Moving In San Antonio; No Magic Needed

Moving into a new house is a stressful process. But with these tips and advice, you'll be able to smooth out the process and get into your new home faster.

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It’s no use lying, moving is difficult. More than difficult, it’s stressful. Changing addresses and physically moving from one location to another is one of the most stressful things that Americans can do. It’s the second one in fact. The first is losing a member within your immediate family and the third is losing your job. The good news is that unlike the first and third options, when you complete the process of buying a new house, it’s something to be happy about. You have succeeded! There’s a home and you have the key. This a place where you’ll find solace. A place to celebrate good times with your family and friends. And it’ll be attached to your name too. Getting into that house, however, is a challenging task.

A simple way would be to don a magical item and “will” your way into the house. Wave your fingers and create a mystical portal to take you from having no house into a house of your own. Sigh. That’d be nice. Even then, however, such trickery would be blocked by other forces. For example; Dr. Strange trying to move from one house to another, without getting killed by the bad guys. (Warning, there is a little language at the beginning of the clip) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v-G5rpTKE9Q

House Hunting for Sorcerers

Dr. Strange, the 2016 sci-fi/action flick from Marvel, centers on Dr. Stephen Strange. He’s a gifted surgeon who loses the use of his hands. In his search to regain use of them, he gets involved in a rather confusing war between mystical forces. The good guys want to protect earth from entities that want to consume it. The bad guys want to offer up earth to these entities in hopes of gaining immortality. One of the main tools they use is the Sling Ring. To use this ring, the wearer needs to wave their hands and think of a destination. Abracadabra! There’s a portal taking you to your desired destination. This little ring becomes a plot point in the film, helping both Dr. Strange and his enemies to move freely in and out of structures. If one of these were to fall into the hands of a real estate agent, I can imagine the process of buying and selling real estate would be much, much, easier. Touring new homes would be much faster because you cut out traffic. And once the new home is selected, then abracadabra, you go to the office to sign papers. That’d be nice. But we’re not all sorcerers. Until such a thing is possible, the stress level of getting into a new house is reliant on how well you chose a real estate agent. And not just a singular real estate agent, but a team.

House Hunting for Real People

When you’re looking for a new home, it’s a wonderful time as you look at model homes and home pictures to determine what home is right for you.

Pre-Approval

To make those dreams a reality, the first step is often getting pre-approved for a home loan. If there’s no paperwork involved, then you’ll most likely do all of this online through your bank. You’ll most likely have to provide proof of employment with pay stubs. You’ll also have to declare any outstanding debts you have. This is stuff like your current mortgage (if you’re already living have a house), credit cards, your automobile loans, and any other significant purchases you’re still getting a bill for. After all, this is submitted, your bank, or the lending institution of your choice, will run a soft credit check. They’ll decide to approve you or not. Seasoned real estate agents caution, even after pre-approval, that you avoid large purchases. It might even help not to buy anything on credit. This is because once you’re pre-qualified for a loan, it’s based on your credit score on a particular date. It’s not set in stone. Throughout the purchasing process, more than one entity will be looking at your credit score. If it goes up or down too drastically, then this will hamper the closing process. This is not to say you can’t buy anything while you wait for your house to close. What you should do is avoid large purchases on credit. Speak with your real estate agent to get a better idea of how big “big” is.

HOAs

Another surprise to look out for is when it comes to selling your home.Moving If you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owners Association (HOA), these can be especially problematic. First off, let me just say that HOA’s are helpful in many ways. But they can also incur strange and unseen costs. If the seller isn’t paying attention, then it’ll be a shock when the HOA demands a fee out of seemingly nowhere just as the house is about to close. A good real estate agent, backed by a good team, can help you avoid these types of problems. You’ll most likely deal with a lead real estate agent the entire time. But they’ll have others working behind them to make sure all the boxes are checked. A good real estate team could mean the difference between a smooth selling and buying experience or an incredibly stressful one.

