Tag Archives: cable

AirPaper Cancels Comcast Bills for $5.00



AirPaper logoThere are a lot of reasons to cancel service with an ISP or cable TV provider. Perhaps the quality of service has gone done hill. Or maybe a competitor has offered a better deal. It could also be something as simple as moving out of that particular company’s service area. Whatever the reason, these companies have become notoriously difficult about letting customers cancel their service.

That’s where a clever new service called AirPaper comes in. For a small fee of $5.00, AirPaper removes the hassle of calling Comcast yourself when it’s time to cancel service. AirPaper will cancel the service using a quasi-loophole in Comcast’s terms of service.

Apparently, Comcast offers its customers two ways to cut the cord. The first one (and the one everyone would prefer to avoid) is by phone. The other is thru the mail. AirPaper gathers a customer’s details, determines which Comcast office is closest to them, and then composes a goodbye later and mails it directly to Comcast.

And AirPaper isn’t stopping with Comcast. The company is currently planning on developing systems to help with obtaining a San Francisco parking permit, registering a San Francisco business, and getting a Visa to travel to China.

Is there a bureaucratic process you think AirPaper should tackle? The company has an open form on its website where it’s accepting suggestions.


Wi3 Uses Coax for Ethernet Networking



Wi3 CartridgesThe folks at Wi3 have developed a new and innovative way of using the cable TV co-ax wiring to carry more that just pictures. Jeffrey and Andy find out more from Adam.

The Wi3 system replaces the cable wallplate with a modular unit that offers a range of connection or transport options. The first two modules offer twin ethernet ports or a single ethernet port with wifi access point. Later modules may offer a built-in “set-top box”  with HDMI out or a small PC could even be squeezed in. And all without affecting the cable TV signal by using MoCA technology.

It only takes about five minutes to install and one of the neat things I like about this product is that the connections come sideways out of the unit. Consequently, it looks more attractive and less noticeable in the home.

The first two modules are only available to dealers at present but they will be stocked in big boxes nationwide later in the year. Prices are $150 and $200 for the ethernet only and wi-fi models respectively.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine and Andy Smith of Geocaching World.Support my CES 2018 Sponsor:
30% off on New GoDaddy Orders cjcgeek30
$.99 for a New or Transferred .com cjcgeek99 @ GoDaddy.com
$1.00 / mo Economy Hosting with a free domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1h
$1.00 / mo Managed WordPress Hosting with free Domain. Promo Code: cjcgeek1w
Donate to the Show: Support this podcast


Cox Leaving Wireless Business on March 30, 2012



Cox Logo
Cox Logo

A confidential document got leaked out stating the Cox cable has decided to get out of the wireless business. Within 24 hours, Cox officially stated this was true – on March 30th, 2012, Cox will end their wireless service.

Back in 2008, Cox bought part of the 700 MHz spectrum to start Cox Wireless. Last year they launched the service, however, the plan didn’t pan out. Maybe part of it was because Stephen Bye left in March (he headed the wireless division).

“Cox is working to make this transition as seamless and easy as possible for our customers,” said Len Barlik, executive vice president of product development and management.  “We are proud of our employees’ dedication to delivering the excellent customer service that Cox is known for, and we will continue to keep our wireless customers’ satisfaction a top priority during this transition period.”

This affects customers in the  Hampton Roads, Roanoke and Northern Virginia; Orange County, San Diego and Santa Barbara, Calif.; Omaha, Nebraska; Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Okla.; and Rhode Island and Cox communities we serve in Connecticut and Cleveland, Ohio. This only affects wireless and 3G services. Cox will be giving a $150 credit to those who had the multi-service.

 

 


Boxee Adding Digital Television Signal via Dongle



Boxee Live TV Dongle
Boxee Live TV Dongle

If you run your Boxee through a computer monitor rather than a flat screen TV, or just don’t want to flip to the terrestrial line, well fret no more. Boxee has launched Live TV – a USB dongle that will connect to your cable or antenna so you can watch television straight from the box!

The Live TV stick is an HD antenna that provides Boxee Box owners with local channels like ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, CW and any other over-the-air channel you might get. The Live TV will be available in January 2012 for $49.

“Last year, 89 of the top 100 shows were on broadcast networks – they remain the most popular channels on cable.” says Boxee CEO Avner Ronen on the Boxee blog. ” The Superbowl, the World Series, the Oscars, the Grammys, presidential debates and addresses, the Olympics… they’re all on broadcast. Yes, there are hundreds of cable channels, but make a list of the stuff you actually watch. You will probably find that most are on broadcast and the rest are available on Vudu/Netflix/Network sites.”

For $49, you get the dongle. I would guess there is no need for a remote, like a regular TV to PC dongle, because it could be controlled via the Boxee software.

Boxee screen
Boxee screen

Keep in mind, any over-the-air channel might not be in full HD. Primary HD channels could be in 1080p, 1080i, 720p or less. If a channel has a 2nd and 3rd sub-channel (ex: Channel 3.1 is the primary, Channel 3.2 and 3.3 are sub-channels), those would most likely run at 480i. If the Primary channel wants to run 1080p, it would have to turn off the sub-channels to do so.

