Great Plains Communications Residential Blog

Keeping Your Family Connected

Sunspots this Spring

If you have ever watched a lightning storm, you know that it is both a beautiful and alarming experience. The power a thunderstorm emits in an abrupt flash stabbing through the air is definitely something to notice. Many people aren’t aware that the sun too can create a magnetic disturbance similar to lightning. When the energy from the sun expands, solar flares are created, better known as sunspots. For around two weeks each fall and spring season, you might notice some channels periodically showing a fuzzy signal, sparkles, or even a total loss. Typically lasting 5 to 15 minutes, the sunspot activity should not cause any worry as it will pass.

So, what exactly causes the disruption in your channels? As the satellites orbit, they eventually will align between the earth and sun. As a result of the mini-eclipse the satellite has formed, the sun’s rays overpower the transmission from the satellite. It is important to note that the effects brought on by sunspot activity is not a cable outage and there is really nothing Great Plains Communications or any other cable provider, is able to do. The sun outages are often country-wide, and the only thing we can all do is wait for it to pass. Luckily, after 5 to 15 minutes of disruption, your program should air as normal.

If the problem has not subsided after 20 minutes, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 so that one of our technicians can look into the issue. For more information on sunspots and the current level of solar activity, visit NASA’s website at https://solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/SunspotCycle.shtml.

2018 Valentine’s Day Recipes

Are you looking to skip the expensive restaurant bill and long wait times this Valentine’s Day? If so, Great Plains Communications has found some of our favorite love inspired recipes from our cable channel Food Network. No matter if you are looking for something to spice up the night for you and your babe or if it’s a single-ladies-only event, these recipes are sure to please the

Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Mozzarella Hearts

Get the night started off with these sizzling hot Flamin’ Hot Cheeto Mozzarella Hearts. Everything you crave in a mozzarella stick but with a kick from the spicy cheese-flavored snack we all know and love, these are sure to get your taste buds warmed up for the rest of the meal.

Ina’s Engagement Roast Chicken

The infamous Engagement Roast Chicken has been rumored to make knees drop, including this most recent Royal engagement as Prince Harry proposed to Meghan Markle while the couple were at home roasting a chicken. Ina Garten tweeted, “Congratulations to Prince Harry and Meghan! I always knew roast chicken had magic powers!! I’m so happy for both of you!”

Giada Lobster Linguine

Add some decadence with this Lobster Linguine. Lobster is a rather expensive ingredient, so stretch a dollar by adding it to pasta rather than giving each person their own tail or claw.

Love Letter Valentine’s Day Cookies

Looking to get a little creative this Valentine’s Day? Skip chocolates and make these adorable and customizable cookies. This would also be a super fun activity for a Galentine’s Day party.

TV Viewing Guide to the 2018 Winter Olympics

As just a few events have started, and everyone begins to enjoy the action of the XXII Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, you might be wondering where you can catch all the events. Great Plains Communications has the guide for you on where and when to watch so you don’t miss a thing.

First off, the channels that will be airing the Olympic events are NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA, and new to Great Plains Communications channel line-up, the Olympic Channel. However, it is only NBC who will be broadcasting the opening ceremony tomorrow, February 9. The live coverage of the ceremony begins at 5 a.m. CT and then will air (taped) again at 7 p.m. CT on NBC.

What many might not know is that the only way to watch the Winter Olympics in the U.S. is through NBC. And this year NBC is changing things up a bit, and live streaming almost every event, broadcasting around 1,800 hours of live coverage. Due to the time difference between South Korea and the U.S., there will be a lot of events airing throughout the night.

Which Channel is Showing Which Olympic Sport?

  • NBC has 176 hours of coverage: Opening Ceremony (Feb. 9), Medal Ceremonies, Figure Skating, Freestyle Skiing, Short Track, Ski Jumping, Snowboarding, Luge, Alpine Skiing, Speed Skating, Biathlon, Cross-Country, Nordic Combined, Skeleton, Bobsled, and Figure Skating Gala, Closing Ceremony (Feb. 25)
  • NBC Sports Network has 369 hours of coverage: Curling (Mixed Doubles, Men, Women), Alpine Skiing, Luge, Cross-Country Skiing, Short Track, Ski Jumping, Snowboarding, Speed Skating, Biathlon, Figure Skating: Olympic Ice, Hockey (Men, Women), Nordic Combined, Skeleton, Bobsled, and Figure Skating Gala
  • USA Network has 40.5 hours of hockey: Hockey (Men, Women)
  • CNBC has 46 hours of curling: Curling (Mixed Doubles, Women)
  • The Olympics Channel has 24/7 News Coverage: Victory Ceremonials, Olympic Channel News, and Winter Olympic Daily News

For the full details, go to NBC’s TV Schedule.

If you are looking for ways to stream, NBC Sports app is available on Android phones/tablets, iPhone/iPads, Roku devices, Fire TV devices, as well as Apple TVs. If you are a Great Plains Communications cable customer, you will be able to find our name from the list of service providers to watch the streams from NBCOlympics.com or the NBC Sports app. If you do not currently have cable, NBCOlympics.com will allow you 30 minutes in the first session of streaming and 5 extra minutes per day after. If you would like to sign up for cable with Great Plains Communications, please call our Customer Response Center at 1-855-853-1483 and a representative will be happy to assist you.

