of Samsung or LG close to 30K. As for 32-inch HD-ready TVs, there is only as much quality they can offer due to the lower resolution, and it would be prudent to not spend beyond Rs 18,000 to 20,000 on one in this day and age. 


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Exclusive: Core Scientific, a top bitcoin miner responsible for nearly 10% of the network's hash rate, sold 7,202 mined BTC for $167M in June and now holds 1,959 BTC (David Pan/Bloomberg) – TalkOfNews.com

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Core Scientific, a top bitcoin miner responsible for nearly 10% of the network's hash rate, sold 7,202 mined BTC for $167M in June and now holds 1,959 BTC (David Pan/Bloomberg)

#Core #Scientific #top #bitcoin #miner #responsible #network039s #hash #rate #sold #mined #BTC #167M #June #holds #BTC #David #PanBloomberg


David Pan / Bloomberg:

Core Scientific, a top bitcoin miner responsible for nearly 10% of the network’s hash rate, sold 7,202 mined BTC for $167M in June and now holds 1,959 BTC  —  Core Scientific Inc., a top crypto miner, sold the bulk of its Bitcoin holdings in June as a steep drop in digital assets squeezes finances for even the leaders of the industry.


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Exclusive: Check Out This Drag Racing VW Beetle EV – TalkOfNews.com

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Check Out This Drag Racing VW Beetle EV

#Check #Drag #Racing #Beetle

The Late Brake Show

While it may sound a bit odd, people really like to convert old VW Beetles into electric drag-racers. The practice goes back twenty years, and back in 2011, two brothers shocked the world with their Black Current III electric Beetle. Now they’re back with an even more ridiculous car, the “V8-killing” Black Current IV.

Note: Several outlets are clinging to this story under false pretenses. The modified VW Beetle EV doesn’t have 6,500 horsepower—that rating is both outrageous and plainly incorrect. ‘The Late Brake Show’ acknowledges that it made a mistake, but other publications aren’t doing their due diligence.

We decided to share this story because it’s really freakin’ cool. It highlights a scene of enthusiasts who are integral to the rise of EVs. The horsepower doesn’t matter.

While previous Black Current EVs were based on very old VW Beetles, the new model is a heavily modified 2013 mk2 New Beetle. It now has a full carbon-fiber body, plus a custom 22kWh battery pack and 800V architecture. Notably, it runs on a total of four inverters, which diligently control the rotation speed of four permanent magnet Axial flux AC three-phase motors.

Brothers Olly and Sam Young, who built the Black Current IV, believe that it can run a quarter-mile in seven seconds or less. That would make it the “world’s quickest” electric vehicle, which is shocking, given that it’s a modified Beetle and it’s street legal. (The Young brothers haven’t brought this thing to top speed yet, so we can’t confirm how fast it actually moves.)

For reference, the Tesla Model S Plaid recently completed a 9.4-second quarter mile. And the current world-record holder, the Rimac Nevera, made its trip in 8.52 seconds.

This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise—the old Black Current III was a record-setter back in 2011, despite the fact that it ran on a repurposed milk-float motor (an electric motor from a UK milk delivery truck). The only reason why Olly and Sam Young started working on this new Black Current VI is because the previous model crashed at 140 MPH during a drag race in 2017.

Anyway, you should watch the above video made by The Late Brake Show. It covers the Black Current VI and its history in more detail than I’ve provided. Plus, it’s a video, and I know you want to see this weird drag-racing EV.

Source: The Late Brake Show

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Exclusive: The fight against inflation starts at sea – TalkOfNews.com

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The fight against inflation starts at sea

#fight #inflation #starts #sea

Everything from children’s toys and furniture to guacamole has gotten more expensive, so it’s not surprising that inflation is top of mind for many Americans. But with the midterm elections drawing closer — and Republicans hammering the White House about rising consumer prices — President Joe Biden thinks voters should direct their frustrations elsewhere. He says they should be angrier at a critical, but often forgotten, part of the US economy: the ocean shipping industry.

