Building Community

Build A Community with the Community Building Package

 

Does your club, organization or association need a hosted website designed and developed with it’s very own forums for discussion? With CompuGeaux, we can get your organization or club on the web in no time with the CompuGeaux Community Building Package. Build your group into a Community with a blogging website and forums, plus optional add-ons to complete your Community website!

Package Details

WordPress

The Community Building Package from CompuGeaux comes with a WordPress web site designed and hosted by CompuGeaux. We use WordPress because it is the most popular Content Management System (CMS), used by approximately 75 million websites. Organizations, companies and even individuals use WordPress due to its ease of use and its powerful, flexible and simple interface. With its responsive design and easy blogging platform, WordPress holds the largest CMS market share by far, and currently accounts for over a quarter of all websites.

Forums

Internet Forums are online discussion sites where people can hold conversations in the form of posted messages. They differ from chat rooms in that messages are often longer than one line of text, and are at least temporarily archived. Also, depending on the access level of a user or the forum set-up, a posted message might need to be approved by a moderator before it becomes visible. It is hierarchical or tree-like in structure: a forum can contain a number of sub-forums, each of which may have several topics. Within a forum’s topic, each new discussion started is called a thread, and can be replied to by as many people as so wish. Depending on the forum’s settings, users can have to register with the forum and then subsequently log in in order to post messages.

In addition to the WordPress website and blogging platform, the CompuGeaux Community Building Package comes with the installations of a forum. In these online discussion boards, members of your club, organization, or association can ask questions, share their experiences, and discuss topics of mutual interest. They are an excellent way to create social connections and a sense of community. Use the Forums application to start discussions about a specific topic or to debate solutions to shared problems. By participating in a forum, you can exchange ideas and use the expertise of people in your organization.

Best of all, CompuGeaux offers you a selection of six different forum applications (in case you have a preference in what forums application you prefer to use). They include:

  1. Simple Machines – This is the default forum application installed into the CompuGeaux Community Building Package. It is professional grade software package that allows you to set up your own online community. Its powerful custom made template engine puts you in full control of the lay-out of your message board and it provides you with all the features you need from a bulletin board while having an absolute minimal impact on the resources of the server. It is the preferred forum application program of CompuGeaux because of its ease of use, awesome customization and features.
  2. phpBB – Millions of people use phpBB on a daily basis, making it the most widely used open source bulletin board system in the world. Whether you want to stay in touch with a small group of friends or are looking to set up a large multi-category board for a corporate website, phpBB has the features you need built-in. Newer users will appreciate phpBB’s extensive administration panel, which allows the customization of even the most intricate features without having to edit code directly while advanced users will value the ease with which phpBB can be integrated into existing systems. phpBB also have a working demo for prospective user to try their software.
  3. FluxBBFluxBB is a popular lightweight forum application, powering forums for Arch Linux and μTorrent. It is a fast, light, user-friendly forum software for your website. FluxBB was conceived and designed to be fast and light with less of the “not so essential” features that some of the other forums have whilst not sacrificing essential functionality or usability. It is designed as a lighter, faster alternative to some of the traditional feature heavy forum applications. It is easy to use and has a proven track record of stability and security making it an ideal choice of forum for your website.
  4. Vanilla ForumsInitially released in 2006, Vanilla Forums powers discussion on over 500,000 sites. Vanilla has reinvented forums and offers a modern user experience that your customers have come to expect. In addition to standard discussions, Vanilla allows users to post questions and polls. Like most of Vanilla’s features, these discussion types can be turned on or off in the Admin Dashboard. Members can format posts with html, markdown, or bbcode. Images can be dragged and dropped and videos are automatically embedded. Check out their introduction video.
  5. myBB – MyBB powers hundreds of thousands of engaging, powerful, and unique communities across the internet. Extremely easy to use, much thought has gone into MyBB’s interface to make it simple, intuitive, and an absolute joy to use. It offers powerful moderation and administration features to keep your forum in tip-top shape, just the way you like it. With an extensive range of plugins and a built-in theme and template editor, adding new features or an entirely new coat of paint is simple. MyBB features everything you need to run an efficient and captivating community.
  6. XMB Forum – XMB stands for Extreme Message Board, and it is powerful forum software, quite complete, with themes, modifications, and support of a good community. It provides all the basic tools you need to get started. You can edit administration settings, templates, add/remove topics, and member settings. There are other tools available, but for the most part, nothing too complex, just your forum basics. Great for beginners. Check out the demo at Softaculous.

