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Done with CableTV and Paid Streaming Services for 2023?

Hello and Happy New Year folks. It is the end of 2022. What’s in store for 2023? Will you be watching television (in a play of words, some Caribbean folks call it “tell lie vision“)? If you will, what methods ( cable, antenna, satellite, stream ) or services will you use?

 

Target Audience

Few teens through thirties watch live television. They often use their televisions and large screen monitors for playing online video games, on-demand streaming, watching YouTube videos, and other social “streaming” networks. They and others who don’t watch TV at all are not my target audience. If you are someone who watches 3 or more hours of TV each week or have children under 13 who you watch PBS or other educational programming on TV with, read on. The rest of you might have no idea about the following “Weakest Link” TV show reference but “goodbye”.

You may have a smart phone on which you use some the Internet but don’t care about having or paying for home Internet. You are also excused because getting Internet just to get a cable TV alternative defeats the purpose. For the rest of us, home Internet is a utility.

 

Background

The monthly rates of cable TV services and the paid streaming services that include [some of the] local broadcast TV have been going up and is expected to increase again in 2023.

The term “cord cutting“, “cutting the cord“, “cutting cable” and other jargons meant going away from paid TV subscriptions. Cord-cutting is not a great term if taken literally because, unless you use alternate power like solar and newer fixed wireless / satellite services, you still have power and Internet cables coming into the home but I digress. We’ll consider it for what it was intended and that is cancelling paid multi-channel TV subscription services.

Cable TV subscription prices continue to go up because they can and because more and more people have become “cord-cutters“. The major Internet companies are the cable companies. Satellite TV is dying. You remove cable TV and Internet price increases in some cases, though still less than having both combined. Those of us who wish for more live cable TV-like programming to watch regional and national sports in addition to the local news and programming that OTA antenna allows have caused certain things to be set into motion over the years. Network conglomerates have created their up with their own “streaming packages” that, if you combine 3-5 of them, costs as much as cable TV. In addition, it gave rise to other non-network conglomerates coming up with so-called “skinny bundles” which are also quite expensive. Aside from those, more and more IPTV providers ( mostly underground or unvetted ) have popped up, some “loaded” on to firesticks or other boxes and a monthly subscription charge applied.

Those of us who have decided we won’t pay for expensive Cable TV, conglomerate streaming, or “skinny bundle” services anymore with the $40 – $150 monthly price tag for hundreds of channels that we do not care about, which include ads mind you, have another option.

The way I see it, if I am going to pay for ads anyway, why not consider the cheaper alternative which also shows ads.

The cheapest alternative is to add an inexpensive indoor ( if you live in the city within 30 miles of most network towers ) or outdoor ( if you live in mountainous / rural terrain ) antenna.

A better alternative requires an antenna and a TV with a digital (ATSC) tuner ( any flat TV bought the past 15 years or so ) and home Internet.

 

The Requirements

1. A Roku or Amazon FireTV 

2. Internet access

3. An antenna – for local channels you have access to ( you normally pay for these dearly in the cable TV / “skinny bundles” offerings )

4. An hour or two of patience for initial setup

5. Understanding that you won’t get the tier 1 cable networks that you’re used to

6. Understanding that you won’t get[any or some of] the sports channels for your favorite teams

 

Television: Roku or Amazon Fire smart TV

A smart TV allows you to connect to the Internet so it has Wi-Fi and/or an RJ-45 (ethernet) jack to connect by “wire” (cable) to your Internet router.

If you do not have a smart TV then you need a box that connects to your TV using an HDMI cable. There are many options but we’ll focus only on Roku box or Fire TV device ( Firestick, etc.).  These can be picked up for $15 – $35 from a nearby store or on Amazon.com.

 

Internet Access: 25 Mbps download

If you already have 25 Mbps or more Internet, good for you.  If you don’t, it gets tricky.  The Internet providers are often the cable / phone companies. However, there are increasing choices from wireless companies like Verizon and T-Mobile, satellite companies like StarLink ( I won’t mention the founder and CEO in case you are one of the left / right political extremists who have a beef with Twitter ).  Obviously if you do not see the use for home Internet, and I don’t know anyone under 80 who doesn’t ( having a smart phone alone gives you Internet access )

You should have 25 Mbps down / 1 Mbps+ up – for Roku Live TV or Fire TV Live channels. You can get away with slower 10 Mbps down / 1 Mbps up but will struggle watching high-resolution videos OR streaming videos on more than 1 device.

Antenna : for local channels

The antenna can be Indoor or outdoor depending on where you live and can cost $8 – $90 depending on indoor / outdoor and amplifier included or not. Ignore those ridiculous claims of 100 – 500 mile range by many of those antenna manufacturers / sellers. Typical ranges are 20 miles to 60 miles, meaning the antenna is capable of picking up channels 20 – 60 miles away from the broadcast towers. 

