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How to Remove Your Digital Ex

Divorce or breakup can be heartbreaking. And the heartbreak can prove all the more intense if we’re unable to avoid contact with our exes- or reminders of life with them. So if you’ve suffered a breakup, then, how can you remove your ex from your digital life?

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Block or Unfollow Your Ex

This would seem to be elementary. Most of us, though, find it difficult to suppress curiosity about our exes. Still, we have to discipline ourselves to avoid searching their profiles. If we do search them, we train the Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram algorithms to show us more about them, and this is also true of inquiries on browser search engines such as Google, Safari, or Firefox.

You may also have to mute friends or family members (temporarily, of course) who often share photos of your ex. This tells the algorithms you want to avoid these people, and your feed will feature different posts.

Remove Memories from Your Tablets, Phones, and Social Media

If you own one of the newer iPhones, this will be easy. In iOS 14, you’ll find a tool labelled Suggest Fewer Memories Like This. To activate it, open the Photos tab. Tap the For You icon, and you’ll find a list labelled Memory. Choose one you want to eliminate. You’ll find three dots next to your choice. Hit these, and you’ll be shown two options: Delete Memory and Suggest Fewer Memories Like This.

In Facebook, you’ll find the Hide People option on the left side of the Memories page.

Google Photos offers the options of hiding people, pets, or even particular dates- so you can avoid painful reminders of anniversaries. Find the Photos app, scroll to Photo Settings, and open the Memories tab. When you find it, hit the Hide People or Pets or Hide Date icons.

Monitor Your Smart Home Devices

If you neglect this step, you’re begging for trouble. Out of concern for privacy, we recommend NOT acquiring an Alexa or Siri device in the first place. If you do have one, though, and you can’t bear to part with it, at least exercise caution with it. An ex could activate the device remotely- even when you’re away from your home.

Kim Komando, a web expert who bills herself “Your Digital Goddess”, says she’s heard more stories than she can count about exes connecting to WiFi systems of old mates and bugging their routers. Even worse, it’s legal in most jurisdictions to hack WiFi.

Remove or Audit Old Accounts

Some web services, such as iCloud and Google Drive, allow access by exes to sensitive data, including text and photos, so you may have to contact the provider to remove your ex’s access. Exercise special vigilance in monitoring shared paid services, and ejecting your ex if necessary.

Change Your Passwords and Security Questions

Kim Komando suggests changing your passwords to any old accounts if there’s even a chance your ex still has them. And don’t forget the security questions. Even in a casual relationship, partners are likely remember important events in each other’s histories.

For paid services, such as Netflix, you may need additional steps after changing passwords. Check the box marked Require All Devices to Sign in Again with New Password. You’ll have to log in again, but your privacy- and avoiding additional expense- is worth the inconvenience.


If you want to remove your ex from your online activity, these suggestions will help. Remember: eternal vigilance is the price of privacy.


One of the most important aspects of online security is a reliable internet connection. For the best deals in internet service, contact Satellite Country. We can help. Call now.


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‘Cognitive’ TV Sets Unveiled by Sony

You’ve heard of Smart TV, but its unlikely you’ve ever heard of ‘cognitive’ TV. If Sony Electronics has its way, though, you’re likely to hear about it often.

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The consumer electronics giant announced yesterday that it plans to unveil Bravia XR, the world’s first ‘cognitive’ TV sets, at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The new devices will feature revolutionary methods for processing information. Sony says they will closely mimic the ways humans see and hear.

How does a ‘cognitive’ TV set differ?

The Cognitive Processor XR will control the new screens. The new processor divides the screen into multiple zones and senses location of the picture’s ‘focal point’. The XR can analyze several elements at once. It then adjusts each element for the best user view of the picture, and analyzes sound position so what the viewer hears matches what’s on screen. It can upgrade any sound signal to 3D Surround Sound.

According to Sony’s president, Mike Fasulo, the Cognitive Processor XR mimics the way the brain processes information.

The Bravia XR line includes the Master Series Z9J 8K LED, Master Series A90J and A80J OLED, and X95J and K90J 4K LED.

