17 December, 2018 | Posted by: Kyle Weckerly
Category: Product Reviews, Streaming | No Comments
There’s a good chance you didn’t know this, but Spectrum (aka Charter Communications) launched their tv streaming service called Spectrum TV Stream and Spectrum TV Choice for internet only and customer who have an internet and home phone bundle.
The service was in market testing to certain customers in certain areas of the United States earlier in 2018. Now, the new streaming service is available for customers who have an existing internet connection with Spectrum. So, the service isn’t open for everyone, unfortunately.
We’ve already covered Spectrum’s internet plans in a previous post, but if you’re not familiar with them, Spectrum (previously Time Warner Cable) offers internet only plans with download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, as well as double play and triple play (internet, tv, and phone) plans.
For fans of streaming media services like Hulu Plus, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now, Spectrum’s service will seem familiar, but there are quite a few differences.
The first thing you’ll notice if you try to do your own research is that information is very hard to come by. That’s because this is essentially a closed service that is only open to existing Spectrum customers. Think of this as Spectrum’s ‘a la carte’ plan rather than a standalone streaming service.
As for channel lineups, Spectrum has a wide array of broadcast networks for you to choose from. Popular networks like Freeform, A&E, FX, and other networks are available in their official channel lineup according to their support article over Spectrum Stream.
Popular sports and news channels like ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and NBC Sports Network are also included in their streaming package.
For diehard sports fans, you’re going to be disappointed as regional sports channels like regional Fox Sports networks, the Big Ten Network, and league-specific channels like NBA TV and the MLB Network are missing from the standard lineup. If you’re looking to have these channels, you might be better off sticking with Spectrum’s TV service.
According to the LA Times, Spectrum TV Stream starts at $25 a month (there was no official price on Spectrum’s site, you’ll have to contact them to get an official quote).
The good thing that most cord cutters will love is that there is no need for a cable box unless you want DVR functionality. In that case, you’ll have to add one for an extra $20 a month. The $25 price tag doesn’t seem so cheap if you add on premium channels and a cable box to your plan. Keep in mind, all these charges are added on to your existing Spectrum Internet plan.
The $25 price tag is also for an intro period of the first two years of service. Once the promo period is up, the price jumps up to $30 a month. The price of Spectrum’s streaming service and internet plan can quickly surpass $100 a month, especially if you value the ability to record live TV and if you love premium channels like HBO and Showtime.
When compared to other streaming services like DirecTV Now, Hulu Plus, and YouTube TV, Spectrum’s TV Stream isn’t very ideal, especially since there’s no “official” streaming package that they’re advertising.
Another big drawback of Spectrum’s streaming service is that you can only watch the streaming service from your Spectrum home wifi or internet connection. Meaning, you can’t (or couldn’t) watch this on the go or at a Starbucks. At that point, what’s the purpose in having a streaming service if you can’t take it with you?
If you’re looking for a cheap way to add on TV service and you’re okay with the limited use of it, then Spectrum’s TV Stream might be the right choice for you, especially if you get all your entertainment from Netflix or Youtube Premium. That’s essentially who Spectrum was targeting when this service was launched.
Like their internet plans, there’s no early termination fees or long-term contracts, so you can sign up and pay as you go.
If you’re looking for something that is going to replace your cable package, then this isn’t the product for you (at least not now). The channel lineup isn’t something to go crazy over and it’s limited access to sports and news channels, as well as other popular networks, make this streaming service less than ideal. Plus, you still have to get internet service from Spectrum to even qualify for the streaming service.
If you’re looking to switch to Spectrum internet to take advantage of their TV Stream deal, contact us today or search your zip code and see if spectrum offers are in your area!
18 December, 2018 | Posted by: Kyle Weckerly
Category: Product Reviews, Satellite Internet | No Comments
If you've done your research on high-speed internet providers, you'll probably notice that there's not much choice for a lot of consumers. Especially if you live in a rural or country neighborhood. In some cases, there are no cable or DSL providers in your area, and you're forced to consider getting satellite internet.
Now, I know what you're thinking, satellite internet is rife with slow speeds, latency, low data limits, etc. And, you're not wrong, however, internet providers like HughesNet & Viasat can offer faster speeds that can keep up with your streaming or gaming needs, minus some of the issues satellite internet is known for.