Get a Home Security System

JJ Gorena, of The Trey Group based right here in San Antonio, TX, advises homeowners to get a home security system. There are a lot more home security options available these days. And some are very affordable. Furthermore, a home security system will help you save a lot more on homeowners’ insurance. ”It’s not as expensive as it used to be and as long as you don’t go overboard with the new technology, it almost washes itself with cost.” —JJ Gorena, CEO of The Trey Group

Be Honest

While there is no such thing as sorcery, buying a home has a way of revealing things you wouldn’t have expected. A real estate friend of mine relayed one such story; When it comes time to finalize the buying process, you get herded into an office with a stack of papers. There are pens galore. Real estate agents and other necessary specialists come in and they hand you paper after paper to sign. If you’ve got a good real estate agent, that person will explain each document to you, what it’s for, and most importantly, where to sign. Almost every one of those documents requires you to double check the information and ensure its correct. One such paper will have the names of the people buying the house. And not just the current names, but all previous aliases. In my case, it was my full name right underneath my wife’s full name, and her maiden name. My real estate agent told us about one such signing where the husband was handed this document first. He saw his name and signed on the appropriate space. Then he looked to the line below. There was his wife’s name. And then about three or four more aliases. When he asked wife why there were all those names, THAT is when the wife decided to tell her husband she’d been married before. And not just once, but about three times. My real estate agent recalled that the signing process stopped at that point and everyone had to leave the room while the “happy” couple had a discussion. The moral of the story- be honest!

Moving On

MovingIf you’re in the market for a new home, make sure you find a real estate agent who’s backed by a good team. If you’re in San Antonio, TX or the surrounding area, look into The Trey Group. They help both residential and business clients find a new home. You won’t be disappointed. For those who are just looking, or have just moved into a new home, make sure you get the best internet bundles and packages available. You’ll save some money to put towards that new home. And then you can kick back and relax while you watch Dr. Strange. It’s a good movie, trust me.


The Staying Power of Retro Games

Retro games have this odd sort of draw on people, even those who do not consider themselves “gamers.” These games have achieved legendary status.

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Retro games have this odd sort of draw on people, even those who do not consider themselves “gamers.” These games, though simplistic compared to the games available today, have achieved legendary status. And legends tend to stick around. Just ask David Kaelin of Game Over Videogames.

Game Over Videogames

Retro gamesIn 2005, Kaelin opened his first store in Austin, TX, dubbed Game Over Videogames. The goal of the store was simple; create a store to clean and restore classic games and resell them. Since it’s inception, Game Over Videogames has expanded more than just what it sells but also to new locations. You can find the most recent games sitting next to classic ones, vintage game consoles alongside the latest generation ones. But as the gaming industry continues to evolve, more and more games are going to the cloud. Soon we’ll see a similar shift in gaming like we did with TV and movies- subscription-based services. In fact, EA launched their Origin Access Premiere service on July 30th of this year. Kaelin isn’t worried about this. While more and more games will be delivered via a streaming interface, there is still the draw of the classic consoles and games. Sure, there may be a switch in the type of controllers they sell, but Game Over Videogames will still have a solid customer base. Retro games, even for me, do hold a particular sway.

“Non-Gamers”

There are those who spend hours playing games. The complicated leveling system, loot boxes, combos, etc. takes time to learn. It’s also frustrating for first-time gamers. The graphics are stunning, no doubt, but the thought of spending all that time getting “into” the game puts me off more than anything. And besides, I’m a writer, I love writing, and to be a better writer, I read. I love reading. I read articles all day. And I have audiobooks going when I’m driving. For these reasons, I consider myself a non-gamer. Kaelin, on the other hand, argues that I am still a gamer. Why? At one point in my past, my family did own a Nintendo Entertainment System. It was second-hand, given to us by our grandparents who bought it at a yard sale. Of course, this did not make my mom happy. But that’s another story.

The Original NES

This NES came with the regular favorites, Super Mario Brothers and Duck Hunt. There was also Russian Attack, WWF Super Slam, 1942, and a couple others. For about a year we played that NES as much as we could. After all, we lived on the northern coast of California. It rained most of the year and the city wasn’t very well developed. We were far, far—far—away from major metropolitan areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles. How better to spend our time? Well, I could have read more, but that’s beside the point.Retro games We played the NES until we got bored with it and sold it. Then I got a Game Boy. An Original Game Boy! The grey brick! I still have it and it still works! Even my mom got into playing that thing. She beat everyone in Tetris 2, putting up the highest score and staying there. When I admitted this to Kaelin, he pointed out that those gaming experiences, though in my distant past, still make me a gamer. Despite the lack of an Xbox and a subscription, I was still a gamer. The fact that I’ve played retro games makes me a gamer. I should also add that I did play Goldeneye and a few other titles sporadically from junior high through college. I didn’t get seriously into it as some of my roommates did. But pull out the classic NES, and I’m down to play.