Also keep in mind about the signals of over-the-air TV. The farther away from the antenna you are, the better chance of channel breakage you could get.

If you can get past that, this might be a great way to connect the TV to your… well, TV. Of course, if you haven’t cut the cable yet, you can also connect your cable to this and funnel those channels through your Boxee.


Freeview HD Coverage Checker



As the UK slowly moves towards turning off the analogue terrestrial TV signal and switching to digital transmissions, it’s been overtaken by consumer demand for high definition (HD) broadcasting. The satellite and cable providers, namely Sky and Virgin Media, have been quick to offer HD on their subscription services, but the terrestrial digital broadcast system, Freeview, has been somewhat slower to offer HD. Some regions of the UK, e.g. Northern Ireland, will not have HD terrestrial broadcasts until 2012. Consequently, there’s been a great deal of uncertainty and misinformation.

So it’s fortunate that ConsumerChoices has added Freeview HD coverage to its HD Coverage Checker. By putting in your postcode and your house number, you’ll be presented with all the HD options available to you, including satellite, cable and terrestrial. In addition, for Freeview (terrestrial), the website will tell you which transmitter to use, how far away it is and the likely signal strength. If Freeview HD is not yet available in the area, it will give the expected date for it to be turned on.

With Freeview decoders now available in a range of products including set-top boxes and HD TVs, there’s often a small price premium to pay for the HD decoder over the standard definition. By using the HD Coverage Checker, you can make informed decision whether to go HD and pay more, or stick with the standard definition decoder.


The Simple Functionality that DirecTV Still Lacks



directv logoA few days ago I had a DirecTV HR23 box go belly-up.  I awoke one morning to the smell of melted plastic.  I didn’t open the box, so I don’t know what went wrong, but it was obviously something bad.  Despite having no LED lights on the front panel there was still power – although it wouldn’t even try to boot up.  But, as long as the power cord was plugged in, the smell and a chirping sound (which probably was from the hard drive) continued.

DirecTV has always had excellent customer service, at least in my experiences.  This was no exception – they were ready to send me a new HR23 via priority shipping.  The box arrived in two days, along with a paid label to send back the old DVR.

Setup is simple – just plug in the old connections that are already in place.  Of course, you need to call DirecTV to activale the box, but that isn’t a big deal either.  It’s after that step that you see where DirecTV, and every other DVR (as far as I know), are lacking.

What do these cable and satellite companies need to add?  Backing up all of your recorded shows would be nice, but we have seen how difficult a netwrked DVR has been for Cablevision.  What I noticed when re-setting-up my HR23 was a glaring lack for backup of personal settings.  I had to, once again, add all of my season passes, set my video preferences, re-enable my network settings, etc.

Is it too much to ask that all of these personal settings be backed up by the provider?  Or at east that they provide a path for backing them up locally to a networked PC?  After all, the HR23 has ethernet and shows up on our home network.  It seems like a simple update to add backup of personal settings.  More importnantly to the providers, it doesn’t seem like anything that would cause them to end up in court.

This seems like a minor addition to the software package of any TV provider.  Still, it doestn’t seem to be mentioned by anyone as an update that is on the roadmap.  I know that I would seriously consider moving to one that decides to add it.

 


Virgin Trials 1.5 Gb/s Cable Broadband



In a press release today, Virgin Media announced that it was trialling 1.5Gb/s cable broadband connections with four media companies in London. Offering 1.5 Gb/s down and 150 Mb/s up, if successful it would be the world’s fastest cable broadband and about 240 times faster than the UK average connection speed.

The technology will use the same infrastructure as delivered to residential customers, so in theory, if it works in this trial it should work just about everywhere Virgin has a cable network. Virgin has already successfully trialled download speeds of 1Gb/s in its fibre network but currently offers 100Mb/s as the maximum speed. Virgin has connections to 12.6 million homes, mostly in urban areas, making them one of the largest residential broadband providers in the UK.

Jon James, executive director of broadband at Virgin Media, said: “Demand for greater bandwidth is growing rapidly as more devices are able to connect to the internet and as more people go online simultaneously. Our growing network provides a highly competitive alternative to the fastest fibre networks of the future and, with our ongoing investment plans, we can anticipate and meet demand as it develops over time, ensuring Virgin Media business and residential customers continue to enjoy world-class broadband.”

The four companies involved in the trial are all in “creative industries” working with on-line video, broadcasting and interactive applications. Sam Orams, co-founder of BespokeBanter.com, one of the companies testing Virgin Media’s 1.5Gb broadband, said: “While the average home might not need these speeds quite yet, we certainly will. The internet is critical to what we do and intrinsically linked to our future growth so it’s exciting to be working with Virgin Media at the forefront of broadband innovation in the UK.”

The Virgin Media network uses DOCSIS3 and can bond several channels together to provide the data speed bought by the customer. Consequently, there’s a choice of different speeds (10 Mb/s, 30 Mb/s, 50 Mb/s, 100 Mb/s). Virgin currently offers 100 Mb/s in cabled areas for £35 per month. Regrettably, I’m not in one of those cabled areas and I’m stuck at about 3 Mb/s. Bah!