Sunday, July 21, 2019

Cutting the Cord

As an older person, technology is always a challenge.  It changes so fast.  Every time we get a grip on the latest products, it changes.  When our oldest daughter went to college thirty years ago, she had a tiny Macintosh computer.  It was more of a word processor than anything else, but we thought it was the latest and greatest.  We had an even earlier computer.  It was an Atari computer.  We still have it in a box in the basement.  It's probably a collectors item at this point.

Fast forward those thirty years and look where we are now.  No wonder some of it is overwhelming.  Now small children have tablets where they can play games and watch movies.  Elementary school students have smart phones.  Go to any restaurant and see everyone at the table staring at their devices.  This is probably a very big downside to technology, but it is the way of the world.  My fear is that face to face communication will soon be obsolete.  People are much braver talking through devices than in person.  Even I panic if I go somewhere without my phone, and I went to college with a pay phone in the corner of each floor of the dorm.  I can't do anything about it, but there is something I could do about price gouging by cable and satellite companies.

I heard about streaming, but I thought it was just about watching movies on your computer.  I still don't really understand exactly how it works, but I discovered I don't need to know how it works but just need to know it does work.  We were a family who has gotten good introductory deals from the cable company and from satellite dishes.  They give you unbelievable offers.  When you ask if the price will go up, they lie and say no.  We know it's a lie, but decide to take a chance.  Sure enough, within 6 months the prices starts creeping up.  We call and they give us another offer.  It isn't as good as the first, but acceptable.  Then boom the price doubles, and they won't negotiate. Time to switch from cable to a dish system.  Repeat the pricing sequence and now it was time to move on again.  We were at that point, but didn't know where to go.  Then thanks to my Facebook friends, we discovered streaming TV.  Last week we tried a seven day trial offer from Hulu Live.  At first I was not impressed.  Hulu Live did not work on our Sony smart TV and another Vizio TV had distorted sound..  I consulted my nephew and a cousin.  They suggested a fire stick.  This is where I don't understand how it works, but it does work.  I went to Best Buy and they confirmed that my problems could be solved with a fire stick.  I opted for the 4K Amazon Fire Stick for $49 each.  If I could get the same or better TV for $44.99 a month plus a one time purchase of $98 in fire sticks, then I would be saving money after the first month.  We were raised to $172 by DirectTV which prompted this change in the first place.  It worked.  We can access Hulu Live from all of our televisions, laptops and phones plus the sound on the small Vizio is fine.  I have Amazon prime so I can look at all my photos by just speaking "photos" into the microphone. We are getting channels we didn't even get on satellite tv.  I just talk into the microphone to ask for a show or I ask for a series.  I'm given the choice of which season and which episode.  Then you just choose the show and watch or record to My Stuff.  My husband isn't quite convinced because there is a learning curve, but for me it's wonderful.

I know that now that we made this decision and finally caught up with this decade, we will be alright for a while.  Six months from now, who knows.  All this will probably be obsolete, but I will cross that bridge later.  There are several streaming companies with no contract, so we can try another if necessary.  I love that I can watch all my local programming, and my routine will remain the same.

I am putting this info in a blog for July 21, 2019.  It could be quite comical to see what it will be like in another thirty years or even five years.  I won't be here to see it thirty years from now, but my family members might get a chuckle out of how it was back in the old days.

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