Viasat is one of the top satellite internet providers and typically covers customers that live in more rural areas. Their vast network allows Viasat to cover almost 99% of the entire United States. Plus, they have speeds starting at 12 Mbps and plans that go all the way up to 100 Mbps! That's more than enough to handle any gaming for streaming needs for the most hardcore gaming.
For some context, most console and PC games require minimum upload speeds of 1 Mbps, 3-6 Mbps for the download speed, and a 'ping rate' (latency) of less than 150 milliseconds. Even the most bare-bones cable internet plans start at 5 Mbps, so you'll more than likely be covered. However, your gaming experience won't be great, per se, and if you live in a rural part of town, cable internet providers won't be in your area.
Satellite internet plans from Viasat comes with a lot of benefits such as a 2-year price lock guarantee, free built-in wi-fi, free standard installation, and plans with no long-term contracts. If you're okay with having a satellite dish on your house, satellite internet can provide you with an optimal experience for most of your online needs. Just pray there isn't any heavy rain in the forecast.
For those who aren't heavy streamers of those looking for traditional TV plans, Viasat offers customers bundle packages with DirecTV. So, you won't lose out on your favorite sports teams or fan-favorite shows on the most popular networks!
HughesNet offers customers a pretty solid internet experience as well with their HughesNet Gen5 Plans. They offer customers more than enough data for them to stream videos or do some casual online gaming. As with Viasat, they offer their customers built-in wi-fi, faster speeds, and no hard data caps, which is the next best thing to unlimited data.
Even though HughesNet offers customers no hard data limits, your internet speeds will be severely slowed down if you ever go above your monthly data limit. This can be problematic for those looking to cut the cord and just have an internet only plan.
But, fear not! HughesNet offers customers a "Bonus Zone," which is essentially a period of time between 2 and 8 a.m. where their customers have access to an additional 50 GB of data added on to their data limit. So your fifth binge of Friends or Seinfeld won't be spoiled by data limits.
When or if you go over your allotted data, HughesNet will lower your internet speeds to 1-5 Mbps which is enough to stream SD-quality videos.
For those who live in the city or in the greater metro area, you'll have access to other internet connections (such as fiber, cable, and DSL), so getting a satellite internet plan may not be good for you. But, for those who live further out from major cities, a satellite internet connection from HughesNet or Viasat makes perfect sense.
Satellite internet providers will also offer customers some stability as both HughesNet and Viasat offer a 2-year price lock guarantee. This is great for those who like to budget out their monthly expenses. You'll know exactly what you're going to pay every month for the promo period (which is longer than most other providers).
To answer our intro question, is satellite internet worth it? The answer depends on you, for the most part. If you're living in a small town that does not have access to a cable or fiber internet connection, your hand may be forced in getting HughesNet or Viasat. If you live in a city or within the metropolitan area, satellite internet makes sense on a case-by-case basis.
For example, if you live in the suburbs and you don't have access to faster speeds of mainstream cable or DSL providers, satellite internet starts to make more sense. And you'll have access to bundle packages with DirecTV.
If you're looking for a better internet plan, or you're thinking of switching to satellite internet, we can help set you up with a plan that's right for you! Just enter your zip code below and search available deals in your area today.
Live in a city or a metroplex? Chances are, you will have to make a decision on choosing AT&T or Spectrum Internet.
26 November, 2018 | Posted by: Kyle Weckerly
Category: Product Reviews, Service Providers | No Comments
Live in a city or a metroplex? Chances are, you will have to make a decision on choosing AT&T or Spectrum Internet. In some cities, you may not have a choice if you want cable or DSL internet and you’re not willing to try Satellite Internet or Fixed-Wireless. Rest assured, we have your all-inclusive report on both of these major internet providers, so you’ll be set to make an informed choice when it comes to these two popular internet providers.
Both internet service providers (ISPs) are good if you live in a city and both ISPs can give reliable internet service as long as you live within the city limits or in the greater metropolitan area. These providers do have their drawbacks, however.
AT&T offers fast plans at an affordable price, but, their faster plans such as their Fiber Internet Packages are only available in select metropolitan areas and are not widely available.
