TV Converter Box Alternatives: Satellite, Cable, Netflix, Hulu, & More

The digital transition has come and gone and although converter boxes were a short term fixed that helped many people make the transition without spending a bunch of money, they have largely been a failure. Many of them worked for awhile been ended up breaking and people have been forced to purchase new ones or find an alternative way through which to meet their television viewing needs. As of the digital transition consumers didn't have a ton of options outside of getting a paid service, but over the last few years the market has exploded with different options. There are of course still the traditional paid services such as cable and satellite but there is much more now. If you are looking to get away from your TV converter box or simply make a switch in your services you can see the abundance of different options below. Over the last several years the market has absolutely exploded with hundreds of different choice and we have merely scratched the surface with some of the most popular ones.

Alternatives To Getting A TV Converter Box 
  • Subscribe To Satellite TV Service - One of the quickest, easiest, and best alternatives is to simply subscribe to satellite TV service with either Dish Network or DirecTV. With super quick and easy professional installation you can make the switch in just a couple days with ease. No more messing with reception, digital antennas, wires, or broken converter boxes. With satellite you also get some of the best programming options in the world with up to 200 channels, the most HD channels, exclusive programming packages including movie channels and NFL Sunday Ticket, along with much more. Satellite provides the most features of any paid television service, but of course it comes at a price. You can get service starting at $19.99 per month and it ranges all the way up to around $125 for a premium package. You are also expected to sign a two year contract in order to get your equipment and installation for free. Both Dish and DirecTV offer slightly different packaging and prices so it's important to check out a comparison of them if you do decide to go with satellite TV.
  • Subscribe To Cable TV Service - Another option that is very similar to satellite is to get service with your local cable provider. The two largest companies in the United States are Comcast and Time Warner cable. Generally each residence has only one cable provider so you will be limited on what company you can go with. Cable setup is very easy and your company will provide professional installation that will allow you to be up and running right away. With cable you will have alot more programming options than free over-the-air broadcasting but it is generally less than you get with satellite. Cable will however can cost quite a bit with smaller 70 channel packages costing 40-$60 per month and premium packages costing well over $100 per month. Cable providers often offer bundled cable, home phone and internet service which allows you to get a substantial discount and combine all of these services into.
  • Subscribe To A Fiber Optics Television Service - Many people don't know exactly what these are yet but they have been around for a few years now. Most people think they are another form of cable, and they are close but the technology behind their delivery is different. They include services such as Verizon Fios TV, AT&T Uverse, and CenturyLink Prism TV. They are very similar to cable and satellite services in regards to their programming options and pricing structure. The major players specialize in giving you a good deal by packaging three services (TV, internet, and phone) into one lower monthly bill than if you were to get each of them separately. The service is super easy to setup and uses a box that is just like a satellite receiver or cable box. You can either set it up yourself or choose professional installation. The benefits of fiber optic services over cable include more HD channels and quicker speeds for internet, digital phone, and streaming services that will continue to grow rapidly over the next decade.
  • Subscribe To An On Demand Streaming Service - This isn't exactly television but it's the next best thing. Hulu offers a very basic free service that includes older shows that have aired some time again along with various movies. Beyond that you can get Hulu+ or Netflix which offer new TV shows and a large number of recent and popular movies. You won't get any movies that were just released but generally when they become available on DVD you can find them on Hulu Plus or Netflix. Again, they don't have every title and you can never be 100% certain what they are going to get, but they have a pretty wide selection of various stuff. Hulu Plus and Netflix both cost just $7.99 per month. Netflix also offers a more expensive family plan for $11.99 per month that allows for it to be used on up to 4 devices at once. Sharing this service with four friends is a great way to reduce your cost. Netflix and Hulu can be watched via your computer along with there being several ways to get the stream onto your television: either directly via your computer and HDMI, by using a set top box (see below), or straight through your TV apps if you have a newer wifi enabled television. They are a great option to augment free over-the-air channels or an excellent cheap alternative to cable or satellite. Netflix also offers a rental program for $7.99 per month where you can rent unlimited DVDs that automatically mailed to you with prepaid, pre-addressed return envelopes. Another streaming option is Amazon prime and Amazon Instant Video. Amazon prime offers similar services but at a yearly rate of $79. This averages out to $6.59 per month but the consensus it that their selection of shows and movies is much smaller and it is worth the extra $1.50 per month to go with Hulu or Netflix. Amazon Instant Video gives users the option to pay for 24 hour or lifetime rentals of various movies and next day television shows. These generally run at around $2-$3 for one day rentals and $15 for lifetime access.
  • Buy A Set Top Box - The streaming services discussed above are a great segue into set-top boxes, which are generally used to help users access all of their media services through a single platform. Things seems to get a little confusing here as they can be used to access your streaming services, cable, satellite, and over-the-air signals. You can basically pick and choose what different forms of media you want and access all of them via the boxes platform. It's essentially a way to take any type of streaming that is on your computer and put it onto your TV, quickly and easily. I actually know someone that uses a set-top box and subscribers to both Netflix and Hulu Plus along with making rentals via Amazon Instant Video and Blockbuster on Demand. They also have an outdoor digital antenna that they use for watching local channels. It's actually a very simple setup that gets them local channels and everything Hulu and Netflix have to offer for just $16 per month. This is all done through one of the more popular set-top boxes knows as the Roku streaming player. Of course there are many different ones to choose from and we have highlighted two of the more popular ones below.
  • Roku Box - With the Roku you can stream or watch any of the services above along with many other free streams such as HBO GO, Pandora, Spotify, MGO Movies & TV, Crackle, Watch ESPN, PBS, Fox New streaming, NBC news, and much much more. Basically put, just about anything that is streamed over the internet can quickly and easily be pulled up for your viewing via the Roku platform. There are four different Roku boxes, the Roku 1, Roku 2, Roku 3, and Roku LT. Each of them varies just a bit but generally provides the same functions. The service does not come with a subscription fee but rather it is a one-time cost just to purchase device. Depending on which model you choose the price ranges from $50-$100. 
  • Apple TV - Apple TV allows you to stream anything directly to your television from Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, Youtube, WSJ Live, Watch ABC, Skynews, MLB Soccer, NBA, NHL Gamecenter, Vevo, Vimeo, and much more. Their abundance of options is very similar to Roku but there are a few added benefits to the Apple TV if you have other Apple products. For example, if you have a Mac or any iOS device such as a iPhone or iPad you can automatically show it on your TV by using Apples AirPlay technology. It is super small and efficient, using very little energy and fitting in the palm of your hand. It is also very easy to setup, just plug the power cord into an outlet and the Apple TV to your television using an HDMI cable. With Apple TV you can also purchase shows and movies from iTunes and watch them directly on your TV. The device comes at a one-time cost of $99.
  • Get Google Chromecast - Google has come out with the Chromecast which allows you to stream from Netflix, YouTube, and Google Play directly from your laptop, desktop, smartphone, or tablet and put it straight onto your television screen. Google Play's extensive online movie and music libraries make it very appealing and provide a wide range of programming options. At this point it is simply a more basic version of the Apple TV or Roku and as such it costs just $35. One drawback with Chromecast is that you cannot play any locally stored media of your own as you can with most other set-top boxes. 
  • Get An Android TV Box or Dongle - Android TV appears to be Googles replacement to their failed experiment with Google TV and it is similar to both Chromecast and set-top boxes in that it can function as either. You simply need a box or HDMI stick that runs the Android operating system and you can start using Android TV. Each dongle is essentially a mini computer that allows you to run the Android operating system directly on your TV and basically turns it into a computer. This allows you to access movies, android games, Youtube, Showbox, Netflix, Hulu, XBMC, and the Google Play store. It also allows you to access the Internet, Twitter, Facebook, Skype, 1Channel, Icefilms, Whatsapp, Enamel, MSN, Spotify, and much more. There are many different Android TV dongles ad boxes that can be used with their prices varying greatly.
  • Use Your Video Game Console - Newer video game consoles are more limited than set-top boxes but they are able to do a lot of the same things. For example, Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, Nintendo Wii, and Wii U all allow you to stream anything from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Vudu, or any other compatible video apps. You can also play any local media that you have by putting in on a USB stick. In fact, the new Xbox One got its name after being touted by the company as a truly all-in-one entertainment system for games, movies, music, sports, and live TV.

