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I'd like to first say "hello" to everyone. I must lay down a single rule, and it's commonly known by many as the Golden Rule. Please treat everyone in here as you would want to be treated. I ask that no one "flames" anyone else, or say anything obscene or rude. This is a friendly discussions blog that pertains mostly to computers, music, politics, and religion, but not restricted to just these topics.

If you're looking for some computer help, then I highly recommend by starting with my first part in my series:
Computer Advice Part 1 of 9 - Hardware Terms

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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Cutting The Cable - Part 1

I think the main reason cable and satellite TV prices are continuously on the rise is because so many people (including myself) have cut their cable/satellite TV to save money.  Yes, there will be some initial investments involved, but they often pay for themselves within a year, and no need for me to regurgitate what many other articles have already discussed before.  Here's some articles below on how to cut your cable the ethical, legal way...

In most of these articles, they discuss various options, such as HDTV antennas for live/local content (news, sports, etc.).  They also discuss streaming boxes, such as the Roku and Amazon's Fire TV.  Lastly, the various streaming services such as Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and Netflix.

Technicals

Unfortunately, most of these articles don't discuss the technical aspects to get the most out of your entertainment experience, mostly because a lot of it has to do with where you live, and what local TV stations and Internet services you have in your area.  Unfortunately, if you live in a very rural area (like some of my in-laws do), your choices are very limited.

Antennas

If you live more than 50 miles away from a large city, most likely an indoor antenna won't suffice.  Jump on Google Maps and see how far away the nearest major city is from you, and take a look at these antennas...

Streaming Boxes

I jumped on the Roku 3 bandwagon back before Amazon's Fire TV came out.  Although I love my Roku 3s (I have one in my living room and one in my bedroom), Amazon's Fire TV supports Kodi (in which I'll discuss this in Part 2), whereas Roku currently doesn't at the time of this writing.  I'm planning to switch over to Amazon's Fire TV at some point when money permits.  Unless you're a fanboy/girl, I wouldn't bother with Apple TV.

Streaming Services

This is really a matter of preference.  If you're a movie buff, Netflix is a good choice.  If you're a TV show nut, then try out Hulu.  If you already an Amazon Prime member, Amazon Prime Video is the obvious choice.  Since both Hulu and Netflix is about $10/month and often have a 30-day free trial without any contacts (at the time I wrote this), it doesn't hurt to try them both.  Even paying $30/month for all of them is still cheaper than basic cable/satellite TV.

Internet Service Provider

This is where the articles above doesn't discuss because this solely depends upon what services you have where you live.  Below is a list of internet service types sorted by download speed (at the time of this writing)...
  1. Cable: usually the fastest type using coaxial cable provided by your local cable company, offering download speeds up to 200 Mbps (recommended for large families with many devices)
  2. FTTN (Fiber To The Node): fiber optics replacing old copper telephone lines usually provided by your local phone company, offering download speeds up to 50 Mbps (recommended for average-size families with several devices)
  3. DSL: usually provided by your local phone company over old copper telephone line, offering download speeds up to 25 Mbps (recommended for singles and couples with a few devices)
  4. Satellite/Other: only consider this option if you don't have access to any of the above services!

A good rule of thumb for streaming HD (High Definition) video is at least 10 Mbps (Megabits Per Second) download speed per person.  Someone living alone could easily get away with only having only a 10 Mbps download speed whereas a family of five (such as mine) requires a bit more (I currently have 60 Mbps download speed via my cable provider).  To test your current internet speed, please visit http://www.speedtest.net/
To see what broadband Internet Service Providers are in your area, please visit...

Wireless Routers

Many people buy the cheapest router possible, and often get frustrated that their inexpensive router can't keep up with all of the HD video streaming demands of their gadgets.  When it comes to routers, you usually get what you pay for.  Although I don't have any specific brand preferences, I prefer Asus, Linksys (Cisco), or Netgear.  However, I don't recommend Belkin.  A general rule of thumb for buying a router is spending about $25 per device (anything that can stream HD video, such as computers, smartphones, streaming boxes, tablets, etc.) you'll connect to your router (please also consider future additions/demands)...

To fill-in a Wi-Fi dead-spot, purchase a range extender/repeater (wireless access point), and install it somewhere between the router and the dead-spot.  Although most wireless range extenders will work with most routers, it's a good idea to purchase a range extender made by the same manufacturer as your router...


Cutting The Cable - Part 2 >>>

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