“There are nine — nine — major ocean line shipping companies that ship from Asia to the United States. Nine. They form three consortia. These companies have raised their prices by as much as 1,000 percent,” Biden declared in a speech at the Port of Los Angeles, the country’s largest port, in June. “There’s no better place to start it than right here in the port, and letting those nine foreign shippers understand the rip-off is over.”

Right now, the cost of sending goods across the Pacific is still more expensive than it was before the pandemic. This price surge is a product of not only the delays and bottlenecks in the supply chain created by Covid-19 but also the huge increase in demand for consumer goods that followed. This demand was far greater than what shipping companies or American ports could handle. As a result, the price of shipping went up, creating increases in costs for importers and retailers within the United States. Those costs have now been passed on to consumers, which is partly why many everyday items are more expensive lately. (Surging gas prices, the war in Ukraine, and pandemic-era financial policies may also be driving inflation.)

Experts told Recode it’s unlikely that Biden’s crackdown on the shipping industry will significantly reduce the cost of products, even if it will make some meaningful improvements to operations at America’s ports. The small group of companies that dominate the shipping industry remain extremely powerful: They still benefit from longtime exemptions from antitrust laws and continue to wield enormous power.

The situation serves as a reminder that, while specific segments like the ocean shipping industry can play a massive role in influencing the prices of everyday goods, they’re also participating in the much larger economic system of supply and demand. This system involves everyone from the companies that build ocean vessels that shipping companies use to parents desperately trying to buy Barbie Dreamhouses for their kids. This complexity can make price increases extremely hard to rein in, even if you’re the president.

Ocean shipping, explained

By design, the shipping industry isn’t supposed to have a significant impact on the price of everyday goods. Many companies make their products outside the United States, in places where manufacturing is cheaper. This approach only makes economic sense if these companies know they can ship finished goods to their customers at a low cost.

This is where the major ocean carriers come in: Nine companies, including firms like Maersk, Cosco, and Hapag-Lloyd, handle the vast majority of shipping across the Pacific Ocean. These companies have been granted limited immunity from certain antitrust laws, and form powerful shipping alliances that coordinate on routes and even share their vessels. A single ship can stretch hundreds of meters long, and some can carry more than 20,000 shipping containers. These ships may travel between ports in several countries, picking up raw materials, parts, supplies, and finished products throughout their route on behalf of different carriers.

To make sure these ships are filled to the brim, carriers play their own version of Tetris. Because carriers share their vessels, several companies can sell transportation services on the same ship. Companies have to figure out which shipping containers should go where, based on where they’re coming from and where they’re going. Once cargo arrives at its destination, powerful cranes lift these containers from ships so they can be loaded onto trucks and trains traveling inland, and quickly fill the open space on the ship with a new container. Normally, this makes international freight shipping a skillfully choreographed operation, one that has made sending an item across the Pacific a negligible part of the cost of many products we buy every day.

But then came the pandemic. Factories, understandably, closed because of Covid-19, and that created manufacturing delays, threw schedules off course, and ultimately led to shortages of all sorts of products. The pandemic also meant that people spent more time at home, stopped buying services, and cut back on travel. As a result, they started to spend a lot more on consumer goods, goods that typically needed to be shipped to the US from abroad, primarily from countries in Asia. Shipping became harder to provide and much more in demand — which sent shipping prices skyrocketing.

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Now these shipping companies are facing a lot more scrutiny as well as growing concern that they’ve used their longtime antitrust immunity to profit during a crisis. Before the pandemic, these carriers had an average operating margin of just under 4 percent, but during the third quarter of last year, that margin grew to more than 50 percent. This has made importing goods in the US much more expensive: At the end of June, it costs nearly $7,600 to rent a 40-foot shipping container traveling across the Pacific compared to about $1,300 in early 2020, according to one shipping industry index.

“Today, the top nine companies control 85 percent of the trade. Go back 15 years ago, the top 10 companies controlled 50 percent of the trade. They basically ran companies out of business and bottom up,” Sal Mercogliano, a maritime history professor at Campbell University, said. “They were in a pretty vicious rate war, and then all of a sudden Covid happens and rates go through the roof.”