Spectrum Internet on the other hand offers customers a faster than average speed that spans a wider coverage area than AT&T. Spectrum Internet is even available in some rural markets or in the surrounding areas of larger markets.
Convinced already? Enter your zip code to compare packages in your area. Please note: AT&T & Spectrum Internet plans vary based on availability. Call our sales center to confirm service availability.
AT&T offers internet deals for every type of customer. Whether you’re looking for a bare-bones internet plan or a super-fast fiber internet plan, AT&T will likely have an internet deal that fits your budget and needs. There are some drawbacks that some customers will find troublesome. Such as internet speeds greatly vary on what part of town you live in.
For example, some customers may only have access to their lower-tier internet packages and may only get speeds up to 10 Mbps while others can receive speeds up to 75 Mbps. With that being said, if you live in an area where you’ll only have access to the lower-tier speeds, we recommend getting a bundle deal with DirecTV to ease the amount of streaming on your internet. This is where you’ll get the most value if you’re forced to consider a lower internet speed from AT&T.
There’s not much to dissect here which is both good and bad. With Spectrum, you’ll get a simple plan with speeds often greater than 20 Mbps in most areas where it’s available. Faster speeds may be available in some areas so it’s always good to call a sales center to confirm speeds before purchasing.
Spectrum also has affordable bundles, although the prices are not as competitive as AT&T. Spectrum has a Double Play offer for $89.98/mo. and their Silver Triple Play for $109.97/mo. Both plans are good for those looking to add TV to their internet plan and make it easy by bundling their service together.
Honestly, this is a tough one. They’re both great internet service providers that provide fast speeds, affordable pricing, and convenient bundle packages that customers can take advantage of. If you’re a customer who lives in a big city and is looking for fast internet that’s reliable for streaming media or gaming, consider getting AT&T and going with their Internet 75 plan.
For customers looking for a good bundle plan or deals for lite internet users, Spectrum might be the better choice. Overall, they’re both excellent choices and are reliable internet service providers.
Ready to purchase Spectrum or AT&T? Call us now and an authorized sales rep will help you set up your new internet service today.
They're small, they're compact, and they affect the entire outcome of a war. Unfortunately, we’re not talking about hobbits. It’s your Wi-Fi router.
05 November, 2018 | Posted by: Kyle Weckerly
Category: Entertainment, News, Product Reviews, Service Providers, Streaming, Technology | No Comments
They're small, they're compact, and they affect the entire outcome of a war.
Unfortunately, we’re not talking about hobbits.
It’s your Wi-Fi router.
Wi-Fi, the wireless internet connection used in almost all homes and businesses, is made available through a Wi-Fi router. Most Wi-Fi customers get their Wi-Fi through the router provided by their ISP (internet service provider) or cable company. These do a good job of handling the basics of wireless uploading and downloading.
They’re not the worst routers out there. At the same time, they aren’t the best. They do an average job.
But there are brands out there producing above-average routers. You’ve probably already heard of their names; Asus, Netgear, D-Link, and Linksys.
There are more, and a quick search of PC Mag, CNet, and Tom’s Guide can give you a more thorough overview of the various and sundry brands out there.
The inevitable next question you’re thinking is “Which one’s the best?”
A Wi-Fi is essential these days for internet connectivity. This makes Wi-Fi routers essential, even if every home doesn't have one. ISPs and cable companies provide these as part of their basic package. There are some consumers out there who want something better though.
Should you decide to buy your own, you’ll have to make the decision based on a few factors. Near the top of the list would be cost and customer reviews. While there are some that cost more than others, it doesn’t mean it’s the best.
Your home, like you, is unique.
Don’t just go with the router that is labelled “the best” by a source that doesn’t know you.
That's like saying Frodo was the best hobbit.
You know, hobbits, from The Lord of the Rings.
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy world, there were wizards, humans, elves, dwarves, orcs, and dragons. The smallest of these creatures were the hobbits. These were the guys who were half the height of dwarves. Being that dwarves were half the height of humans, this made hobbits very, very short.
As a result, hobbits were seen as unimportant. Irrelevant even.
And the hobbits, as Tolkien explained, were happy with this. They were fine to stay in their part of the world and not bother with international politics. If the outside world didn't interfere with them, they would leave the outside world alone.
