Voice of Real Australia: Pure 4K movie bliss…no buffering | western avocado

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Voice of Real Australia is a regular news bulletin from ACM, which has reporters in every state and territory. Sign up here to receive it by email, or here to forward it to a friend. Last night I streamed a movie in HD. 4K Ultra HD if I’m 100% accurate on this. And it didn’t stamp. Not once. If you said “so what”, then dear reader, you’re not one of the many people in regional and rural Australia used to spending three days downloading the latest Windows update while your internet is running at full throttle. But for those still dealing with ADSL due to a failed NBN rollout, or stuck on data-limited satellite services that make streaming TV during the hours you’d actually like to watch seem like a distant dream, what I did last night was nothing short of a miracle. In December, I wrote about abandoning NBN solutions to my home Internet problems for good. My options were to stick with unlimited data on ADSL (at snail’s speeds) or upgrade to those prohibitive data limit plans on the NBN satellite (at slightly better speeds). Instead, I signed up for Elon Musk’s Space X earth satellite service, Starlink. (It should be noted that there has since been news about increased data limits on Sky Muster satellite plans, but they still remain prohibitively expensive during evening peaks.) Four months have passed since obtaining from Starlink and I can report that most of the time it’s great. We get speeds of up to 270 Mbps download and average around 15 Mbps upload. We can update computers and games and download movies in minutes instead of days. (Before, we had to turn on the XBox three days before someone wanted to use it in order to perform updates). One person can work from home and attend a meeting while another watches a movie on a streaming service. You know, all the things that people with the “modern” Internet take for granted. And while he’s made our lives so much easier in so many ways, it’s certainly not without fault. We get a few minutes of dropouts every day, they mostly happen in small chunks of a few seconds at a time – nothing you wouldn’t notice when streaming a movie or general internet browsing. However, if you are in a virtual meeting and you get a drop, the connection is definitely delayed and anything up to 10-15 seconds and you will lose connection to the meeting and have to reconnect. It also makes the service difficult to use for WiFi calling due to dropped calls. The latter being the biggest annoyance in this household where mobile reception is limited to a small part of the house. Some of these dropouts are due to Starlink issues while others are caused by the huge trees around our house – if you have a clear view to the south you will likely have fewer drops than we did. But in just a few months, the drops are diminishing, which gives me hope that things will improve in the short term, especially considering the high cost of Starlink. It is after all a service still under construction, so at least there is hope for a better future and so far it is still ahead of anything offered in my part of the country. If you want to filter all the latest news into a single late afternoon read, why not sign up for The Informer newsletter?

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