Optional Add-Ons

In addition to the base package, CompuGeaux offers numerous add-ons to make your CompuGeaux Community Building Package more complete. These include software options such as Contacts Relationship Management (CRM) platforms that can be used as a way to keep all your members information. The key features of a CRM system typically include contact management functionality, dashboard-style presentation of information, and reports that analyse member activity, along with communication tools such as integrated email and internal instant messaging.

Additional optional add-ons include “Craigslist-style” classified advertisement applications in order to offer your association’s members a place to buy, sell and trade items like the demo page you can see here. Ask for a complete list of optional add-ons to complete your new community website and forums. We are sure we can put together a customized CompuGeaux Community Building Package that fit all of the needs of your club, organization or association.
30%* off! Get going with GoDaddy!

So Contact CompuGeaux Now and speak to a Community Building Specialist today and get the ball rolling on turning your club, organization or association into a community today! Use the contact form below and be sure to ask for the CompuGeaux Community Building Package!

 

 

 

Get on the Web with WordPress!

Get on the Web with CompuGeaux Managed WordPress Solutions!

Get on the Web with WordPress!

CompuGeaux Managed WordPress Hosting and Design!

WHAT IS WORDPRESS?
WordPress is an online, open source website creation tool written in PHP. In non-geek speak, it’s probably the easiest and most powerful blogging and web site management system in existence today. More than 22.0% of the top 10 million sites use WP and it is the most popular blogging system in use on the Web. And now you are ready to take the plunge and claim you very own piece of the web.

WHAT DOES COMPUGEAUX OFFER?
CompuGeaux offers Managed WordPress Hosting and Design. This means, CompuGeaux can either host a site for you or go all the way and design a website for your needs. We handle the WordPress install, daily backups and software updates for you. We offer two standard plans to suit your needs. Each plan will be customized to fit your needs.

STANDARD PLAN
WordPress CMS installed and a year of hosting included.
Three plug-ins installed. Theme Installation.
Includes a free domain with email and Technical support.

PREMIUM PLAN
Need an entire website designed? No problem.
Includes WordPress installation with hosting for a year.
Five extensions and theme installation. Two revisions.
Technical maintenance.

HTTPS OPTION
Make your site visitors know they are safe with an SSL Certificate. Get a green lock NOW!

SEARCH ENGINE OPTIMIZATION
Want to generate more traffic to your site? CompuGeaux can handle your SEO Management, too.

Contact a CompuGeaux WordPress Specialist today! Don’t forget to ask about other Web Solutions or visit our Services page for more information.

 

FutureStar Webstream Service by CompuGeaux

FutureStar Webstream Solutions

 

The Big Launch

Are you an independent artist or small record company who wants to showcase their music to millions of possible listeners on the internet?

For less than you think, CompuGeaux’s FutureStar WebStream Solutions can build you a personalized website, complete with your music streaming in crystal-clear, high quality CD sound – 24 hours a day / 7 days a week!!!

You get ALL of the following:

✓ custom domain – www.YOURNAME.com/.co/.net/.org
✓ personalized e-mail address to above your custom domain
✓ personalized website creation with web hosting
✓ your own music playing on your own internet audio stream
✓ technical maintenance

If you are ready to showcase your talents or your clients online on your own internet media player and personalized website, contact CompuGeaux about FutureStar WebStream Solutions NOW for more information.

Geaux Green (Lock, That Is) for HTTPS/SSL Certificates

SSL Certificates: If you don't have one, Google Chrome will tag your site as Not Secure.

In July 2018, Google released an update to it’s popular Chrome browser. It is estimated that 60% of internet users are using the Chrome for their regular browsing. This means, 60% of the people visiting your site will get the impression that it is not a secure website as their first impression. Is that the type of first impression you really want to make?

Get an SSL Certificate so your site doesn't get a Non-Secure Warning

A Not Secure label on your website can devastate your business. If your website does not run HTTPS by default, your visitors will begin to see a flag next to your domain name at the top address bar of the Google Chrome 68 browser showing that your website is not secure. Once they make the jump, other browsers will also begin to follow.

