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Cord Cutter Gift Guide!

By Internet

christmas-gift-wrapping-picjumbo-comWashington, DC — The holiday season is here!  It can be tough to find the perfect gift for everyone on your holiday shopping list.  For the cord cutter friends and family in our lives, in particular, it can be difficult to sort through the ever-evolving technology and available program offerings.  Let’s dive into our favorite streaming subscriptions and devices for cord cutters.

Subscription Services

Amazon Prime – Amazon Prime is an amazing service for many reasons – and if free two day delivery on millions of necessities isn’t enough of a draw, a subscription also gives your friends and loved ones access to original Amazon Prime programming, like Transparent and The Man in the High Castle. Purchasing an Amazon Prime subscription as a gift is easy, plus the gift is emailed on a day of your choosing – what a great gift option for family and friends that live far away!

Netflix – Netflix is a must-have for cord cutters. Its digital library of movies and TV shows is unparalleled. You can pick up a Netflix gift card at your local supermarket, drug store, or anywhere else you head to buy gift cards. Then, all your gift recipient needs to do is enter the code from the gift card and they are all set to use their new Netflix subscription.

Hulu – Hulu is a great service for cord cutters who want to stream both network TV and Showtime, in addition to original programming.  Much like Netflix, Hulu gift cards can be purchased at your local supermarket, drug stores, or technology superstore.  

Sports Packages – For cord cutters, live streaming sports can be the most difficult adjustment.  Why not make it easier for your friends and neighbors to catch all of their favorite teams and important games? With its ESPN partnership, Sling TV is the best bet for the general sports lover. But for fans of specific sports, the gift of an all-access pass to their favorite sport is a sure-fire slam dunk this holiday season. Our favorites include NFL League Pass, MLB.TV, NBA TV and NHL.TV.

Streaming Devices and Equipment

Roku – James, our Customer Service Specialist, is a big fan of Roku Premiere+.  As we have written about in the past, in our experience, in densely populated, actively streaming communities, like the ones DC Access serves, an Ethernet port connected set-top box streaming device always provides the fastest and clearest media streaming experience.

Noise Cancelling Headphones – What if your friend is trying to catch up on the latest season of House of Cards and their roommate is wrapping gifts and listening to holiday music at full blast? We recommend noise cancelling headphones like these from Samsung to make sure your friend don’t miss a minute of President Underwood’s latest machinations and schemes.

Indoor HDTV Antenna – An indoor HDTV antenna is crucially important for cord cutters who want better reception of network TV and local programming.  For people who live in DC, we suggest purchasing this HDTV Antenna.  If your cord cutter lives in a more rural area, the 1byone Amplified Antenna might be a better fit.  DC Access can also help set up your friend or family’s home with Free TV DC, to receive peak reception of local channels using an outdoor antenna.

Lap Desk – If that special cord cutter in your life streams content on mobile devices, you can help amp up their viewing experience with one small purchase – a lap desk!  Rather than holding devices or propping them up against couch pillows, we suggest using a lap desk like this one from LapGear for a steadier picture.

Over The Air DVR – Just because your friends and family cancelled their bundled cable contract doesn’t mean that they need to watch TV live without a DVR.  TiVO Roamio is an OTA DVR and Streaming Media Player with no monthly fees. This device is compatible only with HDTV Antenna – it doesn’t work with cable or satellite TV.  Plus this TiVO integrates with streaming services and is clever enough to search TV and streaming content at the same time.

Do you have any favorite streaming services or devices to add to our list?  Let us know!

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Don’t Miss a Second of Election Night Coverage!

By Internet, WiFi
i-voted-2Election Day is finally here!  Like most DC residents, we will be glued to our devices to make sure we don’t miss a moment of the exciting Election Night results.  Not sure where to turn for the most up-to-date news? Let DC Access help!
Broadcast channels and Cable News channels will provide some of your best election night streaming coverage.  The big three (CBS, NBC, and ABC) will offer live results and frequently updated news feeds.  You can also catch live-streams on CNN,MSNBC, and FoxNews (depending on your political leaning).
Twitter is also getting into the Election Night live-streaming fray.  Twitter recently announced a partnership with Buzzfeed to stream the night’s news.  Buzzfeed’s news reporters will be reporting live from New York.
The Washington Post is introducing a new Election Night streaming experience with live programming, a viewing party, and real-time updates.  We think viewing election results straight from the floor of the Washington Post is pretty cool!
Or maybe you have Election Fatigue?  Turn your ringer off and plug into a Netflix marathon!

Streaming Devices – Box Versus Stick

By Internet, WiFi

fire-tv   chromecast roku

Eager to cancel your expensive bundled cable contract? But waiting to cut the cord until you’re sure you won’t miss out on your favorite TV shows and movies?  Let DC Access help you choose the best streaming device for your home to get the optimal viewing experience.

The choice — streaming stick or set-top box?

There are lots of choices for streaming content to your home. And which is best can be confusing. Streaming sticks, such as Google Chromecast, Roku Streaming Stick, and Amazon Fire TV, are small, easily portable, and cost less than $50.  The streaming stick is easy to install and plugs directly into your TV’s HDMI port.  

By comparison, a set-top box, like the Fire TV box and Roku Premiere+, costs approximately $100, and requires a hard-wired Ethernet connection.

How to Choose?

In our experience, in densely populated, actively streaming communities, like the ones DC Access serves, a set-top box streaming device always provides the fastest and clearest media streaming experience. Due to their small size, streaming sticks are simply not capable of streaming the same volume of video content at optimum speeds. For example, even the newest Fire TV stick can only support resolution up to 1080p, while the set-top box can support much faster speeds.

