Category: Streaming

Hulu TV Price Increase

This is a message for my Hulu Live TV clients.

You are a special sub group of my clients that has eschewed traditional pay TV services and are true CORD CUTTERS.

Unfortunately, as more people subscribe to Live TV replacement services (like You Tube TV and Hulu Live TV) and the field shrinks (Sony VUE is going out of business) — pricing is going to go up.  It would not surprise me if Comcast and other cable providers and ATT (which owns DirecTV)  are doing some kind of back room manipulation to make channels charge more to You Tube TV and Hulu Live TV.

You Tube TV now charges $50 a month and they admitted that even at that price they are making about $1 a month per subscriber.  Google can bear this break even model because they are Google and I think they want to be a disruptive force.   As of Dec. 18th, Hulu Live TV is going up to $55 a month.  It is what it is.  Remember there are no long term contracts.

Keep in mind that your Hulu Live TV subscription also includes original shows produced by Hulu — like Handmaid’s Tale and tons of movies / TV shows ” on Demand”, basically their equivalent of Netflix.  So you are truly getting traditional Hulu + Live TV.  Be sure to check out all of that content you are entitled to.

Since there are no contracts — you could always switch to or check out You Tube TV. Or you may want to forgo the Live TV part all together and just subscribe to streaming services like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Apple TV +, Hulu, or Disney +.   You may want one or a couple of those services.

However you want to stream — I will be there to help you.  

Technology Nostalgia

Streaming Video Specialist

I just wanted to remind you or make you aware that I am your streaming video specialist.   You may be looking to looking to cut the cord — cancel traditional pay TV and use a live channel replacement service like You Tube TV or Hulu TV or piece together streaming services like Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV + or others in lieu of channels.  You may be looking just to supplement your traditional TV subscription with those streaming services.   I can help.    I can also set you up so you can watch all of your Comcast / Xfinity live channels on your computer, smartphone or tablet.   I can set you up with streaming players like the Apple TV, Roku player, Amazon Fire Stick, or the software baked into your Smart TV (which usually isn’t as good).   I always prefer one of the streaming players that gets added to the TV.  They can be as low as $50 or less.  Of course you will pay monthly for the streaming services you want to use (with the exception of plain You Tube or rentals).  Amazon Prime Video is included with your Prime membership.   I have helped clients open up new dimensions to their video viewing.   You know who to call. 

Remote Clients

I do support some out of state clients through “screen sharing” software that allows me to view and in some cases control (with permission of course) their computer.   I have also been receiving referrals to Connecticut clients outside the Hartford area. I am very appreciative. I do charge more for example on a job “east of the river” or “down by the shore” but I will still gladly help those clients. I will disclose rates to a client before beginning work so there are no surprises.   A basic statement of rates is found on my website — westhartfordtechsupport.com .  I also have a 1 page complete statement of billing policies, which can be provided to you at any time upon request. 


iOS 13 Frustrations Continued

You should all have iOS 13 (known as iPad OS 13 on the iPad) on your Apple mobile devices by now.  Last week an important update, 13.2, came out.  A client brought a concern to me — that saving pictures from a text message / iMessage has changed in iOS 13.   I looked into it and found that there may be just one method available for older iPhones.  Previously, you could press and hold on the picture and press SAVE or you could tap to “open” the photo and then press the share button (the square with the upward arrow).  While both methods still work for me (iPhone 11), on the client’s iPhone 8 only the press and hold method worked.  Please be aware of this.


iOS 13 Lessons

Given that there are these changes that seem a bit jarring in iOS 13, I want to offer the opportunity of having a few lessons with me in the new operating environment so that you can function at your full potential.  One thing I did with clients 2 years ago, when iOS 11 came out, was work through a “field guide” together.   The current version of the e-book we used is called “Take Control of iOS 13 and iPad OS 13”.   Even if you did not want to work through a few chapters with me to improve competency, I would highly recommend the $15 e-book.   https://www.takecontrolbooks.com/ios-13-ipados-13/

Technology Nostalgia

I was thinking about how far we have come with technology.  These days we are using pocket sized phones and tablets as the computers we spend the most time on.  Everything is so digital.  A few nights ago I felt like I was being forced to file an insurance claim online.  I just wanted to talk to a live person.  Finally, I was able to.   I began reflecting on how far I have evolved in the area of phone technology.  Going back to my earliest days with the computer, I would dial into the internet on the home phone line (tying it up so no other calls could get through).  Talk about a way to cut down on scam sales calls!   Later on as I was starting my first business, and about 2 years before my first cell phone, I had the need to make cheap long distance calls.  I subscribed to a quarterly billed phone called “Phone Tel” — not to be confused with other companies with the same name.  I think I was a customer until about the year 2000.  Working in healthcare, my father was a regular pager or “beeper” user.  I got one when I turned 18 but ultimately didn’t find it that useful.  AOL Instant Messenger or AIM and AOL e-Mail were my messaging tools of choice for several years.  My first cell phone was a Motorola Star TAC.  This was the phone to have 20 years ago.  If you don’t remember it — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_StarTAC

Special Review of Apple’s Sept 10 Event

I wanted to give you a special review of Apple’s Big Event on Tuesday September 10 and make you aware of their new products and services.