Part of the HTTPS Everywhere movement, internet browser Mozilla Firefox has already openly stated with Google that their intent is to make HTTPS the new minimum. As an example, in January 2017, Firefox implemented a policy that began marking form elements on HTTP sites as insecure, and they warn users that any login information could become compromised.

Get serious about data security and get the little green lock that shows visitors that you’re secure. CompuGeaux has partnered with GoDaddy and a number of other technology companies to provide custom SSL/HTTPS solutions for your business and website.

Get the Green Lock with an SSL/HTTPS Solution from CompuGeaux

The new requirements might not sound like a big deal for website owners that do not process payments or ask for information, but all websites should have HTTPS encryption and every website can benefit from an SSL certificate.

If you do not currently have an SSL certificate installed on your site, you are already missing Google’s automatic search ranking boost from back in 2014. In addition, Google de-prioritizes HTTP sites. With an SSL certificate installed, your site will have access to powerful API tools that users have come to expect in responsive websites, such as geolocation and audio/video streaming.

If that was not enough motivation, SSL certificates also unlock a significant performance boost by allowing your site to operate over HTTP/2, which by itself has the capability to improve your load times by up to 40 percent!

Today, visitors look for green locks on their address bars to feel secure before giving trust to a site. An SSL certificate shows legitimacy and professionalism by ensuring your users feel protected while browsing. No website is too small. No data is worthless. With Google Chrome 68, it will matter. Installing an SSL certificate could not be easier with the number of options CompuGeaux has for getting the job done.

So contact CompuGeaux now and speak to a Website Security Specialist today!

Geaux Private

Net neutrality is dead. You’ve seen it plastered all over the internet and the news. But what does that mean to you?

What is Net Neutrality?

In a nutshell, net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favoring or blocking particular products or websites. When you go online you expect to be connected to whatever website you want. You expect that your cable or phone company isn’t messing with the data and is connecting you to all websites, applications and content you choose. You expect to be in control of your internet experience.

When you use the internet you expect Net Neutrality. It is, simply, the way that the internet has always worked. Without the Net Neutrality rules, companies like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon are now able to call all the shots and decide which websites, content and applications succeed.

These companies can now slow down their competitors’ content or block political opinions they disagree with. They can charge extra fees to the few content companies that can afford to pay for preferential treatment — relegating everyone else to a slower tier of service.

exclamation mark.pngWhat’s worse, your internet service provider (ISP) – the company you pay to get internet service, can now sell all of your information, including your internet browsing history to anyone they want.

Trump-Privacy-rules

 

That’s right. Everything you now use the internet for can be sold by your ISP. Think about what you do on the internet. Browsing? Your history can be sold to the highest bidder. E-Mail? Same. Using an application? Yup. That can be sold, as well. Basically, whatever you do on the internet can now be sold for billions of dollars by the company you already pay for internet access. So what can you do in order to secure your privacy?

Virtual Private Networks Are the Answer

At this point it’s safe to say that the future of the internet is not looking too promising when it comes to individual freedoms and rights. Most importantly, though, is the loss of privacy. While the internet may have once been a place where the free flow of information was paramount, it is slowly being taken over by corporate interests. The notion of a free and open internet will soon be forgotten, to be replaced with something that can be controlled at many different levels. So how do you combat this? The answer is simple, you get a VPN.

What is a VPN?

A VPN is software that is used as a method employing encryption to provide secure access to a remote computer over the Internet. It extends a private network across a public network, and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network. It is the most secure way to connect to the internet without risking your online identity, privacy and personal information by creating a secure tunnel using secured VPN protocols – hiding your original IP behind one of its own – and encrypts all your communication and passes through the secure tunnel allowing you to surf the web freely and anonymously.

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In simple words, when we connect to a VPN, our original IP (assigned by the Internet Service Provider) is replaced by one of the VPN servers’ IP. For example, if your ISP assigned you an IP of USA (as you are in Baton Rouge) 2.354.452.2, then if you connect to a UK server via VPN your IP will change to 1.142.35.6. This way your original IP will remain anonymous and not even your ISP can track your online footprints.