Dish Network Satellite TV Review: Is Dish Network Legit Or A Scam?

Product Rating: 4.5
The second and only other Satellite TV provider in the United States is Dish Network. Previously we did a review of DirecTV and today we will be taking a long and detailed look at Dish. If you are considering satellite over cable then these two companies are your only choices. Choosing between the two can be very difficult and it's generally a good idea to check out a Dish Network vs. DirecTV Comparison to better understand the confusing differences between the two services. Dish Network is the smaller of the two companies with just over 14 million subscribers as of writing this post, while Direct TV has over 20 million subscribers. Despite a smaller subscriber base Dish services are very comparable and the choice between the two companies comes down to choosing the one that is cheaper while also meeting your viewing wants and needs. 

What Is Dish Network?
Dish Network is a nationwide U.S. based satellite TV service provider that is available to nearly all residents across the country. They do not provide any international services. The company has over 14 million subscribers, coming in as the second largest and only other satellite service provider in the country.

How Much Does The Service Cost?
The price for service varies greatly depending on which programming package you choose but it is generally thought to be cheaper than DirecTV. Although this is partially true it is certainly not the whole truth. Dish offers the cheapest introductory package at just $19.99 per month, which is nice for those just looking for basic TV. However, this is a bare bones package that includes only 40 channels. On a sliding scale up from here their packages are cheaper than DirecTV but generally with the cheaper price comes a few less programming options. Also, Dish does not build local channels into their packages and often charges an extra fee for these. If you don't want local channels this is a better deal, however if you do, then it actually makes Dish more. They also charge a couple dollars more per month for extra receivers than does DirecTV.

Signing an 18-24 month contract gets you a significant discount for the first year of service. For the first year you can get the first or second tier packages for just $19.99, and prices range all the way up to $89.99. This top package includes over 320 channels and free access to all premium movie channels. For the second year of  your contract the price goes up to the standard rate. The normal rates range from $19.99 at the lowest to $124.99 for the top package of 320+ channels.  One thing Dish does allow for is signup without a contract, whereas DirecTV requires all customer to sign a 12-24 month contract. Getting month-to-month service can be great for some but it does not allow for any special discounts and also requires that you pay an installation fee.

How Much Does Installation And Equipment Cost?
Getting satellite TV means that you will need a satellite dish that will be attached to the outside of your home, along with a digital receiver for each room that you want to watch TV in. Dish offers a free satellite dish and free professional installation to anyone that signs a 24 month service contract. For shorter contracts you may be required to pay for equipment and installation. For month-to-month contracts you will be required to pay for the satellite dish and all installation fees. These fees vary widely so you need to check directly with dish to see what you will have to pay if you choose not to go with a standard 2 year contract.

What Add On Packages Are Available And How Much Do They Cost?
Dish Network offers a bunch of various add on packages that individuals can subscribe to based on their personal preferences. Some of these packages are automatically included with the more expense programming packages. If not included they can be added for a monthly fee. For those interested in one or two specific add-on packages it may be best to subscriber to a cheaper plan and add what you're looking for. However, for those that plan to add a bunch of different movie or sports packages, it's usually cheaper to simply upgrade to a higher tiered preset package. One drawback to Dish Network is that they usually provide local channels as an add-on that costs $5 per month, something that generally comes for free with most TV service providers.

When you sign a new contract with Dish you get free movie channels for the first three months. After three months the monthly cost for Cinemax, Starz, or ShowTime is $14.00 each per month. For HBO they charge $19.00 per month. They also offer a wide range of A La Carte options including an outdoor sports package, Epix package, Encore movie pack, the Heartland package, Al Jazeera America, Verla, and more. These packages range from $4-$7 per month. Other more expensive A La Carte options include Fox Soccer Plus for $15 per month, the Playboy channel for $16.00 per month, and Race Track TV for horse racing for $50.00 per month. Beyond these they also offer a large selection of International packages that can be added for various monthly fees.

How Much Does A DVR Cost?
The device itself is generally free as long as you are agreeing to a two year contract. Often times Dish will run specials where you get the first several months of DVR service for free and then they charge a monthly fee for the rest of the time that you use their services.  Generally this fee ranges from about $7-$25 depending on which DVR you choose, and how many you want. You will need a DVR for each TV unless you choose their top-of-the-line Hopper DVR that works with multiple TVs as once (mini Joey receiver required).

How Many HD Channels do they have?
Currently Dish is a little bit behind DirecTV in their offering of HDTV but not that far really. They have made great strides in the last several years to catch up and are getting close. They openly state that they have over 200 HD channels but further research shows that this isn't quite true. Yes, they have over 200 channels but some of these channels do no broadcast HD full-time where as DirecTV has over 195 channels that are fully HD compliant 100% of the time. Even with the part-time channels they are still far and away ahead of the majority of cable companies with their high-definition offerings. In the past they have charged for HD but currently they are offering free HD for 24 months when you sign a contract.

Do They Require All Customers To Sign A Contract?
No. One unique feature that Dish offeres is the ability to get month-to-month service. This can be a good deal for those that might be moving soon, but for those that are going to stay put a contract is generally better. With month-to-month service you will not get free equipment or installation, and you will not get the first year discounted prices on your monthly bill.

What Type Of Picture Quality Do Subscribers Get?
All channels are broadcast in a high quality 100% digital signal. Along with all digital, a large portion of their channels are in HD as long as you request an HD receiver.

Will They Check My Credit If I Am A New Subscriber?
Yes, they run a credit check on any new customers or current customers that are looking to renew their contract. Since they invest a lot of money upfront in providing free equipment and installation they require a certain credit score rating in order to be sure that you will be able to pay your monthly usage charges.

