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FrequencyCast UK - Show #17

The show notes to go with Show 17 of our online technology radio shows.
In this show, we look at Broadband in the UK.

Listen to FrequencyCast Show 17

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This show's news section covered the following stories:

  • BT Vision Sport: - BT has revealed details of its TV Sports service, due to start in time for August's Premier League football kick-off. Aiming to undercut Sky Digital's prices for football, for just £4 a month, you can get access to on-demand matches, provided you can wait till after 10pm on match-day, or for £10 a month, get to see live matches via Setanta. There's also a pay-per match option for those that don't want to subscribe.

  • Channel 4 comes to DAB: In July 2007, Regulator Ofcom awarded Channel 4 a licence to launch 10 national digital radio stations. Channel 4 will offer three channels - Channel 4 Radio (the flagship station with speech and factual content), E4 Radio (15-29 year olds, music and comedy) and Pure 4 (music and cultural entertainment). Other channels will be provided by Disney, Sky and Chrysalis. The 10 new stations are expected to launch in July 2008, but some parts of the UK may not be able to get the new stations from Day One.

  • Virgin Media Logo Setanta Free on Cable: Virgin Media has announced that the six channels provided in the Setanta Sports package, including live Premier League football, will be rolled into their XL channel package, offering a saving of £10 a month.

  • Sky's Football offering: Sky is now offering all of Sky Sports with any two Sky TV channel packs plus Sky Broadband and Sky Talk for an unbeatable £35 a month - this offers a saving of £210 compared to Virgin Media's equivalent offering. More at

  • GMTV Phone-in competitions: If you think you were unfairly excluded from a GMTV competition, they're running 250 free prize draws, each with a £10,000 prize. More details at

  • BBC iPlayer - BBC's PC-based TV service launched at the end of July. Sort of. The service is a beta, and you have to register. Once accepted, you'll be able to download BBC TV programmes from the last 7 days to view on your PC.

  • Lobster bites the dust - Sad news, the Lobster 700 DAB and TV phone, reviewed back in Show 7, has been discontinued by Virgin. It sounds like only 10,000 people got themselves a Lobster, and the TV-over-DAB service provided by BT Movio is set to end in January 2008. The phone can still be used for DAB radio.

  • New channels coming soon:
    • Channel 4 +1: From 20th August, Channel 4 will be the first of the 5 mainstream TV channels to offer a "Plus 1" service, so you can watch again one hour later. This will be available on Sky, will replace Film4+1 on Freeview and replaces More 4+1 on Virgin cable.
    • Nuts TV comes to Freeview from 12th September 2007. The channel will be broadcasting "lads content" from 9pm to 1am. We think this could be Freeview's new Men and Motors...
    • TopUp TV launches Showcase: This new automatically downloaded content slot that can be sold to broadcasters that don't want to buy a dedicated channel. In July, two customers came online: National Lottery Operator Camelot and The Audi Channel. Top Up Anytime users can expect shows looking behind the scenes on the Lottery and on Audi's motors lineup. More Showcase customers are expected soon.

Focus: Broadband The main focus of today's show is Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line, or ADSL... better known to you and us... as Broadband.

You'll find more details on our dedicated Broadband page.

Here are the links we mentioned in the show, plus some suggested by listeners:


Focus: Podcast Kit

USB Podcast KitIn Show 17, we took a look at a new podcast kit that'd been sent to us. Made by industry-name Behringer, this podcasting kit includes a 5 channel mixer, USB audio interface for your PC, a dynamic microphone, mic stand, and a set of headphones. It also comes with a CD of software, including the Audacity package - this will allow you to record and mix together a podcast or audio demo tape. It should give you everything (apart from the PC) you need to record a podcast.

We've done a little review of the Podcastudio - it's available for under £90 from Gear 4 Music.



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

  • Can't get Broadband: We had a mail from new listener Steve Noah. He says that he's too far out from his phone exchange to get Broadband and he can't get cable. He wants to know what his options are. Sky Satellite? HSDPA, tin cans? Samknows website to see who provides service from your exchange, and if any upgrades are planned. Failing that, you could enhance your dialup speed with the OnSpeed service, or look to a 3G mobile phone modem (such as the one from T-Mobile) for your PC.

  • Revo DAB and Wi-fi radios: We heard from William Tildesley from Cumbria. He says: "I recently discovered the Revo Pico Wi-Fi Radio, which instead of using DAB, does it through the Internet. Is this product worth it?" FrequencyCast's Pete recently met the folk from Revo at the Digital Radio Show in London, and look a look at their new lineup of radios. Their Pico products offer DAB or Internet radio, and Revo is bringing out two adapters that can connect to your hi-fi, adding either DAB or Internet radio to your existing system. Show 15 covers Internet radio in more detail - and the Net radios from Revo offer similar functionality to the models we covered then.
    Revo Pico

  • A good word about Top Up TV Anytime: Nicholas Skippins contacted us following Show 16. In that show, we featured a message from a former Top Up TV user outlining his troubles with Top Up TV. Nicholas says that his experience has been a lot different. He's pleased with the service and thinks that at £9.99 a month, it's great value for money. As we featured in our blog, in early July, Top Up sent out an over-air update to v2.81, and this adds more stability fixes and adds subtitles. The service, which downloads TV shows overnight via your TV aerial, does indeed seem to be improving. More on our Top Up TV Anytime page.

  • Freesat from BBC and ITV: We featured a call from Mr Allsop received on our podline answerphone. He told us about a new satellite TV service, called Freesat. This is a joint venture with ITV, and first was discussed back in 2005. Freesat is due to launch in Spring 2008, filling in the gaps of the UK where Freeview can't be received and will offer 200 channels, including some Hi def content. See the BBC News story for more. We'll be covering this closer to the service launch. There are already a couple of Free-to-view satellite offerings... Sky Pay Once, Watch Forever and a DIY satellite kit from Maplin.

  • Too far from the exchange? We had a message from Guy Schofield now. He's been told that he's too far from his BT phone exchange to get even 1Meg Broadband. If he goes to Virgin Media cable, will the performance be better? Well, the good news is that as cable uses fibre optics, you don't get the same loss that you get through BT's copper wire phone network. We asked for comments on this in our forum, and it seems cable is a better bet if you're far from your BT exchange - speeds are still erratic though, and dependent on load by other users.

  • Sky HD Ethernet: Simon Feek asks: "My Sky HD box has got an Ethernet port on the rear. Can I use this to connect to my Media Centre PC to record and view TV?". Well, the answer is no. As yet, the RJ45 port on the Sky HD box doesn't have a use. We expect this will be used for Internet connectivity in the future.

  • Death of Internet Radio: Hi to Linus, who dropped us a mail reporting on the potential death of Internet radio. In the US, there are plans to hike up the copyright payments for streaming Internet radio stations. Not good news for stations broadcasting online, and net radio services like Live365.. Negotiations are ongoing, and you can find out more at

  • BT Vision HD: Dean Smith's heard rumours about BT Vision looking to push Freeview and HD over Broadband. We've not heard anything on this, although as the BT Vision box has an HDMI slot ready for Hi-Def, anything's possible.

  • BT Vision Surfing: Daniel Underwood asked us if you can surf on a telly using a BT Vision V box. Sorry, the answer is "no" - at least not yet. Although you can do a directory enquiries look-up over the Net from your BT Vision set-top box.

If you enjoyed listening to the show, check out our previous shows , or have a look at our Topics page to see what we've covered recently.

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