26 www.htcinc.net | Winter 2018 26 www.htcinc.net | Winter 2018 Pros and cons: 3 alternative video options now available to you Over the past decade, HTC and other cable and satellite providers have continued to fight with large programming groups that continue to demand unreasonable rate increases. Often, these increases are the result of programmers trying to squeeze out revenue to offset declining viewers and advertising dollars. However, the higher they raise fees to compensate for subscriber loss, the more subscribers they lose. HTC recognizes the frustration in finding the programming you want to watch at the most affordable price, and want to assist by offering insight on each of the three main viewing alternatives. Over-The-Top (OTT) OTT options (such as Hulu or Netflix) were initially intended to complement traditional cable. Over time, some consumers — most often the millennial generation — found live television viewing unnecessary and preferred to view online on their own schedule. As viewing habits have changed, OTT options are viable alternatives to traditional cable, although it sometimes means having to wait as long as a year to view the newest season of your favorite show. Now, just as programmers demand higher rates from HTC and other cable operators, they have also started to request higher fees from OTT providers. Based on your family’s viewing habits, OTT services can still offer a good value with a vast library of content— it can be a good complement to your cable subscription. Direct-to-Consumer Some programmers have decided to offer their services as an option to be purchased online by consumers (think HBO Now, Showtime Anytime and STARZ Play). These packages often come with a high premium retail rate and may be limited in scope. Often- times, the direct-to-consumer option may provide some enhanced benefits for the consumer, such as options to purchase monthly versus an entire sports season. Direct-to-consumer products such as HBO Now are often purchased for short periods of time, allowing customers to binge-watch an entire series and then cancel service at the conclusion. While commitments or rate increases could be coming, you still have an inexpensive way to sample lots of content. Virtual Providers A Virtual Provider (like Playstation Vue, YouTube TV or FuboTV) offers a package or bundle of channels that can be viewed using an internet connection. These Virtual Providers have created “Skinny Bundles,” which tout that consumers can pick the channels they want. However, you’ll likely find that you may be able to choose smaller channel packages, but not individual channels. You may also be required to choose multiple packages in order to see the handful of channels you watch. As the market shakes itself out, most likely a few Virtual Providers will remain, but it is only feasible that they will eventually have significant rate increases when fewer Virtual Providers exist. It is important to remember that alternative video solutions will require a solid high-speed internet connection. Finally, remember that it can be a trial-and-error process to find what is best for you. The future does seem bright with new options, and we appreciate your patience as we work on ways to provide you the best entertainment value. The HTC IT Team boasts a wide variety of qualifications, professional certifications and technology partnerships: Concerned about cable costs? Here are your alternatives 27 Winter 2018 | www.htcinc.net “There are a lot of people — particularly mom-and-pop stores — who don’t realize that they need certain services until they’ve already had a problem,” says Richard West, Network Analyst at HTC. “For instance, anyone who swipes credit-card transactions and it’s online, that transaction is potentially left open to fraud if they haven’t taken the right measures.” Often, the team’s responsibilities include not just alleviating technical stresses — but also making sure the business has its “i’s” dotted and “t’s” crossed. “We can come in and help with firewall protection, help meet PCI* compliance — even HIPAA* compliance. I’ve been in a doctor’s office where I’ve been on the guest Wi-Fi on my phone and I can see all their servers. My phone’s not a hacking device — imagine what I’d have access to if I had a laptop? I could see patient information. Once I show that to the business owners and they understand that, it’s easy for them to understand why they need a firewall,” says Chad. And for local businesses, that personalized attention and service has made all the difference. “We had a customer out of Surfside who had IT support based out of Charleston. They were having some issues, and their provider either couldn’t or wouldn’t send help their way,” says Patrick Cox, Systems Engineer at HTC. “So, HTC got the phone call and, within a couple of hours, the business was back up and running on HTC equipment.” The turnaround time was so prompt, it led to HTC gaining that business permanently. Businesses can always count on a quick response from HTC — typically within the day. And if a HTC likes to keep local businesses up to speed and is proud to offer a wide variety of products and services with the functions that businesses need to succeed. To learn more about how the HTC team can help your business reach the next level, call 843-365-2155 or visit www.htcinc.net/ business-solutions. *PCI – Payment Card Industry *HIPAA – Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act • SonicWall • Microsoft Gold Partner • CCMP • Cisco Certified Network Associates • MCITP • Microsoft Certified Professionals • Cisco Certified Design Associates • RCDD • CSSA • Ubiquiti Certified • M-Ware VCP • Ruckus Premier Partner HTC IT Team business is “down,” the team wastes no time getting on-site. “We also do monitoring,” says Patrick Cox, “so that we can be proactive instead of reactive.” Jimmy Anderson, Manager of Technical Services at HTC, and his team uses next-generation security appliances that feature advanced threat protection, intrusion prevention, content filtering/blocking and application control. HTC has developed these standards based on years of experience, and can also customize configuration based on individual customer needs. And because they have 24/7 customer support, businesses can rest assured that no matter the time of day, help is always available — and it’s always local help based right here in Conway. “The folks you work with on-site are the same ones you’re going to deal with if you need help after the fact,” says Chad Sarvis. “Yes,” agrees Patrick. “You’re getting hometown guys — local guys — who are close by. HTC always puts customer service first.”