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Yowlink
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.

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

Buju Banton deh pon street again after release December 07, 2018

it is official.  Buju Banton, born Mark Anthony Myrie, has been released from prison after being arrested in December 2009 and convicted in February 2011.  It is a big deal and cell videos surfaced immediately of Buju Banton boarding the plane.

The Free Buju group here on on Yowlink seems to have been updated (the image removed already) by the group’s administrators.

Many fans and well-wishers did not expect Buju to be convicted back in February 2011 but we remember how sad it was when the news broke that he had received 10 years in a maximum security prison.

But, nevertheless, he is free and we expect the buzz to continue for days, weeks, and the next few months. Yowlink hopes to get an interview with the newly-released Reggae icon. Right now, we have to just “join the line“. Stay tuned.

Yow Yawdies, Caribbean people, Reggae music enthusiasts, and others, what do you have to say about the incarceration, the trial, and Buju in general?

Yow, talk to me nuh?

Discussion: How to combat crime

Despite what some “statistics” published about various cities/parishes/states in the North America and the Caribbean, violent and disturbing crimes appear to be on the rise. Murder, rapes, targeting, kidnapping, school shootings, workplace shootings, drive-by-shootings, police shooting of the unarmed, home invasions, and so on. Understand that violent crimes have increased in other parts of the world other than North America and the Caribbean but we will focus on those closer to home.  You see, I am of Caribbean descent and live in the United States of America.

Why should criminals continue to make us feel helpless?

It is really sad and depressing how helpless one can feel when one hears of returning citizens and retirees being robbed and brutally murdered in Jamaica, kids and families kidnapped and brutally murdered in Trinidad & Tobago, school, workplace, and church shootings in the USA, and others… yet nothing gets done or whatever is attempted does not work. Many times we get lip service from the authorities and government. Some times we know what they “decide to try” is just to pacify their voters because there is no chance the plan(s) would ever work. There are lots of games being played by politicians (henceforth referred to as “poli-tricksters” in this piece) in North America and the Caribbean nations.  Some may even mean well but, because they or their loved ones are not affected by some of these crimes, they often ignore or pass bad policies.  To the politicians we say, “Come walk a mile in our shoes.”  To the criminals we say, “Unlike current poli-tricksters, we the citizens are starting to think and you have been put on notice.”  Your actions will have to stop…. and, unlike you, fed-up citizens will not break the law to get you to curtail your behaviors… We will be using our brains, common sense, and collaboration.

Children and families at risk

Our children are at risk of being murdered by insane gun-wielding psychopaths in school… and it gets worse because poli-tricksters continue to play poli-tricks. People are less safe on the streets (road rage, crazy and drunk drivers) and at work… Well, certainly they’re safer at home? Nope! Increases in home invasions, break-ins, criminals impersonating delivery/service persons or civil servants, clowns and idiots and drugged out individuals firing weapons during holiday celebrations along with the fireworks. I mean, that is just a small example of the madness that has to stop.

Why the increase?

But, what is the reason or reasons for all this madness and violence? I know that I have heard many reasons, some of which I agree with. Below’s a subset of  what I have heard. Can the increase in violent crimes be due to one, some, many, or all of the following and then some?

1. poor education – not exact but people with less education make less per capita. Obviously, there are exceptions and outliers and the poor neighborhoods are most victimized, sometimes by their own, sometimes by gangs, sometimes by law-enforcement officers.

2. far left and/or far right poli-tricksters

3. racism – people of ruling ethnicity despising and “hating on” others

4. other hate crimes – “throwing shade” on others to the point that it leads to violence or retaliation

5. lack of love for humanity – vanity and no love for humanity means one can lead to violence, If you love me, you won’t steal from me, lie about me, take my spouse, you won’t break into my house, you won’t try to physically harm me.

6. greed – criminals feel that what you have, they deserve to have, even at the cost of your life. Some of these criminals are your own relatives and friends, including people you send may even help out financially already.