Also ignore the nonsensical “HD / 4K” antenna marketing ploy. Antennas from way back in the analog ages will pick up analog or digital channels. It depends on how far you are from the broadcast towers.

If you do need an outdoor antenna because you live far from broadcast towers, or hilly or vegetative terrains, make sure the antenna has no obstructions, so use a very long pole or mount on top of the roof and test the power by turning the antenna in the direction of the majority of broadcast towers.

 

Patience: to get the best of your setup

You will need at least an hour or two for initial setup. If you only need local channels, it’s easy. Set up the antenna, plug in the coaxial cable into the mail adapter at the back of your TV, use your TV remote to scan for channels and, viola, you are done. If you don’t get enough channels, move ( for indoor ) or turn ( for outdoor ) until you get better reception. Rescan if necessary.

If you have Roku TV or Fire TV ( like a Firestick ), add apps ( Roku calls them “channels” ) like PlutoTV, PLEX, RokuTV ( if using Fire TV ), Prime (if using Roku ).

Use the Live TV option to watch or go directly to the apps / “channels” to watch Live TV.  On a smart TV, Roku TV integrates the local channels from the antenna into the guide so it is no different from watching cable TV.

Ten apps available on both platforms that are FREE with FREE live streaming that you should consider with your Roku TV / Fire TV include:

  1. General Purpose
    1. Pluto TV
    2. Amazon FreeVee (used to be IMDB TV)
    3. Roku Channel
    4. Xumo
  2. News
    1. Amazon News
    2. Very Local
  3. Other
    1. Crackle
    2. Airy TV
    3. Tubi
    4. Peacock

No Tier 1 Networks Live: free is not free

Be ready for ads. Understand that many companies behind all these free options are about making money and they do so with ads. A few of them have “premium” options where you pay a few dollars subscription each month with the added benefit of having no ads on non-live TV streaming and some have additional “on-demand” services that can be bought. 

Typical cable TV subscription includes local channels and tier 1 / tier 2 network programming, you won’t get local / broadcast programming from your region except with an antenna as I described above, For me and many who I know, a cable subscription with 150 channels is loaded with “nonsense” channels we don’t watch from both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 lineup. When I had cable TV, I watched PBS, major local networks ( ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC ), ESPN, and maybe 5 more channels each month though I had 180.

With the options I have shared, you will get 200 – 500 channels, mainly “step-sibling” of the Tier 1 and Tier 2 ones offered through cable TV and many others. In one month, I have watched maybe 20 of the 300+ I have.

 

In Summary

If any of you have other legal ( authorized / vetted ) free options that you use, please comment. Keep in mind that I am well-aware that there are tens of other IPTV options for “free” or $3 to $60 / month that claim to offer 500 – thousands (yes thousands) of channels, some including the same ones you get from cable.  However, I am not interested because they are not offered / vetted within the Roku or Fire TV stores and some force you to accept sharing your personal info, network, resources before you can use.

In this day and age, where unscrupulous characters can do severe damage with our personal information, the perception of “privacy should be important to all of us and therefore we should avoid those. I say “perception” because there really is no privacy unless you go to live on a remote island where no ship / boat or airplane can reach and there is no communication whatsoever. Remember that the schools have our info, the utility companies, the Internet companies, cell service providers, email providers, social networks, current and former employers, insurance companies, hospitals, doctor’s offices, credit card companies, and the government. Unfortunately, they can be hacked and have been hacked. While they are not 100% trustworthy,  we feel better about them having some or all our personal info than the scum of the earth scammers and hackers.

 

Thinking about moving on from cable TV or expensive “skinny bundles“? If so, welcome to the world of watching OTA broadcasts with an antenna and free live streaming.

It’s Edwin Allen yet again but Kingston College dethrones Jamaica College #Champs2022

Many time winners, Edwin Allen Comprehensive High, held off the dangerous Hydel and their 200M record-breaking phenom Briana Lyston to win the 2022 ISSA Girls [Athletic] Championships.  With the new Champs format having many finals on days 2 and 3, and fewer on Friday (day 4), Edwin Allen held the lead coming into the final day and, with runners like the Clayton Twins, seemed poised to retain the trophy.  However, Hydel gave all they had, valiant efforts, which came up short.

On the boys side, it was Kingston College (372 points) over Jamaica College (300.83 points). Entering the final day 62.3 points behind leaders Kingston College (KC), defending champions Jamaica College (JC) never threatened on the final day though they racked up a lot of points.  However, KC just keep racking up points as well to keep them at bay and winning their 33rd Boys Championships.