One such hobbit, Frodo Baggins, came into possession of the One Ring- the one thing that could decide whether good or evil prevailed.
And so Frodo, small and unimpressive, set out with his friends to take care of the ring. Journeying with him was Samwise Gamgee otherwise known as Sam, Peregrin Took aka Perry, and Meriadoc Brandybuck aka Merry. Each was unique with their own quirks and personality.
These four hobbits, though small and “irrelevant” ended up becoming the deciding factor in entire battle for the soul of the world; Merry would go on to help slay the Witch-King, Perry would play a vital role in distracting the leader of the evil forces, and Sam would help Fordo get all the way to Mt. Doom, where Frodo tossed the One Ring into open lava.
Peace was restored.
Not bad for four hobbits.
While it would be easy to say that Frodo was the best hobbit of all because he destroyed the One Ring, that’d be a little presumptuous. He did have the hardest job, but without help from the other three, Frodo would have never gotten close to Mt. Doom.
It's okay then to prefer Sam, Merry, or Perry to Frodo. People have their reasons for liking one over the other. Just like they have their reasons for not choosing "the best" product out there.
Like when it comes to picking a Wi-Fi router.
Before picking a router, take stock of your Wi-Fi needs at home.
For those using one device on a consistent basis, 5 Mbps is the download speed that works best for you. With that in mind, you can save some money by avoiding the higher end routers.
If you’re downloading content on multiple devices--like through your Apple TV and streaming a game on your PlayStation 4--getting a download speed of 45 Mbps is best to handle the larger amount of data going back and forth.
Knowing this will help you decide which router is best for your home.
For homes with light internet usage, a single-band router is best. For homes with heavy internet usage, a dual-band router would be best.
Single-band routers use just one frequency.
This is great if you’re using a few devices throughout your home. They can handle the usual amount of data going back and forth.
The downside is the frequency they use, 2.4 GHz. This frequency is usually used by Bluetooth devices, microwaves, and wireless phones. Those devices can inadvertently disrupt your Wi-Fi signal.
The dual-band routers use the 2.4 GHz frequency and a second frequency of 5 GHz. That 5 GHz frequency is less common. This second frequency is better used for third-party devices, giving you a less-impeded channel to work with.
Dual-band routers are great for homes where multiple devices are downloading at once. You can even assign a channel to a specific device. And with more than one frequency in use, downloads can be performed simultaneously instead of one at a time.
As you would expect, dual-band routers are more expensive, so take that into account when you decide to purchase.
No matter the router you decide to buy, you’ll notice that all will come with a number and the letters “AC.”
AC refers to Wi-Fi protocol number, 802.11ac. AC is the version of the protocol in use. There’s 802.11b, 802.11m, and others. The letters denote the gradual improvements and modifications over previous versions.
When it comes to designing routers, the engineers involved decided to use this "AC" for labeling purposes. The AC is for the protocol number. 802.11ac indicates the level of the Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output (MIMO) the router is capable of. For example; Of all the data streaming through the router at one time, the projected maximum speed the router can handle is something like 1300 Mbps. You won’t get that speed exactly, but the router can hypothetically handle the volume of 1300 Mbps. Therefore, if you’re downloading 50 Mbps in one room and 30 Mbps in another, an AC1300 router will handle that just fine.
Of all the numbers on your router, look for the one that starts with “AC.” This is the best indicator of whether your router can handle the amount of data you plan to be downloading and uploading at one time.
Now that we’ve gotten the numbers and bands bit out of the way, let’s talk about the brand themselves. All brands listed below come highly rated. This doesn’t mean they’re the top brands, but professional reviewers have marked them highly and on a consistent basis.
You can also check out the best brands after you’ve found the best internet providers in your zip code.
If you’re looking into a brand not listed, drop us a comment to let us know what you think, why you like/don’t like it, and whether you’d recommend it over the ones listed below.
You may have recognized the name from the laptops, tablets, smartphones, and other electronics. They’re the fifth largest PC vendor in the world. This means their products are a good alternative to Apple and Microsoft.
Their Wi-Fi routers are consistently ranking highly among review sites like PC Mag, CNet, and Tom’s Guide. While this may mean they’re a little bit more expensive than other brands, they’re worth the price tag to ensure your stream devices run smoothly.
