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FrequencyCast UK - Show #05

Details of the contents of our fifth show

Listen to FrequencyCast Show #05

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Here's what you'll find in FrequencyCast #05:


This show's news section covers the following:

  • Broadband wars continue: In the last couple of shows, we've heard about TalkTalk, BT, NTL:Telewest and Orange's plans to win our broadband, phone and digital TV business. This month, it's the turn of Internet provider Tiscali to make an announcement - they've merged with TV-over-Internet firm Homechoice, who provide services to customers based primarily in London. It looks like Tiscali will be offering TV services to its existing Internet customers later in 2006

  • Orb - Slingbox rival: We looked at Slingbox back in Show 3 - it's a little box that connects to your TV system and lets you watch and control your TV over the Internet. Well, if you have a PC with a TV card, you may be able to achieve the same results, at a much cheaper price, using Orb. This is a piece of software that's loaded onto your PC , and acts as a TV server, allowing to connect in over the Internet, browse an electronic programme guide, and set shows to be recorded. You can also stream live TV, or programmes that you recorded on your PC earlier, over the Internet to a PC or a PDA.  It can also be used to access MP3 audio as well as your photo collection, directly from your PC remotely. Orb is available for free from, but you need a compatible PC TV receiver. More on our TV Control page.

  • KYTV Series 1KYTV DVD - Back in the 1980's, the BBC broadcast Radio Active ("Britain's first national local radio station"). The series was a parody of what was being broadcast by the new batch of commercial radio stations springing up around the UK. The show made it to telly in 1989 (in our opinion, not quite as funny as the radio series), and now KYTV has finally made it onto DVD - Available for £11.99 from Amazon and . The DVD includes the pilot episode. Series 2 is due for release this October. Radio Active fans may be interested to know that BBC7 (on digital radio) are currently re-running early Radio Active episodes.

  • Free iPod Shuffle: If you're into listening to mp3 audio (such as podcasts), note that there's a whole stack of spoken audio out there - old classic radio comedies, talking books, drama... all sorts. One top provider of speech content is Audible ... the firm that's looking after the newer series of the Ricky Gervais Show (series 3 available now). They have over 10,000 items in their collection, and at the time of recording, they were offering a free iPod shuffle. More details at

Freeview News

A couple of snippets of news on the digital TV service, Freeview:

  • We're expecting some big news to break any day now about the subscription service TopUp TV. They're about to launch something called TopUp TV Anytime, which is a digital video recorder based service. We have minimal details at the moment, but there are quite a few rumours. There's a healthy amount of controversy about TopUp TV's future over in the Radio& Telly forum on this one. Hopefully we'll have more on our next show, but keep an eye on our Blog for the latest on this
  • Interactive channel TVTV appeared on channel 304. We expect this to be a new TV listings service to be launched soon


in this show, we included 'wi-fi' (wireless networking) in our Focus section. Carl told us what little he knew of wi-fi, and Pete explained what wi-fi has to offer, and why it's important. For more on wi-fi, see our new wi-fi page. Here are the highlights of what we covered:

  • wi-fi speeds: 802.11b, 802.11g and the new 802.11n standard
  • What you need to connect to broadband - an ADSL wi-fi router (such as the Home Hub), and a wi-fi enabled PC
  • A little about the new wi-fi enabled MP3 player from Microsoft, the 'ZUNE'... billed as the iPod killer"
  • Skype phones that work over wi-fi phone, such as the SMC Networks handset
  • T-Mobile Web 'n' Walk - A wi-fi card or USB modem that works with GPRS and 3G for remote connectivity. More on our Mobile Broadband page.
  • wi-fi hotspots - Get your wi-fi on the move
Nabaztag NabaztagAfter months of waiting, our Nabaztag has finally arrived. This is a rabbit-shaped desktop companion that hooks into your wi-fi network to interact with Internet data. Here's what it can do...
  • It lets you know when you have an email (using a dedicated email address, or with an existing POP email accounts)
  • Makes clever use of the front panel lights to alert you of weather, stock news and other key events
  • Text-to-speech services - get your bunny to read news headlines, weather, sport, or information from any text-based RSS feed
  • A wake-up call - with an extract of your favourite MP3 track

Nabaztag is available for about £80 from More on our Nabaztag page

Gupi The GupiOriginally purchased as a toy to exercise our fat cat, this furry rodent found its way into the studio. The Gupi is equipped with various sensors, and is capable of moving around without banging into things, squeaking, and trying to be cute. This caused much merriment during the recording of the show... we can't escape from the fact that this is a laughable furry brick. Oh - and it scares the cat! If you're mad enough to want one (perhaps to frighten your feline, or your podcast co-presenter!), the Gupi is available for £30 from

USB Turntable

USB Turntable We took a look at the ION USB turntable, which is great for transferring your old vinyl collection over to CD or MP3 format. It's belt-driven, has adjustable gain, plays 33, 45 and even 78s (with a special stylus), and comes with software to allow conversion to MP3, WAV or WMV format, ideal for your iPod or MP3 player. The software can also be used to remove those lovely vinyl pops and crackles. The USB turntable from ION also has line-level RCA outputs, so can be connected into a hi-fi's CD or AUX in feeds.
Available from Maplin , Firebox and I want one of those.


Thanks to everyone who got in touch with feedback on Show 4 - we still want more of your comments and questions... Here are some of the listener questions that we answered in Show #05:

  • Sony D-28DX40U problems - Martin emailed us reporting that he was seeing the information band appearing when it shouldn't and some other odd problems with the on-screen banner. We found this thread on Digital Spy discussing similar problems, and it seems that at the end of 2004, Sony issued a software upgrade to resolve this - If your version is any earlier than v3.50, best to contact Sony Support for advice - their number is 0870 511 1999.

  • Broken Freeview Remote - Assuming you've tried changing the batteries and rebooting the box, you may need to get a replacement. If it's in warranty, this is straightforward, otherwise try Partmaster for a replacement. Failing that, consider a universal controller, that can replace multiple remote control devices. There's a wide range of generic remote control replacements available from Argos or Maplin.

  • Can't get some Freeview channels? Best to follow the advice on our Freeview advice page

  • Talking DAB radio: In the last show, Matthew, a visually impaired listener asked us if we could help with a talking DAB radio. In this show, Matthew got in touch again telling us he's keen to find a way of listening to the radio text data, such as song titles and email addresses transmitted with DAB radio programmes. Since the last show, we found a radio than may have the answer - the SONUS-1XT from Pure.
    Sonus XT1 This has something called iVOX technology, which speaks out the names of the available DAB stations as they scroll through them, announces the time, and even talk users through how to set them up. It seems to be ideal for blind or partially-sighted radio listeners, and can be configured in a number of ways - male/female voices, and even a spell mode to read out radiotext letter-by-letter if required. As promised, here's the link to the document that we found on the RNIB site: Document HD01 .
    At the time of recording, the Pure Sonus 1XT1 was available for £94.99 from


New Blog

As of this show, we've introduced a blog, to allow you to see what we're up to next, and to comment on any of the stuff discussed in this show. Please pop over to the home of the frequencycast Blog:

For more, see our list of previous shows , or have a look at our Topics page to see what we've covered recently

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