PC Satellite TV – Expanding Your Media Center PC

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With the arrival of media center PC’s, PC Satellite TV cards have become more popular. With a media center PC, you don’t have to spend a lot of money as you would with desktop components. You can have an affordable DVD player, surround sound system, and have the ability to play a wide range of audio and video formats. Here’s a few great things about integrating satellite TV with your personal computer:

o You can receive digital satellite programming for free

o You can have a free digital video recorder (DVR)

o PC satellite TV systems are highly affordable

Receive Satellite Channels For Free

Don’t get too anxious about this. When I mentioned free, I’m not talking about satellite TV piracy. Just like there is free local television, you can receive free digital satellite channels as well. This is called Free-to-Air (FTA) satellite programming. These channels are not encrypted and you’re free to legally view them without paying any monthly fees.

Record Digital Video On Your PC

Most satellite TV cards have the functionality and software to record programs that you receive. You can either record live shows, or schedule your DVR to record at times and dates that you specify. You also have the capability to time-shift. So if you had to take a small break in the middle of a live show, you could come back, rewind, and start from where you left off. Unlike popular DVR’s on the market, you don’t have to pay any monthly fees.

Highly Affordable Digital Television

If you consider not having to pay any monthly satellite or DVR fees, you can see that you’ll be saving a lot of money. The only thing that you’re required to pay for is the satellite dish, PC satellite TV card, and any installation fees. You can save more money if you decide to install the equipment yourself.

Even though all of this might seem too good to be true, please keep in mind that all of this is free programming. It isn’t comparable to premium channels that you could receive through DirecTV or Dish Network. However, there are hundreds of Free-to-Air channels that you can receive. If you’re not too much of a TV-holic, you might want to learn more about Free-to-Air television a bit more.

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American Mainstream Media – Player Or Tool?

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Many different types of communication tools, such as the TV, cinema, radio, newspapers and magazines, web sites and the music industry, can be classified as media. An important issue relating American media is the concept of “concentration of media ownership”. This concept implies that the ownership of most of America’s media lay in the hands of a few media conglomerates, who both earn huge sums of money through advertising and sale of copyrighted material, and, at the same time, are considered as important global players, regarding the fact that they influence people’s views about their surrounding world to a large extent.

But on the other hand, some argue that instead of being powerful players, the American media are in fact tools in the hands of the government. In this paper, each theory will be investigated to see which one better describes the role of media in both the American society and also the world.

It is claimed that there is no stronger power in the world than the American public opinion, and this public opinion is itself shaped by the media, so media can be regarded as taking the place of the powerful kings and popes of the past centuries (National Vanguard Books, 2004). There are many different ways through which media carefully shapes people’s opinions. It provides its audience with an image of the world, and then tells them what and how to think about that image. By stereotyping, the media also tell people how to think and judge about others (this others can refer to different races, women…). The media also plays its role by concentrating on certain stories and issues, while omitting others.

Among other communication media, the television is the most influential, regarding the fact that people spend a lot of time watching TV, probably much more than they spend on other media, such as the cinema or newspapers. According to a survey by Mediamark Research, 98% of Americans have a television, while only 79% are newspaper readers. Three examples of how public opinion is shaped by American media are:

– middle east news, and how the Arab-Israeli conflict is portrayed

– the 9/11 events and the wars that followed

– racial issues

The government has always declared the media to be a power that doesn’t always act in the right way. The conservatives have always complained that the US media have been unpatriotic and not supportive of government’s foreign policy, or simply too liberal.

The Media Research Center has carried out a study on the role of media on the war on terror, from such a conservative viewpoint. The report gives examples of why the American media have not reported the war and relating issues in the correct way:

– Peter Jennings of ABC, in a live program 2 days after the 9/11 attacks stated: “the US might no longer be a free country” and he also claimed that civil liberties have been suspended in the country.

– The “US Patriot Act” was reflected in a way by the media that made it look like some form of unconstitutional “snooping into the lives of ordinary Americans”.