Unlike Asus, Netgear focuses on networking hardware almost exclusively. This gives them an edge over their competition here. It does limit them a little bit when it comes to other products.
Taking the “D” from its founding company, Datex Systems, D-Link is also based out of Taipei along with Asus. Like Netgear, they focus solely on networking equipment.
Owned by Belkin, Linksys is a networking equipment company that creates networking equipment for consumers and small businesses. Unlike Asus, Netgear, and D-Link that provide business and enterprise networking solutions, Linksys prefers to keep it small.
When it comes to reliability, Asus and Netgear rank the highest among their competitors. Brands like Linksys are generally cheaper and easier to use. And the rest will fall somewhere between the two.
This doesn’t mean one brand is the best out of every single one of them. That’s a choice that will b depend on your needs and well as what your home can accommodate.
So which brand do you prefer? Is there a brand that’s not listed here you think should be included?
Leave a comment and let us know.
In the meantime, stay up-to-date with On The Download.
Horror movies had a character to give a warning to the would-be victims. Here are some moving stories to serve as warning for your own moving stories!
12 November, 2018 | Posted by: Kyle Weckerly
Category: Apps, Business, Humor, Product Reviews, Technology, This & That, Tips | No Comments
Horror stories of old, and some of the new, come with a warning.
The most common interpretation of these warnings is to have the would-be victims stop at a gas station to fill up their vehicle with gas. As they wait for the tank to fill, an eerie-looking person will step out and approach them. He’ll give an ominous warning that the direction they plan to go will lead to chaos, and most likely death.
Moving can feel like a horror movie, which is why you should listen to horror stories of others and heed the Message from the Harbinger.
Here’s the familiar “Harbinger” scene from a recent classic, The Cabin in The Woods.
(If you haven’t seen The Cabin in The Woods yet, go watch it! Also, if you have seen it, go watch it again. I’m even reading the novelization!)
The Harbinger is meant to give the would-be victims an opportunity to try a different path or change course completely. In The Cabin in The Woods, and other horror classics like it, The Harbinger scene is the ominous foreboding of what’s to come if the would-be victims don’t heed his warning.
If the would-be victims listened and changed, then there would be no story, no horror movie, and no victims.
Your moving story doesn’t have to end like theirs.
Take heed and listen to the following stories so you can save yourself from the same peril that befell these victims! (insert ghostly wailing)
James (not his real name), had been in his new house for barely a full week. It was Sunday, and he opened the garage to pull out his wife’s car as they made ready to go to church. Sitting in the driveway was his work truck.
Something was missing!
The work truck was a Toyota Pre-Runner, with an open bed.
As a pest control technician, James would use an expensive leaf-blower with an attachment to spray treatment chemicals on lawns. It was brand new. Cost nearly $1000.
Moreover, it was gone!
The previous neighborhood James had lived in was rundown. Cars were parked on lawns, a few homes had windows boarded up, and some of the residents had questionable jobs. However, the truck sat out in the open with the leaf-blower in plain sight…no one touched it.
This new neighborhood, although nicer, was still being built. No one parked his or her car on the front lawn, all the windows were intact, and everyone had a job.
Yet, someone had stolen equipment that James didn’t even own.
However, he still had to help pay to replace, to the tune of $450.
New neighborhoods, though they may look nice, can still hide secrets.
If you’re not familiar with the area, you can get information from those who do live there. Check out City-Data Forums to see what locals have to say. You can post a question about your neighborhood there and get answers.
Bob (not his real name) had moved into a lovely two-story home with his wife and kids. He’d set up a bundle package through a local home services provider, getting his internet, cable TV, and phone from one source. Bob liked the convenience of the single check, and he was finding that it saved him some money.
Six months after the move-in, however, he got a bill with late-charges, overdue fees, and about seven months of monthly charge.
For services on his previous home!
Bob had forgotten to cancel the internet service at his last house.
With those built-up charges, Bob had to do a payment plan, as well as work with his credit company to keep his credit score from taking a hit.
It would take years before Bob could pay down the bill.
Make a checklist to ensure you haven’t missed anything before you move out of your home. It may seem tedious, but when the moving process revs up, you’ll most likely be too busy to remember everything yourself. A simple piece of paper with the items listed can save you time, and in Bob’s case, money. You can even use the notes app on your smartphone to write out a list.