Does Dish Offer Any Other Services Outside Of Satellite TV?
Currently they only offer satellite TV. From time to time they have special offers with partners in the Internet and telephone industry that allow you to package your services together to further reduce prices.

Are There Any Issues With The That Current Or Former Consumers May Have Experienced? 
Generally users should be aware that a 24 month contract will come with a early termination fee if they want to cancel it before the full two years is up. Generally this is $20 per month for the number of months remaining on the contract. Consumer should not plan on getting out without paying the fee, and don't let any customer service rep tell you otherwise. If it's in writing that they can charge you an ETF they will do it, end of story. If you do move you however can take your service with you to your new address to avoid the cancellation fee. There are very few instances where you can get out without a fee, with the only regular one being if you move somewhere where they do not offer satellite TV service. Again, do not assume anything you are told, and if you are told anything by an employee of Dish be sure to get it in writing. If it's not in writing, don't expect it to hold up.

Dishnetwork customer service is known for being very good and very similar to that of DirecTV and the average cable provider. Both companies claim they are rated #1 in customer service so it's hard to tell. When signing up for service or calling for billing or technical support be prepared. They run a typical call center with low pay, low energy, and low enthusiasm workers who have been taking calls all day long day after day. You should be able to get any issues resolved, it just might take a little more effort on your side of things when calling.

Finally, as far as complaints go, the web is flooded with them. They are everywhere, and it's often hard to find the stories about satisfied customers. It's not the happy ones that usually go and leave reviews, it's the angry and unsatisfied customers. The bottom line is that Dish provides very adequate customer service and when you have over 14 million subscribers you're bound to have complaints and it's downright impossible to keep everyone happy. As a percentage however, complaints are extremely low

Do You Have Any Reviews, Good Or Bad From Current And Former Customers?
Yes, we have had various reviews submitted via email and some of them have been included here for your convenience.

Anonymous said...
'I just spent the week from hell trying to get my Dish set up. Although the people at the store were very nice they new little about Dish. They could not answer my questions about On Demand and special channel options, this should have been a clue.

When the techs came to install Dish network it took over 4 1/2 hours and they were all over my house creating a giant mess! Just as I was about to sign off on the install papers I asked about how my On Demand worked and I was informed I would have no On Demand services. I told the techs that I had been promised at the store that I would have On Demand. Needless to say I did not sign the install agreement.

I spent the following week trying to get get my service to work correctly, during which time I had no TV even though the tech promised to be back the next day to fix it. Warning -- they lie, the techs, customer service reps, account set up reps. Anything to get you to sign the Dish contract and lock you into a two year plan.

I will not torture you with the rest of the horrible details but I did get out of the contract only because I did not sign the install agreement. However they still have not come to remove the dish from my roof. They say it is mine now but I don't want it. I am still trying to get them to remove it but I will wait to see if that happens.

My words of advice, if you are thinking about switching do not do it!!! Dish Network is a pain and their customer service is the bad."

Phil said...
"I just recently had Dish installed at my home and also in my son's home. We have had nothing but trouble at both addresses. First, they lied to me about getting a specific channel. I asked about it right off in there sales pitch and the guy said they had the channel (cbc windsor station) In fact, he got all excited and said "oh, I know exactly what channel your'e talking about". 
I also setup auto pay, so we could get the $100.00 visa card they offer. When doing this I asked what exact date the withdrawal would be and was told it would be the 6 or 7th of the month, my spoken concern was for it not be before that time because social security is posted on the 3rd of month and wanted it there a few days before Dish took there payments out. I received my bill summary along with my customer agreement today stating they will be taking payments on or about the third of the month, 
When I asked about cancellation time they said we had 24 hours after installation to cancel, but iI do not see that anywhere on the install papers.I am prepared to contact the attorney generals office on this matter and I will pursue it  with the BBB also. I just read an article where a guy from New York contacted his senator and Dish suddenly decided to let him out of his contract. It may not do me any good but I'm prepared to go to all those levels if I have to. They may not let me out but they will know that I'm a dissatisfied customer for the next 24 months and anyone I come in contact will know what they have done to me"
Tara said...
"It's great to see so many negative reviews against Dish. I signed up with them for 12 months (was never told I was signing a 2 year contract) and the "get you to sign up price" would only last the first 12 months. 
Within these first 12 months I had several billing issues with this company. Bogus charges, over charges for services not received, etc (I think enough people have expressed these same issues). I called on my 13 month to see if there is anything they can do for me as a continuing customer (since they are offering a REALLY low offer to new customers) and looooooong story short - there is NOTHING they can do, and if I want to cancel my service? $20/month for every month left on the $200 to cancel?? Wow. I'm speechless."

9 Common Common Types Of Digital TV Antennas

When doing research and trying to decide which TV antenna to purchase the first and most important step is to educate yourself on the different types available. Without having an idea of whats out there there is no way anyone could possibly be able to pick the one that best suits their needs. It is not until you do this that you should even begin to look at TV antenna reviews and think about purchasing one.

There are a bunch of different types to choose from and each type has different features and characteristics that make it better for certain situations. There are different subsets of features that come with antennas including the type of signal they pick up, where they can be placed, and their signal gain strength. As far as signaling goes antennas can be made to pick up UHF, VHF, or digital signals. For placement you can get either an indoor or outdoor antenna. Finally, you can choose between a standard non-amplified or amplified antenna with the amplified one having better signal gain. There are also smart antennas, which we will be going over below. Below we have provide a short explanation of a bunch of different types in order to give you an idea of which one will best suits your needs.

Our suggestion is that you purchase a digital VHF/UHF dual band antenna no matter what. It is nearly a given that you need it to have these three functions. Beyond that you will need to research your needs regarding the amount of signal gain you will need in dB or miles. This will tell you whether you will need an indoor or outdoor antenna and whether you need the extra power of an amplifier or not. As far as signal strength gains go an indoor non-amplified usually gives you the least gain and an outdoor amplified usually gives you the most gain.

It is very important to note that the majority of antennas encompass at least several of these different types into one design. If you can find one that meets the standards for all or nearly all different types then that is the way to go.
The letters UHF stand for ultra high frequency and was first used for television in 1952. When the FCC made UHF signals available for television channels they first dedicated 70 different channels to it but eventually switch 13 of these channels from television to cell phone use. Within the next several years more of the UHF band is going to be switched over from TV to cell phone use. At this time the UHF band will consist of channels 14-51. Most TV channels use the UHF band so it is important to get one that can pick up UHF signals. It is also important to note that a lot of HD broadcasts are on the UHF band so it is good to get an antenna that picks up UHF signals if you are interested in HDTV.