The XR TV sets also feature HMDI 2.1 compatibility, hands-free voice remote, Netflix Calibrated Mode, IMAX Enhanced Mode, smart speaker compatibility, and PureStream near-lossless UHD resolution with speed of up to 80 MB/S. In addition, Sony offers easy access to Google TV with all TV models.

All Bravia XR TV sets can receive NextGen TV cable signals.

Call 1-800-216-0185

Sony has not announced pricing or availability of the Bravia XR line, but is expected to do so in the spring.

To get the most out of any TV set, you need a reliable internet connection. And for the connection that best needs your needs and budget, get HughesNet through Satellite Country. Call today. We can help.

Call 1-800-216-0185

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World Wide Web Inventor Calls for Its Overhaul

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, is unhappy with it.  He has been saying for years that it has evolved into something far different from what he envisioned. Not much more than ten years ago, the web was a decentralized open platform, but since then a few corporate giants have come to dominate it. Google, Facebook, Netflix, and Amazon hold a near-stranglehold over online information and commerce, and web surfers have to surrender privacy to get much use out of the web.

Image result for world wide web images

So what can we do to correct this sorry state of affairs? Well, Berners-Lee is hard at work on an alternative. Next week, he will launch a for-profit business called  Inrupt. Based on a crowd-sourced platform called Solid, it is meant to enable developers all over the world to wrest control of the web away from governments and corporate giants.

“It’s a historical moment.”

If Berners-Lee and his crew are successful, Google, Facebook, and Amazon will soon be struggling for survival. Berners-Lee is open about hisdesire not only to challenge them, but to take them down.. He jokingly (?) says his goal is ‘world domination’, and he says he wants a completely new internet. He said he is not consulting with Google or Facebook about how he will upend their business models. In his words: “We’re not asking their permission.”

“We have to do it now”, he said of Inrupt. “It’s a historical moment.”

Why now?

The need for a disruptive internet model has never been more obvious. For the last five years, one scandal after another has reminded us that our personal data is subject to manipulation and theft.

You’ve no doubt heard the news about Cambridge Analytica and the Obama reelection campaign hijacking Facebook user data to aid their political campaigns. Twitter and YouTube have been caught blocking, shadow-banning, or demonetizing conservative content. Google vacuums up personal data for ads, and apparently adjusts search functions for political reasons. In a recently released video of a Google corporate conference, several executives spoke of “our values”, with some pledging to use the platform to promote them. All of ‘our values’ were blatantly political.

We obviously- and urgently- need drastic overhaul of the world wide web. Otherwise, we will soon lose all semblance of honest and objective online information service.

Who’s in control?

Berners-Lee and Inrupt propose to address the failings of the dominant internet systems with a platform called Solid. With it, the user can create his own ‘personal online data store’ or POD. It will feature his calendar, music library, video library, contact list, to-do list, chat, and research tools. It’s like combining Outlook, WhatsApp, Slack, Spotify, and Google on the same browser- all available at the same time.

Most importantly, the data is under the user’s control. All the data he produces will be protected within his POD. The information will be secure, out of reach for his ISP, Google, Facebook, or any advertising engine- unless the user wants to release it. He can customize the degree of access he wants to provide for each bit of data.

This is a huge departure from the current internet model. In the last few years,  Google, Facebook, and other firms have been holding and controlling most online data in ‘silos’ that they built.

In the Solid web model, there are no silos.

What happens next?

Beginning almost immediately, developers can start building their own apps for the Inrupt platform. And Berners-Lee will spend the autumn tutoring developers and executives in building apps for Solid and Inrupt.

Tim Berners-Lee has set a daunting goal for himself. Can he really replace the current world wide web with something far better? Don’t bet against it. He has a record of bringing into fruition projects that others thought impossible.

(For the best internet connection, shop with Satellite Country. Talk to us. We can help.)

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Amazon Fire TV Developing Networked DVR

Amazon wants you to be able to record its live video programming. To that end, according to Bloomberg News, the web retailer and streaming video service is hard at work developing a networked DVR. Bloomberg says Amazon has not revealed a release date for the DVR.

