Streaming free and legal content

In previous installments of cut the cord, we’ve discussed a number of alternatives to cable, primarily, paid services that offer the television shows and movies you love.

Now, let’s take a look at some of the free legal options available for streaming media. If you’re looking for new content, original series, foreign films or even childhood favorites, there’s an increasingly large number of free services to choose from. The great thing about these services is they are not only legal, they are very easy to use.

There are so many free services available, we could never list them all. The Roku alone has several hundred free channels in their app store. This short list highlights just a few of the most popular services on the market to whet your appetite.

#TEAMTING – Katie Houselog

#TEAMTING is a series where we showcase some of our favorite Ting customer stories, whether from an individual, a family, a tech-head or a retiree.

Katie and her husband live in Iowa and are saving $45 a month on their cell phone bill since switching to Ting. Katie was thrilled that she didn’t have to commit to a two year contract or expensive monthly plan just to get her hands on a smartphone.

“I love the fact that I could finally get a “fancy” phone (as my daughter calls it) without paying a fortune.”

For casual users like Katie, Ting rates make it easy to have a low monthly phone bill without having to sacrifice all that a smartphone can offer.

“I text frequently because it’s convenient. I also use my phone to keep the kids busy when we are waiting at games, appointments and activities. Ting allows me to have a smartphone, yet I only have to pay for what I use.”

“I was just telling a co-worker how much my bill was this month ($15.00) and she told me she was jealous. I showed her and told her she could have a cheap bill too!”

Katie can also take advantage of the Ting Refer a Friend program to get her friend $25 in free service while adding $25 to her own account!

“I tell every friend I have that complains about the cost of their cell phone!”


Ting Download: Giphy Cam

Giphy Cam makes it easier than ever to create awesome animated GIFs on your smartphone.

The app is straightforward – you can record a short video that’s automatically converted into GIF format. Filters, borders and backgrounds can be added to your masterpiece, along with funny animations like the ever-popular “deal with it” sunglasses, a raging fire, cats, popcorn and much more. Once saved, you can share your special GIF with your friends through social media, MMS or email.

We definitely recommend trying out Giphy Cam if you get the chance, it really is a lot of fun. During filming, we couldn’t stop cracking up at some of Kyra’s creations. Plus, let’s be honest, you’ve stolen enough GIFs in your lifetime. Now it’s time to give back!

The timing of this app feature couldn’t have been better, either. With Facebook announcing the arrival of profile videos, Giphy Cam is the perfect way to spice up your profile.

Giphy Cam is currently only available on iOS, with an Android version in the works.

Be entertained by Kyra and Giphy Cam in the Ting Download below!

Check if your phone will work on Ting… on your phone

Ting-compatibility-checker-appIntroducing the new Ting compatibility checker app for Android.

Since we added a GSM network to Ting mobile, over 80% of smartphones made in the last few years will work on Ting. You gotta like those odds. The issue becomes making it easy for people to check whether their phone will work on Ting.

We’ve had some form of our Ting compatibility checker online since the early days. Today, we’re launching the Ting compatibility checker app and while it’s super simple, we think it’s some next-level stuff.

It’s a small (1.1 MB download) and lightweight (it doesn’t do anything else) app that grabs an Android phone’s IMEI and checks it to see if it will work on Ting’s networks. It also tells users which network services (3G, 4G LTE etc.) it will support once it’s here.

Why release a single-purpose app instead of bundling this feature into the existing Ting app? A couple of reasons. This is what we in the business call an “on-boarding tool,” so we wanted to keep it simple. We also wanted to keep it small so it’s a quick download for people standing in an aisle in a store, wondering if the Ting GSM SIM card they’re looking at is a smart buy.

Oh, right. This just in, Ting SIMs are going retail.

The Ting compatibility checker app needs permission to dig into your phone’s memory banks to pull out its unique identifying number, its IMEI. This IMEI (and only the IMEI) is then sent across to Ting servers and checked. In a list of app permissions, it sounds pretty heavy. We didn’t want the main Ting app to have to request these permissions.

We also wanted to keep it small and simple, with no learning curve, roadblocks or menus to navigate.

Please give it a try and, as ever, we’d love to hear what you think.


Ting Tip for iOS: Disable Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9

Wi-Fi Assist in iOS 9 is an undeniably handy feature that shows Apple’s classic attention to the user experience. Unless you’ve chosen to go with an unlimited data plan, you should probably turn it off. Wi-Fi Assist is on by default in iOS 9, whether you’re buying a new iPhone 6s or 6s Plus or upgrading an older iPhone to the latest OS.

Wi-Fi Assist automatically switches you from Wi-Fi to mobile data in the event you’re getting a weak signal or, in a coffee shop for example, you haven’t gone through the proper steps to gain access to the network. Basically, if Wi-Fi is proving unreliable, you’ll be seamlessly moved over to using the mobile data network instead. As we said, that’s a good user experience, but it’s also far too easy to blow through a bunch of mobile data without realizing it.

To deactivate Wi-Fi Assist, go to Settings > Cellular, scroll alllll the way to the bottom of that menu, and then turn off Wi-Fi Assist.


Choosing the best streaming services as you cut the cord for good

You’ve made the decision to cancel cable. You’ve taken the first step by choosing the set top box that is best for you. Now you need to choose a streaming service that will bring you the TV shows and movies you want.

Unlike choosing a cable service where you have a subscription to one service, cord cutting means you are likely to need several different subscription services in order to receive all the content you want. However, they are surprisingly simple to obtain through your set top box, and most services will offer you a free trial period. The streaming services you choose will be decided by your answers to the questions, “Which shows and movies do I want, and when do I want them?”

Here is a short rundown of the top three streaming services and what they offer.