The letters VHF stand for very high frequency and these types are what we all know as rabbit ear antennas. Standard ones are very basic and serve little purpose in today's digital only television world. Thy usually only work if you are very close to the TV tower because they lack signal gain power. VHF are generally separated into different channels frequencies (2-6 and 7-13) so you need to be sure to get one that can pick up the channels you need. You can get powerful VHF antennas but they are generally very large, cost a lot, and are difficult to install. VHF are still of use today because VHF signals are still used by local stations, you just have to be sure to get one that isn't so basic that it doesn't help at all.. It is usually a good idea to get one that has some sort of VHF capabilities but VHF isn't as important as UHF. Often times you can get a UHF antenna that comes with weak yet present VHF capabilities too.

Digital antennas are designed for today's post digital transition television environment that we are all becoming accustomed to. Most digital channels broadcast in the UHF band but there are some that broadcast in VHF. This one is a must since there are very few channels that are still broadcasting in analog. A converter box coupled with a digital VHF/UHF dual band antenna has been working very well for people who were suffering signal loss after the digital transition.

There are tons of antennas out there that are advertised as HD but there isn't really an HDTV antenna. You get HDTV by having an HDTV tuner, not from having an HDTV antenna. There are some characteristics that make them a little better at picking up HDTV signals but in general any high powered UHF type will do a very good job. Companies began using the word HDTV in order to make their product sound spiced up and better but it really doesn't mean much at all.

Smart Antennas
All smart antennas are digital. The special thing about smart antennas is that they can remember your antenna location for each specific channel and then automatically move when you switch channels. This allows you to get the best reception without having to manually adjust whenever you change the channel. They are specifically designed to work with smart antenna compatible converter boxes.

Non-Amplified generally provide less signal gain. They are good in situations where you only need a minimal amount of gain in order to get the channels you want/need. There is no need to get a high powered amplified antenna if you are just barely out of the stations signal range.

Amplified provide a higher amount of signal gain than non-amplified ones and they are specifically designed for areas where you are further away from the signaling tower. When you purchase an antenna usually retailers provide a description including the amount of signal gain in dB and miles so that you can see if it will be strong enough to pull in a signal from your location.

Indoor antennas are a lot like non-amplified in that they do not provide as much gain as their opposite, outdoor ones do. They are generally better for someone that only needs minimal signal gain. They would be good for someone that doesn't need the extra power of an outdoor antenna and can almost get all the channels they need as is.

Outdoor antennas very much like amplified in that they provide a lot more signal gain than indoor ones. They are a good option for someone that needs more signal gain because they are extremely far away from the signaling tower. When purchasing one of these you can check each product description and see how much signal gain (in dB and miles) each one has.

Flat Panel TV Wall Mount Pre Installation Tips

If you already looked through the different types of TV wall mounts, done your research, and made your purchase then you should now be ready to install your TV wall mount. When it comes to installation we are not experts because we focus on the on the retail side of things.

Despite this we managed to piece together a few tips that we feel everyone should consider before they try to install their new wall mount. These tips are designed to help you make sure that everything is just right before you go through the mounting process. Nothing would be worse than mounting your TV and then having to take it down and redo everything.

Tip 1 - Make sure that your TV size is compatible with your new wall mount
Before starting your wall mounting project we highly recommend that you check to make sure that your plasma TV is compatible with the mount that you purchased. These days most wall are somewhat universal but be sure that you didn't get a one that works for 30"-42" televisions when you have a 46" television. It would really stink to get it installed, including holes in the wall, and then have to take it down because it wasn't compatible with your TV.

Tip 2 - Make sure that your TVs weight is below the recommended maximum for your wall mount
The second most important thing is the be sure and check the weight if our TV and make sure that it is below the maximum recommended weight of the wall mount you bought. Nothing would be worse than to get your TV completely installed only to have it fail, fall, and break your TV because it was too heavy. If this happened you would not only need a mount but also a new TV.

Tip 3 - Confirm that the type of TV wall mount you purchased will meet your viewing needs
The third step is to be sure that the wall mount you bought will work well with your viewing needs. If you place the TV in a location where you might need to turn it to different viewing angles often then you better be sure you didn't purchase a fixed one that can't be turned.

Tip 4 - Determine Beforehand How High You Want Your Television
The fourth step before mounting your TV is sit in the several most common spots where you will be watching this TV from and determine how high you want to be. This is most important with a fixed mount because it cannot be tilted down. The best recommendation, as said before, is to sit in the most common viewing places and look at the wall where it will be mounted.

Tip 5 - Determine Whether Your Desired Placement Is Glare Free
The fourth step is to check the light inside and outside light that is going toward the place where you plan on mounting your TV. This is tricky because you cannot see if there will be a glare for sure unless someone holds the TV up in the spot were it is going to be mounted. I actually suggest getting a few friend to help hold it up so you can take a look at it.

Tip 6 - Decide Where You Want The Cables To Run To
The sixth step is to decided where you want the cables to run to. You need to be sure that there is a good path that they can take that will be hidden out of view. If you cannot do this you will probably need to run the cables through holes that you make in your wall. The most important thing is to realize that you might have to start cutting holes in your wall in order to hide the cables.

If you follow these six tips above you should be well on your way to successfully installing your TV wall mount on your first attempt. This list is merely tips to help you avoid some of the common mistakes that people make which require them to redo the mounting job several times.

DIRECTV Satellite TV Review - Is Direct TV Legit Or A Scam?

There are two satellite TV providers in the United States, DirecTV (often misspelled Direct TV) and Dish Network which means that you will have to choose between then two if you have decided to go with satellite. The largest of these two is DirecTV with over 20 million subscribers and availability in just about every city in the United States. Both satellite providers have been in fierce competition for market share over the years with DirecTV leading the way for quite awhile now. For information on the other option for satellite television check out our review of Dish Network.

What Is DirecTV?
They are a nationwide company that provides television viewers with a paid satellite TV service. They have over 20 million subscribers as of January 2014 and also provider the most HD channels. They not only provide more HD channels than Dish but also more than any cable providers in the United States.

How Much Does Service Cost?
The price varies quite a bit but in general is a little bit more expensive than their competitors at Dish. Usually you are require to sign a two year contract which comes with a significantly lower price for the first year of service. Once you get into the second year of service the cost goes up to the normal price.This is exactly how Dish operates as well. Despite these concerns there are still generally less than cable while providing better programming options. Currently packages for the first year of service start at  $29.99 for 140 channel and go all the way up to $91.99 per month for their top tier program. This package includes over 285 channels and all of the special add on packages such as movie channels, sports channels, a HD DVR, and free NFL Sunday Ticket for the following season. During the second year the lowest package goes up to $49.99 with the top tier package going up to $129.99. As you can see, satellite is pretty cheap for a low end package but you can also end up spending a lot more than cable if you want all of the extras.

How Much Does Installation And Equipment Cost?
In order to get DirecTV satellite television subscribers need a satellite dish and a receiver for each room where they want to watch TV. In most cases new customers can get all of the equipment for free by agreeing to a 24 month contract. This also includes free installation by a professionally authorized agent. If you do not sign a contract installation and equipment will generally cost you several hundred dollars. Generally, upgrades to a DVR or HD receiver are also free with a 24 month agreement.