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A networked DVR is one held in the provider’s central location, not in the consumer’s home. It records live content in real time. The consumer can view the recorded content at will, unbound by TV network broadcast schedules.

Amazon’s Lab 126, which built the Fire TV and Echo devices, is working on the new DVR. Staff for Lab 126 have dubbed the new DVR project ‘Frank’.

‘Frank’ will incorporate the same wireless technology that connects its Echo voice control devices to Fire TV boxes.

The device, according to Bloomberg, could stream recorded video to mobile tablets and phones. Existing Fire TV devices on the customer’s home network will support it. Amazon’s new DVR will be connected through the home WiFi network. It will not plug into a TV.

A conventional DVR (TiVo, Channel Master, etc.) usually plugs into a TV set, and features its own user interface. A networked DVR, by contrast, doesn’t have to be plugged into a TV.  It can be placed anywhere in the home, and can stream recorded content to any TV, streaming stick, or mobile device. In most cases, networked DVRs don’t have their own HDMI ports.

Amazon Prime Video is a subscription service, for which the customer pays monthly or annual fees. Beside the video service, customers get free or discounted shipping on goods ordered through Amazon. The video service is meant to compete with Netflix and Hulu.


(For streaming video, you need a reliable internet service. To find the best one for you, shop with Satellite Country. We can help.)

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As volatile as the TV industry has been lately, the one segment that has been relatively stable– and consistently profitable– is network broadcasting. This may be about to change.

With the release of new video interfaces such as the most recent upgrade of Comcast X1, and with the launch of multichannel live TV streaming platforms such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and Hulu Live TV, the most prominent broadcast networks finally have reason to fear possible extinction. They’re losing their ability to keep their brands in the public eye.

Investment Bankers Weigh In

Kannan Ventakeshwar, an investment analyst for Barclay’s, a multinational British bank, wrote a letter about the TV industry’s future to investors. In it he stated: “Every OTT product is organizing its default user interface by the type of content and not by network. So sports does not show up as ESPN or YES Network. Instead, the default interface is organized by sport and/or teams. This is also becoming true with legacy user interfaces like X1. As a result, it is tough to see the brands of individual networks retaining value in the coming years.”

Until recently, the program guides for cable and satellite TV listed channels under assigned numbers. It was only by looking up particular channels that the viewer could see what shows were airing on those channels at what times.

Viewers Want Convenience

Ventakeshwar said, though, that viewers are losing patience with this system. “…In every evolution of OTT”, he said, “the number of clicks needed to get to a program guide or a network viewing option is actually increasing. Given the importance of consumer inertia in usage patterns, this is not a trivial shift.”

In other words, the harder it is for the viewer to find the shows he wants, the
more likely he is to tune out altogether.

Listing by genre or title saves time, but reduces visibility of network brands. This threatens the network business model. Under the old model, new shows are far more likely to succeed if they immediately precede or follow established hits. A highly popular show might even carry an entire evening’s lineup. A ‘halo’ effect– the network’s reputation for airing shows the viewer likes- can induce him to try out its newer shows.

No More ‘Halo’ Effect

If video interfaces are no longer listing shows by channel, though, the lead-in.
lead-out, and halo effects nearly disappear. Each show is an orphan, standing or falling on its own, and offering little market support to other network programming.

Some streaming platforms, such as Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, and Hulu, further undermine network brands by offering their own original content. And you can find their content only on their own platforms. If you want a Netflix original, you’ll find it only through Netflix.


How can the networks adapt to these developments? We don’t know, but they haven’t yet. Perhaps they never will.

If they can’t figure out how to protect their brands, the giant broadcast networks may be headed for extinction. Productions studios could live or die by their latest hits.


Comcast owns NBC Universal, the largest and oldest broadcast TV network.
With its updated X1 interface, then, the cable system is partially cannibalizing its own business.

OTT is ‘over-the-top’ video. It is content streamed via the internet as a standalone service. With OTT, no cable or satellite system controls or distributes the content.

(For streaming video, you need a strong internet connection. Is yours adequate? If it isn’t, talk to us. We can help.)