Gamers

Thanks to retro games, and stores like Game Over Videogames, there’s a place for the casual gamer and the self-proclaimed non-gamer to get their gaming fix. More than that, stores like Game Over Videogames provide an introduction for those wanting to expand their gaming history. Younger ages can come in and find out all about these games that older people keep waxing nostalgic about. As long as retro games exist, new gamers will be curious about them and videogame resale stores will be there to answer their questions. More interesting than these games is the mythos that can surround a retro game. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4wjMn6yjOjQ On April 26, 2014, outside Alamogordo, New Mexico, a film crew, an excavation crew, and a slew of gaming fans showed up…to a landfill. The legend goes that a large shipment of the worst game ever made had been dumped here back in the late 80s.

ET Phone Home

In 1982, “ET: The Extra-Terrestrial” came out This heartfelt sci-fi/family movie has become one of Steven Spielberg’s, the film’s director, most well-known feature films. The story centers around a young boy, reeling from his parents’ divorce, finding a friend in a lost little alien he names ET. The little alien who just wanted to go home has become part of pop culture. The plot was reused back in 2011 for Super 8. It was produced by Steven Spielberg but directed by JJ Abrams. But that’s another story. To capitalize on the ET’s popularity, a video game was commissioned. To get it out in time for Christmas, production was rushed. They did succeed in getting the game ready and out on time.

The Myth Begins

The game itself, however, was not well received. In truth, it wasn’t bad, just difficult. Yet, many gamers at the time didn’t appreciate this level of difficulty. As a result, sales of the game tanked and soon existing copies were either pulled from shelves or sold off at deep discounts. Because of its level of difficulty, the game was dubbed as the “worst game ever made.” And copies were rare to find. This lead to a mythology around the game itself. “The game so bad that it was banished from existence.” Then news spread that a large shipment of copies was dumped in a landfill in Alamogordo, NM. Zak Penn put together a crusade to dig into the landfill and determine if, indeed, the large shipment of the worst game ever did exist. He documented the story in “Atari; Game Over.” It’s an interesting documentary, well worth the watch. George R.R. Martin and Ernest Cine even make appearances. What strikes me the most is the story of the game's designer, Howard Scott Warshaw. I won’t ruin the end for you. Just know that Warshaw did an incredible job on the game and the industry recognizes him for it. And rightfully so. Make sure you have a streaming service to watch it. Check out the best internet deals in case you don’t.

The Mythos Lives On

While ET: The Extra-Terrestrial has earned legendary status, there are other games too. Legend of Zelda, Super Mario Brothers, Russian Attack, and many more.Retro games These games may not have ended up in a landfill, but they have attained pop culture status. These were the games that I spent hours playing. They were simple but fun. It’s easy to point out the nostalgia factor involved in these games, and Kaelin agrees. For those who didn’t grow up playing them, retro games still carry clout with them. Those who wish to understand the evolution of video games must start here, with retro games. Thanks to stores like Game Over Videogames, there’s a place to get started.

Energy Deregulation and The Big 3

Energy deregulation is picking up speed across multiple markets and providing a cheaper way for customers to get electricity.

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Energy deregulation is picking up speed across multiple markets. In truth, this has been going on for a while. While there are a few areas where it’s slow to catch on, the good news is that a lot of new energy providers have entered various markets. You’re still getting the same electricity, it’s just from a different provider. That provider may be cheaper, they may be more expensive. In a free market economy, you get to decide what’s right for you and your home. Or let’s look at it this way. The San Antonio Spurs had The Big 3 for quite some time; Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Each one had their strengths and weaknesses. Each one, ultimately, contributed points to their overall wins. While the Big 3 have, sadly, been dissolved, there are still plenty of games to watch this upcoming season. Check out the best internet and cable deals so you can save some cash while watching your team win. Now, were those points any better if they came from Duncan, Parker, or Ginobili?Energy deregulation Not at all. So long as they were scoring, that was all that mattered.

