The sky is falling for movie lovers! The post office recently announced that it was closing down nearly half of its processing centers starting in early in 2012, which could eliminate next-day delivery services – and add an extra day of processing to Netflix deliveries. No worries, you can just shift the slack to streaming, right? (Possibly) wrong – as we recently reported, ISPs are considering implementing tiered data pricing to squeeze more cash out of heavy media streamers. So is all lost? Could your ABC Family Movies addiction be in danger of extinction? Not if you’re a Comcast customer. The company apparently has no plans of switching to tiered data pricing.
If you’ve cut the cable and switched to streaming services like Netflix or Hulu to fill your Sons of Anarchy viewing needs, you might be in for a nasty shock before long: higher prices. No, Netflix isn’t raising its rates again. It’s your Internet connection itself that your wallet should be worried about! Reports say that major U.S. ISPs, including Time Warner Cable, Charter, Cox and AT&T, are experimenting with usage-based Internet fees – not just to quell streaming users’ massive broadband needs, but also to make Netflix less attractive (and traditional cable more attractive) to TV watchers. Most of the largest ISPs sell digital TV services as well, remember?
It's not quite as cheap as NetZero's short-lived free dial-up service that was popular in the late 1990s and completely supported by ads, but the FCC's plan to bring affordable broadband service to low income families is a whole lot faster, and ironically enough is even less expensive than NetZero's current "accelerated" dial-up service, which runs $14.95 a month.
The whole idea of having a mobile data cap blows, especially when you consider the things we're using our smartphones for, like downloading games, surfing all corners of the Web, streaming Netflix, tapping into streaming music, and so forth. Snug fitting data caps become even more bothersome when you have access to a fast 4G LTE connection, but there's a bit of relief in sight.
The supply of AOL free trial CD’s at your local grocery store may have dried up long ago, though believe it or not, the service itself is still going relatively strong. According to the company’s most recent earnings release, AOL still has over 3.5 million subscribers to its dialup internet service, and the decline seems to be slowing. Q3 represented the company’s smallest decline yet, even though the company lost just over 630,000 subscribers over the past 12 months.
AT&T seems to have figured out that at this point in time, mobile broadband access Ain't Nuthin But a 4G Thang and beginning November 6, 2011, the wireless carrier will offer its first 4G LTE (Long Term Evolution) smartphones. These include the HTC Vivid and Samsung Galaxy S II Skyrocket, a pair of 4.5-inch smartphones that will bring the total number of AT&T Android devices introduced in 2011 to 21 (AT&T had originally committed to a dozen).
In Washington today, someone got something done. If that was not shocking enough, it was the FCC. We can wait while you compose yourself. The FCC voted unanimously today to re-purpose the universal service program, which was used to get phone service to rural Americans. The fun will now be used to deliver broadband internet access to the most remote areas of the nation.
What's that you say, Sprint doesn't even have a 4G LTE network yet? Be that as it may, the wireless carrier isn't about to let such a minor detail prevent it from looking forward to LTE-Advanced, which by the way Sprint is planning to deploy in the first half of 2013. Sprint reckons its customers will see download speeds ranging from 12Mbps to 15Mbps.
Fast LTE networks are expanding at a breakneck pace, it's just too bad compatible devices aren't coming out at a steadier clip, not yet anyway. The good news is the transition has already begun and it's expected there will be more than 154 million LTE handset shipments by 2015, according to market research firm In-Stat. Are wireless carriers ready?
Have you always had a hankering for some home automation, but felt that the technology was either too expensive or too complicated to install? Throw that excuse out the window. Starting today, Verizon is offering a $10/mo. service (plus the cost of the installation kit) that will let you remotely change your house’s temperature, track energy usage, turn lights and appliances on and off, watch a video feed of your home, and heck, even unlock the front door if you want – all via your web-connected PC, smartphone or FiOS TV. Sigma Design’s Z-Wave technology powers the system.