Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

How Much Bandwidth Does Your 4K TV Need?

Shopping for a TV has become much more than just picking a size that best fits your entertainment center. You now see terms such as 1080p, Ultra HD, and 4K when considering the resolution of your potential TV. But what do they mean?

First things first, the resolution we are talking about refers to the number of pixels that make up the picture on your television. A pixel is one of the very small dots on your screen that light up to create that picture you see. There are roughly eight million pixels in an Ultra HD or 4K (named for those almost 4,000 pixels of horizontal resolution). In the last few years, we have gone from the standard 1080 HD TV to anything over 50 inches overwhelmingly featuring “Ultra High Definition” resolution. But what they might not tell you when you purchase your new 4K TV is that it requires additional bandwidth support. If you are streaming things like Netflix and Hulu, the bandwidth requirement will continue to rise. According to Netflix’s website, the recommended speed to stream their content on an Ultra HD (4K) TV is 25 Megabits per second (Mbps). And Hulu isn’t far behind, recommending 13 Mbps for 4K.

 

So why does it take more bandwidth?

Each of those pixels is receiving data, telling them when and how to light up the screen. The more pixels, the more detail and the better resolution or picture you see, but at the same time – the more pixels, the more data needed from the Internet.

If you aren’t sure what Internet speed your family needs, check out the Great Plains Communications What Speed Do You Need tool. If you are interested in upgrading your speed or would like to learn about what services we offer in your area, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

2018 Financial Goals and eBill

Have you set a goal to become more financially responsible in 2018? Great Plains Communications has just the features to make sure you stick to your resolution and succeed.

As a Great Plains Communications’ customer, you have access to eBill, an online platform that allows you to see and pay your current bill, track your long-distance minutes and view your payment history. Auto-Pay, which is set-up with eBill, will allow you to schedule an automatic monthly deduction for your Great Plains Communications’ services. This will provide less clutter from the mail and the elimination of any late fees.

The eBill system also makes Paperless Billing a great option! You can save the paper on one more bill, while maintaining access to your information whenever and wherever you are. So, don’t wait around for your bill to come in the mail, hoping you have budgeted correctly. Take advantage of Great Plains Communications’ eBill and all the helpful features that come with it.

To sign-up today, go to our website, www.gpcom.com/autopay or call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483, and get started making your New Year’s resolution happen with ease.

Great Plains Communications Scholarship Deadline Approaching

The deadline is quickly approaching for the Great Plains Communications Scholarship and Foundation for Rural Service (FRS) Scholarship. No matter if it is a big University or a two-year program at a Tech School, the price of college continues to rise. Great Plains Communications wants to help with the burden of those glaring numbers. Our scholarship program has allowed students to attend schools across the state, majoring in agriculture, law, engineering and much more.

With the deadline of February 1 less than a month away, we encourage you to download the Great Plains Communications Scholarship here and send the completed application packet to the following address:

Great Plains Communications
Scholarship Committee
P.O. Box 500
Blair, NE 68008

 

The FRS is an affiliate of the National Telephone Cooperative Association (NTCA), an organization of independent telephone companies across the United States. Applicants should be graduating high school seniors with a C grade point average or above and have an interest in returning to a rural community after graduation. The FRS Scholarship application requires a signature of sponsorship from Great Plains Communications. To apply, see your school’s guidance counselor or log onto the FRS website at www.frs.org. Completed applications must be submitted to the following address by February 23.

Great Plains Communications
Attn: Scholarship
P.O. Box 500
Blair, NE 68008

 

If you have any questions regarding scholarships, please contact 402-456-6458 or scholarshipsgrants@gpcom.com.

2018 Show Premieres

New year, new goals, and new shows on television you won’t want to miss. Familiar faces in unfamiliar storylines, 2018 has an exciting lineup of premieres. We have highlighted just a few trailers below to give you a taste of what to watch for starting this month.

 

Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams – January 12 on Amazon Prime

A mix of sci-fi short stories, this series not only holds an elite cast (Bryan Cranston, Anna Paquin, Janelle Monae, Steve Buscemi) but it portrays a strange and futuristic world based on Philip K. Dick’s short stories.