Tim Duncan

The 6’11” power forward from Wake Forest University was drafted by the Spurs in 1997 as their first pick. He would remain a Spur for the entirety of his 19 seasons in the NBA. Every season while Duncan was on the roster—every season—the Spurs went to the playoffs. Playing 1392 games, he averaged 19 points per game, ten rebounds, and three assists. Fifteen times an all-star, Duncan helped lead the Spurs to five championships. Some nights Duncan was on fire, some nights he wasn’t. Every game, however, he was consistent in his playing and was always reliable. Duncan wasn’t a flashy player, he didn’t strut on the court or made a big display when he got the score. He stuck to the basics and it worked for him. This earned him the nickname “The Big Fundamental.” Tim Duncan retired in 2016.

Tony Parker

Still active in the NBA, Tony Parker got his start playing in France. In 2001 he was drafted by the Spurs. The 6’2” point guard would go on to dominate, averaging 15 points per game, two rebounds, and five assists. Despite playing for the Spurs for seventeen seasons, Parker was traded to the Charlotte Hornets recently.

Manu Ginobili

This one hurts a little as the great Manu retired on August, 27th, 2018. He’s the last of the big three to leave San Antonio. Yet, during his time for the Spurs, Ginobili played 1057 games, averaged 13 points per game, three rebounds, and three assists. His playing style was less fundamental and a little bit crazy. During one game around Halloween, a bat found its way into the AT&T Center. Gameplay was halted while the staff tried to figure out how to capture a flying bat. Ginobili solved the problem by swatting it out of the air. He’s also known for stuffing James Harden and holding the record for steals for the San Antonio Spurs. These three players had the opportunity to move to other teams. With the exception of Parker, they chose to stay with the San Antonio Spurs for their entire careers. Players move from team to team all the time. They’re offering their ability to put points on the board, much like energy deregulation. Energy companies are like players and teams, putting points on the board. Sometimes they can do it more efficiently than others. Sometimes they can do it cheaper than others.

The Big 3 and Energy Deregulation

Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili created the nucleus around which other players could attach to and excel. This style is commonly seen among many dynastic teams. Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, and Dennis Rodman provided the same foundation for the Chicago Bulls in the late 90’s. Lebron James, Dwayne Wade, and Chris Bosh took the Miami Heat to multiple championships from 2011 to 2014. Other players joined these triads to go on to win championships. It’s rare that a team goes all the way thanks to a single player. The point, pardon the pun, is that these teams consistently scored well in each game. It wasn’t who was playing so much as how well they played. Energy companies are acting in the same capacity. Through energy deregulation, they can provide the same services. A company may not do it with dramatic flair, but they get the job done. Much like the San Antonio Spurs. The San Antonio Spurs have long been looked down upon because they didn’t play with flash or drama. Thanks to their coach, Greg Popovich, the Spurs have stuck to a fundamental style. It’s not showy. But they’ve won five championships under Pop and gone to the playoffs every year. Coincidence? I think not.

How Does it Affect Cost?

Getting points on the board is ultimately what matters. Getting energy to your home is ultimately what matters.Energy deregulation As more and more energy companies enter the market, there are more and more chances for customers to get their energy at lower prices. Let’s look at it this way. In 2013, the San Antonio Spurs and the Miami Heat met in the NBA Finals. The Miami Heat ended up winning that year due to some, ahem, questionable officiating. It also helped that Miami had James, Bosh, and Wade. They also had other players on their roster. Let’s keep with “The Big 3” metaphor for right now. The salaries of Miami’s big three were as follows;
  • James- $19,067,500
  • Bosh-$19,067,500
  • Wade-$18,673,000
That’s a grand total of $56,808,000. And that was just for the big three! The next year, 2014, the San Antonio Spurs met the Miami Heat again in the NBA Finals. This time the Spurs ended up winning. The salaries of San Antonio’s big three players were;
  • Duncan-$10,361,446
  • Parker-$12,500,000
  • Ginobili-$7,000,000
That’s a grand total of $29,861,446. The Miami Heat paid $56,808,000 for their points to be delivered. The San Antonio Spurs only paid $29,861,446 for theirs. If you were to find out that an energy company could deliver the same electricity to your house for less, wouldn’t that be something worth looking into? You may not save millions, but it could feel that way.

