Cedar Creek Lake

Because Life is Better at the Lake

Cedar Creek Lake Area residents have a growing list of options to watch TV

by

Rich Casey is a retired corporate communications manager and lifelong ham radio operator (callsign N5CSU) living at Cedar Creek Lake. He covers technology issues for cedarcreeklake.com and blogs at his own website, www.richcasey.com. You can also follow his hi tech tweets at www.twitter.com/richcasey or email rich@richcasey.net.




TV has come a long way in the past couple of decades, from over the air to cable, satellite and now streaming via the Internet.

Around the Cedar Creek Lake area, "Cowboy towers" used to be a common sight. The Cowboy games were not sellouts, so Dallas TV couldn't carry the game, but a Tyler TV station could. So homeowners would erect towers with antennas that could rotate from Dallas to Tyler to receive the games.

Times have changed and, while the Cowboys may still not always sell out, Jerry Jones makes sure those few remaining tickets somehow get bought!

Some of those Cowboy Towers are still up in neighbor yards, but most of us now rely on other means to receive our TV programming. The least expensive option is still free--over the air reception via an outdoor antenna pointed towards Dallas. With a good antenna, digital reception can be quite reliable; however, there are several other options that offer much more.

Portions of the lake area have a cable service available from Northland Cable. They offer high speed Internet service plus over 200 channels of digital programming.

Satellite TV services from Dish and Direct TV, offering hundreds of channels of programming, are also popular with lake area residents. The only requirement is good visibilty to the southern sky. HughesNet satellite service is also available; they serve rural residents that need both TV and Internet access.

For lake area residents with home Internet service, there are other options. Those with "smart TVs" can stream programming directly from popular pay services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant, VuDu and others.

Do you have Internet service but have not yet bought a smart TV? No problem! If you have a digital TV with a high speed port (HDMI), you can add a small device that will give you access to all of those streaming channels and many more. Roku, available locally at Radio Shack, offers over 300 channels of both pay and free streamed programming. Its powerful search program is especially useful; enter a program title and Roku will look across all the available channels. You might find the program available for rent from Amazon but free on Netflix!

Apple's version of Roku is Apple TV, which uses iTunes as its central directory. It's similar to Roku and is especially suited for Apple users.

The newest entrant in the streaming programming field is Chromecast from Google. It's a small device that plugs into an HDMI port on your TV. With it, you can use your smart phone or tablet as a remote control to stream programming to your TV. Still in its infancy, it currently only offers only YouTube and Netflix. But its integration with the Google Chrome browser holds out the promise of more interesting TV/Internet experiences in the near future.

Yes, a lot has changed since the Cowboy Towers era, but happily our sunsets here at the lake are still as beautiful as ever!




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Cedar Creek Lake Weather Forecast

Wednesday

Sunny

Hi: 57

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Clear

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Hi: 71

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Water Level on 11/22: 320.10 (-1.90)