Congratulations to the youngsters who came out and performed well.

Also, big ups to ISSA, the coaches, officials, announcers, commentators, and others who made the event a successful one.

Girls Championships

 1. Edwin Allen High         352        2. Hydel High              295
 3. St. Jago High            249        4. Holmwood Technical      174
 5. Excelsior High           107        6. St. Catherine High       83   
 6. Wolmer's Girls            83        8. Immaculate Conception    76   
 9. Vere Technical            53.      10. Camperdown High          38

Boys Championships

 1. Kingston College         372        2. Jamaica College         300.83
 3. Calabar High             170        4. St Jago                 147
 5. Edwin Allen High          95        6. St Elizabeth Technical   88
 7. Excelsior High.           56        8. Wolmer's Boys            55
 9. Herbert Morrison High     35.33    10. Manchester High          32

Talk to me nuh

It is over but what is your opinion about this year’s Champs?  Talk to me nuh?

It’s Edwin Allen again but Jamaica College NOT Kingston College #Champs2021

Many time winners, Edwin Allen Comprehensive High, held off the dangerous St Jago to win the 2021 ISSA Girls [Athletic] Championships.  Edwin Allen held the lead coming into the final day and, with runners like the Clayton Twins, seemed poised to retain the trophy.  However, St Jago and Hydel gave all they had, valiant efforts, which came up short.  However, it was the first time 3 schools surpassed 300 points at Girls Champs.

On the Boys side, it was Jamaica College (328.5) over Kingston College (313).  Initially JC had 240.5 to KC’s 311 but, because of a lane violation, the winning JC 4x400M team were disqualified and lost 12 points.  Many time winners KC held a tiny lead coming into today’s (Saturday May 15, 2021) final day but, JC had representatives in more finals and they outperformed their KC counterparts. JC and KC also made it the first time 2 boys schools surpassed 300 points at Boys Champs.

Congratulations to the youngsters who came out and performed well even with the format changes and no spectators due to the Covid pandemic.

Also, big ups to ISSA, the coaches, officials, and others who made the event a successful one.

Girls Championships

 1. Edwin Allen High         340        2. St. Jago High           309.50
 3. Hydel High               301.50     4. Holmwood Technical      160.50
 5. Vere Technical           128        6. St. Catherine High       75   
 7. Rusea's High              70        8. Wolmer's Girls School    57   
 9. Excelsior High            42.50    10. Clarendon College        40   

11. St. Elizabeth Technical   30       12. St. Mary High            24   
13. Manchester High           21.50    14. The Queen's School       20   
15. Alpha Academy             19.50    16. Merl Grove High          13.50
17. Camperdown High           13       17. Alphansus Davis High     13   
19. Mount Alvernia High       12       20. Ferncourt High            9

Boys Championships

 1. Jamaica College          328.50     2. Kingston College        313
 3. Calabar High             241.50     4. St. Elizabeth Tech      181
 5. St. Jago High            129        6. Edwin Allen High         76
 7. Wolmer's Boys School      68.50     8. Excelsior High           58
 9. Vere Technical            23       10. Maggotty High            21

11. Cornwall College          18.50    12. Bellefield High          18
12. Petersfield High          18       14. Holmwood Technical       13
14. Clarendon College         13       16. Ferncourt High           10
16. Campion College           10       18. St. George's College      7
18. Rusea's High               7       20. Camperdown High           6
20. Hydel High                 6

Talk to me nuh

It is over but what is your opinion about this year’s Champs?  Talk to me nuh?

Citizens beware of scammers; Scammers people are on to you

Good day.  If you or any loved one live in the United States of America, Canada, the United Kingdom, or Australia, you need to watch these videos. Scum… er… Scammers continue to run amok, bilking unsuspecting people from hundreds, thousands, to tens of thousands of dollars daily, and occasionally over a hundred thousand, often the people’s entire life savings.  Some of the people, when the find out they have been scammed go into depression as the money doesn’t get recovered, some even committing suicide.  Yes, scammers have caused people to commit suicide.

The Scammers from within those countries themselves are terrible but, worse, are the scammers from the following regions:

  1. Africa –> mainly Nigeria
  2. Asia –> mainly India
  3. Caribbean –> mainly Jamaica

Understand that the vast majority of people from those countries are law-abiding people, would NEVER scam anyone, and do not support such behavior.  The Africans, Asians, and Caribbean people I know, are all appalled at the behavior of these scammers from their region or country.

But, there is some good news.  There are people getting arrested, scam centers and operations (from home/offices) getting shut down, and few scammers turning “informant” against their own operations.

Africa – Nigeria

Asia – India

https://youtu.be/9gjr_VSmaQY

Caribbean – Jamaica