While We’re Waiting for Whatever…

While we’re waiting for whatever our new normal will be, it’s a good guess you’ll need to beef up your network capability to handle more business, education and entertainment. At “Chez Rosenthal,” we’re taking hard-wired Wi-Fi outside to enjoy the summer. Our experience may fit your needs.

We’re doing it so that we can expand our internet coverage to our deck and part of our yard to accommodate four devices running simultaneously. As we all spend more time at home and the summer heat is not oppressive, it’s a good way to give everyone in the family more options. With smart TVs, you might consider it a good way to get a TV outside, and you’ll have no worries if you use an ethernet connection or have a network access point outside.

For my house, it was a fairly straightforward process, including drilling my own holes in my own house. We were able to run wire behind walls and under floors to get to the back of the house, and once we got outside, we put the wire inside some PVC pipe. Our only expenses were for the wire, the pipe and some connectors.

Getting more of a hybrid system of wired and wireless networking in your home may be a good solution. You’ll need a strong network if you find you’re still working from home and your kids are doing all or part of their classroom time and homework online. Whenever you can plug your device into a network node, you’ll get a stronger signal. And the closer you can be to a node, the stronger your signal will be. Getting a wired node outside the walls of your house eliminates the need for the signal to fight its way through the wall.

We have had more calls for help with networking as we’ve spent more time at home and are streaming more content. In older homes with thicker plaster walls, wiring is sometimes the best solution. The alternative is to place a series of nodes to get the signal to the farthermost places from your router or gateway, but it can fall short due to signal strength losses. In the case of a network in a two-story penthouse in an apartment building, we could only use a series of mesh units because we couldn’t go through the concrete and steel between the floors.

If you’re doing renovations or an addition to your existing home – or building a new home – we highly recommend hard wiring your network access points. Your electrician can do it at the same time they do the electrical wiring.

We can help you boost your network’s strength by recommending where to put hardwired connections and mesh nodes. We’re OK with drilling holes in our own walls but not in yours. Once the wiring is in, we can place the mesh nodes and configure everything for maximum network capability. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us to talk about it.

Apple TV+ – Delicious or Wormy?

Apple has announced it will launch its own TV streaming service this fall, Apple TV+. Apple will join Netflix, Amazon and others in providing content. We don’t what it will cost, and we don’t know if the experience will be delicious or full of worms. But we can count on Apple disrupting the market and changing the game. It’s how they play it.

Let’s start with the promises. Apple claims its new stream will be “the new home for the world’s most creative storytellers featuring exclusive original shows, movies and documentaries.” If you want a hint about if they’ll be able to keep that promise, they will debut with a sneak peek through a new Apple TV app that works across iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, smart TVs and streaming devices. You’ll be able to subscribe to Apple’s TV channels a la carte and watch them through the app.

You may want to look at Apple’s move as another reason to cut the cable cord, but we don’t see it that way. Even though increasing numbers of people are streaming programs through their TVs, in addition to computers and devices, cable companies are accommodating customers who want programming from “non-TV” providers. You can get Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Apple – in addition to premium content providers such as HBO and Showtime – through your cable system. And why not? As gatekeepers, they’re happy to pick off a few dollars in subscriber fees from any and all content providers.

And it’s as a gatekeeper and content provider that Apple may be trying to maximize its hold on content viewing. Apple has a big market share of smartphones and an even bigger share of tablets – all in addition to a large base of Mac computers. But it’s way behind Roku and Amazon for connected TVs with only 15 percent of the market. Further, more than half of the nation’s TV streamers use Roku or Fire TV, and some 30 percent use smart TVs. Apple gets only 15 percent of the streamers. Clearly, Apple will need to partner with those who deliver content just as much as it will need to provide strong content to make this venture work.

We don’t know what Apple TV+ will cost, but various sources figure it will fall somewhere in the range of $10 to $15 per month. Apple could undercut the market with attractive intro deals. They have the resources to do it if they wish. With a push based on low prices and innovative programming, Apple could disrupt the industries that create and deliver content, especially in the short term. But history tells us that other industry giants will react to meet their own needs – and that some upstart will find a way to step on the giants’ toes.

Whatever happens, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • High-definition streaming requires a fast internet connection and a powerful Wi-Fi network. If you have multiple high-def TVs and a slew of devices, you’ll need lots of speed and capacity.
  • Many consumers get their internet from cable providers, and there are some things you need to balance when figuring out how much content to get from cable or the internet. Cable companies are willing to give you good internet speed if you’re a cable TV customer. If you are an internet-only customer, you may pay more for your connection, and you may face caps on how much data you can download. For the cable companies, it’s all about profitability.
  • How and where do you want to watch your content? Cable is good for big TVs for large groups, but you can take your devices anywhere. Consider the price of what you watch on. You can get a really good, fairly big TV for $500 or less, and you can pay twice that much for a mobile device.

We can help you make smart decisions about how and where you’ll watch programming by looking at the technology currently in your home and recommending what you’ll need to have a system that works for your preferences. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us for answers to your questions or to set up an appointment to discuss your needs.