Streaming sticks/boxes, etc.

I won’t say I’ve tried them all, but I’ve tried more of them than most people. As usual, there is a back story and a lot of history as I am usually an early adopter. Here are my streaming platforms in the order that I purchased/used them and my overall impression. I’ll end with some musings on where all this is going. Continue reading “Streaming sticks/boxes, etc.”

SlingTV, the first few months

Screenshot from 2015-03-18 07:55:42I was psyched when I heard about SlingTV. I had actually used a Slingbox a few years ago to watch content off my Tivo from hotel rooms. This was before Netflix had a great library or Amazon had dabbled in content and the only option seemed to be iTunes … I actually watched half of the first season of “24” on an iPod classic (ya, the one with the 2.5” screen) … how the days have changed.
Here’s the back story. I moved from a city with Charter cable in August of last year to a rural location in New Mexico. I’m lucky to have 12Mbps DSL, via CenturyLink, for streaming and I also put an HD antenna on my house to pick up over-the-air broadcast networks. Not part of this post, but I also have a 4/2 wireless ISP connection, via Higher Speed Internet, as the DSL upstream isn’t robust enough for me to work from home. Continue reading “SlingTV, the first few months”

Will Comcast's (and other's) metered usage backfire?

Much ado today on the internets regarding Comcast’s trial of metered usage in Portland.
Here’s my $0.02 (and then some).
The idea behind this is to identify (and punish) the high bandwidth users. Comcast (and other broadband companies) have skated by for years on this “bucket-of-bits” concept where you buy a bucket of bits (we’ve all seen the UPTO 16MB commercials). This is a whole additional discussion which I don’t want to get into here, but in short I refer to that advertisement as fraudband.
So with this bucket-of-bits concept you pay a monthly fee for a connection and you use it as much as you want. The problem is that the *more* you use it, the *less* the provider makes for your usage. This is an upside down business model and I’ve tried to think of other companies that are incented to sell you a product that you shouldn’t use (help me out by commenting if you know of a successful business model that follows this upside down paradigm (and don’t say cell phone companies)).
Continue reading “Will Comcast's (and other's) metered usage backfire?”

Online video viewing growing exponentially … duh

1video-footage_id1907591_size450According to this article from US Telecom, online video viewing is growing leaps and bounds. With 74% of broadband users downloading or watching videos online.  The article is based upon two studies from Pew and the American Life Project.
What’s amazing about the numbers is that 15% more adults are watching online videos than using social networking sites. Another number that’s amazing is the “near-universal” use by 18-29 year olds (old media beware).
I work with a lot of communities who still think that “broadband” is just high-speed internet and nothing more (which granted, all this online video viewing is occurring over today’s broadband). I often coach them on the fact that broadband will deliver all of your telecom services in the future including services we don’t even know about yet as well as those we do (like cable TV, telephone, etc.).  As more and more folks experience video online, they will pressure their local community leaders to become active in promoting broadband availability and broadband adoption so that they can experience the same services that those of us who live in more urban or suburban areas do.
Personally, I watch videos on my TV over Netflix from my Tivo, but also have a MythTV computer acting as a video server where I have ripped most of my DVDs and downloaded (mostly legal) videos.  I also watch plenty of youtube, google video and plenty of old media sites (like comedy central).
If you don’t have broadband, why not?  Is it too expensive or is it not available?  If it’s not available, contact your local elected officials and ask what they are doing to bring broadband to your area. It’s not just for browsing the web anymore and has serious economic development impacts on your locality.

Any good stand alone broadband speed applications?

fiber-speed-2I do a lot of dog-and-pony public speaking on broadband. I often get asked many questions or statements like:

  • My cable modem works fine, why would anyone need more speed?
  • What does fiber get me that DSL or Cable HSD does not?
  • Just how fast is fiber?
  • What can I do with fiber that I can’t do with my current broadband?
  • 640K of memory should be enough for anybody.
  • Should I have more fiber in my diet?

In addition to discussions around the economic development benefits of broadband, I am often looking for methods to demonstrate the difference between different technologies.  I came across a Windows application from some site in the Netherlands (it had a .nl extension) that is sort of what I’m looking for (you can dig around on the Dutch language site and eventually find an English application).
Continue reading “Any good stand alone broadband speed applications?”