Thursday, April 08, 2010

Verizon, Aircard, & Roku

I have a 3G phone with our cell plan from Verizon.  I upgraded the phone  when I heard with the right phone, you could  “tether” your cell phone to your laptop to provide internet service.

I’m the type of person that has to have internet pretty much all the time.  All I have to do is call Verizon and ask them to activate my tethering feature and instant internet.  It cost about $1.61 a day.  It’s great when we’re camping.   I figured it was cheaper than getting an aircard for $59.99  monthly.  My DSL at home is about half the price of the Aircard.

When we go on the road, we will need the aircard but for now this was working fine. It was the cheapest way I found to have internet all the time.  The only problem is that their is a 5 Gb limit on data usage.

We want to be able to stream movies from our Roku box from Netflix, so we need an unlimited plan.

The other morning I was reading an article written by Chris Guld of Geeks on Tour  fame.  She was saying she had the Verizon Droid phone for $29.99 monthly and had internet access all the time from the cell  AND she could tether it to her laptop, AND she had unlimited monthly DATA PLAN!  The unlimited data plan was what interested me.  The aircard only allows 5 Gb monthly and if you want to stream movies (like we do through Netflix and our Roku Box) you would run over your 5 Gb allowance.

So, I was thinking… (uh oh)…if I upgraded my phone to the unlimited data plan for the $29.99, we would have a phone that I could use the internet on AND tether it to my laptop when needed. Too good to be true?

In the meantime, I was looking on Craig's List and found a free Verizon Air card with an unlimited data plan.  The seller wanted to get out of his plan and said I could take over his plan….but the cost is $59.99 a month.

I called  Verizon customer service and found out yes, you could theoretically use the $29.99 data plan and tether,  BUT it was not allowed in your contract and you could be charged for any additional usage over the 5gb….  So it looks like that is out.

Also I learned the free aircard would not be eligible for unlimited data.

I guess we’re back to square one!  The only thing encouraging was the Verizon rep said in about a year, they were going to roll out a new network would not have any data limitations. She didn’t know what the cost would be, but with unlimited data, we could continue to use Netflix to stream movies through the Roku Box.

We have found that we are really enjoying the Roku system.  All you have to do is go to the Netflix website and search through their unlimited free movie selection and select what you want. They advertise they have 10,000 movies to stream.  Our Netflix plan allows us only 1 movie at a time (our choice) but we can watch as many streaming movies as we want. I selected about 100 movies, documentaries, and tv series.  The Roku box automatically pulls these from the website, so when we want to watch a movie, we just press a button on the Roku box and our movie is right there.  You can stream them through your computer, but you have to do everything through the pc.  The little Roku remote control is much easier.

We  found some Imax programs on space, the ocean, and dolphins.  We also found a few series that we never watched.  One is Friday Night Lights and I like Cashmere Mafia.  It’s quite an amazing little device, but unfortunately right now, we can’t take it on the road when we travel, due to the limited data plan we have.

I’m hoping when Verizon upgrades their system and offers unlimited data plans, it will be affordable and we’ll be able to keep our Roku Box for our fulltiming lifestyle! 

It’s kind of like our Tivo…once you have it, you don’t want to be without it!


  1. It's my theory that these communication companies could provide what we want now (i.e. unlimited plans etc.) but instead they continue to frequently "upgrade" over the years which ends up being frustrating and expensive to the users to continually upgrade. Just like digital cameras which keep having more megapixels all the time. The Roku sounds neat.

  2. I agree Margie, but I guess we have to continually keep looking for better deals and bigger and better gadgets!

    I'm just trying to figure out how I can take all my toys with us when we start fulltiming. We have really enjoyed the Roku. It's amazing how much technology has changed/improved in just the past few years though!


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