The Want For Speed

(Post 95 of 263. Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr! My best friend Bast is currently in hospital fighting for her life. Her children are the only ones currently standing as their parents are all down with COVID. They are on leave from their jobs. There’s no income. I don’t even know if Medicaid will cover Bast’s treatment. đŸ˜±)

I continue to remain amazed by how good my internet service is here in MĂ©rida. I know I probably need extensive therapy from all my issues I have from my 20-year war against Canadian telcos and that I need to stop reminding folks of what thieving government-enabled monsters they are, but there you have it.

I had a bit of a strange occurrence a few weeks ago: my TV literally exploded — part of the back blew out of it and there was smoke!  It was a three years less a week from the time I bought it and happened on the day that LG was starting their annual sale on their last-year models. Coincidence? I most certainly think not, especially when I contacted them to see if my personal info was at risk if I sold it for parts and they said, “Oh, no, we have the TVs built so that when this happens” — THEY PLAN FOR YOUR TV EXPLODING — “it deletes your personal info.” (I managed to sell the busted TV for $600 to a guy who had the same model whose kid had thrown something at the TV and broken the screen. He was hoping that my screen would still be good and he could Frankenstein’s monster himself a usable TV out of the two…)

Like last time, TV shopping was overwhelming, but I ended up ordering myself a 43″ Samsung entry-level UHD TV after a week of watching stuff on my iPad Mini and noticing that I wasn’t being as diligent as I normally am about getting on the exercise equipment (I’ve clearly programmed myself that TV time=exercise time!). Other brands were having sales on their last year’s model and after what turned out to not be enough research, I found a really good deal on a the series 6 Samsung at Liverpool of all places. Liverpool always jacks up their prices much higher than anyone else, so it’s hard to know what a deal is with them, but with the median full price on this TV being $13,000 and no one else having it for less than $9,000, Liverpool’s $8,400 was a solid deal. Delivery service was middling — took ages and they kept on changing the date — but the guy who delivered it physically set it up for me (got legs on it, plugged it in, made sure I knew what adapter I need if I want to use my Wii with it, etc.).

The new TV and I got off to a rocky start — it was hard to set up and didn’t work well with my Apple TV. I was enjoying the larger size (up from 32″) and the better sound quality, but the picture was muddy and dim. It took a lot of playing with settings and an excruciatingly long chat session with a Samsung rep to figure it out. One of the things that came out of the troubleshooting was that a 4K TV and 4K Apple TV really need an ethernet, not wifi, connection.

So that was the kick in the pants I needed to see if I could increase my internet speed. I got on a Messenger chat with Izzi yesterday that started off quite amusingly. You start the chat with a bot, who takes you through a menu. None of the menu options were for “I’m a client and I want to know what my upgrade options are.” So I wrote “Can’t I speak to someone?!

Next thing I knew, I got a reply from a real person!

From there, the transaction went really smoothly. I currently pay $840 a month for 50Mbps (with a boost to just over 60 for having automatic debit), a bunch of channels, and my landline that can call over 90 countries.

The rep suggested I go for their current maxed out plan of 100Mbps (actually 125), a ton of extra premium channels, and my landline… for only $40 more a month (2USD/2.50CAD). They would waive the technician fee and he would run cable and install a router/switch device all at no extra cost. Wow, just wow. And I should add that I’ve only had a total of maybe three or four hours of outage at the most during the 3.5 years I’ve been with Izzi!

The tech was scheduled between 9 and noon today. Izzi confirmed multiple times this morning that my tech was incoming. He arrived sometime after 9 and was here to almost 2PM! There was a problem with the existing wiring and he ended up changing it all out!

Finally, I was getting consistent speeds at my TV and my computer via ethernet and on my phone and iPad via wifi. (There’s just the wifi extender to configure to give me coverage upstairs.)

The improved upload speeds are going to help so much as well!

I have to say that I barely use my cable. One of the reasons is the crappy remote that made it very difficult to navigate between channels. The new cable box came with a proper remote.

Thank goodness for that because some of my new channels are ones I’m currently paying for through my Apple TV, including Paramount! I have to do a whole inventory of all my channels now since a lot of the premium ones, like WB, HGTV, History, and National Geographic are now available in English through Izzi! I was primarily using the cable for local news, the odd SyFy channel show (what a delightfully random channel that was to have!), and a cooking show, but now I think I’ll be using it more.

Most expats I know are still using VPNs and illegal IP TV devices to get content without even evaluating what’s available here. The only thing I can’t easily get here is Canadian content. I think sports might be another thing that folks can’t get everything they want here. Otherwise, I can’t think of much I’ve wanted to watch in the last four years or that I’ve heard folks talk about that I haven’t been able to easily access here legally. I even get most of the British shows I enjoy. Heck, it’s even happened that I was able to access movies here that are being showed in cinemas. I couldn’t imagine getting through this lockdown without all this content waiting for me at the end of a very long workday.