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FrequencyCast UK - Show #09

The contents of the ninth of our online shows

Listen to FrequencyCast Show #09

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Here's what you'll find in FrequencyCast #09:


This show's news section covers the following:

  • BT Vision - We cover the long-awaited launch of this new home TV service. BT Vision will be subscription-free, and the new set-top box, called the v-box, will be free to BT Total Broadband customers. The box can pause and rewind live TV, hold 80 hours of telly has a 14 day programme guide, and supports the option to record episode of your favourite series, like Sky's Series Link. You will have to pay a one-off £30 connection fee. An engineer needs to call to connect your V-box, Home Hub and your existing PC, so there's also a £60 installation fee. The big news has centred around BT Vision and Premiership football games, as from 2007, BT takes on Sky as it's partnered with sports channel Setanta to show 288 Premiership matches in full, per season.
    More on our BT Vision page

  • Top Up TV Anytime: It seems that from the 30th November 2006, Top Up TV Anytime boxes are finally shipping. Customers who've ordered the service should receive a letter a few days before delivery of your box, confirming delivery date. We've been told that orders that were received by 1st December will fulfilled before Christmas. Please see our Top Up TV Anytime page for more, and a review as soon as our review box is delivered.

  • DAB Radio: In November 2006, the body responsible for Digital Audio Broadcasting standards, announced that, in the future, there'll be a new format for DAB radio broadcasts... AAC+. it's likely that this new format will mean a new name for DAB, such as DAB+, or DAB v2. The new format will allow 3-4 times as many DAB stations. It seems we can expect to see new DAB radios supporting this format being released in 2007. So, does this mean the end of the current DAB radios? Well, possibly - but not yet. With the number of stations and radios out there, it'll be a while before any major change, and as the existing DAB can live alongside the new AAC+ standard, it just means that the current DAB radios may not be able to get some of the newer stations that may come along in a few years. Estimates we've seen are that the current DAB format (using mp2 encoding) probably won't vanish for something like up to 8 years.

  • New National DAB: On 1st December, UK regulator Ofcom announced the advertisement of a new DAB National multiplex, adding a whole new group of national commercial channels. Applications close in March 2007

Freeview News

Two Freeview snippets in since the last show:

  • Two new stations have joined the lineup - Heart FM (London) on 728 and RadioMusicShop on 729. It's not clear if these are temporary or for testing reasons. No official announcement has been made.
  • Teletext Games channel appeared on Channel 103. Onscreen message stating "Coming in the new year: Keno, Roulette and Face-Up Hold'em".

BT Home Hub

Listener votes for what to feature in this show went to the BT Home Hub, the bookend-shaped box that BT are trying to sneak into every home:

The HubThe BT Home Hub is essentially a Broadband router that allows high-speed ADSL broadband connection to the Internet from home computers, laptops and games consoles (such as the Xbox or PS2).

  • It's intended to be used with BT Total Broadband.
  • It's also a wi-fi access point, to allow equipment to be connected wirelessly. This includes some PDAs and Laptops, wi-fi webcams and even our old friend, the Nabaztag
  • It can be used to route Internet voice and video calls - It supports phone calls made over the Internet, for cheaper calling with BT Broadband Talk, which we covered in Show 08
  • Designed for use with BT's TV service, BT Vision, with talk of a home security system coming soon.

The BT Home Hub is available directly from BT: Free with BT Total Broadband Options 2 and 3, or available for purchase for £89.99 from BT Shop.

We have a page on our site dedicated to the Home Hub. For more, on the hub, what it does, and how to use it, see our Home Hub page.


Loc8tor and tagsHere's a great gadget, which represents the latest in "where's my keys" technology. With Loc8tor, you get a number of little tags - which can be added to keyrings, handbags, pet's collars, TV remote controls - anything you're prone to losing. You get a control pad that can be used to track down missing tagged items. The tags beep, flash lights, and can be tracked down using direction-finding technology.

They have three different modes: locate, alert and panic, and you can locate mode finds tagged items up to 183 metres away. Below is a picture of the office cat, tagged and trackable, thanks to Loc8tor - in this show, we demonstrate how easy it is to use Loc8tor.

The Loc8tor unit, plus tags, is available for under £60 from Maplin.

Our cat, tracked with Loc8tor
Tea Dunking Biscuit DunkingOK - so this was the silly part of the show. Prior to recording, our Pete stumbled across the site - and wondered about whether any listeners have an interest in a biscuit of the month feature for our podcast. Perhaps you'd like us to dunk a chocolate hobnob live on our next show?


Thanks to everyone who got in touch. In this show, we respond to the following mails and calls:

  • Sky Broadband: Mr Hatton asked about Sky's Broadband, and whether a free modem is supplied. According to Sky's site, you must be an active Sky TV subscriber to quality for Sky Broadband. With Sky Broadband, you're provided with a free Sky Broadband Box, which is a wireless router and broadband modem.

  • Nabaztag: Giles Best contacted us about our favourite gadget, the wi-fi Nabaztag, and how to make a connection. The Nabaztag has to have an Internet connection before the Nabaztag server can connect to it. If you don't have all three lights on, you won't be able to get a connection. We advised Giles to check his Nabaztag's wi-fi settings, especially the WEP and DNS settings.

  • Podcast over dialup: Phil from Chester asks whether it's possible to download a podcast even if you only have a basic dialup Internet account, and not Broadband. You can download podcasts over a dialup connection, but it does take a lot longer. A 56k dial-up connection is over 150 times slower than an 8Meg broadband connection.

  • E4 free on Sky - John Carden lives in Brittany Northern France and receives free TV through a dish, but he can't get E4. Unfortunately, E4 is not available free-to-view on the Sky platform. You need to be a subscriber to get this channel via satellite. See the list of channels that are free-to-view on the Sky system.

  • Top Up TV cards? We heard from Tony Freeman saying that he bought a Top Up TV digibox, and now find he can't use this box for Top Up TV... or can he? We agree that the situation with Top Up TV is a little confusing. There's two services on offer from Top Up TV - there's their new "Anytime" service that downloads TV content for later viewing - this does require the new Top Up TV Anytime box made by Thomson. The Anytime service costs £9.99 per month, plus box cost. The older Top Up TV service is still available, costing £7.99 a month and older Top Up TV boxes will still be able to receive this service. You need to phone Top Up TV card for a box. There's more on our Top Up TV page.

  • Lobster on the move? The Lobster 700TV phone lets you view live TV and listen to DAB radio. The reception is not too bad on the move - We've tried it on a train - the DAB radio's pretty good while moving, but does drop out occasionally. The TV's a bit more temperamental on a fast moving train, but that's to be expected. In a car, or while walking though, the TV's on the Lobster 700 is pretty good, and of course, it's a lot cheaper than watching TV over the mobile phone network.

  • Talking DAB Radio - Thanks to Matt Cooper for getting in touch. He's a blind listener that contacted us back in Show 4 looking for a DAB radio that spoke out the radiotext... We're glad to hear that the Pure Sonus radio does what Matt needs. Matt also gave us some extra information on Vonage call plans. We featured Vonage in Show 08, and Matt's pointed out that Vonage also offer free calls to other countries over Broadband - something we've now added to our VoIP page.


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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