Tech 2.0 for Thursday, January 9, 2014

Contributor: Matt Davenport
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Updated: 1/09 4:14 pm

Netflix says video streaming in ultra-high definition will "just work" for buyers of new UHD sets from Sony, LG, Samsung, Vizio and others. That's because Ultra HD models from those makers will include the Netflix app and chips that decode signals in the so-called High Efficiency Video Coding standard, or HEVC. The chip is required to decode signals that Netflix Inc. will squeeze through the Internet at a speed of 15.6 megabits per second. That's a download speed readily achievable for Internet providers in the U.S. When the sets go on sale in the next few months, Netflix will be ready with Ultra HD programming, including some nature documentaries and the second season of its original series, "House of Cards." Netflix announced this at the International CES gadget show.

Snapchat has released an update to its disappearing-photo app following a security breach last week that exposed the phone numbers of millions of users. And for the first time since the New Year's breach, the company said it's sorry. Snapchat had promised a more secure version of its app following the breach, which allowed hackers to collect the usernames and phone numbers of 4.6 million of its users. The Los Angeles startup on Thursday released an update to its Android and iPhone apps that it says "improves Find Friends functionality." The feature, which suggests Snapchat connections based on a user's phone contacts, was at the heart of the breach. Users can now also avoid linking their usernames with phone numbers.

A new report says personal computer sales slipped even further during the holiday shopping season, capping the worst annual decline in the PC industry's history. The research firm Gartner Inc. estimates worldwide PC shipments for the three months ending in December dropped 7 percent from the same time in 2012. It marks the seventh consecutive quarter of decreasing PC sales. For all of last year, PC sales plunged 10 percent. Shipments of desktop and laptop computers have never tumbled so dramatically. The numbers released Thursday show annual PC shipments have now backtracked to where they stood in 2009. The PC slump is driven by the growing popularity of less expensive and more convenient mobile devices controlled by touch-screen technology instead of keyboards and computer mice.



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