What Add On Packages Are Available And How Much Do They Cost?
Direct TV has several exclusive packages that can only be purchased through their company, mainly NFL Sunday Ticket. Others include Nascar HotPass and NCAA Mega March Madness. They always have the largest selection of sports channels to choose from. With them it's all about choosing and paying for what you want. Outside of the standard packages you can find various lower tier packages that cost less, with the option to simply add on specific premium channels for the specified monthly fee. Of course if you have a lot add-ons it will be cheaper to get them as part of a top tier package. Another thing to note is that the company use to get a bad rap for offering very poor access to local channels and even charging an extra $5 for them. This is no longer the case and any 2 year agreement includes local channels free of charge.

All new contracts give you three free months of movie channels. Once this is up it costs $17.99 for HBO, $12.99 for ShowTime Unlimited, $12.99 for the Starz Superpack, and $12.99 for Cinemax. If you are looking to get several of these packages you can usually save on your monthly bill by simply upgrading to a pre-set package that has them built into the price. They also have a large number of different sports packages that you can add. You can get NBA League Pass For $30 per month for the 4 month NBA Seasons, NFL Sunday Ticket (see price info below), ESPN Full Court for college basketball at $83 for the two months it airs. They also offer NHL Center ice for four monthly payments of $29.99 and Fox Soccer Plus for $14.99 per month.

How Much Does A DVR Cost?
The device is generally free with a service contract of 24 months. As far as a monthly fee for use, that depends on what package you have and the DVR you chose. The top tier packages sometimes have the monthly fee built into their price, while lower tier plans generally require you to add DVR for a monthly fee. In general depending on which receiver you choose you can expect to pay anywhere from $5-$25 per month. Their top of the line receiver, the Genie will cost you the most money but will give you the most features as well.

What Is NFL Sunday Ticket?
NFL Sunday Ticket is an exclusive rights programming option that you can only get by being a DirecTV subscriber. The NFL only broadcasts 2-3 games on Sunday in each city but with NFL Ticket you get all of the games. This means that no matter where you live you can watch your favorite team or that marquee matchup every single week. The service normally costs several hundred dollars but with a new contract you get it for free for the first year. In subsequent years you will automatically be billed and renewed at the then market price. If you do not want to renew no worries, you can cancel before, or once you see the charge on your bill you can call in and then will remove the service and adjust your amount due.

A new service they recently began offering is NFL Sunday Ticket Max. Ticket Max offers everything you get with the regular service plus the Red Zone Channel, On Demand viewing after games, player trackers for fantasy football, and also the ability to watch any game anywhere via your computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Sunday Ticket costs $39.99 per month for the 6 month season ($239.94 total) and Sunday Ticket Max costs $54.99 per month for the full season ($329.94 total).

How Many HD Channels Will I Get?
Broadcasts for all channels is in digital form, which means that you get the best picture quality available. Currently they boast the largest number of HD channels in the television industry. Basically put, if the channel broadcasts in HD, you can get it in HD with Directv.

Do I Have To Sign A Contract?
No. But if you don't you will have to pay all installation fees along with missing out on the first year special that new subscribers get. This special is usually up to half off. No contract satellite TV is generally the worst thing you can do when switching to a paid service. Either get the discounts provided by committing or go with a different type of service.

Will They Run A Credit Check?
Yes, the company has a fairly strict policy regarding who can be accepted for a service contract. Credit checks are ran on all new subscribers before they are accepted.

Do They Offer Any Other Services Besides TV?
Not directly, but they do give you the option when signing up to bundle your service with a third party Internet and/or phone service provider in order to reduce costs. Their website says they work directly with Verizon, AT&T, Century Link, Exede Internet, Cincinnati Bell, HughesNet Gen 4, and Windstream.

Do You Have Any Reviews From Current Customers?
We have had a handful of people email us with their comments regarding the service, which you can see several of below. For further comments from users you can also see our comment section at the bottom of this post.

Barb said... 
"I switched from Time Warner Cable to Direct TV and we love it. I'll never go back to cable. I've now convinced by two daughters and their husbands to do the same. Great service, programming is outstanding, what's not to like? There is good and bad in every company and none are perfect, (I was a Time Warner employee for 13 plus years) trust me!"
Ryan said...
"I have been a customer for over 10 years, and I will attempt to be as "down the middle" as I can be. 
First the good: Great programming. I am a transplant and I love the sports programming. You get a ton of channel options and everything is available in HD.
Now the bad: I have had many issues with directv. From a sloppy install to rude techs to lazy techs. I recently moved from MD to AZ and scheduled my install the day I arrived. My window for install was 12-4 and I arrived at 11am. I put away all my boxes and waited. Around 330 I went to check my phone to make sure the volume was up. I noticed I had just missed a call from DTV, they left a voicemail saying they didn't have my apt number. I called back right away and tried to give them the number. The first person I spoke with claimed they didn't have any info on an install, and that the tech was at my old location, I said that can't be, and she patched me to someone else. The next operator told me it was too late and we had to reschedule. I said the office just called and said to please call ASAP with the number. The operator told me he couldn't get in touch with the tech.
Now I have never done their job before, but my immediate reaction was if they don't have my apt number they can call my cell (every time I have had them out they have called to give me a status update, usually it was hey we are running late, but they called.) The other option was to walk into my leasing office and ask what apt do I live in? Don't those sound like two reasonable solutions? However this tech didn't seem to think of it. So there really are only 2 excuses. The tech was lazy, or stupid. 
I spoke with DTV office after and they gave me $10 off for the first 6 months, which I thought was insulting. 60 bucks for all the confusion? I filed a compliant with the BBB and nothing was really done. Just a canned apology.  
My advice is this, if you aren't a sports nut then cable and dish network are better options. The customer service here is poor, the service is worse, and bottom line is they are just a very poorly run business. Now I know this is one persons opinion but just let me just give a quick run down of the installs I have had and the issue and you be the judge.
2011- They installed but didn't check to see if receiver worked in upstairs bedroom. They came back out and then split the cable so picture would cut out from time to time. They sent another tech out who yelled at me cause I didn't hear him knock the first time 
2010- After being told I could freeze my account for a year, it turned out they could only do it for 6 months. When I tried to reactivate service because I was in an area that had the proper angle, one of their operators sold me on completely new service. He said that was what we were doing yet I now had two accounts with DTV. I called to complain and they corrected the issue, again offering me the same stupid $10 off for 6 months. 
2008- They came out to install and the first tech just sat it his truck and eyeballed the specs and said I didn't have a proper angle, again I called up and miraculously they were able to find a signal.  
2007- I scheduled an install, and was told to get a pole to set the dish on, when tech arrived he said pole was too small, yet it was the specs I was told on the phone.
There is the body of work, you can now judge for yourself if its worth getting involved with this company."
Tanner said...
"I love my DirecTV. Needing faster internet, I've done a lot of research and talked with a lot of people. I find my AT&T DSL and DirecTV appear to remain the best buy. I've had DirecTV for 8 years and it has been out maybe 4 hours total. 
Their website looks great, but is absolutely useless, but my TV is always there, looks and sound great (HD 720P or 1080P + 5.1 surround). Alas, I guess I will stay with slow AT&T DSL because no one I can find seems to have better service than DirecTV. UVerse and Cable have great internet and lousy TV. Talk to all your neighbors before you sign any contract. I did and mine all say stick with DirectTV. A ROKU box for $99 is also a good deal, and it works amazingly well with my slow DSL, although you only get Stereo Sound and maybe 720p picture. Again, talk to your neighbors. Every neighborhood seems to be different."
Sergey Chernokov said...
"Beware of DIRECT TV's sneaky policy. They are designed to avoid giving you benefits they have promised. I was never able to get the promotional rate I was promised. When I signed up through AT&T, the website said I will pay $34.99 for the first year for the $64.99 package. This was the only reason I could justify signing 2-year agreement. 
On the first statement I didn't see the promotional rate. I saw $64.99. I called AT&T because I receive the bill from AT&T not direct TV. I ended up in the promotional rate departments and the automated machine told me it takes up to 3 months to receive the promotional rate. I waited 3 months then I called. Then I ended up being transferred to DIRECT TV agents. They told me that this is not promotional rate but a rebate that has 90 days expiration. Since, I was late to file the rebate I was not longer qualified for the discount. They told me that they sent me an email with the explanation on how to get the rebate. I don't recall getting an email. Besides, email should not be used for such important things without my consent.
Nowhere it was mentioned that this is a rebate. VERY MISLEADING. I am very upset and will switch to anything but DIRECT TV when my agreement expires."
Are There Any Red Flag Issues That Current Or Former Subscribers Have Ran Into?
All customers should be aware that there will be a early termination fee if you decide to cancel your service before your contract is up. One thing that we have noticed is that some customers seemed to have thought that they would be able to easily get out of their contract if they moved. Getting out of any contact with them is going to be difficult and everyone should be careful before committing for 24 months. If you are concerned that you may be moving to an area where their service isn't available you need to check the terms of the contract before you sign it. Generally if they can't provide service you can get out, but if it doesn't say that in your contract then don't count on it. Don't count on it even if an uninformed customer service rep told you that you could get out of your contract if you moved. The only thing you can count on it what is written in your contract.

