Choose Wisely With An Eye Towards Cost!
Welcome to step five in setting up your streaming TV. Now we are going to make an assumption here that even if you have an Internet service provider right now you’re thinking about changing. This means that we are going to start from scratch and show you what you should be looking for in a provider. Depending on where you are in the country this will generally boil down to two providers, your local phone company and Comcast. Satellite Internet is an option but the cost far outweighs the benefits for most people.
The good news is that you really don’t have to have the fastest Internet available in order to stream TV. Yes it is data intensive but you only need to stream it just so fast in order for your TV to operate pause free. Deciding on how high a definition picture you want will pretty much set your minimum speed requirements. One quick warning though if you have a lot of people in your household hooked up to Internet with everything from phones the tablets you might want I had more to your speed requirements as a buffer.
Below is a quick rule of thumb for deciding what your slowest speed should be.
Speeds required for different qualities of television.
- Standard definition 480p – 1 Mbps to 2 Mbps
- High definition 720p – 2.25 Mbps to 4.5 Mbps
- High definition 1080p – 4.5 Mbps to 9 Mbps
Most Internet providers across the country now have no trouble delivering the speeds you will need to stream even high definition 1080p video. So the chart above is more of something for you to keep in mind when checking on your Internet service. The bigger question you’re going to be answering his how much do I want to pay for what I’ll be getting or even better, what I will be using.
If you presently have Internet service at home and you would like to keep it, but want to know how fast is moving here is a link where you can check your speed. Speedtest.net
Since it is impossible to know what company in your area is going to be available to provide your service we are going to concentrate on the two mentioned previously, Comcast and the phone company.
Odds are if you have cable television now Comcast is the one you’re getting it through. Comcast offers three basic flavors of broadband Internet service which are 6, 20 and 50 megabit packages. These packages range in price presently from $49.95 a month to $114.95 a month for Internet only service. Now any given point in time they will be offering special deals if you bundle other services such as television or phone.
Since you’re thinking about streaming your TV we are going to assume that you’re not going to want to bundle your television with your Internet. That does leave bundling your phone service with it though, but beware the contract will be for two years and the lower prices will only be for one year. My suggestion would be if you’re still one of the few people in the country that has a landline ditch that too and stick with cell phone for everything.
Your local phone company will provide you broadband service by way of DSL or digital subscriber line. Again depending on where you are in the country and which provider you have will determine how much speed they can provide you. The good news is though that even one of their slowest speeds, which is generally around 7 megabits is more than fast enough stream high definition TV. The only time it may become a problem is when you’re trying to stream TV and do some other data intensive functions at the same time.
As a representative company we will use CenturyLink and presently they offer numerous speed options with everything from 784K all the way up to 40 megabits being available. Their pricing plans are also wide ranging it’s just a matter of how much you want to spend. I wholeheartedly suggest that if you want to consider using somebody like CenturyLink simply climb on their website, open up the chat box and talk to somebody online. I do not suggest that you call them though because I find it much easier to keep track of what they’re telling me if I have a printed log of our conversation in front of me. Also don’t make the sale to easy on them; they may have added incentives that you won’t find out about until you look like you’re not buying.
In addition if you’re up for it you can also do bundling with these folks as well, it all depends and deals they have going when you contact them. You will get a deal! The thing is to remember is that when the deal runs out and you start paying the regular rates contact them and make it sound like you’re leaving. They have a whole department set up to make sure that you don’t and you will probably get your deal back.
With both of the services you will be required have either a cable modem (Comcast) or an ADSL modem (CenturyLink). You will have the option to either rent or buy one of these devices. My suggestion would be to ignore that and by your own online and do the setup yourself. It’s fairly simple and unless they wave the fees it will save you some money as well.
Here’s a trick I learned from a technician at CenturyLink and it should still work. They have a customer care feature that costs around 12 bucks a month and can be canceled at any time. Order this at the time you set up your account and then have them send you the equipment for you to install yourself. If you put it together and it doesn’t work or you are not getting the speeds you think you should then call them and they will send out a technician under the customer care. So the bottom line is instead of it costing you $45 for a technician to come out and install your equipment it will cost you $12 under the customer care if you set up and needed to be fixed. Remember this will only work if you have rented or purchased their equipment. Once they have it working, cancel the customer care. Yes I know it’s a little bit shady
Just remember that when you’re talking to these folks don’t let them sell you a Cadillac system unless you want one. I presently run my system through a CenturyLink 7 megabit connection and everything runs just fine with no pausing in TV and no problems so far with the Internet going down.
Also remember that Comcast will be a shared system, which means you will be on it with a number of folks in your neighborhood. This means that when everybody’s on it at the same time your speeds will slow down. Your local phone company on the other hand when providing your Internet through DSL will provide fairly constant speeds.
Now I’m sure there are other options out there in your neck of the woods, but these are the two most common you’ll come up with and until the bandwidths of the wireless providers are where they need to be, your home broadband will probably be tied very closely to these two alternatives.Tom