Tag: affordable

Posted in internet

SANDWICH GENERATION: AARP MN pushes for access to affordable high speed internet amid pandemic

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota — AARP is fighting for access to affordable and reliable high-speed internet where you live. A strong internet connection can impact the way you work, learn, stay in touch, and even receive health care from home. However, the reality is many Minnesotans still don’t have access to reliable, high-speed broadband internet.

To identify where gaps are in coverage MN Rural Broadband Coalition is asking you to take a 30-second speed test that will measure your home internet speed and build a better broadband service map. The MN Rural Broadband Coalition launched the MN Speed Test Initiative to find out exactly where broadband service is available in our state. A simple, 30-second speed test will tell us your upload and download speed and place a dot on our map. So far, over 20,000 speed tests have been logged. Once complete, the map will help bring broadband to communities across the state.

Testing data will be statistically valid and provide a map of what service levels are for any given area in the state. This information will be an important tool for communities that are planning a high-speed internet expansion project through the FCC, USDA, or MN Border-to-Border Broadband Grant Program. To take the speed test, click here.

The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition is a membership group of local units of government, elected officials, economic development agencies, educational institutions, healthcare organizations, telecommunications organizations, non-profits and individuals who advocate at the State Capitol for better broadband in rural Minnesota.

AARP is the largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment.

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Posted in technology

TCL’s range of affordable ‘Roku TV Ready’ soundbars start at $79

TCL has unveiled its latest Alto soundbars, which offer an affordable way of boosting a TV’s built-in sound. With the exception of the $59 Alto 3, all of the soundbars are certified as being “Roku TV Ready.” This means they should integrate seamlessly with TVs running Roku’s TV OS, allowing you to control and tune them with your TV’s remote. TCL’s Roku TV Ready soundbars range in price from $79 to $299.

At the top of the lineup is the Alto 9 Plus, which was first announced back at CES 2020. It’s equipped with Dolby’s Atmos, which adds height to the surround sound experience. However, rather than doing this with traditional upward-firing speakers, TCL says it’s using “virtual height channels” to create the impression of overhead sound, and the 3.1 soundbar also includes a dedicated wireless subwoofer. It supports Bluetooth, and it’s compatible with Chromecast and AirPlay 2 to stream content from your phone. The Alto 9 Plus is available now for $299.

The Alto 8I comes with built-in subwoofers.
Image: TCL

One step down the lineup is the $179 Alto 8I, which will go on sale next month. The compromise here, according to Engadget, is that the 2.1-channel soundbar opts for dual internal subwoofers rather than having a separate unit. You still get support for Dolby Atmos and Bluetooth streaming, however. The soundbar is designed for TV’s that are 55-inches and larger.

The $79 Alto 6 and $129 Alto 6 Plus are slightly smaller, and are designed for TVs that are 40-inches in size or more. Both support Bluetooth, neither have Dolby Atmos, and only the more expensive Plus model comes with a dedicated subwoofer. They’ll be available at the end of the month, TCL says.

The Alto 6 Plus comes with a dedicated subwoofer (pictured), while the