Another issue to check out is whether you have a clear view of the southern sky. If you do not then you shouldn't even bother getting their service. This is a requirement for getting a good signal with any satellite provider. Without a good signal you will get bad reception and at times you may get no reception at all. If you do sign up and the installing agent can't find a suitable place to install the satellite dish then he won't perform the install and you will be denied service through the company.

As far as customer service goes, if you have any issues you should be able to get your problems worked out but it may take a bit longer than it should because you may get an incompetent or unenthusiastic rep on the phone. In general the company does a good job of dealing with most customer service issues. You however will see a ton of complaints on the Internet, partially because some people are just out to complain, partially because no company is perfect. When you have over 20 million subscribers you are bound to have a high number of complaints. They key indicator however is that on a percentage basis they have an extremely low complaint rate.

5 Most Common Types Of TV Wall Mounts

When doing research and trying to decide on a TV wall mount the first step is to decided which type will look and work the best in your home and with your plasma or LCD TV. Once you make a decision about which kind you want then you can begin to take a look at different TV wall mount reviews to see which ones are of the highest quality.

In general there are five different types of flat panel mounts. There are other types out there but for the sake of time we will touch on the five that make up the majority of all sales. If you are looking for some sort of alternative to a wall mount we highly recommend that you consider either a TV lift cabinet or a TV stand of some sort.

Fixed TV Wall Mounts
The first and most basic type is called the fixed TV wall mount. Fixed mounts function exactly as the name sounds. With this type your TV is fixed on the mount and it cannot be moved in anyway. The only way to move your TV is to move the whole wall mount, not an easy feat in itself. This type allows for the least amount of flexibility because you cannot adjust the angle, tilt, or direction. They are cheapest type on the market and are a great buy for the budget minded shopper. These types of mounts are great for any room where there is only one or two primary seating locations for viewing. Despite lacking flexibility if you can get your television in the right location you can still have a great viewing experience with this type. Fixed wall mounts can be had for as little as $30 or you can spend over $100 on a top of the line overprice one.

Tilt TV Wall Mounts
The second type is called the tilt TV wall mount. Tilt mounts again function just as the name sounds. With this type your TV is, for the most part in a fixed position. The only difference is that the piece your television is connected to can be moved in order to change the tilt or angle. You cannot move your television up and down or from side to side but being able to change the angle is a very nice feature. Changing the angle comes in handy when trying to get rid of a glare or if you sit at different levels often (in a chair sometimes and on the floor at other times). Being able to change the tilt allows you to be able to put the TV at the best angle for your current viewing position and thus enhance your viewing experience. Tilt TV wall mounts are a middle of the road product in regards to price and usually price out above fixed ones but below the other two kinds. They can be purchased for as little as $30-$40 but you can also spend several hundred dollars if you choose to go with a top of the line one.

Swivel TV Wall Mounts
The third type is called the Swivel TV wall mount. Swivel mounts come with the ability to change their tilt/angle in order to get the best possible view of your television. The added benefit of this type of mount is that it allows your TV to swivel (pivot or turn) to the left and to the right. The only draw back to this type is that your TV will sit somewhat far away from the wall when attached to its mount. Swivel TV wall mounts are considered to be a step above tilt ones and with that comes a higher price. They are generally consider to be the second most expensive and can be had for as little as $50-$60 and for as much as a few hundred dollars if you want to go for a best in industry one.

Articulating TV Wall Mounts
The fourth type we are going to be discussing today is called the articulating TV wall mount. Articulating mounts have all of the features of the formerly mentioned kinds. These features include the ability to swivel to the left or right and also the ability to change your televisions viewing angle. The added benefit of this type is that it also allow you to turn your TVs tilt to the left or to the right. If you were to think about this movement it is exactly the same as changing the tilt/angle but in a side to side motion as opposed to an up/down motion. This simply allows you to change the left to right viewing angle so that you can turn the TV if you are sitting on the far left or far right in a room. It is simply an added benefit that enhances the swivel motion and allows for greater viewing flexibility. Again, the only drawback of this type is the fact that when your TV is attached to it it ends up quite far away from the wall. They are one of the more expensive ones on the market and generally price out $75-$100 but can also be purchased for as much as a few hundred dollars.

Full Motion TV Wall Mounts
The fifth and final type we will be discussing today is known as a full motion TV wall mount. Full motion wall mounts are relatively new and provide the absolute most flexibility among TV wall mounts. With this type you can not only angle the tilt, and move the TV to the left and to the right but the swivel arm mechanism allows you to move the TV in a full 360 degree circle. This means you could potentially watch your TV from several different rooms if it happens to be in a position where a wall is not obstructing your view. The only draw back is how far your TV can end up away from the wall while using this type. Full motion wall mounts are generally the most expensive type on the market and can be found for $75-$150 but can also go for as much as several hundred dollars.