 

The Resident – January 21 on Fox

A modern-day medicine story focuses on a headstrong senior resident as he mentors an idealistic young doctor. The blunt style of his guidance quickly reveals what it really means to work in the medical field, both good and bad.

 

The Alienist – January 22 on TNT

Set in 1896 in New York City, we are thrown into a murder mystery amongst extreme wealth and severe poverty. Dakota Fanning stars in this psychiatrist investigative series based on the novel by Caleb Carr.

2018 Tech Resolution Tips

It is 2018 and people are setting goals. While according to Statista.com, ‘Save Money’ and ‘Lose Weight’ are still the top two resolutions for 2018, people are also starting to consider that like a healthy eating balance there also needs to be a healthy tech balance. More people are setting goals such as, “Monitor Phone Use” or “Improve Cyber Security”. Great Plains Communications wants to help you succeed with some tips.

 

Monitor Phone Use

How often do you find yourself turning on the television to watch a show and end up missing over half of it because you were scrolling through your newsfeed or playing a game on your phone? If you are looking to cut back on the time you stare at that small screen, a first step could be to figure out how long you are currently on it. Apps such as Moment (iOS) or Quality Time™ (Android) help to not only track how long you are in specific apps but will also give you alerts when you have been on for a specific amount of time. You can customize the alerts to your goals and schedule.

 

Improve Cyber Security

There are many ways to improve your cyber security, but we have listed two main areas as a starting point: Password Management and Apps Management.

Manage your Passwords

Passwords are the lock and key to some of our most personal and sensitive information. Not only are we protecting financial information, but contacts and photos as well. If you are looking to better manage your passwords, work on changing them more frequently and always using unique passwords for different sites. We realize there are now passwords for everything and it becomes increasingly harder to remember all of them, especially if you change them often. Programs such as LastPass and KeePass work to remember your passwords, while also keeping them secure.

Manage your Apps

Do you have an app graveyard on your phone? Maybe you hit Candy Crush hard for a good two months then burnt out quick and haven’t played since. Or maybe you still have an app for that grocery store down the road from the apartment you lived in…three years ago. The kicker question is, have you still been keeping them updated or is that red bubble always above your App Store? You don’t use them, so why keep them updated? Well, all these things can actually leave you exposed to hackers gaining access to your information. But there is a simple solution; delete all those apps you aren’t using. Then taking it one step further and check your apps permissions for the ones you keep. For Apple users, go to Settings > Privacy and check what apps have access to things like your contacts, photos, and microphone.

Simple New Year’s Eve Party Tips

2017 is quickly coming to an end and Great Plains Communications wants to help you throw an amazing welcome party for 2018. Forget fighting the bitter cold weather that Old Man Winter seems to throw our way each New Year’s Eve and snuggle in with friends and family and our favorite party tips from cable channel, HGTV.

3 Easy Party Mix Recipes

It is always good to have some simple snacks you can place around the room for your guests as they arrive and settle in. With these three recipes, you will be sure to please the sweet, spicy, and salty cravings of the group.

 

3 No-Bake 5-Minute Appetizers

Sticking to easy access finger foods will allow guests to eat with drink in hand and continue to mingle around the room. With these quick no-bake and better yet, no-stress recipes there is no hassle of silverware or dirtying any dishes other than the ones you serve them in.

 

Champagne Jelly Shots

These champagne jelly shots are not only adorable, but they pack an additional surprise in the popping candy topper. Just add your favorite champagne, some agave syrup, and water to some plain gelatin and this party treat is sure to be a favorite. If you don’t want the popping candy, try adding your favorite fresh fruit pieces before chilling.

 

DIY Balloon Photo Booth Prop

Add a little extra fun to your party with this DIY balloon photo booth prop. You can truly make it specific to your style by changing up the colors of balloons, flowers and arrangement. As you can see in the video, they use PEX tubing and a connector for their base, but if you can’t find these items or just happen to have an extra hula hoop lying around it could easily be substituted in.

 

Great Plains Communications would like to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year!

