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I am moving out of my parents place & getting my first apartment! However, my parents never had internet or cable/satellite - I got my GSPN fix via school, work, or public library. So despite my being fairly technologically adept, I find myself absolutely clueless when it comes to routers & other such things.
Any time I ask friends & coworkers for help they tell me to get the cable bundle & let the guys set it up. But I know they all have the default little to no security settings on their systems. Plus the only cable outfit in my area (of southern california) is Charter & from what I read on yelp it's better to have no internet or cable then them! Thanks to a contract they signed with my city any type of verizon, time warner, AT&T U-verse, etc internet/cable setup is locked out!
So it looks like my only other option is AT&T for phone & internet (DSL) bundled with Direct TV for television channels.
Before I call these guys, any tips? Anything I need to buy before or after? Anything I should not allow them to talk me into no matter what? I always hear you're supposed to haggle with these guys but I have no idea what's a good or bad price even! I am completely clueless here & am honestly a little scared to pick up the phone & call them.
Shoot, even looking into what desk phone to buy (I know I'm old fashioned, but I want a landline. My dad drilled it into me since he's a cop) it looks like if I get the DSL then I have to buy some type of attachment so I can still make a phone call & some phones don't work with that?? My head's spinning.
I currently have a mac laptop (running 10.6), HP all in one printer, an iPodTouch, & blu-ray player (panasonic), & a new shiny plasma TV. that's it. My ye olde clamshell cell phone (that I wanna keep) is with Verizon.
Any help you guys can give to a home setup n00b like myself I will be more than grateful! I don't wanna get hacked in my first few minutes!
First question is, are you even able to get Direct TV? If you're moving into an apartment building, or even an apartment in a house, getting a dish put up might not be an option.
In terms of cost and convenience it is best to go with a bundle. There isn't really much to haggle, they have set prices when you join, typically a discount for the first year or two. Just be careful as the deals often require a 1 or 2 year contract. That's fine if you don't intend to switch but if you can get direct tv and you decide to go with Charter and they do suck, then you're stuck for the contract period. Just something you'll want to know and could be a consideration. After your initial contract period when the price goes back up, then you'll need to haggle.
You will probably need a modem, if you're using apple you might just want to go with the Airport. You'll just need to make sure you set up a password for it so the neighbors don't steal.
well another tenant has a dish on the roof & there's nothing in the lease saying I can't have a dish... Maybe shoudl send them an email asking for clarification.
Where in Southern California? I'm in Orange County and we have Time Warner and not had too many problems. If you're living in an apartment building you may be limited to what is offered. Find out what your apartment complex allows or supports and start there.
No matter what Internet Service you end up with, you should be able to add your own router and set it up securely. We have an AirPort Extreme, I see you have a mac so that might be something you want. You'll need to let them set it up initially, but that doesn't mean you can't secure it with your own router later on. As far as Charter being terrible, it's possible they have some really low speed plans or something and you should look and see if another package would improve things. Pretty much every internet provider has trouble from time to time it seems, but I don't have any experience with Charter.
As for TV, one thing you can do is just use an antenna with your HDTV and you can get all the networks, PBS, etc. Even if you just do that in the meantime, it's super cheap and you'll have something going for you until you get cable or whatever set up. Unless you just want to do Netflix or something and get no TV service at all. The antennas are pretty cheap.
I'm closer to the movie studios. Everyone at work says go with Time Warner but I talked to a Time Warner rep at Best Buy & they said their hands are tied & can't help me.
As for Charter I've read 2 things: 1) their service constantly comes out & repair people rarely come when they say if at all & 2) they change their prices constantly without warning. Or at least so says Yelp. Plus I saw Charter install something in the apartment building next door. They must have hit a pipe or something because they spent hours with a shop vac sucking water out & into the street!
I've had antenna TV my whole life & have been hoping for cable forever - plus I work on a couple of cable shows & would like to actually see my work! I haven't tried to see how my reception is yet, but reading online people say that I'm too close to the mountains & won't have reception. I know the radio in my car isn't great near there & my bluetooth goes wonky from time to time so it sounds probable.
Well you both said Apple AirPorts. that's a starting point. thanks!!
Setting up a complete system like this can be quite daunting - I've had plenty of experience and still get confused when I have to connect things to other things. There are usually several components involved and varying cables and wires.
