There isn't much competition among broadband providers in the United States. Most people only have a choice between a cable company and a phone company, and both act like monopolies; both have poor customer service. We know that the answer to protect net neutrality isn't government intervention, which carries potential risks, but in competition. If there were several internet service providers, there would be better prices and better service.
Joe wants to put his DirecTV on his boat. DirecTV says they can do it, but he doesn't believe them. Leo thinks that if he's in the harbor and there isn't a lot of movement, then it could be possible. But since boats move up and down according to the tides, Joe will likely lose that satellite connection often. It's not a good idea, especially for internet access.
Alan still uses a Blackberry Bold and he's keeping it because of his unlimited data. Leo says that if he pays the full price for the phone and it's not being subsidized, chances are he won't lose his data plan. The carrier will try hard to get him to transition off the unlimited plan to a family share plan, but Leo says they'll get him on overage charges. So he should keep it as long as he can. The chatroom says Verizon doesn't consider the Blackberry Bold a smartphone, so he may not be able to keep that unlimited data plan no matter what he does. He also wants to tether to his laptop.
After Netflix began publicly blaming Verizon for its video streaming quality issues, Verizon is now refuting this on its site, and is blaming Netflix.
Verizon: Buffering Problems Are Netflix’s Fault (Time)…
Leo suggests talking to Verizon and requesting a FemToCell. If they don't offer it to her, then she should threaten to leave the service. The FemtoCell will route her calls through the internet so she can at least have service in her home.
Libby has some miniDV tapes that she wants to make digital copies of. She wants to know the best method for doing this, and what format she should use. Leo says that miniDVs are already digital. So that saves a step. Since the service Libby took them to made DVDs, she can rip them and get MPEG2 files. Leo uses HandBrake and VLC Media Client, which work together to rip DVDs. Leo says to just rip it. Don't reencode it.
Claudia's son wants her to combine her cellphone with her internet to make one bill. Leo says that if she can get 4G LTE internet on her cell phone, then she'd have faster speed than the satellite internet Claudia currently has. But she has to see what wireless company has high speed internet coverage in her area. If there is one in her area, then it'll not only be faster, but cheaper. Verizon makes a point of getting good coverage near military bases, so that may likely be the best option for her. Leo also recommends talking to neighbors to see what is working for them.
Whenever Netflix has been having buffering issues, they have been checking with other customers of the same internet service provider to verify that they also are having problems. If they are, Netflix has been displaying a message that puts the blame on that internet service provider for being too congested. Verizon sent Netflix a cease and desist letter to get them to stop doing this, though.
Joyce is looking for a new computer, but doesn't know what she should get. She mainly uses it for email, websites, and games. Leo says that Joyce uses a computer that's probably too much for her, or more than she really needs. He recommends going with the iPad. What about Wi-Fi? Leo says that an iPad with a 4G LTE connection would be best. Every carrier offers it and Joyce can pick the one that works best in her area. It'll cost her about $30 a month, but it's well worth it.
If you're a Netflix customer using Verizon FiOS or DSL, you may have noticed a message being displayed when video streaming slows down. The message blames Verizon's network congestion for the video buffering. Netflix has been confirming that the issue is with Verizon by checking with other Verizon customers. Verizon sent Netflix a cease and desist letter saying that if they don't stop doing this, they will sue.