The Choice is Yours

Ultimately, the choice is yours. You’re picking the team members you want to play for your team. They’ll be delivering the same electricity to your home, but they could be doing it for cheaper. This may take some research on your part, or you can visit Texas Electricity Ratings to speed up the process. There may be another provider in your area you weren’t aware of. There may be only one. But that’s because deregulation is a much slower process than signing an NBA team. Much less an NBA Championship team. The good news is that more and more companies are entering the market. If they’re not in your area yet, they soon will be.

It’s Delivered the Same Way

Energy deregulationTo switch energy providers may take some time, but there’s no need to completely rewire the house for it. The cables will remain the same. Charging your laptop will not be any different. The only difference is it’ll be coming from a different source. Much like an NBA team, the points getting scored are the same points. It doesn’t matter if Tim Duncan scored them or Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili. What matters is they’re putting points on the board. Check out the options available for your home. Energy deregulation may have given you the edge for picking a winning team for the upcoming season!

An Irreverent Guide to Cutting the Cord and Saving Money

The goal of cutting the cord is to reduce costs by streaming a select few shows that comprise the majority of your television-watching experience.

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Any article that you read about cutting the cord on pay TV subscriptions will ultimately amount to a cheerleading session encouraging you to take the plunge. At the end of the day, there's no great mystery about cutting the cord. It's common sense: you cancel your cable subscription and substitute it with other television content, namely, streaming. Often times, people make things far more complex than they are just to avoid getting down to business, but that’s okay. Sometimes we all need a little push in the right direction. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve heard of the phenomenon of cord cutting, but as with any tried-and-true habit, you just can’t convince yourself to leap into the unknown. That’s why I’m here – to encourage and guide you through the process, but mostly to encourage you. cutting the cord The process itself is really quite simple. No, you don’t physically cut your cable cord, but you do sever ties with your cable TV provider. Freedom is just a phone call away. If you’re anything like me and you hate getting the sales pitch from some customer retention manager whose sole job it is to salvage your account, then you can simply access the provider website and do it that way. Don't quote me on that one, though.  You'll probably still need to make a call.  It's okay; it's good to be social every now and then.

Why cut the cord?

However, I’m getting a bit ahead of myself. The first step to successfully cutting the cord is to determine if this is something that’s right for you.  To do that, you’ll need to ask yourself one simple question: do you want to save money? Yes? Okay, then; we’re in business! 83% of consumers who decide to say sayonara to pay TV subscriptions do so because it’s too expensive. That’s the only reason to do it, really.

The direction of the industry

We can speculate until the cows come home as to the future of the industry and the direction that cable companies will take to combat this undeniable freight train of a trend. These companies certainly aren’t going quietly into that good night. They are raging against the dying of the light, and they are doing so by creating their own direct-to-consumer streaming services. According to a study by The Diffusion Group, all major TV companies will have their own version of this type of service by the year 2022. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. The result has been a proliferation of content services, and maybe that is what makes people indecisive about cutting the cord in the first place: they don’t know where to start. Cable packages are neat and tidy in the sense that they deliver a pre-determined set of goods (the channels). In an ideal world, cable companies would simply allow the consumer to customize their cable package channel by channel. But, do you really see that happening anytime soon, and for a reasonable cost? Me either.

Full disclaimer

Let me add a disclaimer here. I write this blog for a company called “Bundle Your Internet,” and yes, we do sell cable packages. Sometimes those packages get sold in bundles. Sometimes they are à la carte.  It all depends on what works best for the customer, and that’s really the bottom line here. Our agents are trained to be neutral in their service recommendations. The goal is to provide you with a menu of viable options from which to choose.  We do the research for you, but you have to decide what’s best for you.  Just do you, boo.

