March 6, 2018

Cut The Cord On Your Cable Subscription With These Five Tips

The days of cable television’s dominance in entertainment are clearly coming to an end. With a wealth of online streaming content and HD local channels, it’s easier than ever to live without a cable subscription. If you’ve been thinking about cutting the cord, there are a few bases to cover to make sure you’re not stuck without your favorite shows.

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Life without a cord

Netflix, Amazon Prime and Google Play pour millions of dollars into content production, hoping to draw audiences away from cable subscriptions. Even traditional cable channels like HBO release enough web content to satisfy any binge session. This gamble is paying off, and people continue to become “cord cutters.” With that said, you should consider a few key things before you cut your cord.

  1.   Pick your favorite streaming services

There’s no clear winner in the world of online streaming. Netflix, Google and Amazon all have headlining shows and vast libraries, making it hard to run out of things to watch. The additional perks of Google Play and Amazon Prime make it easier to stomach the cost of subscriptions to all three.

  1.   Measure your reception strength

TV reception has changed drastically since the days of bunny ears. Today’s antennas pick up TV channels in HD, adding local channels like Fox, CBS, NBC and more to your entertainment library for free. However, these channels don’t have reception everywhere. Confirm that you actually have access to a digital signal before you get rid of your cable subscription. Use a calculator like Tablo to determine which channels reach your particular neighborhood.

  1.   Upgrade to a Smart TV

Smart TVs combine a traditional TV with a built-in operating system and a host of apps for viewing additional content beyond your typical channel selections. These operating systems work similarly to a smartphone or tablet; you can download apps for things like YouTube, the weather or some of your favorite channels.

If your TV is newer, it may already have smart TV capabilities. If it doesn’t, consider installing a streaming device like a Roku or Apple TV, or add a video game console like a PlayStation or Xbox to give your TV a little intelligence boost. These devices open up other possibilities, such as mirroring your TV’s programming on other handheld devices like a tablet or smartphone.

  1.   Wirelessly mirror your computer screen

You can also consider using your laptop or a dedicated computer as the “brain” of your smart TV. Computers allow a substantial level of customization for the interface, but generally require a bit more research and technical savvy than the plug-and-play devices. Use solutions like AirParrot 2 to screen mirror your Mac or Windows computer to receivers such as an Apple TV or Chromecast.

  1.   Calculate your savings

Cutting the cord might not be viable for everyone. There are a lot of factors to consider, including the cost of new hardware and the amount of content you want to access. You can use an online calculator to determine what your final savings will be. And last but not least, you might want to figure out how to spend all the extra money you’ll save.


Cut The Cord On Your Cable Subscription With These Five Tips is a guest post from Alex Haslam of CutCableToday.com.

August 24, 2017

Cord Cutter’s Guide: How to watch the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards

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Cue the fireworks because Katy Perry hosts the 34th annual MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) this Sunday, Aug. 27, starting at 8 p.m. ET. Is anyone going to be “Wide Awake” watching this awards ceremony?

The VMAs are honoring music videos from June 26, 2016, to June 23, 2017. Kendrick Lamar is leading the way in nominations, as his song “Humble” is listed in eight categories. Perry The Weeknd come in second with five nominations each.

So how can you watch the acceptance speeches, performances and music videos if you don’t have cable? We have a few solutions for you…

MTV plans to live stream the awards ceremony on its website for free, but full coverage may not be available online. For full broadcast viewing, use the solutions listed below.

 

 

 

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Sling TV is one of the top ways cord cutters can stream live TV without a cable subscription. Subscribers who choose the Comedy Extra package ($5/mo.) along with their Sling Orange package ($20/mo.) or Sling Blue ($25/mo.) subscription have access to MTV, which is the exclusive broadcast and airing provider of the VMAs. Only want to use this service for the awards ceremony? You can try it free for seven days.

directv_now_logo_white.jpegOne of the newest solutions for cord cutters is DirecTV NOW by AT&T. This online streaming service offers more than 60 TV channels, including MTV, for $35/mo. without a contract, or you can try it free for seven days.

Pro tip:

Nobody wants to watch P!nk accept the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award on a tiny computer screen. Download AirParrot 2 on your Mac or PC to wirelessly mirror that live broadcast from your computer directly to an Apple TV or Chromecast.

Try AirParrot 2

Enter http://www.mtv.com/vma in your Chrome or Firefox browser to watch on the MTV website, or log in to your Sling TV or DirecTV NOW account to stream the event. Then open AirParrot and select your browser as the “From” option. Select your Apple TV or Chromecast as the “To” option. This will allow you to experience all the action on the big screen.

Be sure to tell us about your experience with these cord-cutting solutions and the AirParrot 2 desktop mirroring/streaming app in the comments below!   

