cord-cutting and enhancing connectivity

It all began when the tv satellite bill for the Atlanta house jumped unexpectedly.  The company explained I was beyond the 6 month special discount period and offered to split the difference between old rate and new rate.  I decided to become a “cord-cutter” and canceled the contract.  They sent me a shipping box and I disconnected the LNB from the satellite dish and placed it and the receiver and remote in the box and bade farewell at the UPS office.

“Now what?” M. demanded to know.  She did not watch shows or movies but was hooked on Classic Arts Showcase (“CAS”).

I decided to switch to a mix of antenna tv and internet tv.  For the antenna I followed lessons learned while installing an antenna in the log cabin (see my Sept 6, 2016 post) and with a 16dB amplifier at the mast was able to access > 30 stations, none of which appealed to M.

For internet tv, after briefly considering the Google and Apple options, I plumbed for Roku.  Roku does not have a recorder as did my satellite service but I can access previous output so a recorder is not critical.  I discovered Pluto which consolidates a number of stations and it has “The Opera Network” but M. was not appeased.   Met. Opera on demand was interesting to her but not the same.  Then I discovered Qello channel for concert films and music documentaries, and peace appeared to return for a monthly cost of $7.95.  But then I was told Qello was not as nice as CAS.  CAS is broadcast but my antenna could not access the broadcast channels.  I found I could access CAS via laptop and watch on tv via hdmi cord.  M. thought this was cumbersome.  I then discovered CAS is available on Nowhere TV which is available as a Roku private channel with input of a special code.  Peace is restored.

Roku made obvious that our Earthlink dsl 6mbps speed was inadequate for simultaneous video watching and computer use.  After lengthy calls with ATT and Earthlink I again decided to support the little guy (as I did with the Roku decision) and signed up for the Earthlink hyperlink connection which now provides download speeds of 18 mbps to 24 mbps – great.  The ATT installer (although the contract is with Earthlink the service is provided by ATT) explained that if our house was closer to the fiber optic connection point the speed would be much faster (at least double) but we are towards the end of a long copper run.  By eliminating some unnecessary POTS services, the additional cost for hyperlink is minimal.

Instead of a separate dsl modem and wireless router, the 2 are combined and this simplifies accessing my cameras remotely.  The modem and router both act as firewalls and both had to be programmed to permit external access to the dvr (digital video recorder) which controls my cameras.

with a dmz (demilitarized zone) the modem and router no longer bar external access to the dvr

Now with dsl and router combined only one device has to be programmed.

of course there is a risk that with firewall removed my cameras may be hijacked & so I have to use strong passwords

And finally, after saving some by fixing a water well problem and by eliminating monthly satellite bill, I splurged and upgraded my iPhone 4 to an iPhone 7.  The iPhone 4 works fine for calls, texting and email.  However, several important apps such as the app for remotely viewing my house cameras now require IOS 8 or higher and iPhone 4 does not support IOS 8.  Reluctantly I decided, it was time for a change and I am enjoying all the upgraded apps not previously accessible and a very good camera.

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