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Michael O’Reilly is no shrinking violet. Speaking before the American Legislative Exchange Council last Friday, the FCC Commissioner pulled no punches in describing Title II internet rules. He said the debate over them pits “capitalism vs. socialism”.

The Title II rules enforce ‘net neutrality‘. This means they forbid blocking, throttling, or paid prioritization of internet content. The rules are meant to keep ISPs from favoring their own content over content from competitors. Some internet providers, such as Comcast and AT&T, have their own TV service divisions, and regulators thought they might treat their own video more favorably than video from Hulu, Netflix, and other streaming services. Free Press, a consumer group, says the rules are necessary for free, open communication online. Without ‘net neutrality’, it says, ISPs could block political or social views they don’t like.

The FCC enacted the Title II rules in February 2015. The biggest cable and telecom systems objected fiercely, and lobbied hard for repeal.

With a new President came new majority in the FCC. The new Chairman, Ajit Pai, has said that Title II rules should be repealed, and O’Reilly has sided with Pai. Speaking to ALEC, he said, “All of the propaganda in the world cannot paper over the fact that these new burdens were not in response to actual market place events…” O’Reilly said the rules were enacted only because of “…hypothetical concerns dreamt up by radical activists”. He called ‘net neutrality’ a stalking horse for a larger effort to “vanquish capitalism and economic liberty”.

O’Reilly also criticized the offer of discount municipal broadband. He compared it to Venezuela’s offer of low-cost gasoline. The state required oil companies to sell their product for less than production cost, leading to massive shortages. O’Reilly said that municipal offers of free or cheap broadband would also produce shortages.

O’Reilly said he would support subsidies for the poor. However, he firmly opposes “…allowing government sponsored networks to use their unfair advantages to offer broadband services”. Capitalism, he says, is absolutely necessary.

(For broadband service, talk to us. To find out how to get the most out of it, talk to us. We can help.)

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TV viewers have more options now than ever before, as the market finds new ways to meet their demands. Here are a few of the more significant trends in video distribution, and how they affect the way you watch TV and movies:

Digital Syndication

Scripted TV shows usually follow long story arcs- and they age quickly. A few solid hits, though, remain popular with the public long after they’re first aired. Studios and broadcasters earn more money from them by licensing large blocks of episodes to cable networks. Some of the more popular syndicated shows include Seinfeld, Jeopardy!, and The People’s Court.

Though a syndicated show is seldom as popular as the original series, it is profitable because the studio doesn’t face new production expense.

Syndication is not new. It has existed nearly as long as the cable TV industry. What is relatively new is digital syndication. Content providers have begun to license older shows for dedicated steaming platforms such as Netflix, DirecTV Now, and Sling TV.

Streaming of Live Sports

In 2015, the NFL licensed Yahoo to stream a live game between the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Buffalo Bills. Yahoo had exclusive rights to the game, and streamed it world-wide. The game was between small-market teams in an unfavorable time slot (Sunday, 9:30 a.m. EST). Still, it brought in 15.2 million unique viewers.

The game marked the first time a streaming service outbid a broadcast network for an NFL game.  Since then, FOX Sports Go and WatchESPN apps provide live streams of games from multiple markets.

Transactional Video

The conventional pay TV model is a cable or satellite subscription. You pay by the month for a large channel package.

One of the most important trends in TV now ditches the subscription model. Some providers charge small fees for each episode or small group of episodes. as little as $0.99. Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, and iTunes are among the vendors offering video on a per-episode basis. Some will offer discounts, up to 40% per episode, for purchase of a “season pass”, access to an entire season of a series.

In either case, you would pay only for the shows you watch, not for channels or channels bundles.

 Streaming Direct to Consumer

Usually, cable and broadcast TV networks offer their programming through cable or satellite systems. Some offer them through streaming platforms such as Netflix, Playstation Vue, or Sling TV.

One of the most important new trends in the business is cutting out the middleman. Content providers are increasingly likely to offer their shows directly to viewers. 20th Century Fox, ABC-Disney, and NBC Universal opened the way in 2005 by forming Hulu.

