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Wireless Network - Cable Alternatives

10 years ago

Comcast provides roughly 60 channels of programming content between the 1 and 100 numbers. After deleting the channels that I have no interest in there are only 3 entertainment programs that we watch. This is in addition to 4 national news programs and two local news programs. Also, there is the issue of MLB and football programming. So to cut the cords to cable I would like to be able to continue to have access to these programming contents.

Using the bulk cable prices I have a cost or budget of 516 annually to work with. My objective is to replace the garbage from Comcast with quality programing content at the same or reduced cost. At this time there is not a complete one button answer to achieving a high quality viewing experience. But this is not a major problem and actually reduces to some very simple procedures. To start with...

High speed internet... It is necessary to have this in place. I went with the AT&T uverse 3MB wireless system. Movies download and start playing in about 5 seconds. I have never yet had any kind of interruption or breakup of pictures. My cost for the first year is 14.95 per month or 180 on an annual basis. This leaves me with a budget of 336.

Television... I added a Roku box to the Sony flat panel LCD that we have. The Roku box looks back to the wireless computer setup which I have in another room for its high speed connection. Roku gives you access to many channels of programming. The cost of the Roku is a one time charge of about 60 dollars. There are no reoccurring costs. Some channels on Roku do ask either for a subscription or a cost for certain content. This is the A La Carte approach which I have always advocated. No content is jammed down my throat as with Comcast and billed for it whether I like it or not.

Some Channel Notes on the Roku

Netflix Channel... Netflix is one of the most popular channels available on Roku. The quality of their movie base is excellent and they are constantly adding to it. Comcast can not hold a candle to it. The library of television programs is on a delayed basis. You have to give up the approach that you simply must watch a particular program at 8pm on a Thursday night. With Netflix you can watch it when it is most convenient for you. The cost for Netflix is 8 dollars per month or 96 on an annual basis. This leaves me with a budget of 240.

Pandora Channel... The quality of this channel is what you would hope for. You can access almost any CD and any artist you want. You can build a library of quality music. The only problem I have with Pandora is that I have not been able to figure out how it works and how you build a set

of music or preferences. The music available on Comcast doesn't come close to this quality. In addition, there are other music channels. MOG is another good music channel. They charge about 4 a month. It is easier to work with than Pandora. I have subsscribed to this channel for an

annual cost of 60. This leaves me with a budget of 180.

Radio Channels... There are a ton of these. You can listen to almost any radio station in the country. You can even listen in on the communications for departures and landings between planes and the control tower at Ohare and other airports. Almost every emergency, fire and police communications in the state are accessible.

Hulu Channel... For those who like to watch a lot of TV programming this channel has a ton of them. All are on a delayed basis. The cost is eight dollars a month. As I only watch 3 TV programs I did not add this channel.

Religious Channels... There are a ton of these. Every faith and denomination.

Amazon Channel... This channel has a true A La Carte pproach. The TV programs are generally available within 24 hours. The average cost is 2 dollars per show. If I feel that I have to watch my three channels as soon as they come out I will pay for these programs. I am using an average number of episodes for each series of twelve. So twelve episodes at 2 each times 3 is an annual cost of 72. This leaves me with a budget of 108.

Variety... there are so many more channels covering almost every subject under the sun. Tons of content to select from.

Over the Air TV... Networks are still broadcasting their content over the air. I have tested about 5 small indoor antennas in the 10 to 15 dollar range. I am currently picking up about 6 analog channels and 35 digital channels. Almost all of these channels are HD and they are free. I set up channels 2,5, 7, 11, and 17 in a favorite status to simplify the selection process. I still need to pick up channels 9, 13 and 37. With one antenna I was able to pick up channel 9 but not with the current antenna I am using. It is a simple hook up to the tv. You then run the channel locater program and then leave the antenna in back of the tv. A roof top antenna is the best solution for this content. Although I have not looked at the particulars yet my assumption is that this could be a wireless setup.I don't know what the future of this access is. There is a company with 25 million in venture capital who has started up in New York city. They place antennas around the city

and then place a couple of thousand small antennas (about 1 inch high) in each large one. When you subscribe to their service (12 dollars a month ) they assign you to one of the small antennas to handle the broadcast of all over the air programming. Five of the major networks have filed a lawsuit against them. Where this goes is an open question

right now.

Drawbacks... My cost of 14.95 per month for the high speed internet is for one year only. The second year it jumps to 38 per month. The internet charge from all providers is outrageous. One way to counter that is for 2 people to share a connection thereby cutting the cost in half. I have a 250 GB download ceiling on my service. Two people using a

connection for anything other than business should have no problem staying well beneath that limit.

Advantages... The difference between this approach and cable content is like night and day. I have a budget reduction of 108 annually while enjoying a much better programming content. This is an evolving situation and these comments are only what I have digested at the moment.

Side Notes...

Roku limits the number of movies you can have online at one time. However, you can go to your netflix channel on your computer and add movies from the expanded data base to your instant queue. This transfers the selected movie to

the tv.

hbogo requires my uverse wireless password. I am not comfortable with giving that to them.

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