Smart TVs vs. Streaming Devices

Smart TVs vs. Streaming Devices

When you’re ready to cut the cable cord and switch to streaming, you’ll need to either get a Smart TV or purchase a streaming device that enables streaming on your current TV. But, is one option better than the other?

Read on to compare these two streaming options based on your budget, personal preferences and more.

Smart TV Pros and Cons

Smart TVs are popular for good reason. In addition to connecting you to your favorite streaming platforms, they can also provide a stunning high definition 4K picture and incredible sound. Apps for Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services are built right into the TV interface.

A smart TV will often have additional features that enable you to control other connected devices throughout your home network. When used as the central communication hub in connected homes, smart TVs can help you manage everything from lighting and thermostats to appliances and security cameras.

On the other hand, smart TVs can be expensive, especially if you want all the bells and whistles. And, if you go for a lower price tag or older model, you might find yourself with an outdated television within a few years. Many people cut the cable cord to save money, which is why some opt to get more affordable streaming devices that enable streaming on their older model televisions.

Streaming Devices Pros and Cons

Streaming devices are a smaller, portable and less expensive alternative to having an all-in-one smart TV.

The average price of a streaming device usually runs less than $100. If you are an Apple user, however, you might want to look at getting an Apple TV streaming device. Apple TV boxes are significantly more expensive, but you’ll be able to connect it to your iCloud account and all your other Apple or iOS devices to complete your ecosystem.

The best part about streaming devices is that you won’t have to purchase a new television – they can turn any TV with an HDMI or USB input into a smart TV! Of course, if you’re not happy with the image or sound quality on your current TV, a streaming device won’t fix that. If you’re looking to upgrade your overall entertainment experience, a new Smart TV may be the better choice for you.

Smart TV or Streaming Device? The Verdict

The decision between a Smart TV or streaming device depends on your budget and lifestyle. If you have a fast, reliable internet connection from Medina Fiber and plan to set up a smart home with multiple connected devices, a Smart TV is a sound choice. However, if you want to keep costs low or want to test out streaming before making the switch, a streaming device is an affordable way to give it a try.

No matter which option you choose, you’ll need fast, reliable internet to enjoy a buffer-free streaming experience. Contact us today to make sure you have the speed you need to stream all your favorite shows and movies – even on multiple devices at once!

Finding Reliable Health Information Online

Finding Reliable Health Information Online

When you have questions about health and medicine, where do you turn? Of course, your first line of defense should be a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse or specialist. But at a time when the medical field is severely overburdened and health services aren’t always affordable or accessible, we have to rely on the resources that are available to us – and that includes the internet.

Unfortunately, finding reliable, trustworthy and straightforward health information on the internet isn’t always easy.

The Problem with Sites Like WebMD

Sometimes it’s a simple case of misdirected self-diagnosis: a man enters his flu-like symptoms into the WebMD symptoms searcher and suddenly worries he has a brain tumor. The WebMD misdiagnosis may be a common joke, but it can cause real stress unnecessarily. Websites like WebMD sometimes oversimplify information while also relaying it in a way that makes minor symptoms seem scary and potentially fatal.

As you can imagine, medically trained doctors are concerned with the trend of digital self-diagnosis. Some websites disregard the facts entirely, touting themselves as health experts while peddling demonstrably false data and miracle treatments. This kind of medical misinformation has been especially prevalent since the rise of COVID-19.

To make things worse, medical information sites are often filled with ads and sponsored content. You may not even realize that a page is not-so-subtly selling you pharmaceutical solutions as you scroll. You might believe (understandably) that a site providing health information has your best interests at heart. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.

Where to Look

For more reliable medical information, you can start by checking out the resources below – but remember to always discuss concerns with a doctor you trust.

1. Mayo Clinic

This online database offers extensive and comprehensive medical data on a vast range of diseases/conditions. Mayo Clinic is a trustworthy non-profit American medical research center with over 100 years of experience.

2. MedlinePlus

MedlinePlus is a good resource for all your wellness needs, with tons of information sourced from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

3. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

As the leading agency in charge of American health and wellness, the CDC is always stocked with the latest updates and medical information.

4. National Institutes of Health (NIH)

The NIH is an excellent database full of scientific research and emerging evidence. It’s not always easy to read as it’s primarily intended for academics and professionals, but you can rest assured that the information is highly reliable.

When trawling the web for medical information, it’s essential to understand where that data is coming from. For additional research, you can find more information and links on this MedlinePlus webpage or this one from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

And whether you’re researching online or video conferencing your doctor, you can always trust your high-speed internet from Medina Fiber to keep you connected when you need it most!