Additionally, the Ethernet port connected set-top boxes provide a more stable connection.  If you live in a home with multiple wifi-connected devices, the streaming sticks will need to fight for connectivity, resulting in a more fragile connection. If your set-top box is connected directly to an Ethernet port on your router or a home plug device connected to your router, you’re less likely to miss the latest big reveal in Game of Thrones.

However, if you travel often, a streaming stick might be a better solution.  Streaming sticks can easily fit in your pocket or bag and are a good choice for people who are often on the go.

Looking for more information? DC Access recommends reading this piece by Digital Trends.

Getting Ready for Football Season – How to Stream Games

By Internet, WiFi

nfl kickoffOne of the truest signs of fall is the kickoff to the football season.  The National Football League is set to open on Thursday September 8 when the defending Super Bowl Champs Denver Broncos take on the Carolina Panthers. Lucky for cord cutters, it’s now easier than ever to catch every moment of the season without a cable contract. So break out your lucky jersey and best tailgate recipes, and get ready for some football!

Many NFL games are broadcast on Over-The-Air channels, so it’s easy for cord cutters to catch the local game for free on NBC, CBS, or Fox.  But if you’re looking for another game on any given Sunday, there are still lots of viewing options.

Monday Night Football on ESPN – In order to catch every Monday Night Football game on ESPN, you’ll need a subscription to either SlingTV’s Orange Package or PlayStation Vue to watch the games on your TV through a streaming device like Apple TV or Roku (DC Access recommends using a wired streaming device that plugs into an ethernet port, rather than a stick).

Twitter – New this year, fans will be able to watch 10 Thursday night NFL games live on Twitter.  It’s not yet clear how exactly this partnership will work, but be sure to follow @NFL on Twitter to get the latest details!

NFL Game Pass – You can also go right to the source and buy a subscription to NFL GamePass, which gives fans access to every game ever played from 2009 to the present.  The only downside is that you can’t stream live games; replays are available immediately after the live broadcast is over. So if you want the freedom to watch your games at a time most convenient for you, NFL GamePass is a good choice.

Grab a seat on the couch, grab a beer, and settle in for the season!

Want to stream the political conventions? Here’s How!

By Internet, WiFi

 

It’s political crunch time as the party faithful head to their conventions to nominate 2016 Presidential candidates.  The Republicans head to Cleveland July 18-21 presumptively to nominate Donald Trump, while the Democrats gather in Philadelphia July 25-28 to likely nominate Hillary Clinton.  Much has been made of this presidential cycle – Will we see our first woman presidential nominee?  Will Trump’s nomination be contested in a divided Republican party?  Who will be named Vice Presidential candidates?  Not all of us were lucky enough to garner invites to the conventions.  Luckily, the conventions will be live-streamed, and apps and subscription services can help give us a firsthand view of the proceedings.  There’s no longer any need to rely on expensive long-term cable contracts to watch the convention speeches.  Everything will be available to you online.

Want to feel like you’re on the convention floor?  There’s an app for that! The Republican National Convention app, called RNC 2016 and available for iOS and Android, will livestream the convention and have 360 degree video. The app also has a map of the convention and event schedule.  You’ll be able to watch all of the speeches straight from your smartphone or tablet.  We expect the Democratic National Committee to announce their app shortly.

Also new this year, for the first time Twitter and CBS News are partnering to stream CBS News’ live coverage on Twitter.  This partnership will give consumers the unique and interactive opportunity to share their thoughts about the convention on Twitter while watching the CBS News journalists report on the proceedings, all in real-time.

But maybe you want to keep your commentary in the room with your viewing companions – there are plenty of options for cord cutters to watch the convention on your home TV.  Subscription streaming services like SlingTV and Playstation Vue will provide livestreams of the conventions.  With SlingTV you can watch on CNN (with a basic package) and HLN (as an add-on channel).  Playstation Vue owners can watch the convention from whichever politically leaning channel you prefer – CNN, Fox News, or MSNBC.
No matter your side of the aisle, you’ll be able to rest in your most comfy chair at home and watch the presidential nominations live.

Cutting the Cord – How do I live stream sports?

By Internet

(Playstation Vue has officially been discontinued. For live TV alternatives, please visit here.)

 

You’ve decided to cut the cord and sever ties with your expensive cable contract.  You know DC Access provides the reliable and fast Internet service you need to watch your favorite TV shows and movies at home through a digital media device and online streaming services.  But now it’s time to set up your NCAA brackets and watch the Big Dance to the Final Four – how are you supposed to watch those early games without cable?

Live sports viewing is one of the more difficult parts of cutting the cord.  But there’s good news!  Lately, more and more cable sports networks are offering their broadcasts to all live events online without a cable contract.  Not sure where to start?  Here’s a quick run-down of the best options for all sports lovers.

Streaming Services – Streaming services are a good fit for many sports fans because they are available on any devices – TV, tablet, or phone.  For the die-hard sports fan, Sling TV and PlayStation Vue (available in select markets) are good choices for streaming live sporting events.  Both offer live streaming of the ESPN suite of channels plus TNT, TBS, and TruTV.  

League Streaming Subscriptions – All four major sports leagues in the US now offer subscriptions to their full lineups via their own apps.  NBA League Pass, MLB.TV, NFL Mobile App, and NHL GameCenter Live can guarantee you never miss a Hail Mary pass or walk-off home run!  College hoops fan? CBS All Access College Sports Live gives you access to all of the excitement and drama during the season.

Local HDTV – Go the new-old-fashioned route!  Many local games are still broadcast on network channels which can be accessed with an HDTV antenna. We can help you get wired up..  You can find the NBA on ABC, NFL on FOX, CBS and NBC, MLB on FOX, and NHL on NBC.

Are you set for the NCAA Tournament? There’s still time to get DC Access installed before the Big Dance is complete and this year’s Cinderella story emerges.  Get off the bubble and contact us to get dancing today!