Reasons not to cut the cord

Laziness

Certainly, there are reasons not to cut the cord. Laziness is one reason. Hey, no judgment here; I have my fair share of lazy moments, too. But, let’s keep it one-hundred, okay? Cutting the cord doesn’t make TV watching any easier on the average consumer. You’ll end up saving money, sure, but one of the things that makes cable subscription services popular in the first place is the convenience of having a centralized service. Some people just don’t want to be bothered with the hardware adjustments and the app updates involved with the process, and that’s fine. It takes a little elbow grease – some research and definitive action to make for a smooth transition – to effectively cut the cord. More on those definitive action steps later.

Technical incompetence

Technical incompetence is another reason. Grandma might not have the basic technical knowledge to get through the process. I can’t imagine my grandmother having the wherewithal to set up a Roku player. She just doesn’t roll like that. Plus, she’s also dead (going on twenty years now), so yeah, that’s another problem.

More benefits of cutting the cord

For the rest of us – we, the living – who don’t mind putting in a little work to save money, it’s hard not see benefits of cutting the cord. And just in case you still weren’t convinced, ask yourself another question: how many channels in your cable subscription do you actually watch? According to Nielsen, households receive an average of 189 channels of which they only watch 17. You are quite literally paying for things you do not use. To hammer in the point a little more, the average monthly cable bill comes out to about $103. On top of that, monthly cable bills increase an average of 6% per year, so even if you’re not quite shelling out $100 per month for your cable service yet, you’ll get there someday. Go you! (Sarcasm). As a bundled package, Internet and cable together (sometimes referred to as a double play package) costs an average of $148 per month according to the market research firm, Mintel.

Getting into the numbers

Compare that with the costs associated with cutting the cord. Let’s do the math. Yeah, I know, I know. I detest numbers, too, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet. First things first: you’re going to need to get Internet as a standalone service. The average cost of Internet-only service is $66.17 per month. When you factor in the service costs for streaming subscriptions (and there are plenty to choose from), you can add an additional $26.11 (refer to Grounded Reasons' informative article for a better grasp of the numbers) to that bill, bringing your grand total to $99.28. Quick recap: double play packages cost $148 per month. If you cut the cord on your cable subscription and keep your Internet service, you’ll be paying about $66.17 per month plus an additional $26.11 for streaming subscriptions. Again, on average. In the end, you end up saving $48.72 per month by cutting the cord. Over the course of a year, that comes to about $600. Sign me up, right?

Step 1: Gathering Hardware

HD antenna

Well, let’s get cracking! This is that definitive action part we talked about. The first step to cutting the cord is to compile your necessary hardware. Something you’ll want to consider is getting yourself an HD antenna. That’s right! Antennas are back in style. Remember those metal rabbit ears that sat on top of your TV set? Well, now they provide a simple, cheap solution for watching live TV without a cable connection. It’s relatively easy. You just hook up the device to your TV and position it near a window. Done. Now you have access to local broadcast stations – local news and sports included. More about sports later. Be aware that your channel selection depends to a large extent on where you live and whether you have a clear line-of-sight to the broadcast location. If you live in an urban area, your best bet is a non-amplified antenna, which has a pick-up range of about 20 miles. That’s plenty adequate for people who live near a broadcast tower. Rural customers should opt for an amplified antenna, which can pick up a signal as far away as 50 miles. All things considered, you’re looking at an investment of anywhere from $40 to $70, depending on which model you choose (amplified antennas cost more).

Streaming device

Another piece of hardware that you may or may not need is a streaming device. Roku. Chromecast Ultra. Amazon Fire TV. Apple TV. These are all good options for displaying streaming services – like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, etc. – on your set. Be sure to check out our reviews of streaming devices to determine which one is best for you. In addition to those things, there are also game consoles and other devices that you can use to set up your TV for streaming.

Alternatives

If your TV has smart capabilities, you may not even need such a device since smart TVs usually have the apps for these services already built in. Let’s also not forget the simple alternative of plugging your laptop (or desktop, if you still have one of those) into your TV via HDMI, VGA, DisplayPort, or DVI cable. Boom! You just turned your dumb TV into a smart one. Go you! (Not sarcasm).