This year, the CBS Corporation launched CBS All-Access, and HBO launched HBO Now.  These are stand-alone video services that don’t require cable or satellite subscriptions.


Authentication is likely to be the most enduring of trends in the video market. It is essential for newer platforms that enable streaming on multiple devices. If the device you want to stream with is not the one you enrolled with, how does the provider know you’re a customer?

Video services rely increasingly on authentication to identify customers and log them in. In most cases, this means you enter a user name and a four-digit code.

The advantage for you is that you’re not limited to the video services own devices, and you can more easily use your service away from home.

(To follow all trends in internet service, visit To get the best connection, talk to us. We can help.)

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Is It Impossible?

The event had long been predicted. Most of us scoffed at the alarms, though, thinking they were merely the paranoid mutterings of conspiracy theorists, or cynical self-promotion by merchants hoping to profit from mass  hysteria.

The internet couldn’t possibly fail. A few websites might be vulnerable to hacking and malware, but the backbone of the internet was decentralized, robust, and thoroughly secure. We could always count on it. The dreaded day of Electronic Apocalypse would never arrive.

The Fateful Day Arrives

On Friday, October 21, 2016, the alarmists were proven right. The first wave of attacks began early in the day: about 7:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time. This was in the midst of “rush hour” for internet use in America, with tens of millions casually reading the news, tweeting, and reviewing their Facebook pages. Some of the most heavily trafficked web sites and internet services in the world were knocked offline, including Netflix, Reddit, Etsy, Twitter, Spotify, AirBnB, the New York Times, Sound Cloud, PayPal, and the PlayStation Network. By about 9:00 a.m. EST, the affected services were operating again. They had apparently succeeded in repelling the attacks.

The day was not over, though, and the hackers were not finished. A second wave of attacks began just before noon EST. Yet a third wave began just after 3:00 pm.

The internet outages were especially severe and prolonged on the U.S. East Coast, where most of the affected servers were located. Widespread severe outages also afflicted California, the Desert Southwest, the Pacific Northwest, some Gulf Coast states, and parts of Europe. Asia, Africa, and Latin America saw very few outages.

What Caused the Outages?

Friday’s attacks on the internet were distributed denial of service (DDoS) assaults of Dyn, an internet performance management firm that provides Domain Name System (DNS) services. Dyn described the raids as “a very sophisticated and complex attack”.

A DNS service is, in essence, an address book for the internet. Reading the web addresses we see on our browser tabs, the DNS service finds, and connects us with, the corresponding servers so we can receive the content we request.

A DDoS attack overloads a server with fake service requests, consuming its memory and bandwidth, so it has little to none left for legitimate requests. To the web surfer, it appears that requested pages are busy. The hackers prolong the outage with automatic repetition of their requests. Even innocent surfers can aggravate it by refreshing their requests from unresponsive pages.

The source of Friday’s attacks was a botnet (artificial intelligence application) called Mirai. The botnet army took control of, and then launched its attacks from, a host of lightly secured webcams, fitness monitors, location devices, DVRs, routers, and even baby monitors. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a critical point of vulnerability.

Could it Happen Again?

In the wake of Friday’s attack, many web analysts have said that we might see similar attacks disrupting the upcoming election. An Election Day internet failure, though, is unlikely to affect the presidential race much. Control of polling places and balloting is too decentralized. Internet failure could affect down-ballot races, though.

The threat of further internet outages won’t fade away soon. It could persist for months or years, even if the culprits in Friday’s attacks are caught and punished quickly. The source code for the Mirai botnet has been released to the public.

What Can You Do?

First, make sure you have a strongly-encrypted internet service, such as HughesNet. Change your passwords often for all connected devices, including webcams, DVRs, and fitness monitors. Be careful about sharing passwords or electronic devices. Every day, be careful when logging into your computer.

If you’re unsure, ask your internet service provider what it’s doing to thwart similar attacks. If there’s any good news in this episode, it’s that the FCC says providers have it in their power to prevent DDoS failures. They just need a few system upgrades. And now, of course, ISPs are aware of the need for tighter security. Friday’s outages were a loud wake-up call.