Benefits of a VPN

  • Hide your internet activity from ISP.
    I don’t think I need to explain this reason for using a VPN service any further. As told above, now your ISP has the complete access to your internet browsing history and personal information. With the help of a great VPN service, you can avert this kind of surveillance and get the benefits of anonymity in your daily life. VPN services make sure that all your connections between your devices and remote resources are clocked.
  • Use public Wi-Fi without risks.
    Everybody loves free stuff, there’s no doubt about that. Same goes with the free internet being provided at cafes, restaurants, airports, and other public places (here’s how to bypass the limit). We don’t hesitate while connecting to such networks. But, do you know that such hotspots are not safe for confidential browsing and logins? It’s one of the biggest reasons why a mobile user must consider using a quality VPN service and make a wise investment.
  • Secure your VOIP phone calls.
    VOIP, or Voice-over-IP, is a cheap way to make internet phone calls. But, VOIP services can be hacked by the attackers who have a good knowledge of internet architecture. Such cases are a good reason to use a VPN service, which can turn out to be greatly useful. But, note that your usual VOIP speed might get a little slower.
  • Stop companies from tracking you.
    No matter how much you love Google for its “free” services, it knows everything about you. If you don’t take care of your privacy settings and browse the web casually, Google stores your every search, movement, activity, download, etc. Very often people end up facing troubles and embarrassment. Well, get a VPN, hide your IP and avoid such troubles.
  • Privacy is your right.
    This argument sums up all above-mentioned reasons to use a VPN service. In today’s times, the use of VPN is growing rapidly and it’s being seen as a basic internet security practice. Even if you’re a normal citizen and you think you’ve got nothing to hide, a VPN service can act as your best friend very often.

If wish to get started with VPNs and safeguard your internet activities, there are many great options. Contact a CompuGeaux Authorized Privacy Technician for more information.



Get a Personalized Amazon Fire TV Stick from CompuGeaux

Start 2018 on “Fire”

CompuGeaux is starting 2018 on “Fire”!

Nearly a year ago, I published an article explaining how to cut your home entertainment costs by “Cord Cutting”. Using my own personal experience, I detailed how to save yourself around $100 per month. That’s a savings of over $1200 a year! Even with the prices of internet already on the rise and with the internet service provider costs increases looming this year, dropping cable or satellite like a bad habit will still save you plenty of money. And now, CompuGeaux is proud to offer a new product to choose from in addition to the Dencazt Nexbox Android TV Unit… the personalized Amazon Fire TV Stick.

CompuGeaux now offers Personalized Amazon Fire TV Sticks!
Get a Personalized Amazon Fire TV Stick from CompuGeaux.

CompuGeaux now offers Personalized Amazon Fire TV!

That’s right. In addition to our Android TV set-top box, CompuGeaux now offers personalized Amazon Fire TV Sticks to help our customers save money by cord cutting. The Amazon Fire Stick is a small device about the size of a flash drive that plugs into a TV’s HDMI port. The Fire Stick enables any TV to stream content such as Netflix, YouTube, Hulu, Pandora, HBO go, and much more over your Wi-Fi network. Like the Dencazt Nexbox boxes, these new Fire TV sticks have quad-core processors, 1GB of RAM (for less buffering) and 8GB of memory space (for those apps listed above, plus more.) In addition, I have found that it has a much more pleasant user experience (i.e. easier to use) than our traditional set-top boxes, which required a little tech “know-how”. In addition, the newest generation of the Amazon Fire TV Stick comes with the Alexa Voice Remote, making your use of the equipment even more pleasant. Trust me, holding the button on the remote (or using the Amazon Fire TV remote app on your smartphone (another really neat feature) and telling Alexa to start playing an episode of Star Trek: Discovery is about as easy as it gets!

Using the Alexa Voice Remote with an Amazon Fire TV Stick from CompuGeaux is amazing
Using the Alexa Voice Remote with an Amazon Fire TV Stick from CompuGeaux is Amazing.

So contact CompuGeaux to speak with a Cord Cutting expert to learn how you can save money and personalize your home entertainment viewing. We will work with you to determine a personalized entertainment build to meet your specific entertainment needs.

Free Delivery and Installation Deal!