As a reminder, I am ready to be your iPhone upgrade specialist. I can help you order your iPhone 11 model and help you get set up – as I have done for years. I will ensure data isn’t lost in the transfer by doing a FULL ENCRYPTED BACKUP via iTunes and restore to your new iPhone. No shortcuts here.

Apple Arcade: Apple is launching a video game service with unique titles – aimed at all ages. Games can be played across iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV. $4.99 / month for the whole family.

Apple TV Plus: This is Apple’s answer to Netflix and Hulu (for now and may become bigger). Apple will have original shows and movies. There will be add-ons available. This service will not include free access to the thousands upon thoughts of titles available in the iTunes Store already. It launches in November – at a very friendly $4.99 / month for a family subscription.

iPad: Apple’s basic iPad is still $329 and it is getting a bump up in screen size to 10.2 inches. If it’s been 3 or 4 years since your last iPad – you may really want to consider it. It’s better than ever and if needed it supports the Smart Keyboard for the first time.

Apple Watch: The Apple Watch 5 may have been the star of the show. It is getting more sophisticated at tracking our health and helping us improve our lives. An emphasis was really made on older adults in the presentation and how the heart rate monitor and EKG feature can help save lives. Pricing starts at $399, if you don’t mind the rubber strap (I don’t). Apple also wants to make sure that Apple Watch technology is available to all. Therefore they are selling the Apple Watch 3 for $199, a great alternative to the Fit Bit Versa. However, just remember – you will need the Apple Watch 4 and later to get the EKG feature. Perhaps a deal may be available on the Apple Watch 4 – where models are still available.

DRUM ROLL PLEASE — HERE ARE YOUR NEW IPHONES

iPhones: Apple really wowed on their base iPhone – the iPhone 11 – which is a replacement for the iPhone XR. Not only does it have 2 cameras and come in more color options – but they dropped the price from $749 to $699. Way to go Apple! This the iPhone that most customers will be buying and will be the one most appropriate for my clients.

However, there are 2 super premium Pro level iPhones also coming out – the iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max. They are priced at $999 and $1099 respectively (same as last year. A common thought is – the Pro is for users who want a PRO CAMERA. This is true. I really think if you learn to use one of these Pro iPhones– they can be as good as a $400-500 camera. Truth be told, I can think of 2 other reasons for the Pro. You would want the 11 Pro if you absolutely want the SMALLEST new iPhone. The 11 Pro is 5.8 inches diagonally vs 6.1 inches for the iPhone 11. Also, the iPhone 11 Pro Max is the one for you if you want the LARGEST new iPhone – clocking in at 6.5 inches diagonally. Keep in mind, you will pay $300 to $400 more for these size preferences.

Personally, speaking I am doing my best effort to get my pre order in for a regular iPhone 11 this morning. Pre-orders start today and shipments begin on September 20th.

Conclusion: I watched the whole event live. I think it was Apple’s best product / service event since the passing of Steve Jobs in 2011.