Top Residential VoIP Service Providers

If you are interested in saving money on your home phone line the VoIP may be a good choice for you. For some a cell phone will do the trick and you can do away with your home phone, but many out there want to keep the number they have had for years and like the peace of mind of having a home phone. Prices and features amongst different providers vary greatly and it's important to do you due diligence before making a decision about which company you want to go with.

The main considerations at hand are price, features, and quality of service. Some providers are expensive, but offer the very best in voice quality along with every feature you could ever imagine. However, other providers look like a great deal, until you delve into the details and find out they have a ton of complaints about the quality and features the provide.

Below we have provided a list of some of the top VoIP providers as of today. This is by no means close to complete and merely touches on some of the top names within the industry in regards to price, features, and/or number of subscribers. In fact, there may be a few little known providers out there that are better than the larger companies listed below. For more information we have a reviews section where we provide a detailed write up on the companies listed below plus many others that have been brought to our attention.

Vonage: Vonage is one of the largest home phone service providers in the United States and is a pioneer within the industry. They are known for providing high voice quality and above average customer service. Their service comes with more features that most smaller companies but also costs a little bit more. Despite not being the cheapest Vonage prices are extremely affordable, generally ranging from $10-$30 per month, depending on your needs. If you are serious about making the switch and want to go with a 'name brand' as the risk of paying a few extra dollars then they are a great choice.

Magic Jack: magicJack is an interesting company and their business model is quite different than most. Instead of charging a monthly fee they charge just $29.95 for a full year, which comes with unlimited local and long distance calls, along with cheap international prepaid minutes available for purchase. They operated as an As-Seen-On-TV product for years but have recently gone through a major brand refresh and completely revamped their image and marketing plans. It comes with all of the same features you get with most other providers. One major difference is the device itself, which is quite a bit smaller than most, at slightly bigger than a USB flash drive. The company has refreshed their product several times, each time improving the devices processor and thus greatly improving voice quality. The most current most is the magicJack plus 2014, with the other versions being the original magicJack, and magicJack Plus. The cheap price does mean inferior customer service that is only available via online chat. At under $3 per month they are one of the cheapest full service providers in the industry.

Xfinity Digital Voice: Xfinity comes from Comcast, one of the largest cable and Internet providers in the United States and is now providing its customers with the change for triple play service through their private VoIP network. As a large company they provide reliable service and adequate customer support but they are certainly not the cheapest company out there. Prices range from $30 to $45 depending on which plan you chose. They do have a nice add on feature the allows for 300 minutes to a long list of international countries for just $14.95 per month. Yes, Xfinity is expensive, but for those that already subscribe to Comcasts Xfinity Internet and TV you get a nice discount when you bundle the three services together. Not to mention the convenience of once company and one bill for all three services. Comcast Business also offers some packages for companies that are looking for large scale business service.

Time Warner Home Phone: Time Warner Digital Phone is just like Xfinity in that it's calls stay on their private network and never reach the public airwaves. They are one of the nations largest cable and Internet providers and do a great job of offering bundled services to their customers at excellent prices. They are another massive company that general provides reliable service and adequate customer support. Right now you can get their service for just $10 per month for the first year and $20 thereafter. If you bundle services you can usually get it for even less. There service includes unlimited local and long distance calls along with a $3 and $20 add on features that allow for a certain number of international minutes.

Skype: Skype is not like the traditional companies listed above and people often do not think of them as a VoIP provider although they very much are. Skype is very widely known and is generally used as a free software application for instant messaging, skype-to-skype voice calls, and skype-to-skype video calling. The company makes its money by charging for calls to both cell phone and landlines. Many people pay as they go with a different per minute fee (as low as $0.01) but they now offer subscriptions. You can get an US, North American, or Worldwide unlimited plan for anywhere from $2.99 to $13.99 per month. Of course these calls are made through your computer, not through a regular phone. They also offer the ability to send messages to other peoples cell phones via their software application, these messages come through to others just as if they were text messages. Skype is an excellent service and one that we recommend to anyone who wants to get the cheapest deal out there but doesn't mind not having their calls not ring through a traditional phone.

Lingo: Lingo is an up and coming VoIP service provider that is slowly growing and capturing segments market. Lingo, like most providers offers fairly decent voice quality and excellent prices. The reliability and brand recognition of Lingo may not be quite as high as that of some of the other service providers but they make up for it by offering their service at a lower price. From time to time Lingo offers extremely low introductory prices for new customers and usually their rates are below competitors. Lingo has recently be rated as one of the better home phone providers in the industry and their brand has been gaining traction in the market. They offer U.S only plans for as low $9.95 per month all the way up to unlimited international plans for around $60. In between these package are many other options to suit different peoples needs.

VoIPo: VoIPo is another popular company, it is smaller and specializes in VoIP but customers seem to have pretty good things to say about it. They offer you the ability to pay for two years of service up front for just $149, and this includes an adapter so that you can use it with your current phone. This averages out to under $6.50 per month and is a great deal. The two year plan comes with unlimited calling within the United States and Canada. They have a pretty full feature set similar to the carriers above. They also provide business class service for those interested.

Phone Power: Phone Power is a quickly growing company that has received very good ratings from its customers. They again are smaller, but no matter here. You can get one year of service for Canadian and US calls for $199 and right now that advanced payment gives you a bonus 2nd year for FREE! If you want to pay monthly it's $14.95 for a two year contract. For month-to-month no contract plans it will cost $19.95. They also have a World International plan that runs at $24.95 per month. They do offer a full 30-day money back guarantee so if you aren't satisfied you can return everything and cancel your service at no charge. Another cool feature that they give you for no extra cost is a second phone line, the second line includes a second number so two people can use the service at one time.

RingCentral: Another small company, RingCentral is small on features. They offer service anywhere in the US including services for residential and business needs. They emphasize that their plan offers voice, fax, text, conferencing, and HD video meetings, all included for free. Prices range from $24.95 to 44.95 depending on how many lines and minutes you need. They appear to be more business focused but individuals can certainly get their service too. They also offer an app which allows you to make calls via your smartphone, whenever you are connected to the Internet.

ITP: Rated highly by a few sites out there, we don't know a lot about ITP but look forward to doing a complete review in the future. From a quick look around the Internet they have mixed reviews. A bunch of really good ones, and a handful of bad ones too. They offer a wide range of plans starting at $9.99 for basic residential and going all the way up to $48.99 for a Global Unlimited two line plan. You can also get a 'home office' plans for $49.99 if you run your business out of your house.