For a limited time, you can waive the Delivery and Installation charge when you purchase a new personalized Amazon Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote! Click here for more information on the special!

Contact CompuGeaux
Contact CompuGeaux by Using the Form Below

CyberDefense Made Simple

In light of the recent uptick in global ransomeware attacks and what some are calling a new front of cyber warfare, CompuGeaux has been hard at work looking for new ways to protect you. We believe that a complete internet defense is necessary in today’s cyber world.

Introducing our newest service, CompuGeaux CyberDefense.

This new service is complete cyber security for you and comes with two base packages:

  • CyberDefense Essentialfor home users.
  • CyberDefense Professionalfor businesses.

Both packages include the three keys to internet security listed below and each package is also customizable. A CompuGeaux CyberDefense expert and you personalize the packages to fit your unique individual or business needs.

Triple Protection to Keep You Safe

Education and Alerts

CompuGeaux has teamed up with cyber security firms to bring you the latest in news, alerts, and internet security training. Education is essential in the fight against cyber attacks.

Monitoring and Patching

Free monthly PMCS service is included with both packages, as well.  This is to keep your computer’s operating system, browsers, and other apps and software up-to-date. Outdated software is often exploited and can lead to making attacks easier.

Backup and Layered Protection

Online Computer Backup

CompuGeaux has partnered with the award-winning, online backup service, Carbonite to provide the best in computer backup services to our customers.

Layered Protection

  • Firewall Protection (Avast) –
  • Anti-Virus with Active Monitoring (Avast)
  • Anti-Spam Protection (Avast)
  • Anti-Malware (Avast and Malwarebytes)
  • Anti-Exploit Protection (Malwarebytes)
  • Anti-Ransomware (Malwarebytles)

Message Us on Facebook!

Get all the information on the latest in Internet Security and be ready for ransomware, hackers, or even cyber warfare. ContactCompuGeaux now to personalize your CompuGeaux CyberDefense package now!

Facebook Wi-Fi (B2B Service)

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CompuGeaux is now increasing its Business2Business services by offering installation of Facebook Wi-Fi.

Social Intelligence for Your Business


Facebook Wi-Fi – Powered by NETGEAR

Facebook Wi-Fi turns your router into a WiFi hotspot, prompting customers searching for WiFi to check in and like your Facebook Page before using the web for free. This opens the door to building closer relationships with your customers by sharing offers and announcements, boosting engagement on your Facebook page, and accessing aggregate insights about your customer base.

CompuGeaux has partnered with NETGEAR and Facebook to bring you a best-in-class technology that enables faster and seamless social connection between you and your customers, increases the visibility and discoverability of your business on Facebook, and provides deeper analytics for better-targeted marketing decisions.


Why Facebook Wi-Fi?

You will no longer need to spend time and resources providing a WiFi password to guests. Together with the intuitive setup flow (and no additional maintenance), Facebook Wi-Fi means a better user experience for both you and your customers.


How does it work?

A CompuGeaux technician will set up your router so your customers can access free WiFi by checking in to your location on Facebook. Once your customers check in, they have the option to like your Page, so you can continue to reach them with your future posts. Share offers and promotions on your Page so that when people check in, it’s the first thing they’ll see.


Will it really help my business?

Facebook has run early pilots with merchants who all saw a significant uplift in their number of check-ins, after installing Facebook Wi-Fi. Check-ins can help make your business more discoverable, as check-ins can show up in News Feed, and help people find you in Graph Search.

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Turn your business into a Wi-Fi hotspot.

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  • Customers simply check in to your location on Facebook to connect to free Wi-Fi.

  • Wi-Fi codes aren’t necessary and there are no new accounts to create.
  • Customers can manually check in or choose a setting that lets them automatically check in whenever they visit your location.

Reach more people.

  • When customers check in to use your Wi-Fi, their friends can discover your business by seeing the story in their News Feed.
  • After checking in, people will be asked if they also want to like your Page so you can connect with them on Facebook.

fb-3checkinsHelp people find your business.

  • More check-ins and engagement with your Page will improve how it ranks in search and Nearby tab on the Facebook mobile app.

GAIN INSIGHT INTO YOUR CUSTOMERSfb-insights-402.png

 

Access aggregate demographics data—such as age and gender—from check-ins and understand peak traffic times. You’ll also be able to reach customers who check-in with Facebook ads.