Technology Appetizers

Welcome to this week’s installment of my Update.  Hope you’ve enjoyed the La Croix seltzer.  My servers will be around with the technology appetizers for you.   Oh, here comes the first one….
1. Samsung’s new S10 smartphones (S10e, S10, S10+) appear to be selling well.  As I mentioned before, if you are sick of the iPhone or want to try a phone of that caliber with a slightly different look and feel — this would be the one to grab.  In general, my clients are iPhone users.  However, there are some Android enthusiasts among us.  Others simply don’t want to get involved with Apple products or prefer an Android phone (like the Galaxy S) for very specific reasons.  The two that I can think of are — better voice dictation (no doubt) and better cameras in some instances.   I am glad Apple has followed their lead by offering promotions (either directly or through carriers) if you buy a new iPhone and trade an old one in. In a mature industry, Apple can’t sit on its hands.
Oh boy, this tray looks a little stale.
2. Password Problems:  I’m still coming across customers who are using weak passwords or who don’t take password security seriously.  It’s really frustrating after I keep bringing up this topic over and over again.  Passwords should be different for EVERY WEBSITE.  Sensitive passwords should be changed at least every 6 months.  If you have trouble coming up with one, start with a secure “base” for each website and add a unique ending to each one.   Think of something that is easy for you to remember but hard for others to guess.  A password manager (whether manual or electronic) is critical.  Some of you use browser based password managers — in Safari, Chrome, or Firefox.  The teacher in me will give you a passing grade for that.  Take advantage of the features offered, such as when they suggest a secure password.  Make sure you know how to look up the passwords in the browser.  Better yet, if passwords really matter to you, use a paid password manager such as 1Password or Last Pass.   If you are at the back of the class, you are using a paper based password manager.  At the very least — keep this organized.  
Look here comes another round of…..
3.  Apple News:  Apple had their event on Monday.  Some analysts have called it a big dud.  One thing is for sure, Apple is getting deeper into the media business.  They are now offering Apple News + on iPhone, iPad and Mac.   It will cost $9.99 / mo after the free 1st month.  You will get access to leading newspapers like the WSJ and LA Times along with a library of major magazines.  Major papers such as the NY Times and Washington Post have declined to participate.   However, the real entree was Apple TV+.   This umbrella service will include Apple’s existing catalog of TV shows and movies for rent, plus original programming (similar to Netflix), plus easy access to cable channels and premium channels.  It will not only be available on Apple TV boxes (overpriced with a terrible remote if you ask me) but also on other streaming boxes like Roku (great) and smart TV’s.   It all sounds very exciting.  It could very well be the ultimate portal for cord cutters.    But — there’s a big but — what is the price?
They didn’t say. What?  That will be mentioned later.   And this was an Apple event?    It seems so half baked.  I think they are still making their content deals with the various channels and content providers.  It wasn’t all ironed out yet.   It will be very interesting to see how competitive they are with You Tube TV and Hulu Live TV — the leaders in the clubhouse that charge $40 to $45 per month.    One thing is certain, Apple wants to make this available to as many people as possible and not only those who own Apple hardware.  Let’s wait and see.
Hope you have a safe drive home.  Thanks for stopping by this little gathering.

Hulu Live TV–2 Million Strong

Attention Hulu Cord Cutter Clients:

I just want to let you know that you are in good company.  Subscriber numbers came out last week.  Hulu Live TV has 2 million subscribers.  Their chief rival – You Tube TV has 1 million.   So in total, that’s a giant black eye for the cable company.

I also want to make you aware that Hulu also has their own original “TV shows” as part of your package in addition to the live channels they provide.  Be sure to check those options out.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_original_programs_distributed_by_Hulu

For example, the Handmaid’s Tale has gotten rave reviews.  Previous seasons are available now and the next season starts in June.

If you have any other friends / family that want to cut the cord — tell them about me.  In about a 2 hour session, I will have them straightened out.

Cord Cutting Part 3 – Numbers Please

In a previous discussion on streaming I mentioned that a $70.00 a month cable internet package (or better) would be a appropriate option for “cord cutting”.  As I always strive to provide accuracy in recommendations, I want to tell you that the current (stand alone) price for the Performance (60/5) internet package with Comcast is 74.99.   I was within a Starbucks drink of the price. 🙂  Comcast does charge a bit more if you only have one product with them, but you do get that freedom of not being bound by a bundle or a contract.  Also by being an Internet only customer with the cable company (or Internet / TV, no phone), you can save $13 per month by purchasing your own cable modem.    I don’t want to leave out the phone company either.   I recently reviewed Frontier’s pricing and it seems they are offering a 45/6 package for new customers for 24.99 and a faster package for 29.99 per month.   In areas where they have true fiber to the home, the speeds will be even better. I have some clients that get by with less speed doing 1 stream at a time but I would like to err on the side of enough enough bandwidth.   Fast phone company service with your own router — can work.

Established customers usually aren’t respected. Want to get new customer pricing? Cancel your services for a few days (few weeks when you go on vacation) and then have your spouse sign up as a new customer.  .  I can confirm this strategy worked with a family member, but YMMV (your mileage may vary). 

For those of you in the West Hartford Center area and nearby neighborhoods — you actually have one more choice for internet — a true fiber optic provider that has moved into the area.  The company is called Go Net Speed.  I would strongly urge you to consider them.  They offer a 150 MB/s connection for $50 a month and no junk fees.   This may be your one chance to break free of the monopolies.  https://gonetspeed.com/ .  They hope to build out more areas soon. Fill out the form to request service in your neighborhood.