Step 2: Subscribing to Streaming Services

The next step is to get the streaming services that you want. There are tons out there, from Netflix and Hulu to horror-specific services like Shudder and arthouse/indie subscriptions like FilmStruck. It can be overwhelming with so many options to choose from. So here’s what you do: take an inventory of all the shows you watch. Make a list and then choose your subscriptions based on which ones will give you access to those shows. The thing about subscription services is that the monthly bills can ramp up fairly easy if you’re not careful. Rather than try to duplicate your cable service channel list when shopping for streaming services, go after access to particular shows of interest to you (excluding sports; again, we’ll get to sports in a bit). Use your list.

Cable-replacement services

The other thing you’ll want to consider is a cable-replacement service. While they may not help you save money, these comprehensive packages come the closest to duplicating the cable TV experience. The top cable-replacement services include Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV NOW, Hulu with Live TV, and YouTube TV. Be aware that it will cost you extra to get premium stations like HBO, Showtime, and Starz.

Sports

Okay. Sports. Here we go. I am by no means an expert in this field (nor do I particularly care about it, to be honest). The last time I handled any balls was – you know what, forget it!  Suffice it to say I am no sports aficionado. But, I do understand that sports are a big deal for a lot of people.

Antenna

Local games are covered with that TV antenna we talked about. With an antenna, you can probably access your local CBS, FOX, and NBC station to get NFL games, for instance. Outside of that, there are plenty of streaming services for specific sports.

Sports organization-specific services

Every major sports organization has their own streaming service. MLB. NFL. NBA. Take your pick. Note that these services are more expensive than other types of streaming services – between $100 and $200 per year. Of course, you can always get a cable-replacement service. Just pay attention to which channels you get through the service and make sure you are getting the content you want. If you only follow a couple of teams in one or two different sports, cutting the cord is still a worthwhile option to consider. However, if you’re a sports nut who watches every game that is broadcast on God’s green earth, well, there’s just no hope for you. Stick to cable.

Final Thoughts

That about covers the basics of cutting the cord. Again, the goal is to reduce costs by homing in on a select few shows and content that comprise the majority of your television-watching experience. Look, there’s only so much content that a person can watch in a single day – and there’s a lot of content out there! You’ll never be at a loss for something to watch, and if by chance you do cut the cord and find yourself sitting around one day with absolutely no idea what to watch, then maybe it's high time to get off the couch and go outside.  You know, live life.
Let us help you find the best Internet deals in your area as well as DirecTV Now to get you started on your path to cutting the cord.

3 Reasons Walmart is NOT the Little Shop Around the Corner

Walmart is ramping up its arsenal against Amazon by launching an eBook store. Walmart, and its partners, are proving they're big contenders.

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Walmart is continuing to ramp up its arsenal against Amazon. The most recent advance in this ongoing contest is Walmart’s partnership with Kobo. By partnering with Rakuten, and it’s e-reader brand Kobo, Walmart has launched its own online bookstore. While Amazon is the reigning power in that space, Walmart isn’t exactly a small contender either.

The Little Shop Around the Corner

In 1998, just as the internet was exploding, Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan stared in a cute remake of “Little Shop Around the Corner.” Titled “You’ve Got Mail” this took the basic premise of the 1940 film and reworked for a more contemporary setting. This time, instead of pen-pals, Hanks and Ryan were the instant messaging each other. Trust me, instant messaging was a big thing back in the day.Little And the alert was the pre-recorded “You’ve Got Mail.” Hence, the title of the movie. In the original “Little Shop Around the Corner,” the setting was a gift shop. For the 1998 version, Hanks is the corporate executive who’s in charge of development for a behemoth book chain store. Kind of like Amazon is today. Ryan is the owner of a small-time bookshop that’s a neighborhood institution. Ryan’s “Little Shop Around the Corner” can’t compete with Hanks “Fox Books.” And she knows it. When the newest location opens down the street from her store, the days of “Little Shop Around the Corner” are numbered. Though she attempts to fight it, Ryan’s little bookshop goes out of business. Let’s reimagine the story this way. Hanks, and by extension Fox Books, is Amazon. They’re established, they’ve run out the little stores, and things are going well. Fox Books, AKA Amazon, accounts for about 80% of all digital eBook readers and eReading apps. Ryan steps onto the scene. But not with a Little Shop Around the Corner. This time she’s Walmart. She may be entering a tough field, but she’s no newbie. And here’s why.

