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Why pay $70/mo for cable tv?

Over the last few years, many of our clients have started streaming primary content from the internet directly to their computers and televisions. This includes tv shows, movies and sporting events. People are starting to question if they really need cable tv, which on average costs $70-$100/mo (upwards of $1,000.00/yr). much of the content available on cable tv can also be acquired via the streaming-web model. Some of this content is free, and some you subscribe to (ie: netflix or hbo @ $10/mo). Newer tv’s support web-streaming directly, otherwise simply install a streaming device (apple-tv, kindle-fire tv, roku). Another way to get tv without the monthly cable-tv bill is to purchase a broadcast tv antenna. The current generation of these outdoor tv antennas can receive HD-quality content from broadcast stations up to 70 miles away. For example, the town of Concord MA is 15-20 miles away from Boston and Cambridge. An antenna installed in an attic (or on the roof or exterior wall) can receive over 25 local HD channels (plus another 25 standard-def). Most local news and sports are broadcast in HD. We have been installing the ClearStream 4 antenna for clients, and results are excellent. The ClearStream 4 kit (with mount) costs about $130.00 on Amazon (see link at end of article) To see what HD channels are available in your area, google ‘fcc dtv reception maps’ and type in your zip code. Installation of the antenna is quite easy. You can look at a map to see the direction of your local metro broadcast area, then use a compass app on your smartphone to position the antenna. Next run a coax cable from the antenna to the tv (or to a splitter box, if needed). Get good quality RG6 cable (quad-shielded low-loss coax). If you have multiple tv’s, you can get a 4-way powered splitter box (another $20). Connect the splitter box to each tv via coax cable runs (usually already installed in your house, running from the basement or primary wiring area). For a mere $200.00 and a few hours of your time, you can save over a grand per year on recurring household expenses. If you decide to get one, remember you have 30 days to return product to amazon if you are unhappy with the results (save the boxes). The only drawback is that weather and atmospheric conditions can sometimes affect the reception quality, the same as with satellite radio. If you get one, let us know how it works. PAUL

Comcast is rocking the 21st century!

Over the years, we have connected hundreds of homes and businesses to Comcast and Verizon internet equipment. We oversee the installation process, then connect client networks to broadband modems and routers. We have seen many iterations of programs, equipment and installation techniques. We have seen different technicians, different hardware and worked with different service delivery processes. Once in a while it is a simple process, more often than not there are hurdles to overcome. Though Verizon is an option in many of the towns around Concord MA, it seems Comcast is used by more of our clients (home and business). Based on our many experiences with Comcast in the last several months, it is clear that Comcast has rewritten their playbook. Where in the past, it seemed they were in business to take care of themselves first (as it also seemed with Verizon), in the year 2016 their customer service orientation is not only pleasant and enjoyable, but they are responsive and effective. This opinion is based on many interactions on behalf of many clients. This new attitude permeates every aspect of their broadband internet delivery operations, and it may be part of the reason why the corporation is showing healthy financials for 2015. Their people and systems are working and their products are stable and functional. This is a remarkable turnaround from 10-15 years ago, quite impressive in fact. Their new retail store/service center design is also impressive – clean, attractive and welcoming. Their service reps are engaging and accommodating. Best of all is the new X1 interface, which allows convenient, simple and remarkably powerful access to digital content and video streaming services. You get one digital dvr box (which records to the cloud), and as many tv adapter boxes as you need (for free). All the boxes share the same recorded content to each tv, so you can record in one room and watch in another. It couldn’t be simpler, easier or more fun. The recorder can pull content from other streaming providers on the comcast network, even if the shows aren’t currently broadcasting. The X1 system can rewind a movie back to the beginning, even though it may have already started playing when you stumble onto it. The new remotes have some great features, including voice-search across all content stores and motion-activated backlit buttons for use in the dark (awesome). If you haven’t replaced your old Comcast tv equipment yet, do so. It usually ends up costing less per month, and it works 5x better. You should also upgrade your internet speed package to 50Mb (if you video stream, or if you have more than one person in the house using the internet). You can even access your Comcast content via the web (with your computers and portable devices). Comcast xfinity wifi (wireless access to the internet) in free in most USA cities (if you have a Comcast account). Kudos to Comcast for finally getting it right. Keep up the good work, and I hope (for their sake) that Verizon is being as innovative and customer service oriented. PAUL