– In the case of moving of Al-Qaede prisoners to Guantanamo Bay, media reported that they had been tortured, and should have access to civilian courts.

– When the New York Times revealed that the NSA (National Security Agency) was monitoring phone calls, it made it look like a threat to civil liberties. (Rich Noyes, 2006)

There are other studies that have used the war on terror to conclude that the media in America have been independent players, and not controlled by the government.

Jim Kuypers is a political communication researcher who claims that the mainstream media intentionally reflected the speeches of President Bush in a biased manner. Kuyper claims that “if someone were relying only on the mainstream media for information, they would have no idea what the president actually said. It was as if the press were reporting on a different speech.” He concludes the US media to be an “anti-democratic institution”. (Kuypers, 2006)

Other writers have claimed that the media have concentrated too much on the government’s failures and weaknesses during the war. (Lustick, 2006)

Opposing this “media as power” theory which portrays the US media as an independent power, calls it the “Fourth Estate”, and claims that journalists are more influential than any government official in setting the public (and sometimes foreign) agenda, are the “media as tool” advocates.

Two important points helps understand why the media are referred to as a tool:

– the media is dependent on the government for the information that it can obtain, and that it can call credible

– the media can criticize the government only within certain parameters that are acceptable to the government and its notion of national security

These facts are said to turn the media into a public relations arm of the US government. (Edward, 1993)

Again, the war on terror would be an interesting context in which the role of media can be studied, this time with the “media as tool” viewpoint.

The concept of “embedded journalism” appeared during the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and proved to be a good way to keep reporters content and controlled at the same time. The media put pressure on the government to allow them better access to battlegrounds; they were not pleased with the way they were shut down from information in case of Afghanistan, and also the way they were censored in the Gulf War. And pentagon made the best out of all this, as Lt. Col. Rick Long of the U.S. Marine Corps put it: “Frankly, our job is to win the war. Part of that is information warfare. So we are going to attempt to dominate the information environment.” (Kahn, 2004)

In this project, reporters signed contracts with the military which limited what they were allowed to report. Reporters were embedded in selected military units, and so shared their everyday lives with soldiers, and relied on them to get them to the place they wanted, and they usually didn’t have access to any other source other than the military.

A Penn State study reveals that this project did affect the number and the type of stories that were published by major newspapers, and the result was that more articles about the U.S. soldiers’ personal lives and fewer ones about the impact of the war on Iraqi civilians were printed in the 754 news articles that were analyzed in this study. (Linder, 2006)

It can be concluded that the media can enjoy a certain degree of independence, provided that they don’t cross certain red lines, and remain faithful to certain notions that are important to the US government. American media is not just a “power” or a “tool”, but a powerful tool that can be used in a very affective way by the government, if only they can come up with clever ideas and projects, like the “embedded journalism” project. In the “Information Age” (Hess and Kalb, 2003), tactics like hiding the whole story or direct censoring will certainly be ineffective. The US government surely will evaluate its “embedding strategy” and might come up with new and innovative ideas in order to reflect issues and events in its own way, and stay in control of this powerful soft tool.

Bibliography:

1. Edward, Herman, The media’s role in U.S. foreign policy (Power of the Media in the Global System), Journal of International Affairs, June 1993

2. Hess, Stephen and Kalb, Martin, The Media and the War on Terrorism, Brookings Institution Press, 2003

3. Kahn, Jeffery, Postmortem: Iraq war media coverage dazzled but it also obscured, NewsCenter, 18 March 2004

4. Kuypers, Jim, Bush’s War: Media Bias and Justifications for War in a Terrorist Age, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. , October 28, 2006

5. Lustick, Ian S., Trapped in the War on Terror. University of Pennsylvania Press, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006

6. Linder, Andrew, Study on Embedded Journalism, The Pennsylvania State University, 2006

7. Noyes, Rich, MRC research director, The Media vs. The War on Terror: How ABC, CBS, and NBC Attack America’s Terror-Fighting Tactics as Dangerous, Abusive and Illegal, September 11, 2006

8. Research staff of National Vanguard Books, Who Rules America? The Alien Grip Our News and Entertainment Media Must Be Broken, November 2004

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Agricultural Biotechnology International Conference Kicks Off in Australia

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A major international conference on agricultural biotechnology starts in Melbourne, Australia, today (August 6, 2006).The Agricultural Biotech International Conference (ABIC) brings together representatives of biotech companies, agricultural researchers and policy makers from across the world.

