Charter Cable Touts 100 Mbps Download And 5 Mbps Upload Speeds For $59.99/Month If You Bundle

After reading the article “Charter Cable boosts downloads to 100Mbps, keeps uploads limited to a modest 5Mbps,” I compelled to call Charter up to see if their service would be available in my area, and I did call.  Unfortunately, Charter isn’t servicing my area.  I guess I have to stick with my slow ISP for now.

Some people might not notice that even though United States is very techie, but the American general population is behind many other parts of the world in regarding to the Internet speed.  A commenter who wrote a comment below the Engadget’s article I mentioned above boasted he had only paid $19 for 100 Mbps download and 100 Mbps upload speeds in Lithuania.  If that is true, it’s just one example among many other examples that proves American general population is really behind in regarding to the Internet speed.

It’s not a surprise that we might see people who are giddy up and called Charter, because Charter is now providing faster Internet connections at cheaper prices than any other Internet service provider I’ve heard about.  For an example, its Express package which touts up to 15 Mbps download speed is almost as fast as AT&T’s most expensive package which touts up to 24 Mbps download speed, but the price for Charter Express package is only one third of AT&T’s fastest Internet package.  Charter Express package costs you $19.99/month.  The juiciest Charter’s Internet package would be 100Mbps download speed, and it costs roughly the same as AT&T’s fastest Internet package, but AT&T’s fastest Internet package touts only at 24Mbps download speed, about four times slower than Charter Ultra package.

If you look on Charter’s website, it shows that the prices for their Internet service are low as listed if only you bundle.  Does this mean you have to order their Internet service with something else too?  Perhaps, you have to bundle the Internet and TV services together to keep the price of the Internet service low and enticing?

I forgot to ask Charter’s salesperson about contract.  This is why I’m not sure if Charter requires you to sign a contract for however long before they can hook you up with the awesome Internet speed.  I’m so hoping Charter isn’t going the contract route, because it’s one more reason for some people to not upgrade their Internet speed.  I know I hate services that require me to agree to a contract enough that if I can help myself, I would stay away from such services at any cost.

Charter provides free Internet security suite known as Charter Security Suite to protect users from viruses, worms, trojans, and hackers.  I’m not sure the strength of their Internet security product.  Usually, Internet service providers would team up with well known security companies such as Symantec.  Maybe Charter is doing something similar for their security products too.  Nonetheless, I guess you have to find this out for yourself when you become a Charter customer.

Charter salesperson told me customers can also order $5/month Cloud Drive.  If I heard correctly, Cloud Drive would be free for the first month of service.  Cloud Drive allows customers to back up their data.  When I asked the salesperson how much Cloud Drive space a customer could have?  She said it is unlimited.  If our conversation has any merit, I guess $5/month, unlimited Cloud Drive is a sweet deal.  Still, I do not yet know how reliable Charter Cloud Drive would be, therefore I cannot really vouch for Cloud Drive until I really use it.

In conclusion, Charter touts amazing Internet packages that make me drool.  If Charter services my area, I would think about becoming a customer of theirs, but it has to do without contract and bundle.  I think Charter will eventually push other Internet service providers to provide better services, because it’s all about competition.  Unfortunately, it seems even though it’s already highly competitive among Internet service providers within the United States, other parts of the world have already touted faster Internet services for a long time already.  In regarding to the Internet speed for the general population, let hope someday we Americans will eventually lead and not play catch up, but today isn’t the day!

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This Holiday Season, Microsoft’s Xbox Live “Metro” Attracts Users With Kinect, Bing, Live TV Show, And Video On Demand Deep Integrations

Gizmodo reports that Microsoft’s Xbox Live “Metro” will go live when this holiday season comes around.  It seems that Xbox Live “Metro” users will be able to use their Xbox 360 consoles as Cable and Video on Demand boxes.  Folks at Microsoft are suggesting that they are talking to more content providers so Xbox 360 users will be able to experience more contents such as live TV shows and movies.  Upon improving contents, Microsoft enhances Kinect features within Xbox Live “Metro” to allow users to control almost all aspects of Xbox 360 with voice recognition and hand gestures.  Bing will also integrate tightly with Kinect features within Xbox Live “Metro” so users can use voice recognition to search for things.