Team USA 2018

This Friday, February 9, 2018 men and women from around the world will enter the Olympic stadium in PyeongChang, South Korea as the 2018 Winter Olympic games opening ceremony begins. Great Plains Communications has highlighted a few interviews with athletes such as Mikaela Shiffrin, Ashley Caldwell, and pair Madison Chock and Evan Bates. Meet some of Team USA below.

Alpine Skier Mikaela Shiffrin

 

Aerials Skier Ashley Caldwell

 

Ice Dancers Madison Chock & Evan Bates

 

Watch our Facebook on Thursday for a blog on how to watch the opening ceremony, how to stream and more!

2018 Game Day Commercials

We have covered recipes for your big game day party, but how many of you are primarily there for the commercials during the game? Great Plains Communications has found a few of our favorite commercials you can expect to see this year between the Patriots-Eagles action.

Amazon – “Did Alexa Lose Her Voice?”

 

Budweiser – “Stand By You”

 

Stella Artois – “Taps”

 

Doritos & Mountain Dew – Blaze vs. Ice

 

Don’t miss the big game between the Philadelphia Eagles and New England Patriots this Sunday, February 4 at 5:30 PM CT on NBC.

2018 Game Day Recipes

This Sunday is the big game day as the Philadelphia Eagles take on the New England Patriots! What are you most excited for? Watching and representing your team, watching the commercials, or maybe it is enjoying all the delicious food at the party. Great Plains Communications has found some of our favorite game day recipes from our cable channel, Food Network’s Eddie Jackson.

Bacon-Cheese Pizza Bombs

Think garlic knot mixed with your favorite childhood pizza pockets topped with bacon. Not only are they portable, making it easier to mingle with your friends and enjoy a cold beverage but they are elevated nostalgic flavors everyone is sure to enjoy.

Sweet Chili Chip-Crusted Chicken Fingers

Chicken fingers are another portable classic that not only the adults will enjoy, but are sure to entice the kids at the party as well. This is a recipe that you can truly make your own from the chips you crust the chicken with, to the add-ins for the dipping sauce.

Toasted Coconut Brownies

Any good game day party has something sweet to break up all the savory snacks. These brownies allow you to make large amounts at once and provide a bite of decadence from the chewy chocolate base with texture from the almonds, to the toasted coconut flakes softly embedded into the frosting on top.

Throwback to the First Winter Olympics

Thamas, Bonna, and Lanvik in the 1924 Winter Olympics

It’s a throwback Thursday to January 25, 1924 as the first Winter Olympics began at Chamonix in the French Alps. The games were originally known as the “International Winter Sports Week,” involving six sports. According to the History Channel, “Norway won the unofficial team competition with 17 medals,” while “the United States came in third, winning its only gold medal with Charles Jewtraw’s victory in the 500-meter speed-skating event.”

The original Olympics was formed in 1896 called the Nordic Games and only Scandinavian countries competed. Similar to the modern Olympics, it was held every four years, but always in Sweden. “In 1908, figure skating made its way into the Summer Olympics in London, though it was not actually held until October, some three months after the other events were over,” History.com says. It wasn’t until 1925 that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) formally created the Winter Olympics, making the event at Chamonix the first.

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games is coming up, so watch for more information here on our blog as the February 9, 2018 start date quickly approaches.

Helpful Online Pet Resources

According to the 2017-2018 National Pet Owners Survey, 68% of U.S. households, or around 85 million families, own a pet. This staggering statistic is abundantly clear when spending time online. Pet videos are scattered throughout newsfeeds as the pet parents show off the lovable antics. We’re pampering our pets and looking for more ways to better their lives and that information doesn’t strictly come from your veterinarian anymore. Great Plains Communications has found a few online pet resources to assist in traveling with pets, pet care, and even an app to help stay on top of pet appointments.

Traveling with Pets

The thought of traveling with your pet can be nerve-racking, from figuring out the flight plan to finding a pet friendly hotel and any additional transportation needed. Below are two websites that will shorten your searches and help throughout the entire planning process.

Pet Travel – pettravel.com

“We have over 35,000 pet friendly hotels, inns, bed and breakfasts, vacation rentals as well as businesses that service the pet industry in our database. We are constantly adding pet friendly hotels, dog parks, pet sitters, and fun things to do with your pet. Pet owners who travel worldwide with their pet can find pet import rules for traveling to over 240 countries on Pet Travel.”

Trips With Pets – tripswithpets.com

“Our goal is to ensure that pets are welcome, happy, and safe in their travels! From booking pet friendly lodging & finding pet friendly things to do, to reviewing pet policies for airlines and care rentals – when it comes to traveling with your pet, we’ve got you covered!”

 

Pet Care

Amazon.com Pet Supplies – https://www.amazon.com/pet-shops-dogs-cats-hamsters-kittens/b/ref=nav_shopall_ps?ie=UTF8&node=2619533011

Choose from dogs, cats, fish & aquatic pets, birds, horses, and more. From there, you can find products ranging from food to bedding, gates and grooming supplies. You can even create a profile for your pet to receive additional coupons.

BarkBox – barkbox.com

You may already have a monthly make-up subscription or food delivery, but BarkBox takes the fun of a monthly surprise and delivers it to your dog. Starting at $20/month, each month you will receive a box full of themed goodies – multiple all-natural treats and creatively designed toys your pup is sure to enjoy.

 

PetDesk App

This is a free app accessible to both iOS and Android users helping you stay organized with your pet’s needs. From your vet, groomer, and boarder, you can connect through the app to request appointments, receive reminders and have all your pet’s information in one location. Find more information at petdesk.com.

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.

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