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The History Of DVD Records, Improving WiFi Reception, And Using Tablets As Phones

Chris brought us back in IFA history with the introduction of the DVD recorder:

The DVD was a huge success with growth rates even higher than the CD after its introduction, but it was a replay medium only. It took several years until 1999 when, at the Internationale Funkausstellung in Berlin, Panasonic presented the first DVD recorder prototype. In 2001 the first DVD recorder was market ready and premiered at IFA. One year later these recorders were already being sold in big numbers. At IFA 2003 the first DVD recorder with built-in hard disk had its world premiere.

Eddie in West Piston, Pennsylvania asked:

I have a Cisco Linksys EA4500 router. I’m looking online and see that they sell extended antennas that you have to drill out the back of the unit and open it up. They’re 9dB gain at the 2.4 and 5 GHz range. Will this actually increase the performance of the router? There are 6 internal antennas on this router, 3 for 2.4 GHz and 3 for 5 GHz. Are these antenna mods worth it on this router?

You may see some slight improvement as long as the cable you use to connect the antenna is of good enough quality, however… don’t expect an earth shattering difference.

We have heard just about everything from “I saw no change at all” to “it’s a little better” to “it really helps” but most seem to agree that any difference is slight, with some even suggesting that building a makeshift parabolic antenna using a box and tin foil and putting the router in it may be more helpful.

If you really need the signal to be better, you may be better off investing in a better router.

Antennas cannot magically create power. What they do is focus the radiated into narrower patterns so there SEEMS to be more power coming in the measured direction. Unless it’s marked somehow on the directional antenna, or you have some equipment to measure the the gain in all directions, you will have a very difficult time getting things to line up correctly. We will link a very good article on this subject in this week’s show notes, so be sure and come to the website to get that.

Antennas cannot magically create power.

And the whole point of Wi-Fi is to connect devices that will be moving around the house or office, so having a very directional RF pattern simply isn’t a wise idea in most cases. You would be better off buying a second access point to place about halfway to the area with weak signal.

If you can’t pull an Ethernet cable to that location, buy an access point that offers a range extender feature (or just buy a range extender, if you don’t care to use this device as an access point later). A range extender connects wirelessly to your network and retransmits the signals to increase them in the dead spots. They really do work.

Red in Delaware asked:

How come no one makes a tablet that can also be used as a regular phone?

One of the main reason why tablets haven’t come out with the phone capability feature is basically to keep costs down and many cellphone carriers want to sell phones and tablets, and if they combine both together, they are concerned it will affect sales.

However, there are some tablets that do carry this feature such as the Samsung Galaxy Tab or Dell Streak 7 but they’re not designed primarily for phone use.

Or … some have said there is a size limit on what can be considered an actual phone versus a tablet. Dell Streak 7 has Sim Card capabilities but is currently only available in Canada. There are apps you can use that require Wi-Fi, mobile data or possibly both such as TextPlus, ooVoo, fring, and Skype being the most popular of the calling apps. These apps are available on Android and Apple devices.

Not enough people want them.

There may even be a simpler answer. Not enough people want them. It’s expensive to design and build a consumer electronics device. It only makes sense to do it if you believe that you’re going to sell a bunch of them. And while we get a question like yours every once in a while, we’re confident that the number of people out there who want to spend money on a tablet that is also a phone isn’t large enough to justify making one. How do we know? Well…because no one makes such a device. And they would, if they thought they could sell it.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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