Walmart is a Retail Giant

Walmart has over 5,000 locations nationwide. These brick and mortar stores have been promising “always low prices” and discounts for decades. Walk into any Walmart and you’ll find clothes, food, automotive products, and much, much more. Where they’re lacking is the digital sphere. They do have online ordering, but it’s a far cry from Amazon’s presence. Amazon, however, got its start with books. And books are still a major part of Amazon’s annual revenue. They have eReader apps and the Kindle. They’ve built up a digital empire, and even their books and eReading platforms are an empire in and of themselves. It makes sense for Walmart to go after the book market. While Amazon does have a strong presence there, they haven’t been working to develop and adapt.

Large and Dedicated Client Base

LittleThe reason Walmart is a retail giant is thanks to its large and dedicated client base. On the book front, part of the reason Walmart may be losing customers is that they don’t have viable options for them. Now, by partnering with Rakuten and selling Kobo products in the store, they will. As easy as it is for someone to buy something off Amazon, buying it in a store has a much stronger appeal. Getting to hold and test out a product is an advantage. Those who test out a product are more likely to buy it. They get a chance to see themselves using it, thus, they can see themselves owning it. This is a similar phenomenon with books and telling stories, but we’ll get to that later. For Walmart to sell the Kobo Aura in its stores, it’ll be a huge plus for them. Not to mention Walmart is also rolling out an audiobook service. While Amazon already has Audible, Walmart is going to make theirs more affordable. And Walmart’s biggest draw has always been its prices. For a monthly Audible subscription, it’s $14.99. Walmart’s will be only $9.99 per month. Those shoppers who are always looking for a cheaper price, they’ll eagerly switch from Audible to Walmart eBooks.

A Physical Means to Buy Digital Products

With Kobo Aura’s on sale in the store, Walmart is making it easier for their customers to get their hands on it. Sure, you can order it online and have it sent to you. But you’re gambling that way. Reviews of a product can only provide so much insight. Walmart will also “sell” digital books in its stores as well.Little This is accomplished by provided cards. Like a gift card, customers can pick up a card that will allow them to buy the digital book they want. Maybe it’s Ernest Cline’s “Ready Player One”, or Gillian Flynn’s “Sharp Objects”. The customer will take the card to the register and pay for it there. Then they’ll activate the book by inputting the code found on the card. Personally, I’d like that experience. I know it sounds weird, but something about picking up a book and thumbing through it is so appealing to me. Then again, I love reading. Thus, a card that acts as a placeholder for the book is intriguing to me. It won’t take the place of a book. It will, however, fell more involved than just clicking “buy now” online.

Would It Have Been Different?

Little“You’ve Got Mail” was one of a series of romantic comedies that starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan. The two had chemistry on screen and worked well together. They didn’t get together in real life, but that’s okay. Tom Hanks has Rita Wilson and they’re perfect for each other. Don’t know what’s going on with Meg Ryan though. Anyway, had Meg Ryan’s character gotten the help of Walmart to take on Fox Books, the movie would have had a completely different ending. For one, Ryan’s “Little Shop Around the Corner” wouldn’t have been shuttered. She would have had a large inventory to work from. Her little bookshop would have been put into a much bigger network and supply chain. Fox Books would have had a harder time forcing her out. For another, Fox Books was really more like Barnes and Noble. And while they had their heyday, shutting down the poor independent bookstores, they’re now dealing with the consequences of not establishing an online presence. They’re fighting Amazon as well. Lastly, had Ryan had the support of a Walmart, then the story wouldn’t have ended with Hanks and Ryan falling in love. They would have fought bitterly for dominance in their region. Marketing teams would have been called in. At one point in the movie, Ryan is advised to “go to the mattresses.” With an army of marketers behind her, she would have gone a much better job this time. The Little Shop Around the Corner would have gone toe-to-toe with Fox Books, and most likely won. It wouldn’t have been a very romantic movie. Oh well.

Find a Book

Romances, mysteries, action, now you can find a book you like through Walmart. To download the title onto your favorite eReader or eBook app, make sure you’ve got the best Spectrum internet deals. This way you’ll save more money. And with all that money you’ve saved, you can go out and buy more books. And really, that’s what’s most important here.