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Weekend of December 15, 2023

Tech News and Commentary

Dave and Chris discuss Google’s Silver Anniversary, Alexa vs ChatGPT, a Paramount rebranding, SpaceX’s valuation, CostCo and satellite internet, Ai and the holidays, Amazon dropping Venmo, and more.

Laura in Allisonia, Virginia listens asked: “I live in the mountains of southwest Virginia. I have tried numerous antennas to get TV reception, with no luck. I do not have Internet. I do not have TV. I do not want Dish. I do not want DirecTV. But I want to get Internet. I understand that there is broadband. If I get the broadband, what do I get to go with it? I have an old desktop computer that I probably would need to upgrade. Do you recommend getting a tablet? And I don’t understand hotspots… How do I “hotspot” it to my TV, so I can get Hulu or whatever those things are, so I can maybe get some television with that? I’m looking kinda for the cheapest way to go, I don’t want to spend a bunch of money every month. During the summer months especially, when the leaves are in, I can’t even pickup Internet on my phone.”

Laura, the main question is what kind of broadband is available to you?

If its regular home internet then you dont need a hotspot of any kind, youll just need to plug in a wireless router or use a modem with a built-in wireless router from your ISP and youll be all set.

If its all cellular-based, then you will need a hotspot and those are easy to use. You either turn it on from your phones settings if youre using your phone as a hotspot or you just press an on/off button if its a dedicated hotspot and youre all set.

The catch there is that cellular hotspots use the same cell service that phones use, so if you barely get a signal and get nothing when the leaves are in then youre going to have a bad experience.

You can set up a wireless booster like the ones sold by WeBoost and others, but that will involve mounting an antenna somewhere that gets a signal and wiring it to a repeater placed inside your home. After that you may get a good enough signal for a hotspot to work, but your mileage may vary.

Ultimately the booster will need a signal to boost, it cant just create one out of nothing.

Assuming you can get some kind of usable service set up, youll want something like a Roku stick, Fire TV, or AppleTV to stream directly from your TV, and youll want to choose a streaming service or several that make sense to you.

That will depend on what content youre interested in, for example, Hulu will get current TV shows, though watching them live costs a lot more than the delayed streaming service (think as much as 5x or 6x more), Netflix seems to mainly be focusing on originals but they still have a large library of movies and TV shows, and Disney+ has all the Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars content. There are plenty of others if you want sports packages which are becoming more common, or other speciality content, it will all depend on what interests you and what you think is worth paying for.

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Written by Dave Graveline

Dave Graveline is the founder, Host & Executive Producer of "Into Tomorrow" in addition to being President of the Advanced Media Network".

Dave is also a trusted and familiar voice on many national commercials & narrations in addition to being an authority in consumer tech since 1994. He is also a former Police Officer and an FBI Certified Instructor.

Dave thrives on audience participation!

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