Try AirParrot 2    Discover AirParrot 2

August 7, 2017

Cord Cutter’s Guide: How to Stream and Mirror the 2017 PGA Championship

The PGA Championship is the fourth and final major golf tournament of 2017. The championship, which features golfers like Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day and more, is set to take place this weekend at the Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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If you can’t catch every shot on TV (because let’s be honest, our lives are busy), or if you don't have cable to begin with, here’s how you can stream the tournament.

PGAChampionship.com

The PGA website offers viewers live streaming coverage from 8 a.m. EST until end of play Thursday and Friday. You can also catch video highlights throughout the tournament. 

Note: Streaming from this website may not give you full TV coverage. For full coverage of the tournament, use the options listed below.

 

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Sling TV is one of the top ways cord cutters can stream live TV without a cable subscription. Subscribers who choose the Sling Orange package ($20/mo.) or Sling Blue ($25/mo.) have access to TNT, which is the exclusive broadcast and airing provider of the PGA Championship. Only want to use this service for the tournament? You can try it free for seven days. This service will only give you coverage of the TNT broadcast.

directv_now_logo_white.jpegOne of the newest solutions for cord cutters is DirecTV NOW by AT&T. This online streaming service offers more than 60 TV channels, including TNT, for $35/mo. without a contract (or you can try it free for seven days). This service will only give you coverage of the TNT broadcast. 

 

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PlayStation Vue brings another streaming option to cord cutters trying to watch their favorite shows without cable. You can watch the PGA Championship with this solution starting at $40/mo. This service will only give you coverage of the TNT broadcast.

 

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Aside from TNT, the PGA Championship is also notably broadcasted on CBS. CBS All Access will give you live coverage online for only $5.99/mo. This service will only give you coverage of the CBS broadcast.

Note: To use this streaming service, you will need to check market availability here. To ensure full CBS coverage, consider a digital antenna. Here’s how to choose the best antenna for you.

 

Below is the full PGA Championship TV coverage schedule.

Thursday, August 10

1 – 7 p.m. on TNT

Friday, August 11

1 – 7 p.m. on TNT

Saturday, August 12

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on TNT

2 – 7 p.m. on CBS

Sunday, August 13

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on TNT

2 – 7 p.m. on CBS

 

Pro tip:

Nobody wants to watch the final putt of the 18th hole around a tiny computer screen. Download AirParrot 2 on your Mac or PC to wirelessly mirror that live broadcast from your computer directly to an Apple TV or Chromecast.

Enter this link in your Chrome or Firefox browser for PGAChampionship.com, or log in to your Sling TV, DirecTV NOW, PlayStation Vue or CBS All Access account to stream the event. Then open AirParrot and select your browser as the “From” option. Select your Apple TV or Chromecast as the “To” option. This will allow you to experience all the action on the big screen.

Learn more about the AirParrot 2 desktop mirroring/streaming app.

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July 10, 2017

Cord Cutter’s Guide: How to Stream and Mirror the 25th Annual ESPY Awards

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When’s the only time Kevin Durant, Tom Brady, Simone Biles and Serena Williams will all be in the same room together? That’s right…at the Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly Awards. We’re convinced our invite got lost in the mail. 

This year, two-time Super Bowl champion Peyton Manning will take the stage to help hand out awards that recognize individual and team athletic achievement. Comedians and Hollywood stars usually take on the responsibility of hosting such an event. However, Manning will be the first athlete in ten years to host the ESPYs after LeBron James co-hosted with Jimmy Kimmel in 2007.

If this hosting gig is anything like Manning’s SNL hosting appearance in 2007, he’s sure to have the Microsoft Theater (and nation) laughing. We can only hope that Herb Alpert’s “Casino Royale” will be playing as Manning walks off the stage (Locker Room sketch, anyone?). 

Grab your popcorn, grab your tissues (for the acceptance speech feels, of course) and grab your computer, because we are bringing you four ways (plus a bonus tip) to stream the event without cable!

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Sling TV is one of the top ways cord cutters can stream live TV without a cable subscription. Subscribers who choose the Sling Orange package ($20/mo.) have access to the Broadcast Extra bundle ($5/mo.) to watch live local broadcast channels, including ABC. Only want to use this service to watch the ESPYs? You can try it free for 7 days!

Note: You can only stream ABC Live through Sling TV in select markets around the country. These areas include Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco. If you live in one of these areas, the ABC live stream will be accessible.

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One of the newest solutions for cord cutters is DirecTV NOW by AT&T. This online streaming service offers you more than 60 TV channels, including ABC, for $35/mo. without a contract (or you can try it free for seven days). You can use this service on most streaming devices, including computers and mobile devices.

 

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PlayStation Vue brings another streaming option to cord cutters trying to watch their favorite shows without cable. You can watch the ESPYs with this solution if you live in a market where Sony has the right to carry live feeds of some of the major networks including ABC at just $40/mo. However, if you do not live in one of those areas, you’ll need to catch the event over-the-air. You can determine your local channel availability by entering your zip code here.

