Remember when owning an HDTV was a big thing? Well, that's well in the past now. The new trend among big screen televisions and PC monitors is going up to 4K resolution. This week, YouTube quietly put in some new video options that allow users to watch some clips in 2160p.

youtube resolution

Viewing videos in 4K is nothing new for YouTube; as HDTVtest points out, the website has supported uploads of such clips since 2010. However, in order to set the video up for 4K viewing, the options menu had to be set to "Original" so that the clip could run past the 1080p setting.

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microsoft logoThe SEC has announced today that it has charged a senior portfolio manager at Microsoft and his friend and business partner with insider trading.

The government agency states that Brian D. Jorgenson received confidential information ahead of the official Microsoft announcement and then sent this information to Sean Stokke. Stokke then executed trades with this information provided to him by Jorgenson and the two split the profits in their brokerage accounts.

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dishnetwork-logoIf you're a Dish Network or DirecTV subscriber, be prepared for another round of price hikes.

Following the trend from recent years, nearly every available package from the two satellite TV providers will increase in price, with fee hikes ranging between $2 and $5. Also in an annual tradition, both companies began notifying customers of the price hikes just before Christmas.

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NSA SealA federal judge ruled Monday that the National Security Agency program which collects information on nearly all telephone calls made to, from or within the United States is likely unconstitutional.

U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon found that the program appears to violate the Fourth Amendment ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. He also said the Justice Department had failed to demonstrate that collecting the information had helped to head off terrorist attacks.

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apple COO tim-cookApple CEO Tim Cook gave a little bit of a virtual pep talk to company employees today, via an email memo that was sent out this morning. Most of it looked back at Apple's accomplishments for 2013 but there was a tiny hint about the company's 2014 plans as well.

The memo, as posted by 9to5Mac, goes over Apple's new product launches in the past year, such as the iPhone 5 and iOS 7, the release of OS X Mavericks for free, the new iPad Air and iPad mini with its Retina display and the most recent launch of the new Mac Pro that's being made in Austin, Texas.

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Google is looking like it is more serious about its robot research. The New York Times is now reporting that the company has acquired Boston Dynamics, the makers of some truly impressive, but still scary, four legged automatons that have become YouTube hits.

This new report follows on the heels of news that Google's former Android leader Andy Rubin is now leading a team focused on robots at the company. Google would not reveal how much it spend to buy Boston Dynamics, saying only that the deal will help to furthur their own research into robots.

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Verizon logo2Verizon announced Wednesday it will begin publishing transparency reports on government data requests beginning 2014.

It's the first telecoms company to publish a transparency report on requests for data made by the U.S. government, which could see other companies — such as rival AT&T — follow in its footsteps.

The company said in a statement it will publish the report semi-annually.

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botnet2Web sites are getting visited more and more by bots rather than humans, at least according to a new study by Incapsula. The company, which offers cloud-based services to web sites, revealed that 61.5 percent of Internet traffic is being generated by bots, adding that that figure has actually increased from 51 percent back in March 2012.

  The study results came from monitoring 20,000 sites on Incapsula’s network over a period of 90 days. The numbers show that 31 percent of all web traffic comes from search sites like Google and Bing along with other "good" bots.

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targetYet another major cyber attack has resulted in a database of over 40 million credit card numbers being taken by unknown hackers. The victim is the retailer Target and the numbers were lifted between November 27th to December 15th, which include "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday", two of the biggest shopping days of the year.

Krebs on Security first reported on the theft on Wednesday and the incident was later confirmed by Target. It stated, "We have determined that the information involved in this incident included customer name, credit or debit card number, and the card’s expiration date and CVV (the three-digit security code).”

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beiberThe rapid fall of BlackBerry has been one of the biggest, and perhaps saddest, tech news items of 2013. BlackBerry recently decided to keep going on its own after reported offers of buyouts from several companies did not go through. However, it's still questionable whether or not the business that once was one of the biggest smartphone makers in the world will still be around this time in 2014.

  Bloomberg Businessweek posted a new article that quotes a number of former BlackBerry employees, among others, about the history of the company. One funny, but still sad, statement came from Vincent Washington, BlackBerry's senior business development manager for a decade before leaving in 2011. He cited what could have been a huge promotional boost for the smartphones for very little money and effort several years ago, when BlackBerry was still using its Research in Motion name:

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