Out of Mind

My friend Rob is obsessed with aesthetics.

He lives near Los Angeles, but never switched to broadcast antenna television because he didn’t like how indoor antennas looked in his home. I can understand what he means. Most antennas are very well designed, but some homes have very specific colors and themes.

Rob’s place has matte colors and sort of a retro theme, which a shiny antenna may clash with.

Thankfully, Rob liked the look of a square leaf antenna. The square leaf is able to provide high quality HDTV, and has a nice and flat design. Its dark shade usually goes well with most color schemes.

The antenna is inexpensive. It is also incredibly versatile in terms of placement. Rob placed it on a wall, but it could also be laid on a flat surface.

I’m glad he finally cut off cable tv. Living near a broadcast city like Los Angeles gives him access to a lot of free and uncompressed television. Any good indoor antenna would provide him with plenty of content.

If you’re more like me, and don’t live as close to broadcast towers, outdoor antennas work just as well for longer distances. You can still enjoy the same quality of free HDTV thanks to signal amplification technology.

Most Pressing News

Interview

It’s important to know what’s going on in the world around you. News channels provide you with a simple and efficient link to significant events that may be occurring. However, more often than not, what is happening close to home is the highest priority. That is why it is often better to watch local news rather than national or global news.

Cable providers are able to offer you a large amount of television channels. Major news networks are usually included in those television packages. While it isn’t a bad idea to keep up with the US through major channels like CNN, most of what is reported in such channels have very little impact in your day to day life. Celebrity controversies and unfortunate tragedies are interesting to watch, which is why major news networks tend to cover those subjects. You may also end up discussing these topics during social gatherings, but that is the most those news topics are good for.

Local news, which you can usually get using HDTV antennas, provide you with information that can actually influence your lifestyle. You will be able to learn about what roads may be blocked off or what issues nearby districts might be dealing with. You could avoid roads that have reported accidents or keep a closer watch on your home when nearby burglaries have been an issue. Thankfully, most households in the US will be within range of local digital antenna signals. Improving the connection within a community is much more efficient with the presence of such local channels.

The Data War

Cable companies have built up a lot of control over the years. They have had nearly undisputed control over utilities everyone is socially expected to have for decades. Although there are many big name cable companies available in the US, due to the locations where they cover, there is little to no competition between them.

If you’ve ever done any research on cable company reviews, you know that nearly all of their customers are not satisfied. This is because they don’t have anything to worry about regarding competition. There is rarely ever a full blown economic battle between companies like Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Comcast. Each has control over certain districts in the country where they are free to charge as much as they want to their customers.

Competition in a capitalist market it the best way for consumers to benefit in terms of prices. The more competition companies have for getting costumers, the more they are willing to provide you for your money. Even though customers are very unhappy with the cable companies, the customers really don’t have too much of a choice over what services they can get. Even with all that dissatisfaction, monthly fees continue to rise and customer service continues to disappoint.

Cable companies are strongly against Digital antenna tv, since it’s a one time payment option for costumers to provide television service for their homes. However, HDTV antennas are hard for cable companies to restrict since they are regular transferable goods. Instead, cable companies just increase fees on their existing customers and do whatever they can to keep new cable services from gaining ground on their territories.

Companies like Google and T-mobile are currently fighting to get into the industry against the current big name cable and service providers. Google is in the process of trying to install Google Fiber across the country, a fiber optics service that would rival services like Verizon Fios and create large amounts of competition. T-mobile has been offering unlimited data plans, so that mobile users would be free to surf the internet as much as they want.

Google Fiber has recently been able to get some ground in Kansas thanks to local partnerships. Unfortunately, new legislation has been brought to the table in Kansas, trying to outlaw the factors that allowed Google to gain ground in the area. Big cable can be seeing lobbying for their own profits and advantages, which just slows down progress to a fairer market.

Big cable can see the competition trying to break into the market, and they are doing their best to put a stop to it. A great majority of people are all on the side against big cable, although big cable has an intimidating amount of influence in the government. This is a war of money and power, which will slowly affect the present culture.

Open Internet in Distress – Net Neutrality has Fallen

Gavel

On Tuesday, January 14, 2014, a federal court ruled against the Open Internet Order of the FCC (Federal Communications Commission). This in turn threatens the government’s policy of net neutrality.

The policies that were formally in place were able to keep ISPs (Internet Service Providers) from blocking or favoring certain types of internet content for their wired services (cable internet). Now that the new ruling is in place, cable ISPs will now be able to control how fast certain sites can be accessed.

In other words, sites that the ISPs favor (most likely because they will be made to pay a certain amount in fees) will made faster or easier to access from the ISP’s internet. On the other end, all other sites not favored by the ISPs will be much harder to access, or even blocked entirely.

This is terrible news for services like Netflix and Youtube, which provide high quality video streaming over the internet. Videos require a massive amount of bandwidth in order to be viewed, and if those services are not deemed favorable by an ISP, people using that particular ISP’s internet service will be unable to freely access those services.

Due to the likely outcome of content providers paying ISPs for their content to have priority, the services provided by the content providers will likely increase in price or be modified in other ways to increase revenue and offset the fee paid to ISPs. Providers with monthly fees like Netflix and Hulu may have to increase their monthly service charge, while providers like Youtube will have to increase advertisements or develop more paid content. Stocks in Netflix have already dipped noticeably in fear of these possibilities.

If the content providers don’t resort to increase prices and don’t pay the ISP for content priority, then traffic to their site will decrease due to access difficulties on the consumer end. An obvious way for consumers to regain access to their desired services would be to switch to a different ISP, however in certain areas there are very few choices for ISPs. If a person wants any internet access at all, they would usually have to subscribe to a very specific ISP. This restriction traps many consumers, which will reduce the revenue of many content providers.

The federal ruling itself was initiated when Verizon challenged the FCC’s Open Internet Order. The idea that net neutrality would be threatened was actually expected ever since HDTV antenna and streaming media providers had begun to take away cable television subscribers. The internet had become the new target for revenue by the cable companies. Antenna TV still remains untouched, but now streaming media may have to pay off cable internet service providers just so they can keep their content accessible.

There is a very real possibility that the internet may soon be regulated much like how cable tv is regulated. Websites may only be available on certain ISPs much like television channels. This is a very dangerous year for internet freedom.

The Upcoming Era

CablesCut

For half of the past decade, cable and satellite television providers have been steadily losing their grip on US households. Subscribers are dropping out by the hundreds of thousands per financial quarter, switching over to antenna HDTV and streaming media providers like Netflix and Hulu.

It is challenging to convince the population to enter into contracts or pay high monthly prices for advertisement loaded television in this age. High definition live antenna television is available for just a one time payment. Streaming media providers have plenty of shows and movies you can watch on your own schedule without advertisements to break your immersion. There is very little else that cable or satellite television has left to offer.

There is no doubt that cable and satellite television subscribers are going to continue decreasing in number. More of the population will move to HDTV antenna for their broadcast television, and entertainment will be dominated by the online streaming media providers.