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Just for Fun Survey: Counting Sleep When You Can’t Sheep

alarm clock

If you are getting your words and phrases turned around more often than not, you may be suffering from a lack of quality sleep. Lack of quality sleep continues to be a primary health concern for many Americans. Park Associates reports that 25% of US broadband households surveyed in 2018 are very concerned about sleep quality. That’s up from 16% in 2016.

Solutions for sleep deprivation may include the inexpensive, effective-for-some practice of counting sheep. On the practical side of the equation, choosing the right mattress to ensure your maximum comfort remains a popular product-based preference. Of course, there are Smart watches and exercise trackers – common tech favorites for monitoring your sleep quality.

What works for you? Select your favorite option from our single question Counting Sleep When You Can’t Sheep survey.

Initial Survey Results
Initial Survey Results

11 Must Have Doorbell Features

Skybell Video Doorbell

It’s back to school time. Checking to see whether or not your kids got off the bus doesn’t have to be a hassle. In fact, you don’t even have to be there in person to do so. Skybell Video doorbells have 11 easy-to-use features to protect your home and family.

Skybell Video Doorbell Features and Description

Features Description
1 HD Video

 

See your visitor up close with high density, 1080 pixel resolution and 5x zoom
2 Motion Sensor

 

Receive alerts even if your visitor doesn’t press the button (that’s additional security)
3 Live Monitoring

 

Monitor your front door at any time by starting the video from the app
4 Free Video Recording

 

Record each video to download or watch any time
5 Multiple User Capability

 

Allow multiple people to receive alerts to answer the door and/or enable multiple devices on each account.
6 Hear and Speak 2 Way Audio

 

Enjoy a full conversation with your visitor
7 Activity History

 

Review the day’s events while you were away (this includes missed visitors, answered video calls and motion alerts)
8 Color Night Vision

 

Feel safe knowing you can see a visitor at night in full color
9 Quiet Mode

 

Turn off your home’s doorbell chime from the app so it won’t wake up a sleeping baby or pet
10 Snap Photo Functionality

 

Capture a photo of your visitor with the touch of a button
11 Rugged Construction for Extreme Temperatures

 

Rest easy knowing the doorbell works between: -40 and 140 degrees F

Alternative to Keeping Rising Cable Costs Down

Cable costs are rising.  An article in the January 5th issue of USA Today explains why, as well as what you can do about it.  Besides the recommendations made in the USA Today article, another option for keeping costs down is Streaming TV.

Smithville offers four different platforms for Streaming TV: ROKU, Android (Google), iOS (Apple) and Amazon Firestick.  Need some help navigating through these options? Forbes provides a helpful comparison, which is summarized in the table below based on supported content, mobile device compatibility, TV compatibility, pros and cons.

ROKU Android (Google) iOS (Apple) Amazon Firestick
Supported Content Netflix, CinemaNow, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Google Play, HBO NOW, and more Netflix, YouTube, Pandora, HBO NOW, and more Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, iTunes, and more Netflix, Hulu, HBO NOW, YouTube, Amazon Video, and more
Mobile Device Compatibility Android or Apple iOS Stream from any iOS or Android device iOS Fire app can turn a Fire, Android, or iOS device into an Alexa remote
TV Compatibility Most high-definition TVs with an HDMI interface Most TVs with HDMI interface HD and UHD TVs with HDMI Any TV with an HDMI interface
Pros Use a mobile app to send content from your phone to your TV, including music, videos, and photos. Customers with compatible TVs can access 4K, HDR, and HD content for vivid picture quality Inexpensive and easy to set up and use For iOS device users, easy access to all content stored in iTunes. Supports video up to 2160p (4K) Alexa voice control, access to a wide range of content
Cons There have been a few isolated reports of customers needing to exchange sticks that were defective out of the box Content must be sent from a compatible device Android device owners won’t be able to take advantage of the ease of streaming content to their TVs, as they could with other streaming devices This device will only display up to 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second.

Source: Forbes

Cutting the Cord v2.0

Until just a few years ago, “cutting the cord” was the phrase used to refer to what parents did in order to emancipate children who were reluctant to leave the safety of the nest. It was, and still is, a phrase that indicated a move from dependency to freedom.

While this definition of “cutting the cord” still applies, that’s not the meaning that is being bandied about in every major news outlet today.

Cord cutters are the increasing numbers of households who have decided to emancipate themselves from traditional cable television subscriptions. Laden with hundreds of channels, these subscriptions are accompanied by a heavy monthly price tag — a fee that includes channels that go unwatched, month after month.

When alternatives to those traditional TV subscriptions began popping up a few years back, consumers started sitting up on their couches and taking notice. Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go were among the first, but since those early streaming days, streaming services have been popping up like prairie dogs. YouTube TV, Sling TV, Amazon Prime, DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vu are just a few of the services available. To move the metaphor from prairie dogs, these services are as fertile as rabbits.

How sweeping is cord cutting? According to a December 28, 2017 article in USA Today:

“Two trends power the ongoing TV transformation: the growing number of U.S. homes with high-speed broadband Internet service, and the slow decline in homes with traditional pay-TV service.

“About 82% of all U.S. homes get broadband now, up from 76% in 2012, according to the Leichtman Research Group. And broadband homes (94.5 million) now eclipse the number of homes with traditional pay TV (about 92.2 million), the research firm says.