The theme of this conference is Unlocking the Potential of Agricultural Biotechnology. Some of the topics to be discussed include:

* Importance of biotechnology in meeting global food requirements.

* Application of agricultural biotechnology in biomedicine.

* Commercialization of innovative biotechnology.

* Practical applications of genomics to cereal crops.

* Using biotechnology to protect and enhance food supply.

* Biotechnology in developing countries.

Unlocking the potential of agricultural biotechnology is an issue that has been with us since the commercialization of the first genetically modified crop a decade ago. Developed countries, notably the U.S. and Canada, appreciate that agricultural biotechnology has been a prime mover of their economies. They have massively invested in it, effectively eclipsing the so-called conventional agriculture. The gains have been innumerable.

Farmers in these countries have almost doubled their income from cultivating genetically modified crops, that are usually high yielding and pest resistant.

In developing countries, the picture is different. Agricultural biotechnology remains a contested issue. Many developing countries would not embrace because of their distrust for the developed countries. Others have been fed with lies that agricultural biotechnology, and in particular Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), pose danger to the environment and the health of consumers.

Positive attributes of agricultural biotechnology must be played out at the Melbourne meeting for all to listen.

It’s encouraging that delegates from developing countries such as Prof. Jennifer Thomson (South Africa), Dr. Jagadish Mittur (India), and Dr. Rangsun Parnpai (Thailand) are attending this conference. They have a chance to learn firsthand how agricultural biotechnology has revolutionized the economies of such countries as the U.S., Canada, New Zealand, and Australia. These delegates must explore how their countries can similarly benefit from agricultural biotechnology.

Since this is a gathering of experts in agricultural biotechnology, it’s expected that there will a productive debate on the potential of agricultural biotechnology. Delegates should conduct their deliberations with developing countries in mind. It’s here where agricultural biotechnology is in dire need.

Developing countries delegates are encouraged to view this conference as a window of opportunity to learn from as many experts as possible on the potential of agricultural biotechnology.

Once the curtains of this conference fall, delegates from developing countries must ensure that they share the lessons learnt with policy makers, scientists and farmers in their respective countries.

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LCD vs. DLP TVs

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Two new technologies in the world of TV, DLP and LCD, are now in a tight competition. Not long ago, everyone was talking about Plasma and LCD – which one would win? It became clear to most that Plasma, with its short lifespan of just 3-4 years, was simply not the best choice. In fact, the LCD screen has several benefits over plasma. For instance, LCD screens run much cooler than the average plasma TV, and thus require less power to operate. Plasma TVs run so hot, in fact, that they require a fan to cool them down – which can be noisy. In addition, plasma screens have a tendency to degrade over time, slowly becoming dimmer. LCD screens, on the other hand, run relatively cool, and do not degrade over time. Some Plasma owners, who have used their TVs for a few years now, have already witnessed the dimming of their screens. Also, LCD screens tend to have overall better picture quality, and are typically 10 to 15 percent lighter than plasma.

Now the choice is mainly between LCD and DLP – two distinct technologies that offer slight differences in display, price, and performance. If you are looking to buy a new flatscreen TV this year, you are probably wondering which one is right for you.

What are DLP, LCD TV Screens?

DLP stands for Digital Light Processing, while LCD stands for Liquid Crystal Display. DLP technology, developed by Texas Instruments, uses a DMD, or Digital Micromirror Device, contructed of 1.3 million microscopic mirrors. Each of these mirrors is essentially a single pixel. When a digital signal enters the DLP system, each mirror is either activated or not, resulting in tapestry of mirrors tilting either towards the DLP light source or away. This process produces different levels of light and dark reflected by each individual mirror. The colors are produced when the DLP light sources run through a red, green, and blue color filter on a moving wheel. Depending on the lightness/ darkness of each mirror, the colors come in an enormous amount of shades, producing vivid color images.

