Listen to this article

Local television changes so fast that it’s only appropriate that Doug Quick corrected some information in the Oct. 6 column. Quick is the undisputed authority on East Central Illinois broadcasting. In response to my column he wrote:

“You also mention that WICD is on channel 41. That is incorrect. WICD was forced into an early ‘repack’ and is now broadcasting on channel 32. The translators for WAND in Jacksonville and Danville have already been moved to their repack channels as well. The Danville translator transmitter site for WAND was changed from the Collins Tower in downtown Danville to just east of Kickapoo State Park and has a much improved coverage area.

“It’s also ironic that Channel 17, WAND will become channel 20; WICS will become channel 15 with the repack.

“With the repack in this market, scheduled to be completed on Jan. 17, 2020, WCCU is scheduled to be relocated at the WICD tower with a significant coverage area increase, and the frequency will be shifted to channel 36.

“Channel 12 staying on VHF is really a disservice to their viewers who watch them on antennas. I sacrifice them by using a stacked reflector/bow tie antenna with 16 bow ties on it which gives me great UHF gain, but virtually nothing for high VHF. I would like to regain WLFI in Lafayette, Ind., as they stayed on VHF too. It saves them on the power bill, but limits viewers as most antennas today ‘favor’ the UHF band.

“There is complete information posted on my website, dougquick.com/mid-illinois-tv-today.”

If you view TV via cable or the internet, don’t worry about stations shifting. Then again, if you view TV via internet streaming, the affiliations of networks and content providers are changing as fast as Hollywood romances.

I still like CDs

You may remember my lamenting that current automobiles no longer offer CD players. That spread to personal computers. Very few computers include CD/DVD drives. I recently built a PC from scratch and ordered a case via the internet. When it arrived, I discovered with great dismay that it lacked a disk-drive slot. Sending back the 35-pound behemoth cost almost as much as its original price.

Getting a boost

Comcast regularly updates me on service improvements. Those of you with premium Xfinity packages, which Comcast estimates to be 85 percent of its subscribers, receive a free major speed boost. Performance tier will jump from 60 to 100 Mbps; Blast will jump from 150 to 200 Mbps; Extreme will jump from 250 to 300 Mbps; and Extreme Pro will jump from 400 to 600 Mbps.

I informed the Comcast media relations director that I was quite jealous, since Mediacom charges more for much less. Then a miracle occurred. Volo and CCG/Pavlov decided to lay fiber-optic internet cable in some of the towns, such as Mahomet, surrounding Champaign-Urbana.

Depending on the particular village and neighborhood, the service provided by these two competitors will quadruple average internet speeds for 25 to 50 percent lower cost than Mediacom. For example, depending upon the subdivision, Volo might charge as little at $50 monthly for gigabit service. Fiber offers the fastest and most dependable internet connections. Further, Volo and CCG/Pavlov are local companies. Volo, for example, guarantees 100 percent U.S. tech support, some of it provided from its offices in Urbana.

Even better, if you still use a Frontier landline for phone service, you can replace it with voice over internet protocol for less than $20 a month, including all U.S. long distance. VOIP even allows keeping your phone number and using your existing house wiring and phones. That’s a far better deal than Frontier.

Regrettably, none of this will help if you live in a truly rural area. Volo offers affordable wireless broadband to a few rural areas. A variety of other rural solutions appear on the horizon for two or three years from now.

Rich Warren, who lives in the Champaign area, is a longtime reviewer of consumer electronics. Email him at hifiguy@mchsi.com.