High Speed Internet and the Future of Remote Work

High Speed Internet and the Future of Remote Work

“Is remote work here to stay?” It’s the question on everyone’s minds this year as COVID restrictions slowly loosen.

‘The New Normal’

The past year and a half have been an exercise in patience, adaptability and endurance. In early 2020, employers and employees simultaneously pivoted to remote work, leaving office towers strangely deserted. Crowded rows of cubicles turned into a thing of the past, and yoga pants swiftly became the new work trousers. Weeks turned into months, and we all began to wonder: Was remote work just a phase, or would we embrace this thing for the long run?

Now, members of the workforce have ostensibly settled into the so-called ‘new normal’ – one of the countless buzzwords to come out of 2020. Remote work has lost the sheen of novelty and has become just another routine of daily life. Is it perfect? No, but then again, very few things in this world are. Is it better than 9-5 office work? The answer depends on who you ask. But will it stick around? The short answer is yes.

It’s safe to say that remote work will be around for many years to come. And truth be told, remote work has always existed; it was just far less common pre-pandemic. The great Office Exodus of 2020 has shown that remote work on a massive worldwide scale is feasible, and the world will never be the same.

The Way of the Future

Let’s take a look at the data. Global business consultant McKinsey suggests that the future framework of remote employment is called the ‘hybrid virtual model.’ Just as the name would imply, this strategy involves a combination of remote and office work. McKinsey estimates that upwards of 20% of the current workforce could work 3-5 days of the week from a remote location just as effectively as they could from the office.

A hybrid virtual model could offer the best of both worlds: the flexibility of remote work, plus the collaborative nature of office work. Before the pandemic, many office workers would tell you they were fed up with the humdrum 9-5 cubicle life. Post-pandemic, office employees are chomping at the bit to see their co-workers and have an actual Zoom-less meeting. Too much of anything can lead to employee burnout, so many companies may balance the scales with a bit of each.

Experts believe remote work is here to stay – not for everyone, and not all the time, but we’ll never fully revert to work as we knew it just a few years ago.

If you’re part of the work-from-home revolution, there’s one thing you absolutely need to make it work: high-speed internet you can rely on. Contact Medina Fiber today to get the internet you need to power your career for years to come.

Fiber Internet Increases Home Values

Fiber Internet Increases Home Values

In the wake of COVID-19, more people than ever before want to work, learn and access telehealth applications from home. Modern lifestyles require modern internet powered by a fiber network—and homebuyers know it.

In fact, a 2015 study showed that fiber-delivered internet access could increase a home’s value by up to 3.1%, and that was before a pandemic increased the demand for fast, reliable home internet.

What’s the Data Saying?

The 2015 study, conducted by experts from the University of Colorado and Carnegie Mellon University, was based on national real estate market data collected between 2011 and 2013. It found that fiber internet could boost the value of the average American home by as much as $5,500 – a payout on par with adding a brand-new fireplace.

Beyond that, there is an ever-growing body of research linking the investment in broadband networks with accelerated economic performance. Communities with fast and reliable fiber networks often exhibit higher rates of per capita GDP.

The Online Superhighway

Because cable internet can be significantly slower and far less reliable than fiber, remote workers who depend on a fast, reliable connection are looking for fiber internet.

Cable internet speeds typically range from 10-250 Mbps for downloads and 5-50 Mbps for uploads. Fiber internet, however, can provide 250-1,000 Mbps each for download and upload – a critical benefit for those looking to use video conferencing tools at home.

The 2015 study found that in homes where 1,000 Mbps (equivalent to 1 Gbps) broadband was available, real estate sale prices were over 7% higher than homes with available speeds of 25 Mbps or less.

The Future of Fiber

Again, it’s worth noting the time frame of this study, which was conducted almost ten years ago now. Over the past decade, residential internet access has only become more critical and considerably more valuable.

With more than half of Americans working remotely as of January 2021, fast, secure and reliable internet has become an invaluable asset. Not only is the internet a prime source of communication and entertainment, but it’s also essential for the American white-collar workforce.

Even those who don’t work from home are more likely to want high-speed internet for telehealth applications than they were ten years ago. Data show that utilization of online medical services is now a staggering 38 times higher than it was at the beginning of the pandemic.

The Bottom Line

Ultimately, better broadband equals more opportunities for remote work and the delivery of digital services. Those opportunities lead to more innovation, job creation and business growth.

Fiber brings massive benefits to communities, so it’s no wonder it increases individual home values, too! To learn more about fiber availability at your home, contact Medina Fiber today. We’d love to get you connected.