Tag Archives: Verizon

Cutting the Cord (Part II)

Business-Insider-Cable-TV-Subscription-Decline-680x500

The numbers don’t lie: more and more folks are canceling their cable / FIOs / satellite services. As the above chart so notes (http://techgage.com/news/cord-cutting-not-slowing-down-decline-of-cable-tv-subscribers-continues/) the slide is gradually growing, particularly in light of faster internet being more readily available – a development which was also recently noted in the Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/articles/getting-rid-of-cable-tv-the-smartest-ways-to-cut-the-cord-1405472757?mod=rss_Technology

Likewise, in response to the number of readers contacting the WSJ following publication of their article on this very subject matter, the WSJ followed up with a (rather) brief response in their blog answering just a few basic questions:

http://blogs.wsj.com/personal-technology/2014/07/18/cutting-the-cable-cord-answers-to-your-questions/

Clearly, this is a revolution in the making; a growing mainstream of folks are dropping out and tuning in through other means – and doing so doesn’t require you holding a Master’s in Computer Science or advanced technology. For additional discussion on approaches, here’s one helpful site worth reading if you’re in doubt as to which direction you should consider:

http://www.steve-oh-mg.com/streaming-television-revolution-confessions-of-a-cord-cutter/

And if you’re still in some doubt, here’s another helpful site for the novice cable cutter worth checking out:

http://www.tomsguide.com/us/cord-cutting-guide,news-17928.html

Mind you, it’s a growing market. Amazon, Roku and naturally Apple are all veying for this fast growing cable cutting market segment (for the record, I use Apple TV; just my choice) – so much so that now there’s even a growing developer’s middle market – as witnessed by this sample site:

http://skystreamx.com/cutting-cable-android-tv-box/

And lastly, concurrent with this trend is the growing realization users also have free access to digital TV stations – a fact that many are not fully aware of. In a nutshell, the FCC mandates duly licensed television stations to broadcast not only in their standard / regular VHF range, but also in a variety of upper frequency digital TV broadcast ranges. Many viewers are not aware of the fact that there’s a plethora of free TV routinely being  broadcast 24 x 7.  Below is a very helpful website worth checking out (it’s free) that’ll give you the lowdown on what digital (free) stations are readily broadcasting in your immediate area and what your options are – i.e., whether or not you could be served by an indoor or outdoor antennae, and what direction you’d need to point the antennae toward:

http://www.tvfool.com

Let’s face it: the traditional way of watching TV is changing; channel surfing is morphing into a more direct, focused effort of watching TV. Considering the numbers of channels the typical users gets through their subscriptions balanced against the cost of such services, people are fooled into thinking they’re getting their moneys worth by continuing utilizing the traditional cable / FIOs / satellite services; financial reality says otherwise. Consider: add into the equation the amount of time you spend watching each and every channel you’re paying for you’ll find that it’s a loss for the average consumer – a waste of money.  Think of it this way:

Number of channels / (divided by) Monthly cable bill x (times) Number of minutes spent on each channel

So, let’s say you have 500 channels that you’re paying $150.00 per month; this would come to a $3.30 per channel monthly cost.  Multiply this figure by the number of minutes you watch for any of the channels you watch (to do it right, do a spreadsheet and lay out all of your channel line ups, note how many minutes per month you watch each and every channel you’re paying for and total it up).

Chances are the vast majority of those channels are going to be listed as “0” minutes spent – and therein lies the inherent problem intrinsic with TV subscription services: you’re wasting your money paying for channels you’re simply not watching. Gee, it may be nice to offer you all these channels at seemingly low competitive rates, but are you going to really watch all that?

This is how the traditional cable / FIOs / satellite services work: you’re subsidizing the majority of channels by paying a premium for those select specific channels you tend to view more often; this is necessary as these select channels would likely not be able to exist without these subsidies. This is all well and good, but ask yourself: is your viewing practices offering a true balance between what you’re paying for and what you’re watching?

It all comes down to what and how you use your television.  So ask yourself: what are your viewing practices? Here’s what you do (and it’s rather easy and surprisingly revealing): do a viewing log. Mark down the following every time you turn on the tube:

the channel you’re watching;

the show you’re watching;

how long you’ve watch that show on that specific channel;

Repeat.

