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Monthly Archives: June 2014

How Does ESPN Work with Different Comcast Customers?

How Does ESPN Work with Different Comcast Customers?

With all the different ESPN channels available to viewers currently as customers of Comcast, it can become a bit confusing as to which channels are available to whom. This Short article will aim to break this issue down somewhat into an easy to understand guide.

Many customers subscribe to both Comcast’s video streaming services as well as their internet providing services. Others only subscribe to one or the other of these two services, which leaves them wondering what exactly is available to them if they choose to not purchase both services.

WatchESPN is website that simulcasts the following channels : ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Desportes, ESPNews, ESPN Goal, ESPN Buzzer Beater and is the exclusive home to ESPN3. ESPN3 is known for airing games that are not available on the other ESPN TV channels, which is one reason why so many people love having access to it.

A customer that subscribes to Comcast’s Television and internet services can log in on their laptop or mobile device (think Ipad, smart phone, etc) and they will have access to all of these channels, and can even watch all of them at the same time if your connection is strong enough and you have the ability to split screen windows on your device. These customers can also stream them to their TV using various NET TV devices, such as ROKU, Xbox ONE, Amazon Fire and Chromecast to name a few.

 

Comcast customers that are Net-only subscribers are able to watch the NET only channel, ESPN3, but are not able to access the other ESPN channels available to TV subscribers. While this might seem unfair to some, it is a very understandable business stance. The logic here is quite simple. ESPN# is an internet only channel, so Comcast makes it available to their internet subscribers, but the other channels (ESPN,ESPN2, etc.) are video based channels that you have to have a video subscription to watch them.

 

 

 

 

Netflix New Offerings For July 2014

Netflix New Offerings For July 2014

Netflix is oftentimes criticized for favoring seasons of TV shows over full length movies, will be adding a number of full length films to its streaming library for the month of July.The new offerings include:City of God;

12 Angry Men;

Basic Instinct;

The Manchurian Candidate;

Gandhi;

Patton;

Dead Man Walking;

Philadelphia;

A Raisin In the Sun;

and Eight Men Out.



This list only covers a small portion of new films that Netflix is offering this month, but the above mentioned films stand out as classics in their own rights.

New Golf Channel Coming to DIRECTV

New Golf Channel Coming to DIRECTV

Back9Network is a new golf lifestyle channel that has been picked up by DIRECTV and will become available to viewers on September 29, 2014. The new channel claims that it will offer over 1,100 hours of original programming during its first year in existence. Their offerings will include three live shows a day, and 10 original prime time shows. One of these new shows will be The Ahmad Rashad Show, and Golf Treasures which delves into the world of golf memorabilia collectors. According to the Back9Network’s press release, they will be seen on DIRECTV channel 262.
 While golf fans will probably love having all of these new offerings to watch on a daily basis, for some unknown and unspecified reason, DIRECTV will not offer this channel in HD.

TV Safety: How to Avoid TV Tipping Hazards

TV Safety: How to Avoid TV Tipping Hazards

smart tv

The setting is Southern California. A toddler is playing in the living room in front of the TV when an earthquake strikes. In an unimaginable turn of events, the TV starts rocking and falls on top of the child, killing him.

This is a true story and one that is repeated many times a year throughout the country. But it doesn’t take an earthquake for TV tragedy to strike. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh have identified TV tip-overs as one of the top hidden hazards in the home today.

CPSC statistics are alarming: Nearly 19,000 children 9 years old or younger are treated in hospital emergency rooms every year for injuries related to televisions, furniture, and appliances tipping over, and nearly half of those incidents involve children 4 years old and younger.

Even worse, the CPSC received reports of 294 tip-over related deaths between 2000 and 2011, more than half of which involved falling televisions. Many of the injuries and deaths are related to head trauma.

Studies show that a dresser with a TV on top is a disaster waiting to happen as toddlers discover they can use open drawers as a step ladder. And the chance of significant injury or death is magnified when the TV is a tube model because the dresser becomes top heavy and highly unstable.

Even though nearly all TVs sold in recent years are lighter flat-panel LCD models, the old tube sets they replace often wind up in a bedroom or other room on furniture that was never meant to support a TV.