If you’re worried that you missed a crucial step, check out The Art of Happy Moving. The Art of Happy Moving has a checklist you can download. The checklist breaks down the timeline needed to get things ready for a smoother transition.
If you want to make a list yourself, that’s fine, but make sure you make a list.
However, most of all- don’t forget to cancel services at your old home!
On a Friday morning, Jack finally found time to start opening boxes that had piled up in his living room from the recent move. The process of moving had been bumpy, but so far, everything had smoothed out.
He’d hired movers to help, and they’d managed to get everything out of his apartment and storage unit, and into his new home in the time allotted.
However, the very next morning he had to go back to work and the stacks of boxes in his living room sat there for several days.
Now he finally had time to get the unpacking done.
As items came out, he noticed a couple of his Bluetooth speakers were missing. He was sure he’d packed them in the right box, but they weren’t there. All the boxes had been taped up, so the movers couldn’t have opened them and helped themselves to some of Jack’s stuff before they left.
Where were they?!
After opening every box, and stacking the contents everywhere else, he was still sure the speakers were missing.
He headed back to his old apartment and asked the management if someone had turned them into the lost and found. The answer was “no.”
The next week Jack searched the boxes again, called friends who’d helped him move, and still couldn’t find them.
It wasn’t until he’d just about given up hope that he found his missing speakers- right next to his bed. He’d pulled the speakers out of the box before taping them up so that he could show a friend. The friend had put them on top of the boxes when they’d loaded up the moving truck. The movers had placed them next to his bed.
You can inventory your entire house to avoid something like this. But then again, that would take a lot of time.
Apps, like Sortly, allow you to take pictures of your stuff and the app will create QR codes that you can print out to put on boxes. You can then scan the closed box to see what’s inside, or what should be inside. While this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of lost items, it can help you track your stuff and provide peace of mind.
To get his stuff across the country, Vince hired movers who would pack his stuff, as well as his car, into containers. They’d agreed to deliver it to his new address and help him unpack.
Vince, being busy, flew to his new home and continued working until the movers showed up.
When they did show up, however, they demanded “extra fees” because of some trouble getting it across the country. While Vince hadn’t agreed on this stipulation, the movers had the keys to the truck.
Vince also noticed that his car wasn’t with the truck.
Since his stuff was held hostage, and his car was nowhere in sight, Vince had to walk to a nearby gas station to use their ATM. Then he had to walk back, hand over the money, and wait for them to unload all his belongings.
With that finally done, Vince had to then negotiate for his car.
Another trip the nearby ATM and he was given the keys and an address.
He didn’t know how to get there, so he had to plug in the address to his map and use public transportation to get there.
At last, Vince had found his car- it was in a paid parking space, and he had to pay the parking fee to get it out.
Make sure you have, in writing, the exact agreement you’ve made with the moving company that you’ve hired.
Before doing this, check them out on the Better Business Bureau and Yelp. Moving companies who do lousy work will get reported. A simple search of the moving company name, plus the word “complaints,” will help you find out who’s been complaining about them.
More reputable moving companies, though they might be more pricey, will save you a headache and you won’t have to worry about your stuff being held for ransom. They may provide a written contract for you, but you should still make sure you have, in writing, the exact agreement you made with them.
Horror movies, with their copious deaths and arterial blood spray, are the best place for scary things to happen.
Not your moving experience.
Although every problem can’t is avoidable, you can take some steps to eliminate problems or at least mitigate them. Things like a checklist, writing up a “mover agreement,” or taking inventory of your stuff can save you from a jump scare along the way.
There is one last thing you need to set up for your new home- setting up your new home services.
Home services, like energy utility, home security system, and internet service provider, can be set up before you move in. It’s highly likely you’ll be moving to a new neighborhood, one you’re not familiar with. You may not know who provides energy, or what ISPs are in the area.
Check out the best internet packages and deals from KonectEaze. Here you’ll find internet, cable TV, phone, home security, and in certain places, energy utilities. You can research providers here and find out what deals are available by merely searching your new zip code.
You can save yourself some time, headache, and cash all in one place.
Do you have a moving horror story? Share it in the comments below.
For news and updates on moving, home service providers, and horror stories, keep the browser open to On The Download.