Streaming video: is it right for you?

December 31, 2018

 • BY Ron Holcomb

Last month, we shared that the fiber video and voice service will be available through Mulberry, rather than directly from Tipmont. Our goal is to ensure you have access to video and voice services the way you want it. This change helps streamline voice and video service delivery by aligning your customer experience with who is actually delivering the service. I also mentioned streaming video as a new model that is rapidly gaining popularity with consumers.

Streaming video (also known as cord cutting) bypasses traditional distribution over coax cable or satellite to deliver live television content over the internet. In order to use streaming services, you need a fast and reliable internet connection and a device capable of streaming the live television such as a Smart TV, smartphone, tablet, desktop computer or standalone streaming player such as a Roku or Apple TV.

The first question is often how much internet speed is required to comfortably stream live television to a single device. High definition (HD) typically requires between 4 and 6 Mb/s. Ultra high definition (UHD or 4K) streams, while not yet widely available, require anywhere from 15 Mb/s to 60 Mb/s for a smooth streaming experience. By comparison, our lowest internet package offers 250 Mb/s download speeds, more than enough to stream live television with plenty left over for other activities.

The second question usually is related to cost. This is where streaming services differentiate themselves from traditional linear video services. Since all the live television is delivered over the internet, streaming providers have the advantage of not having to provide end-user equipment. As a result, most services are about $45 compared with about $90 for the average cable TV package. Also, streaming pricing typically doesn’t offer introductory rates or contracts meaning you can opt out any time.

All this is not to say streaming services are perfect. The marketplace is still somewhat fragmented. There are about six major live television streaming services with channel lineups that vary. The good news is that more services are now carrying local network affiliates depending on your home zip code. If you watch a lot of movies, Netflix is the must-have service. Nearly all streaming services have a free trial period for you to try the product out in your home.

In any case, the fundamental idea still holds: empowering you to access video and voice services the way you want them. We will be holding community meetings this spring where we'll help answer your questions and give you a place to try some of the streaming services. Please stay engaged with us on social media and join.tipmont.org for updates.

I’m pleased to share that our first build is on schedule, and we're connecting our first customers. If you’re in our first build area of Linden, Romney and New Richmond, sign up for service by June 30, and you will receive a free Roku Premiere. More information is available at tipmont.org/roku. We’re also putting the finishing touches on our new fiber service brand and are excited to share that with you later this spring.

Ron Holcomb

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Ron is a 30 year veteran of the electric utility industry with extensive experience in power supply, advanced grid technologies, essential service operations, economic development and value-driven growth initiatives for combined electric and telecommunication utilities. During his career, he has led three utilities as President/CEO and provided management consulting to utilities across the country. Ron joined Tipmont REMC as CEO in summer 2013. He holds a B.S. in Physics from Austin Peay State University and an MBA from Murray State University.
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