 

 


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Contact a CompuGeaux Consultant now to discuss how Facebook Wi-Fi can help your business succeed. Then schedule an appointment to get your installation of Facebook Wi-Fi at your business location.

Contact CompuGeaux Now!

Ransomware: Protection and Prevention

Computer security is more important now than ever. In addition to  traditional anti-virus programs, computer owners and administrators should now be focused on ransomware. Ransomware attacks are growing in size and impact. Up by 128%, the number of ransomware attacks are at an all-time high and now reach over 7,000,000 attacks yearly. Both businesses and individuals are victims of ransomware. In a 2016 survey by American Internet security company, Malwarebytes; 39% of companies polled experienced a ransomware attack. 37% of those businesses attacked actually paid the ransom demands. As a business owner, you can no longer turn your head and ignore the threat of ransomware to your business.

ransomware attack

How Can Ransomware Affect My Business ?

Each year, millions of ransom attacks are attempted on both small and large companies. Ransomware can encrypt your company’s most important files, such as accounting, medical data, or confidential customer information. Once encrypted, you can’t get the files back — unless you pay the ransom. In February 2016, Hollywood Presbyterian Hospital paid $17,000 to retrieve patient data from hackers. The Verizon Data Breach Investigations report estimates that if 1,000 records are lost, businesses can expect to lose more than $67,000. As the size of the breach increases, so does the cost to business — exponentially. Some newer forms of ransomware threaten businesses not only with encrypting files but also leaking them online. Imagine if this happens to your business.

Should You Pay the Ransom?

Are You Vulnerable?

Everyone is vulnerable to a ransomware attack. There is no silver bullet. However, you and your business are especially vulnerable if any the following are true:

  • You use legacy (old and outdated) software.
  • Your browser and/or Operating Systems are not patched or updated regularly.
  • You operate with outdated equipment.
  • You don’t have a legitimate backup plan.
  • You lack a comprehensive cyber-security strategy.

What do you do if you are a victim?

Proactive Ransomware Prevention

The best protection is prevention. Take these steps to keep ransomware from harming your business:

  • Patch your system – Keep browsers, OSes, and other software applications up-to-date.
  • Educate users – One of the most common ways that computers are infected with ransomware is through social engineering. Educate users on how to detect phishing campaigns, suspicious websites, and other scams.
  • Back up files – Make secure copies of your data on a regular basis and store them offsite. We recommend storage on a secure cloud server with high-level encryption and multiple-factor authentication.
  • Invest in layered security – Installing multiple layers of cyber-security protection can detect and block  ransomware attacks before they happen. For the best protection, we recommend these layers: 
    1. Firewall,
    2. Anti-exploit,
    3. Anti-virus with active monitoring,
    4. Anti-malware, and
    5. Anti-ransomware.

CompuGeaux Can Help!

Take your first step in proactive ransomware prevention by contacting CompuGeaux! A business solutions consultant will brainstorm with you to find a personalized solution to prevent and minimize any affects of a direct ransomeware attack on your company computer systems.

CompuGeaux

Cut the Cord and $$$ave

It was once only a small niche in the technology field but it has become the next trend in mainstream home entertainment. I’m talking about the “cutting the cord” phenomenon and it is growing exponentially. In the past few years, the number of “cord cutters” have continued to rise each year. Since 2011, it is estimated that over five million cable and satellite customers have dropped their pay television services. Now YOU can “cut the cord”.

Why Cut the Cord?

People will give all kinds of reasons to cut the cord. Some say they did it for better selection. Some say it is a matter of “convenience.” They said they liked the flexibility and convenience that OTT services, such as Netflix, gave them. Some leave cable in order to watch certain shows not available on cable, such as Orange Is the New Black on Netflix or 11.22.63 on Hulu. But the number one reason people cut the cord is simple – they want to save money.

$ave Money by Cutting the Cord!

How to Cut the Cord?

So the question now is… HOW?!?! Well, it’s actually incredibly easier than you think. This being said, there is some necessary equipment you still need to purchase. In addition, don’t forget that you will still need internet, so you will still have to pay for that service, probably from the company you are currently paying for television. In addition, you may want to get a higher tier internet speed. Streaming is best over faster internet.