Our Favorite Christmas Recipes

There should be just a few spots left on your advent calendar, because Christmas is almost here. This weekend will be full of last minute shopping, wrapping, and planning. As you venture out for those last few things, don’t forget to stop at the grocery store for Christmas dinner. Great Plains Communications has once again looked to our cable channel, Food Network and found some of our favorite recipes that are sure to impress your guests.

Baby Back Rib Crown Roast

Looking for something other than the traditional turkey and ham this year? This rib crown roast is budget friendly and will look stunning on your table, not to mention it’s delicious.

 

Christmas Pull-Apart Bread

Say good bye to your ordinary dinner roll and say yes please to this Christmas pull-apart bread. Melty cheese mixed with the herbs on top, this adorable tree shaped bread is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

 

Ugly Christmas Sweater Pie
This “knit” pie goes a step further by turning it into an ugly Christmas sweater. The crust lovers of the family won’t be able to get enough of this festive dessert.

 

Christmas Coal Candy

These cheeky candies would make great party favors or a playful prank on the kids. Either way, the cocoa-flavored candy is sure to create a few laughs.

 

If you are not currently a Great Plains Communications cable customer and would like to learn more about the services we offer in your area, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483.

Wifi Christmas Social Giveaway Winner

Help us in congratulating our Wifi Christmas Social Giveaway Winner, Sara Nichols of Eddyville, NE!  When asked why she shops online, she responded, “I shop online because I hate dealing with large crowds and I like finding the best deal while sitting in my chair rather than searching the stores.” A feeling we can all probably relate to. By sharing this information and liking the Great Plains Communications Facebook page, Sara has won a $250 Amazon.com gift card.

Sara Nichols with her husband and three children

Sara Nichols with her husband and three children

We may have only been able to choose one winner, but there is still another way to receive an Amazon.com gift card this season. By adding Great Plains Communications high-speed Internet service, you could receive a gift card and FREE installation. Bundle your services to earn the maximum gift card benefit! To find out more, call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 before the offer ends January 5, 2018.

Again, we want to congratulate Sara Nichols, and thank everyone who entered our Wifi Christmas Social Giveaway!

 

Some restrictions apply, residential customers only. Services must be maintained for 6 months. Failure to do so will result in an early termination fee equal to the amount of the gift card received. Speeds and availability may vary by location.

Keep Your Devices Secure this Holiday with Tech Home

Our lives have become a constant stream of information through news feeds, search engines, emails, and reviews. All accessible through our multitude of devices. Great Plains Communications wants to make sure you understand just where those connections are going and ensure they are all protected with our Tech Home service.

The program provides world-class security for all your devices, home and on the go, with web security and antivirus systems. Gone away is the worry of lost files when your device crashes or gets damaged. With Tech Home, you will be able to sync and back-up all your files, photos, contacts and additional important information. No matter where you are, or which WiFi you connect to, Tech Home will have you covered with a cloud-based protection keeping your personal information secure and convenient.

Round-the-clock technicians will provide help to setup, test, fix and enjoy your network. Up to four computers, laptops, phones or tablets are covered through Tech Home, with the low price of just $2.99 for an additional mobile device and $4.99 for an additional laptop.

With Tech Home, you’ll have the support you are looking for and the protection you need. For more information on the new product, call 1-855-853-1483 or visit our website at http://www.gpcom.com/residential/internet/tech-home-device-protection.

This Day in History – National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day

We look to our cable channel, the History Channel for This Day in History as we recognized National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. December 7, 1941 is a day America will never forget as the US naval fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii experienced a devastating attack. It began at 8 a.m. and resulted in the death of 2,400 Americans, and 1,200 wounded soldiers. It being a Sunday, many military personnel had left to attend religious services off base. The Japanese air attack was a calamitous surprise. “Much of the Pacific fleet was rendered useless: Five of eight battleships, three destroyers, and seven other ships were sunk or severely damaged, and more than 200 aircraft were destroyed,” it reads on the History Channel website.

It has been 76 years, and we pay tribute to the 2,400 Americans who lost their lives and recognize those who survived the devastating attack at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7, 1941.

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