ViaTalk: ViaTalk was clearly not publicized or pushed by large VoIP reviews sites that we visited but their product looks pretty good to us. It's another company we don't know a ton about but are looking forward to doing a full review of. The offer both personal and business plans to meet all customer demands. For personal service you can get their VT unlimited plan for $15.75 per month or $189 if you pay for a full year in advance. The $189 advanced payment averages out to $15.75 per month but it comes with a bonus second year for free so you cut your price in half. Both plans offer a specified amount of free international minutes each month. prices are a little more expensive, but they are also a more well known brand that has been around for awhile and built up a good brand reputation. You can get plans starting at $14.95 with a 24 month agreement, 16.95 for a 12 month agreement, and $19.95 for a month-to-month plan. You can also pre-pay for a full year for $149.95 which is actually a good deal averaging out to $12.95 per month. They offer a full line of features comparable to the other companies above, free setup, and a 30-day money back guarantee. It also comes with a free second line and an hour of free international calls each month.

AT&T U-Verse Voice: Last but not least for top VoIP providers is U-Verse provided by ATT. Their branding was a little unclear with some calling is AT&T CallVantage but the site using the name we chose to call it by. The service costs just $20 for unlimited nationwide calling and is simple to install. The home based wireless unit automatically connects to any AT&T cell tower and then you wire it to your phone. This is one of the few providers we have found that you don't actually need to have Internet for. It is a unique competitive advantage that this cell company can offer their service in this manner. Although nowadays just about everyone has Internet so it may not matter. They also offer small business service and Enterprise plans for very large companies.

VoIP Phone Service Information Guide

Are you looking to make the switch to VoIP phone service or interested in seeing what this home and business phone alternative is all about? Do you want to know how much money you can save and if it is a good idea to switch from your traditional land line to Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP)?

If so then you have found the right place. Below you will find  links that will provide you with the information that you are looking for about the technology, the best VoIP providers, reviews, and any other information we deem helpful. Before getting to the info section we wanted to briefly go over some details about VoIP phone service.

VoIP has become increasingly popular over the past several years due to the amount of money you can save by switching. It is basically a technology that allows voice communications to be routed over an IP network such as the Internet, through a gateway of sorts. It has been around since 2004 and its popularity has increased rapidly primarily because it is a cheap alternative to a traditional land line.

The major advantage to VoIP is its cost. If you subscribe to a VoIP service you generally pay a small monthly fee and get unlimited free calls to both local and long distance number. The monthly fee is a lot less than what people pay to a landline company and usually VoIP companies are also able to offer international calls for a pretty good price.

Some of the disadvantages of VoIP service include service during power outages and sound quality. With a traditional land line you can continue to use your phone during a power outage but with VoIP this can't be done. You can continue to use your phone as long as you have an Internet connection to your computer but once your modem dies you will be out of luck and not be able to make calls. The sound quality of most VoIP services is lower than that of an old school land line but sound quality is rapidly improving on VoIP networks as technological advances are made.

All of the providers that we have reviewed and plan to review are nationwide companies and are considered to be the top providers out there. When trying to decide on a company we highly recommend that you educate yourself on the quality of service, customer service, and sound quality of each provider in order to be sure you choose a company that you will be happy with. Prices vary widely so it is also important to consider price who choosing a company.

If you have any questions our VoIP guide or any of the companies we have reviewed please leave a comment below and we will get back with you.

VoIP Phone Service Frequently Asked Questions

Top Residential Service Providers

NoNoh Free VoIP Phone Service Reviews - Is NoNoh Legit or Scam?

Product Rating: 2.5
What Is NoNoh?
NoNoh is a VoIP phone service that allows people to make free or nearly free VoIP calls to others all over the world. NoNoh is free to select countries and is extremely cheap to those where calls aren't offered for free. The software allows you to make calls to not only other VoIP phones but also regular phones for the free or at extremely low rates. For countries that are not free you are required to purchase credits, sort of like you would with a prepaid cell phone.

How Do Free Calls Work?
In order to get the 120 days of free calls to the free countries you will have to buy roughly $10 in credits. These credits however will only be used if you make calls to the non-free countries. All of the free countries will continue to be free for 120 days. Once the 120 days is up you can again buy $10 worth of credits and you will be given 120 days of free calls. This means that if you only make calls to the free countries it will actually cost you $10 for 4 months, or $2.50 per month. However if you also make calls to the non-free countries then your credits will be used for those calls. Credits never expire.

Are There Any Limits On The Number Of Free Calls?
Currently NoNoh has a limit of 200 minutes of free talk time per week. Once your free minutes are used up normal rates apply.

What Countries Do They Offer Free Callings To?
They currently offers free calls to many different countries. We were unable to find a complete listed on the NoNoh website but we did find one chart that did list most or all of the countries that were free as of August of 2009.

Czech Republic
Hong Kong
New Zealand
Puerto Rico
Russian Federation
Slovak Republic
South Korea
United Kingdom
United States

*Free Countries Are Subject To Changes And Do Change Often. Check the official NoNoh website for a current list of free countries.

How Exactly Does NoNoh Work?
In order to use the service you first need to visit the official website. Once there you can make calls immediately but only short calls that last several minutes. If you want to make longer calls you will need to sign up for an account and download the NoNoh application. Once you have the application all you have to do is open up the program and follow the on-screen instructions to make a phone call. It works by calling you first and once you answer then it will connect you with the person you are trying to call.

Are There Any Know Issues With The Service?
  • There have been reports of customers being charged for calls to free countries. Irate customers attribute this to NoNoh having scamming tactics while NoNoh claims that in the past they have had billing system issues and that these problems have been corrected.
  • There have been a large number of customers that claim that NoNoh stops workings for them after awhile. Perhaps this is related to kinks in the new technology or it could be errors on the users end. Regardless it can't hurt to try out the free service and hope that it keeps working for you.
  • Customer with problems have said that it is very difficult to get in contact with customer service in order to get billings or technical problems resolved.
  • A lack of good payment options for purchasing credits.
Do You Have Any Real User Reviews Of Nonoh?
We have one user who has submitted a review as of now, see it below.

Margaret Said...
"I have been using Nonoh for about 9 months with great success, I only use the phone to phone which means it rings my ordinary phone first & then rings the person you are calling second, I also use it with the same account as my smartphone with reasonable success, it cost me about $2/month and on top of that I have a data plan for my mobile which cost me approx $8.5/month."
The NoNoh Bottom Line
NoNoh is a VoIP service that provides extremely cheap or free calls to countries all over the world. They offer some of the lowest rates worldwide and their service appears to work pretty well. There however have been some issues with customer service and for some users the service doesn't work very well. Their voice quality is on par with most other VoIP service providers and it good enough. Overall, they appear to be in the same boat as most other providers in that they provide an extremely cheap alternative to a traditional landline and decent voice quality, but also have technical glitches that make the service inconvenient for some users. If you want very basic VoIP service then NoNoh could be a good choice for you with their cheap rates. However, some customer service issues including accusations of credit card fraud are troubling. It might be in your best interest to go with a larger more trusted VoIP service provider such as magic Jack. It is however important to note that all accusations are just that, accusations that have not been substantiated.