LCD screens are made of several polarized glass panels, between which are liquid crystal molecules. An electric current is run through the crystal molecules, changing their position in respect to the glass. As light passes through the molecules, these changes in angle result in different lightness/ darkness patterns that produce images on the screen. There are usually three polarized glass panels, one with red pixels, blue, and green. This system also produced very accurate, vivid images, but angle is important. You may notice that the best colors in an LCD display are seen straight-on.

Is DLP, LCD TV Screens better than the other?

Simply put, that is a difficult question to answer. Unlike Plasma TV screens DLP and LCD last much are longer, and are considered to both have superior image quality. LCD screens tend to have slightly better contrast, with a larger range of black and white color shades. DLP, however, still has faster refresh rates than LCD (although LCD has been vastly improved in this area over the last two years). This can have implications if you are really into high-action motion (sports, action movies), because movement may seem a little blurred with LCD at times. Also, you’ll want to remember that in order for you to get the best color out of your LCD, you have to sit right in front of it. LCD TVs also have a slightly shorter lifespan than DLPs, with only 45,000 to 60,000 hours compared to 75,000 hours or more. As far as price goes, LCD and DLP are still more expensive than Plasma, but like all things in time, their price has been coming down. And right now, DLP is slightly more expensive than LCD, but not by much. DLP, in our eyes, is the best investment, at least for the next few years.

Click

here for popular DLP TV units and prices
.

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How To Make Successful Communication Through International Conferencing Services

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Do you feel the necessity of communicating with others all around the globe? International Conferencing is the best ever way to meet the end of your like nature requirement in a gainful way. Such conferencing features Audio Conferencing which works through telephone calls using people’s voices or audio medium. This system attaches a group of people, dialing into a specific conference network, hosted by particular conferencing service provider. As a raconteur, on behalf of any global business organization, you can handle efficiently the relation with consumers & employees all over the world through this unique system. This is also an easy task to make a close bonding with your friends or relatives residing or working abroad through this type of conferencing service. This system is an ideal for those who want to lop off the travelling cost and many other problems related to making of a big business promotion. Anyone can get this facility at home, in the office, in your car or sitting in a pub, too.

Feature rich Conferencing

The web or audio conferencing solutions seems apt enough for Real-time communication in a professional environment as it takes good care of the necessary functionality in a corporate or business scenario. Users get the liberty of transferring the documents, applications and files effortlessly alongside sharing the whole desktop with the participants present on the other end. Effective features including white-boarding, drag and drop, annotations are being blended into the collaborative software to ensure proper brainstorming and real-time sharing amongst participants who are located distantly. Companies or individuals can choose these features as per their needs and requirements while acquiring international conferencing solutions from reliable service providers.

To let people well aware of the high-end features, the service providers have come up with collaboration software with intuitive interfaces. Such user-friendly web conferencing can be included into phone or audio conferencing platforms to ensure greater functionality to users. The large bold icons, cool interface designs, screen fit feature etc ensure easy operational functionality for new users. Besides, the conferencing products are well backed with online controls so as to help the participants in configuring dial-out options, participant settings and mute, unmute features from interface.

Working procedure of Worldwide Conferencing:

The methods of Global Call Conferencing start in a lucid manner; this are-

Conference Calling Number: In this process, you need an exclusive access number to get rid of paying high-priced international call rates. The caller may get a global toll-free number, to gain access into the discussion, in case you go for such types of call services provider.

Getting into through Access Code: The individual member of the conference must come into the PIN number or the specific access code for entering into the said discussion.

Start over the Discussion: After substantiation of the exact access code or recognition process, you can start your conference.

So, prior to selecting International Conferencing, you must particularly find out whether the systems match well with your factual requirement. It is expected that you can make good use of this article before initiating a communication with such type of Audio Conferencing.

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