Importers and exporters have also accused these shipping companies of taking advantage of supply chain chaos, which has left them paying exorbitant detention and demurrage fees — fines charged to shippers that don’t pick up and drop off containers on time. Normally, these fees act as an important incentive to make sure shipping stays on schedule, but some logistics companies and importers say that the ocean carriers have made it almost impossible for them to pick up and drop off cargo on time. And ultimately, the cost associated with paying the fees gets passed on to customers.

The cost of shipping is coming down

Inflation isn’t something the president directly controls, and it’s not something that can easily be fixed. Meanwhile, most Americans say the top problem facing the country is rising consumer prices, which means it’s all but certain to become a major issue in the upcoming midterm elections. These elections will determine whether Democrats retain control of the House and the Senate, and will shape what Biden will be able to accomplish in the second half of his presidential term.

With voters acutely aware of the issue, the president is looking to cast the blame for inflation on entities far away from the White House. In this case, he’s pointing a finger at the small but powerful group of international companies that control shipping in the Pacific. Biden also wants to appear to be taking action on the problem, especially since it’s one that consumers notice in their everyday purchases.

“We have socks and plastic buckets, and things like that, being shipped around the world because it costs next to nothing to ship them,” Marc Levinson, a historian of the container shipping industry, explained. “Now, if the cost of shipping for a pair of shoes has gone up from 10 cents to 50 cents, that can actually be significant because there will be a further markup at every stage along the supply chain.”

Enter the Ocean Shipping Reform Act, which the president claims will lower costs and help fight inflation. The law, which was signed by Biden in June, empowers the Federal Maritime Commission, the agency that regulates shipping into the US, to investigate carriers’ practices and help craft new rules. The government will also create a more formalized way to track chassis, the metal frames that are used to carry shipping containers at the ports, and expand the commission’s powers when the ports are extremely congested. Finally, the law targets the increasingly common practice of ocean carriers transporting empty containers back across the Pacific instead of waiting to fill their cargo with American exports, including agricultural products that American farmers have sold to customers in Asia.

While all of these measures sound like progress, there’s no guarantee they will do much to lower prices overall. Again, many other factors are also driving inflation.

“It’s not like furniture is suddenly going to be cheaper overnight, right away. That’s not the way the system works, and frankly, it’s not the way the economy works,” Daniel Maffei, the chair of the Federal Maritime Commission, said. “Everybody would like a silver bullet to inflation.”

The Ocean Shipping Reform Act does set the groundwork for addressing growing concerns that carriers are engaging in harmful, anti-competitive behavior. (A recent investigation by one of the agency’s commissioners found no evidence of illegal behavior or collusion that had contributed to high shipping prices.) The legislation comes as the FMC ramps up its efforts to investigate carriers, including a push to crack down on unfair fees that the commission began last year, and a new partnership with the Justice Department announced in February.

But the law, which was not as aggressive as another proposal in the House, doesn’t change the fact that shipping is still dominated by just three alliances, despite mounting calls to curtail their power. Nor does it give the FMC the ability to set the price of shipping. Perhaps most importantly, it doesn’t deal with one of the primary issues that drove the high cost of shipping: surging demand for products that need to be shipped. Gene Seroka, the executive director of the Port of Los Angeles, told Recode that whether the legislation would help lower prices is “to be determined.”

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“Declining demand will help,” Willy Shih, a management professor at Harvard Business School, said. “If we go into a recession, then demand will drop and then that’ll give everybody time to catch up, and even things out more.”

The global supply chain is made up of many different countries, companies, and people, which means that the price of a single good is influenced by myriad factors that are incredibly hard to control. That means that, for now, you shouldn’t expect Joe Biden’s mounting effort to regulate the shipping industry to have an immediate impact on the price of the stuff you buy.

In reality, the best way to lower the cost of shipping is for people to stop buying so many things that need to be shipped. Given that the economy doesn’t seem to be in a great place right now, that just might happen sooner rather than later. For what it’s worth, imports to the US seem to be declining, and American consumers appear to be returning to their pre-Covid spending habits.

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