With vigilance, we can prevent the next great day of internet failure. It will require effort and close attention, but we can do it.

The enclosed map is by Level 3. It provides equipment and services for internet carriers.

For the best online security, you need a reliable connection. This is where we come in. Talk to us. We can help.

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Cable and satellite TV system operators are in a tough, viciously competitive business. Not only do they have to keep close tabs on each other, they’re losing subscribers to internet video streaming services that threaten the long-term future of the entire industry.

As if these woes weren’t enough, the nation’s largest retailer has moved in on their turf. Early this month, Wal-Mart inaugurated a promotion for video streaming tools with the slogan: “Cut the Cable”.

Encouraging its customers to ditch the conventional pay TV subscription model, Wal-Mart outlined four steps for doing so– including, of course, buying video streaming players and antennae from Wal-Mart.

On its website, the retailer asks, “What better way to save money on your cable bill than getting rid of it altogether?” Though it doesn’t mention prices of its TV sets or streaming tools on the promotional page– the visitor has to find the product page for that– Wal-Mart hints that the move could bring big savings: “As TV Cable bills grow even larger– families spend an average of $160 per month on cable bundles!- an increasing number of people are opting to cut the cord and slice that monthly bill by up to half. Basically, this means dropping your cable or satellite TV subscription and opting for the ease and flexibility of watching all your favorite shows and movies on streaming services like Netflix and Vudu.”

Wal-Mart owns Vudu, though it did not mention this fact in the ad.

While some video streaming platforms offer live access to broadcast networks and their affiliate stations, most cord-cutters will need over-the-air antennae to receive them. Wal-Mart sells antennae, too.

The “Cut the Cable” promotion will continue until July 31.

In most rural areas, and some suburban areas, cable TV is unavailable anyway. For these areas, satellite TV or streaming services such as Sling TV are the only practical options. If this is the case where you live, we can help you find the TV service that best meets your needs.

Whatever your TV or internet needs, talk to us. We can help.

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One advantage of having a HughesNet broadband connection is access to video and music streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Sling TV, Spotify, and Pandora. Such services stream content to you directly via the web. Most of them don’t require a cable or satellite TV subscription, nor installation of any proprietary equipment. Most are compatible with iOS and Android tablets and smartphones, XBox One and Playstation Vue gaming consoles, Mac and PC computers, and Chromecast, Roku, and Apple TV streaming devices.

Most such services are very inexpensive. Pandora and Spotify, two of the leading web music services, charge nothing for their basic service tiers. The only catch is that your music will be interrupted occasionally by commercials. To skip the ads, you’ll pay a nominal monthly fee: $4.99 for Pandora, $9.99 for Spotify.

Video streaming services are not free, but they don’t cost much. Hulu, which carries a wide variety of TV shows and movies, charges $7.99 per month for video streaming with “limited commercials”. For an additional $4.00 per month. you can get the commercial-free version. Netflix, the most popular streaming video service, carries a huge library of TV shows and movies. The basic Netflix service, at $7.99 per month, will stream to just one device, and is available only in standard definition. For $9.99 per month, you can get an HD-capable version for up to two devices. For $11.99 per month, you can get it in Ultra HD on up to four devices. Most of Amazon Prime Video’s content is free with a $99.00 annual membership, which includes free shipping for most items sold in Amazon’s online store.

Sling TV, launched by Dish Network in early 2015, is an interesting addition to the streaming video market. Sling TV differs from most other streaming services in offering live TV. The basic 23-channel package costs just $20.00 per month. Several movie and sports packages can be added to the core package for just $5.00 per month each. For about $50.00 to $60.00 per month, about half the cost of a standard cable or satellite TV subscription, you could get a combined live TV, sports, and premium movie channel bundle. You would have a very complete TV service, and if you don’t require a huge number of channels, you can save a substantial sum of money. Unlike the standard Dish Network service, Sling TV doesn’t require a satellite dish or a long term contract.

These are just a few of the internet video and music streaming services available. For a wide variety of convenient and low-cost entertainment options, you should look into it.