Starting of course with choosing a provider - at first just go with features and pricing to get your bearings. Take negative reviews with a grain of salt or two - with any provider there will be both good and bad experiences - just be prepared for a certain amount of hassle no matter what. And, if there's a contract involved make sure it's clear and in writing how long you have to opt out. I don't know anything about Charter, but for the sake of comparison I'll just pretend it's Comcast and tell you my experience, perhaps there are similarities.
I would go with the cable provider over the ATT option. For me, DSL is just too slow for internet, especially if you plan streaming any video services such as Netflix. However, if you need a real landline, then ATT is the only option for that at least. VOIP is usually fine in most cases and if the service is reliable, then you won't have phone problems. You just use a regular phone for each type.
You may be able to haggle somewhat, but it depends on the sales person and what he or she is able and willing to do. This may include things like a better price, eliminating installation costs, or perhaps upgrading the internet speed or getting some free premium channels. Comcast had independent sales reps who usually can get better deals, maybe it;s the same for Charter. Plus, there's no law saying you have to have everything with one provider, it's just usually neater and more cost effective if you do.
Att/Dish will need a tech install, as will Charter most likely. Sometimes they may have a self install option where they just send you the equipment with instructions. For a tech install, find out exactly what they will do and won't do. For example, they may only be able to connect your computer directly to a modem, and not be permitted to set up a router or wireless router. Or, they may just connect the cable box to the TV, and won't connect anything to a surround system. It just depends on the policies of the providers.
It sounds like you have a good understanding of what components you will need. For the cable solution, there are two primary systems, the internet and the TV. Whether the tech sets everything up, just part of it, or it's a self install, it;s still good to know how they all fit. The main cable will be split at some point depending on the wiring of your apartment. One branch connects to the cable modem, the other to the cable TV box. The cable modem will have ports for a computer (or router) and a phone jack or two. Some of the newer ones have built in wireless but you can still use your own router instead. Power up the modem, wait a few minutes until it connects to the network, then connect our computer directly to it with an ethernet cable. The computer should automatically detect the network and be on the internet. Next, plug in your phone to the phone jack and you should have a dial tone. This will let you know that the service is indeed active and working.
Next, comes the TV - we'll get back to the router after this step. Connect the other branch of the cable to the cable TV box, or to another live wall outlet. If you have a surround system, leave that our for now, we just want to make sure the TV is working. Connect the box to the TV as simply as possible, but make sure if you have HD service you are using HDMI or component cables. HDMI will carry audio, but with component video you will need the separate audio hook up. Fire all that up, make sure the TV is set to the correct input, allow the box a little while to download the program guide and what not, and make sure you're getting all your channels.
Now, connect the wireless router to the modem in place of the computer, and connect the computer ethernet to one of the outputs on the router. I really don't know if the Airport works the same as regular routers in this regard, but it probably does. With this connection, the computer should see this "new" network and still have internet access. To configure the router with security and password, follow the instructions that came with the router. The router configuration is down in the browser by entering a certain IP address to access it. You will set a login and password to access the configuration page, as well as a wireless network name and wireless password. That's really all you need to do, although there are tons more settings available that you can get into later if needed. Save all changes, close the browser and test the wireless network using a wireless device, If it's you computer, disconnect the ethernet connection first.
If you have a surround system, that's going to be hitting the manual. Depending on the features of the surround receiver, there may be more than one way to hook it all up. First example, you could first go to the TV, then route the sound back to the surround receiver. Or, you may be able to take all connections for the cable box, to the receiver, then video out to the TV. IF all the components support HDMI, then that is the easiest and cleanest way to go - HDMI from cable box to receiver, then HDMI out to TV. Same with the blu ray player.
I hope I haven't rambled too much - and that there's not too much Info! IF you run into any problems at any stage, we can help troubleshoot. One other suggestion - when connecting devices to the router, use a ethernet cable instead of wireless whenever possible. This will have to do with where the cable modem and router are located. It's just a preference of mine as I've found that wireless is almost guaranteed to give you trouble in some fashion - either with dropping a connection or just being too slow sometimes when streaming a movie. Maybe the Airport is more reliable than what I"m used to, but usually it's the fault of something other than the router, such as my wireless printer that I have to reboot every time I go to use it!
Wow! I love this community! You all rock!