Do this for a month and see for yourself. Once you’ve done this ask yourself: are you getting your money’s worth from your TV subscription services?

Given how much it costs per month, you could be looking at anywhere from $1,800 to $2,400 per year you’re paying out for something you’re not really fully using.  Add up over several years and you’ll find yourself paying out serious money for something you’re not fully using.

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Microsoft Versus Apple: You’re Missing The Bigger Picture

Author’s Disclaimer: For the record, I have a Dell desktop and a Gateway laptop (both running Windows XP), along with a MacBook Pro (Mountain Lion), iPad and an iPod along with an iPhone (older version; doing quite fine, thank you) that just replaced my old and trusty Samsung (RIP, sadly).

Nowadays, you have to be ambidextrous: you need the ability to work within the realm of Microsoft as well as Apple IOS because if you can’t, chances are you’re going to lose out on a lot of opportunities. That said, I’m not about to grace any discussion about which is better – Microsoft or Apple – because frankly, it’s all pointless: you might as well argue about vanilla versus chocolate ice cream. There are far more (and overlooked) important things afoot to consider that brings a whole new context to this discussion.

First hand, the traditional notion of ‘everything on one box’ is pretty much gone; it’s now all about distributed computing. During the past decade, we’ve moved away from stuffing everything on one box, starting with the notion of conducting back-ups owing to data loss, moving to plug-on hard drives, and then moving into remote back-ups. As technology advanced, so too did prices drop offering greater availability for services that heretofore were not financially feasible for many. And with all of this came (in part) the notion of ‘cloud computing’. It’s no longer just about how big your or strong your PC / box is; it’s more about where and how you access you data in relationship to your box / PC.

Secondly, connectivity has dramatically improved. We’ve moved away from traditional cabling and into wireless connectivity – with a vengeance. Wireless is everywhere and it’s only going to increase (little known factoid: did you know that chances are, you are – at most – only about 20 miles away from the nearest Starbucks? Of course, this does not apply in remote areas such as Montana, Wyoming or the Dakotas, but don’t worry; that’ll change). This development strongly underlies the growth of the tablet market: so long as I have a good connection, I can read and process my files without having to carry a bulky 8 pound laptop as was so common back some years ago.

Thirdly, it’s no longer just about ‘software suites’; it’s about ecology. Ecology is a big new concept – while at the same time, it’s as old as the hills. When you went with a specific approach – MS / Windows box, Apple or Linux – you became ‘married’ to that concept. To be sure, there was some ‘bleed-through’ – i.e., Linux can work (to a certain extent) with either Apple or Windows boxes, but overall, for the average consumer or business entity, it was an all or nothing approach. Fast forward to the present time, now you’re finding yourself making choices that went far beyond just which PC / Box you’re buying: it’s now what format are you going to listen to your music? What phone service are you committing yourself to? What television / cable / subscription service are you committing yourself to – FIOs, traditional cable, Apple TV or just winging it on your own via Netflix or other open Internet options (i.e., YouTube)?

And lastly, the nature of data management also has changed: sound, graphic and print files are merged together in ways and means underscoring tremendous creativity, raising the bar for competitive services and advertisements; consumer and political outreach programs as well as new notions for political activism and creative / artistic endeavors. It’s now more about what offers you the easier means to grasp your data, exchange your endeavors and advertise / distribute? It’s a lot easier to do all of this if you’re sharing / existing within the same ecology.

This is the new Ecology paradigm: what ‘system’ offers you the most convenience, less cost and unifies everything in a manner that’ll make your life easier to manage? To be certain, for some, this notion of ‘unification’ is not a desirable aspect (note Wozniak’s comments earlier this year about how he doesn’t have cable service and prefers to use his data / cellular service for his own Internet surfing) but for the average consumer market, this is the new bonanza: getting everybody to sign up for as much as they are willing to do so. Some companies – such as Verizon – got this early on: witness their various ‘bundling’ packages (Verizon doesn’t sell as comprehensive a solution as does Apple or Windows as Verizon doesn’t quite have a complete ecology developed as of yet).

The battleground is not just about which flavor do you prefer – Vanilla or Chocolate – it’s now all about the bowl and how that bowl works best for you; everything else is simply a matter of taste.