“Meanwhile, pay-TV providers overall continue to lose subscribers. About 405,000 signed off in the third quarter alone. However, the growth in broadband-delivered live TV services such as Sling TV and DirecTV Now is helping offset those losses. More than 2.5 million now subscribe to them, Leichtman Research says.”

Recognizing that streaming TV is a trend that is swiftly becoming the new norm, Smithville has introduced Smithville Streaming TV. Available to its residential internet customers, this streaming option is a perfect complement to other streaming services, offering what they most often lack: access to local and network programming.

One of the strongest advantages of streaming TV is the ability to select a service that offers more of what the viewer actually wants to watch, cutting out the fat of unwanted channels and serving up a leaner, more desirable menu. One of the drawbacks, however, is the lack of network channels and local programming. For those individuals who have lived and died by the Big Three and their programming, this creates a major drawback. Think of those young adults who are loathe to cut the cord with their parents. To some older viewers, the thought of losing contact with major network programming is akin to how some young adults feel about doing their own laundry, making their own meals and remembering to wake up on their own. Daunting.

Smithville Streaming TV’s package includes major networks as well as local programming. Paired with another streaming service of the viewer’s choice, there is nary a hiccup in viewership. The biggest change? Monthly fees. Streaming services are significantly less expensive than traditional cable TV subscriptions. Even when choosing two or three streaming options, subscribers will save more and have access to (1) channels they want to watch, as well as (2) original programming that is not otherwise available.

Ready to get started? Before you do, make sure you know exactly what you’re getting into. While streaming has its strengths, for those who have been long-time TV subscribers, there may be a paradigm-shift pain point or two. To help with that, we’ve created a Cord Cutters Guide. It will provide insight into the changes to expect, the technology you’ll need, and the benefits you’ll reap.

Once you’re ready to cut the cord, give us a call at (800) 742-4084. Our customer service representatives can answer your questions and talk you through the process. A lot of us are cord cutters, too, at all levels. While we can’t do your laundry or make you Mom’s mac ’n cheese, we can help you emancipate to the freedom streaming TV allows.

Hold, Please

You know the rigmarole…

“Please hold. Your call is very important to us…” Cue the twangy off-key music. There is nothing more irritating than needing immediate service and being placed on hold, unsure when or IF anyone will pick up to address your problem.

If your call is so important, why are you on hold?

Average Hold Times

Did you know the average person spends 1.2 years on hold over their lifetime?

The help website, GetHuman, offers the contact numbers and strategies for speaking with a human for many larger companies. The average wait times are listed for several national telecommunication firms (as of mid-May 2016). They include:

Company Wait Times

AT&T: 13 minutes

Comcast: 29 minutes

DirecTV:  8 minutes

Hold time expectations are notoriously grim in the communication industry. Rather than waiting online, many customers hang up or try their hand at self-help, looking for solutions online. Unanswered phone calls are practically cliché for cable, television, and phone companies.

When You Call Smithville

One of the consistent comments we get at Smithville is the speed, efficiency, and friendliness of our customer service. You won’t be bounced to a call center on another continent. Instead you will speak with a local, knowledgeable support person who can address your problem immediately.

And, you may ask, how fast is “immediately”?
At Smithville, we answer our calls off from hold in 13 seconds. Not 13 minutes.
Of course, there is the occasional exception. But the average time to reach a live human being at Smithville is 13 seconds. Really.
That’s pretty fast.

Smithville Fiber is proud to employ Hoosiers helping Hoosiers. Quick and local service is just another reason to Switch to Smithville.

Less downtime. More playtime.

Four words. They mean a lot. Since 2008, when Smithville secured financing for fiber expansion, we took on an ambitious goal. We saw the incredible short- and long-term impact that fiber could have on communities, on businesses, on individual lives. With many decades of hands-on work with our legacy communications systems (much of which is still working well beyond the limits for which it was originally designed), we saw that the future of communications was fiber based.

What does that mean for you?

We set out back then on what has now become a $100 million project. We knew what a fiber platform would mean for our customers and for Hoosiers. So we began converting to a fiber platform. Now, some 2,500 miles of fiber later, Smithville has the privilege of introducing true Gigabit symmetrical fiber-based Internet – 1,000 mbps up and down – in the state of Indiana. We’re in the process of building Indiana’s first true GigaCity in Jasper, and we’re taking this latest fiber Gigacity technology to places like the Blue Ridge neighborhood in Bloomington. More will be coming.

Fiber means a lot to the state and to our customers. It brings many advantages. That’s why with Smithville Fiber, we can lay claim to the statement: “Less downtime. More playtime.” If you have fiber-based high-speed Internet at work, you can probably get more done in a day. If you have reliable Smithville fiber at home or at work, you have less downtime. That means you have more playtime, time to do things that you want to do.

That’s why many say that the “killer outcome” of fiber is more time. Time to work productively. Time to get things done with less frustration. Time to have fun online with your kids. Time to run home applications that improve your life. Perhaps most important of all: more playtime.

If you’re not yet a Smithville Fiber customer, we hope you’ll think about it. If you’re already a Smithville customer, we thank you.

I personally invite you to come back to this space regularly for more information. Thanks for visiting.