Streaming is Better with Fast Internet Speeds

What Else Do I Need?

HDTV Antenna

The first equipment you should buy has nothing to do with streaming at all. It has to do with getting you access to the numerous local over-the-air (OTA) high definition television (HDTV) stations broadcasting in your area. It’s amazing to me that many people has no idea that you can catch your local television stations in HD without a cable or satellite provider, usually with better quality since the broadcasters don’t “smash” the signal like the at TV companies do.

And there is a host of free channels over the air. Since the 2009 digital television transition, local television stations have been able to not only offer higher definition video and better sound quality than before, but also offer multiple digital subchannels on their frequency. This is known as multicasting, and has allowed a crop of entertainment-based specialty networks (also known as “diginets”) to be created specifically for subchannels, most commonly those airing reruns of classic television series, movies, and other specialty programming. You can see a full list of the available OTA broadcast channels in your area using tools at Tablo (which also makes a great DVR for OTA stations).

PROTIP: I use the indoor GE Pro Crystal HD Amplified Antenna to catch local stations in my metropolitan area. If you are in a rural area, you may want to consider an outdoor antenna.

Some people use Roku to Cut the Cord

Streaming Equipment

So now that we got the OTA stuff out of the way, let’s talk about the streaming services and the equipment you need for those services. Most Smart TVs have the essentials – Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon – already installed and ready to connect, but if you have an older model or “dumb” TV, there are still ways to get to the stream services you need. These include Roku boxes, Apple TV boxes, Chromecast devises, Amazon Fire sticks, X-Box and PlayStation consoles, and Android TV boxes. You can even use some Blu-Ray/DVD players and even your PC. Tom’s Guide offers a great article on the Best Streaming Devices 2017, but I’m going to tell you about the two devices I personally use.

Dencazt Nexbox: The Dencazt Nexbox Android TV box is ready for the future. It is 4K UltraHD ready and comes with my very own custom Kodi build, allowing you to stream on-demand television and movies, as well as listen to live internet radio. It is a “must-have” for any cord-cutter and also comes installed with other important streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Sling TV, and DirecTV Now. Contact CompuGeaux for more info on the Dencazt Nexbox.

Microsoft Xbox One: The Xbox One isn’t geared to cord-cutters, but if you are a gamer looking to cut the cord, the Xbox One is the way to go. Seriously, there are an amazing assortment of apps. Everything from American television networks to Rosetta Stone can be found. I personally use the Sling TV app (more on Sling TV later) on my Xbox One. You can see a list of Xbox apps here.

Cut the Cord Using Many Apps, like Netflix and Hulu

Streaming Services and Cable Replacements

When it comes to streaming services, there are numerous options out there, but there is also the Big Three. Netflix, which is best for binge television viewing. At a cost of about $8/month, it is the most popular streaming service out there, and 27.1 million Americans are currently regular monthly customers of Netflix. In my opinion, this is the most necessary streaming service to have. Then there is Hulu Plus. This service costs around $8/month as well. It differs from Netflix considerably, as Hulu focuses more on recently-aired TV show, with network and cable shows often showing up on the service the day after airing on TV. Amazon Prime Video, much like Netflix, is better for general viewing.

But how will you watch the latest episodes of Doctor Who? Not every show currently on TV is on Hulu. This is where the fun begins… picking your customized viewing packages from the streaming and cable-replacements services available. Currently, you can go ahead and look at each network individually, but that’s a lot of work and some network streams will not give you complete functionality without you signing in to your provider. Luckily, services like DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue, and Sling TV now exist to give us a clear alternative to traditional cable and satellite services.

I personally use Sling TV. It’s a great service, but it does have it’s shortcomings. For example, the service does NOT have a DVR services, although you can pause a few shows on some of the channels. I have the $40/month plan that includes all of their basic cable television offerings. This does not include any premium networks such as HBO or Showtime. Since I use my Dencazt Nexbox for movies, there really is no need for me to spend that extra money.

Cut the Cord

So go ahead and do it! I spend a total of $70 each month to watch whatever I want whenever I want. You can do the same! Call CompuGeaux now and schedule an appointment and we will work with you to build you a cost effective cord cutting alternative to your cable or satellite television provider.