Tips for Avoiding a TV Disaster

Here are a few safety tips to reduce the risk of TVs tipping over in homes where young children live or visit.

  • Avoid putting a TV – especially a heavy tube or plasma model – on top of a dresser or other piece of furniture that was not designed to support a TV.
  • Place TVs on low furniture that is sturdy and, ideally, designed to support a TV, or consider mounting a flat-panel TV on the wall.
  • If the above scenarios are not possible, use anchoring hardware to secure the furniture and TV to the wall. For example, the Furniture Tipping Restraint Package from B. Walter & Co. has two brackets that attach to one another via a locking strap. You screw one bracket into the back top edge of the furniture, the other into a stud in the wall behind it. Then you thread the strap through each bracket, remove the slack and lock the strap in place. TV anchoring straps for securing the TV to the wall or furniture are available at mypreciouskid.com and sold on Amazon.com as well as at retailers such as Walmart and Babies “R” Us.
  • Make sure AV cables and power cords leading to the TV are out of the reach of children.
  • Keep remote controls, toys and other items that attract children off of TV furniture and stands.

source: cedia

Using Home Automation to Conserve Energy…and Save Money

Using Home Automation to Conserve Energy…and Save Money

smarthouse

You may have read about or seen advertisements for mobile phone apps that allow you to monitor and control your home’s heating and cooling system from wherever you happen to be. Very cool! But why would you want to do that?

For one, being able to access and control your home’s HVAC system from any mobile device or Internet-connected computer can be a powerful tool. In addition to seeing how much energy the household (or a specific zone or appliance) is using during a specific period, you can adjust temperature on the fly and program the thermostat to do things like send you a text when the temperature goes above or below a predetermined level.

This, of course, is in addition to programming the thermostat to automatically adjust temperature according to a schedule – turning the heat down when you’re away, for example – to reduce energy consumption.

But there’s a problem with programmable thermostats: Very few of us take the time to set them up. Call us lazy, but only 10 percent or so of the quarter billion thermostats in U.S. homes are actually programmed for energy savings, resulting in a colossal waste of energy that might be as high as 20 to 30 percent per household.

Considering that heating and cooling account for 40-plus percent of a typical household energy bill, you start to see how installing smarter HVAC controls (or simply programming a conventional thermostat) can lead to significant savings. How much will depend on temperature offsets and schedules but, a savings of 2 to 4 percent for every 1 degree difference in the thermostat setting – raising the cooling set-point or lowering the heating set-point – is possible over a 24-hour period, according to Energy Experts.

Beyond the Thermostat

Beyond upgrading to a high-tech thermostat or smart HVAC control, is there anything else that can be done to conserve energy, help save the planet, and reduce your monthly utility bill? Most definitely. Todd Sandler, president of the Overland Park, Kansas-based custom installation firm Naturally Wired, says additional savings can be realized by installing automated lighting and/or shade control systems.

“From a lighting perspective, you can have shades automatically open to let daylight into a room so you don’t have to turn the lights on,” he explains. “From a heating and cooling perspective, you can let the sun help warm up a room in the winter and block the sun in the summer so your heating and cooling system doesn’t have to work as hard.” All sorts of automated routines are possible. See Automated Lighting Brings Convenience and More for more on lighting control options.

sources: Cedia

Some Great Tips for Improving Internet Video

Some Great Tips for Improving Internet Video

Flat Panel

Have you had a shaky or just plain bad experience streaming high-definition movies or TV shows to your TV? Drop-outs, incessant buffering, or maybe a picture that inexplicably breaks up?

Nothing is more frustrating than sitting down to watch a favorite show or just-released movie and seeing a picture plagued with what video geeks call “artifacts” or, worse, no picture at all.

Streaming Is Popular

For starters, streaming has become extremely popular in just the past year or two. “I can comfortably say that video streaming goes into 95-plus percent of our jobs these days,” Sandler says, noting that you don’t have to go out and buy a new Internet-connected “smart TV” to stream movies and TV shows. A number of devices – including Apple TV, some Blu-ray players and streaming players from Roku and others – are made to deliver streaming to TVs that lack built-in Internet connectivity.