New features that Microsoft will release for Xbox Live “Metro” are definitely going to be awesome for Xbox users.  I totally vote for them!  Nonetheless, I think Microsoft has a narrow vision.  Why?  Besides Xbox 360, shouldn’t Microsoft allow users to experience live TV shows and Video on Demand and Kinect capabilities on Windows 7 or 8 and Windows Phone 7?  Unfortunately, I think Microsoft prefers to sell more Xbox 360 consoles at the same time they generating revenues from contents that Xbox Live “Metro” provides.  Whether that be more profitable or otherwise, I’ve no idea.  Still, I think more users will appreciate Microsoft if they provide such experiences on not one but more platforms.  I also think Microsoft will be able to sell more products such as Windows 8 OS if awesome features on Xbox Live “Metro” become available in Windows 8 and other Microsoft’s products/platforms.

If such vision is going to be realized, I think Microsoft needs to tightly synch the Xbox Live “Metro” features across products’ ecosystem.  For an instance, a user watched halfway of a movie on Xbox 360 console, but he got on his Windows 8 laptop to work and yet was able to watch the rest of the movie that he had watched on the Xbox 360 console earlier.  More features like that will make Microsoft’s product ecosystem seems coherent, enhancing the overall user experiences.  What do you think?

Source:  http://gizmodo.com/5838741/xbox-live-metro-brings-more-bing-kinect-and-cable-tv-integration-to-the-holidays

Measuring The Effect Of The Inevitable Won’t Help Cable Industry Wins Back TV Cord-Cutters

Instead of finishing reading the article “TV Cord-Cutters: Who You Are And Why You Scare Bigwigs” on Forbes, impatiently I’m writing this article here to simply point out that there might be time still for Cable and similar industry to rebuild their foundations — that’s, rebuilding their backbone networks such as making a transition from cable to Internet TV.  Sure, the upfront cost might be outrageous, but in the end they can survive the dramatic changes in their industry.

We can take a look at Blockbuster to see that professing to an outdated business model can bring about a death knell to a business/industry.  Blockbuster failed to catch the trend and had allowed Netflix to accelerate its downfall (i.e., Blockbuster was sold to Dish Network through auction for less).  Netflix had never considered the video rental stores’ business model as it went ahead to send DVDs through mail and now stream videos through Internet.

Source:  http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelhumphrey/2011/08/22/tv-cord-cutters-who-you-are-and-why-you-scare-bigwigs/

Channeling Audio Using Optical Cable At The Same Time With HDMI Cable On XBox 360

Xbox 360 250 GB as shown at the 2010 Electroni...

Xbox 360 250 GB as shown at the 2010 Electronic Entertainment Expo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Xbox 360, the latest version of 2010, or even older versions has one big problem for users/gamers who want to send the digital audio out to receivers or console mixer (i.e., Yamaha console mixer) and at the same time using HDMI to send digital images to HD TV, because Xbox 360 HDMI port and optical port are too closely placed together — plus the optical cable’s end which is supposing to be hooked up to the Xbox 360’s optical port has a protruding part which prevents optical cable and HDMI cable to be plugged in at the same time.  Fortunately, there is a hack to this, but remember you are doing this at your own risk.  By removing the plastic covers of the optical cable, you can plug the slimmest part which is the belly part of the optical cable into Xbox 360 at the same time with HDMI cable since the protruding part of the optical cable is gone right after the removal of the plastic covers.

I had read somewhere on the Internet, and I saw somebody wrote that if you’re not grounding yourself, you may send a strong enough static flow to the Xbox 360 by touching the unprotected end of the optical cable, and by doing this you may destroy your Xbox 360 (i.e., your Xbox 360 may not be able to work afterward).  Once again, be extremely careful since I do not know the effect of removing the plastic covers of the optical cable.  Nonetheless, the hack is working if you know where the red and white ends of the optical cable supposed to go so the digital audio can be channeled to the external speakers and not to your TV’s speakers.

The HDMI cable part is extremely simple as you only have to plug the HDMI cable to the HDMI port on your TV, and the other end of the HDMI cable to your Xbox 360’s HDMI port.  Anyway, check out the video after the jump to see how you can remove the plastic covers off the optical cable.

The video above is not mine, it’s belong to a user who had uploaded it to YouTube.  Please go to YouTube to know more about the source of the video.  Thank you for your understanding.