7. recreational drugs and alcohol abuse – rampant and cause people to hallucinate, become dark, resort to violence

8. prescription drug abuse

9. separation from The Almighty – less and less people believe in a Creator much less a Creator’s expectation from humanity

10. black people – victimization and/or playing the victim

11. white people – oppressors and/or being oppressed

13. other people other than black or white people – not respected or seen as relevant

14. mental instability

15. violent video games – people, starting from an early age, spend too much time playing these games and so they have issues differentiating reality from game.

16. violent movies and TV shows – line between terrorist and terrorized, criminals and victims, law breakers and law enforcers is blurred and sometimes the criminals are the stars.

17. glorification of weapons, particularly the gun

18. feeling of empowerment when”strapped” with a weapon

19. tail wagging the dog – children rule households and parents not allowed to discipline.

20. mankind have given up their “birthright” to the devil (dark forces).

21. fake news and “reality” TV

22. disruption of elections by unscrupulous persons or systems within a country or without.

Potential Solutions

1. poor education – get public and private investors to invest in children K-12; get volunteers to tutor kids and help with reading, mathematics, and home work IN school after regular classes –those volunteers have to be vetted and supervised.

2. far left and/or far right poli-tricksters – don’t vote for OR vote out extreme right and extreme left poli-tricksters and those who propagate hatred and build up enmity among citizens, immigrants, and neighboring countries, or force everything goes type of attitude

3. racism – similar to #1 but educating people that we are all one race and a city divided cannot stand so it’s best to love each other.

4. other hate crimes – same as #3

5. lack of love for humanity – same as #3.

6. greed – education

7. recreational drugs and alcohol abuse – education

8. prescription drugs abuse – education and counselling

9. separation from The Almighty – stop blocking God and stop forcing God… Let people who believe in God be able to worship freely.

10. black people – bleaching is not the answer.  education of people (including other black people) who think black people is the problem

11. white people – tanning or burning int he sun is not the answer – education about history and what a united front can do

13. other people other than black or white people – education

14. mental instability – not sure why there is a rise here… the food?  the drugs?  the hard drugs?  the hormones? the fact that kids are not well-rounded and don’t get out to play anymore, instead it’s all about Instagram, Snapchat, FaceBook, cell phones, video games… Parents and schools should encourage outdoor activities and other activities not using any of those social-media or video games.

15. violent video games – same as #14.

16. violent movies and TV shows – same as #14

17. glorification of weapons, particularly the gun

18. feeling of empowerment when”strapped” with a weapon – I don’t begrudge people with their weapons but it is not too late to do background checks to prevent homes with mentally unstable or violent individuals from having weapons and disallow non-service members from taking weapons into buildings.

19. tail wagging the dog – children rule households and parents are not allowed to discipline them – allow parents to discipline their children NOT abuse them.

20. mankind have given up their “birthright” to the devil (dark forces). – this is biblical but the darkness in humanity is so widespread that, first, we have to return to God and the teachings of the “perfect law” (ten commandments) of liberty.

21. fake news and “reality” TV – this just brings out what is already inside people so education is the key. Verify what you see but, before that, educate people against major biases that exist in pockets of society and within schools. Schools populated by extreme left or extreme right administration influence the students much more than we think. Parents do some research and do not send your children to these schools. Also, extreme left (e.g. MSNBC) and extreme right (e.g.Fox News) tend to intentionally brainwash their sheeple. Watch more politically neutral stations if you can find them.

22. disruption of elections by unscrupulous persons or systems within a country or without. – increase awareness

Discuss

I hope I didn’t come off too preachy… because I don’t want to be seen as a rose-colored glasses-wearing individual standing on my soapbox seated on a high horse.

Do you agree with any of the points / reasons listed? If so, which ones?

Do you have any other reasons to add?

Either way, the current methods are NOT working, so let’s have a discussion on how we can combat this increase in crime?