Sandler has found that Blu-ray players from big name brands like Sony and Samsung tend to offer the most variety, providing access to movies from Netflix and others, TV shows from services such as Hulu and Hulu Plus and even music from sites such as Pandora.

“But if I have a client who isn’t worried about variety and really only cares about Netflix, I’ll recommend Apple TV, which provides a simple solution – especially if it’s an iPhone household,” he explains. “It’s pretty basic and comes with a remote control but doesn’t have all the bells and whistles you get with other streaming devices.”

The Path to Steady Streaming

It’s easy to take a wireless home network for granted. You grab your laptop, surf the ‘Net and maybe print documents on your wireless printer. It just works. But when you add high-definition streaming and multiple devices into the equation, unforeseen things can start to happen.

“Wi-Fi is certainly the easiest and most common setup, but it’s limited in terms of bandwidth, speed, and throughput,” Sandler says. Streaming services will work, but as more streaming services and devices are added to the household network, some degradation in performance is possible.

“If network bandwidth is limited and you’re watching an HD movie, resolution might get knocked down or the video might stop and buffer, which makes the picture jittery.”

In these scenarios, Naturally Wired recommends either upgrading to a dual-band router – which supports traditional net surfing and phone/tablet use on the 2.4GHz band while video is being streamed on the 5Ghz band – or going the hard-wire route. Sandler is a big proponent of “wiring everything because a wireless network is always going to be inherently slower, less reliable, and less secure than a hard-wired setup.”

The Wireless Network Upgrade

Still, not everyone wants to deal with wires. And although a wireless upgrade is usually part of a larger project, Sandler says the firm does do “one-shot installations where the client might want basic streaming into one area, perhaps a theater room.”

How much does it cost to upgrade? “I usually tell people to expect right around a $1,000 for a basic Wi-Fi system, which includes installation and set up of a commercial-grade dual-band router, maybe one or two dual-band wireless access points (to ensure a strong signal around the house) and setting up a communication hub for wireless devices in the house, which includes iPads, laptops and maybe an Apple TV,” Sandler explains.

The Hard-Wire Route

Depending on the size of the home and where the router is located, etc., the cost of retrofitting an existing home can be two or three times more than upgrading a wireless network, according to Sandler.

But if we’re talking new construction, the wired option doesn’t really cost much more. “In a new home, we typically recommend doing both,” he says, which will include $1,000 for the wireless setup and $500 to $1,000 for the wired part.”

Why You Can’t Expect AT&T & DIRECTV to Lower Your TV or Internet Bills

Why You Can’t Expect AT&T & DIRECTV to Lower Your TV or Internet Bills

Several publications, including the Washington Post have reported that AT&T promised the American people in a FCC filing that the merger it wants to take place with DIRECTV would actually allow them to offer lower prices for both video and Broadband service bundles. The Washington Post went on to ass that AT&T has stated this merger would help the market by adding “pressure on cable companies to also cut fees.”

For the average reader, this makes it seem like the AT&T/DIRECTV merger should lead to all consumers receiving monthly bills that are much lower than they currently are, regardless of who they purchase their video and internet services through.

Here is the problem with this assumption, what these publications are saying is nothing even close to what AT&T states in their FCC filing. This corporate behemoth  actually states that the merger would enable them to video and broadband bundles that are more competitive. This would increase competition in the market place, thus putting pressure on its’ competitors to keep prices down in the future. The difference here is that your bills will not go down if the merger is approved, just that they will go up at a slower rate than they currently are. It needs to be stated here that AT&T has no intention whatsoever of reducing their rates, whether the merger is approved or not.

If AT&T/DIRECTV had actual plans to reduce their prices, this would have been laid out in detail in the FCC filings, and you had better believe that they would be making sure it was seen by every potential customer in existence. Not only would this be great PR, it would also likely garner the favor of the FCC and other fed agencies involved in the merger approval process.

AT&T wants the merger with DIRECTV to be approved so that they themselves can save money, thus increase their own profits and become more competitive in the cable/sat/broadband services market. They are not merging to save you money, but to in reality make themselves more of your hard earned dollars.

 

 

 

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