 

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Over-the-Air Broadcast

Don’t forget the old-fashioned way! Since ABC broadcasts over-the-air (OTA), it’s free to watch with a digital antenna if you live in range of an affiliate. Here’s how to choose the best antenna for you.

 

Pro tip:

Finding ways to stream live TV is only half the battle for cord cutters. After all, nobody wants to watch Peyton Manning hand out an award on a tiny computer screen. Download AirParrot 2 on your Mac or PC to wirelessly mirror that live broadcast from your computer directly to an Apple TV or Chromecast.

Use Sling TV app or DirecTV Now in the Chrome, Safari and Firefox browser to stream the event. Then open AirParrot and select your browser as the “From” option. Select your Apple TV or Chromecast as the “To” option. This will allow you to experience all the action on the big screen.

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Watch the 25th Annual ESPY Awards Online:

Wednesday, July 12
8 p.m. EST
Host: Peyton Manning
ABC

June 15, 2017

5 Tips to Get the Best Streaming Experience

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This is a guest post from Chris Brantner of CutCableToday.com

Streaming services have rapidly gained in popularity the last few years. They offer seemingly never-ending content for subscribers, including TV shows, movies and even streaming tons of live sports.

Unfortunately, all that content goes to waste if you have a bad streaming setup. You might think the only things you need to do are set up your Wi-Fi, subscribe to a service and begin streaming, but there’s much more you’ll want to do.

Make sure you take the right steps to ensure your setup is fine tuned for optimal streaming quality. That way you can avoid the disastrous scenario of waiting for the stream to buffer right as a huge play is breaking out while you’re streaming an NFL game. Here are five tips to help you get the best streaming experience: 

1. Determine what internet package you need

One thing that most people don’t realize is that you don’t need shockingly fast internet speeds for an ideal streaming experience. If you have one device streaming in high definition, you’ll need just 5Mbps (megabits per second) of download speed. With multiple devices, this can go up to 25Mbps.

In one case, this information can improve your streaming experience if you realize you don’t currently have fast enough internet speeds for your streaming needs. But, another benefit is you hopefully recognize there’s no need to overpay for that blazingly fast download speed, when a fraction of the cost will work just fine. This can save you some serious dough, which you can use to put toward better ways to improve the rest of your setup.

2. Pick the right internet provider 

There is no one answer to who the best internet service provider (ISP) is for everyone. The best option varies for each person and can easily change based on your location or the internet speed you decide you need. After figuring out your desired internet speed, you should shop around and compare ISPs.

Sometimes you’ll find a great offer from a competitor of your existing ISP, or you can even find a great offer that exactly meets your streaming needs. For example, some ISPs don’t offer packages with download speeds as low as 5Mbps. You might find another provider that has the lower package, which can once again save you money that you can spend elsewhere.

3. Get a good router and upgrade it regularly

Wifi in general is usually the key problem in most people’s streaming setups. A router is the key tool that will make or break your experience. This isn’t the place to skimp because even though your internet speed meets your needs, your router might not be delivering that to your devices.

You should get a solid router and make sure to upgrade it regularly. An upgrade is recommended about every two years. This could either mean you buy your own router and replace it every couple of years or just trade in the router you rent from your ISP for the latest version.

4. Set up your router correctly

Now that you have your router, you need to make sure you set it up properly. You should place the router in the center of your home. This increases the chance your Wifi will reach all of your rooms and minimize the chance of dead zones. Additionally, you should keep your router out in the open and off the floor to reduce any interference.

5. Improve your Wifi with a whole-home Wifi system

A whole-home Wifi system promises the improved Wifi experience the 21st century demands. Instead of having one access point, your purchase gets you multiple devices. You then set up each device throughout the house, which work to extend and amplify your Wifi service. This reduces any chance of dead zones. The market is new, but there are already a bunch of great options.

Whole-home systems work especially great if you have a room where you can never seem to get strong service. It can let you seamlessly stream ESPN in the basement, while someone else is binge-watching a show in the living room. Some of the most popular whole-home Wifi systems are Eero or Google Wifi.

Bonus Tip: Easily mirror your streams to your TV

AirParrot is an incredibly helpful software tool for anyone who likes to stream. This won’t impact the speed you’ll be able to download your streams, and it’ll add a ton of flexibility to your streaming experience. You just need to download AirParrot 2 on your laptop (PC or Mac). Then, you can wirelessly send whatever you’re streaming on your computer to your big screen. Stream all of your services in the Firefox or Chrome browser and you can then connect to your Apple TV or Chromecast.

Now you have all the information needed to improve your streaming setup. You’re ready for a top-notch streaming experience that’ll make all your friends jealous as they sit and watch the buffering icon.

About Us

Squirrels is a software development company based in North Canton, Ohio. We create high-quality, budget-friendly screen mirroring and device management software that’s compatible with today’s most popular devices. To date, our software can be found in hundreds of thousands of classrooms, businesses and homes. Follow our blog for all the latest product updates, Squirrels news and technology insight!