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Check out our Consumer Tips for practical advice on shopping, fixing bad service and more.

Internet The Internet has already changed our daily lives. With broadband technology, consumers have access to an even bigger, faster, cheaper "pipeline" of diverse sources of information, entertainment and new services. Here's what you should know and what to watch out for.

TV, Radio & Cable  Most households now get TV reception from a cable system; not quite one in five has satellite TV service. For years, cable was the service that people loved to hate, largely because of frequent rate hikes and mediocre customer service. But with the accelerating pace of new technology — high-definition broadcasts, digital video recorders, video on demand, satellite radio, and more — the differences between satellite and cable aren't as stark as they once were. For example, the most recent survey of Consumer Reports readers found that cable service — especially digital cable — was now a close second to satellite service in key areas of satisfaction, channel selection, and customer service. Moreover, the new services available make for greater confusion about the best, most economical choices. Read these tips to help you sort out the options for TV, radio and cable services.

Phone Services Here are some practical tips when shopping for local phone service, long distance plans, wireless phones, and new services such as voice over the Internet (VoIP).

Wireless Services Here are some practical tips when shopping for wireless services.

Media Ownership So many channels and news outlets – yet they are controlled by an ever shrinking number of media conglomerates.  Are you really getting a choice in programming and are you getting different viewpoints? Is there enough coverage of local and community issues?  Who owns the news anyway? Do you know what to do to complain about programming? For information on how to navigate the media morass or how to complain about something you see, hear, or read in the media, follow these tips.

 

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