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FrequencyCast UK - Show #18

The show notes to go with Show 18 of our online technology radio shows.
This show outlines how to watch and record TV on your PC

Listen to FrequencyCast Show 18

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This show's news section covered the following stories:

  • Digital TV update: The crawl towards the digital switch continues. With the first parts of the UK due to switch this year, figures from the Ofcom/Digital UK Switchover Tracking Survey show that 87% of the UK is now aware of the switchover, and for the first time, results show that over 50% of UK homes have gone fully digital. Awareness is improving, but as we get closer to switch, it seems that 2 out of 5 people in the UK think they'll need help from others before they can go digital. If you know anyone in need of help - send them a copy of FrequencyCast Show 7?

  • Top Up TV Price Drop: The Anytime box has dropped from £140 to just under £99.99, presumably in an attempt to pull in a few customers. The Anytime box is a dual-tuner Freeview hard-disk recorder capable of getting subscription services from Setanta, plus up to 100 hours of non-Freeview content that's captured overnight. Top Up TV boxes are available from Argos.

  • Nokia E90Nokia E90: Since our last show, the Nokia E90 handset has become available. This is a successor to the Nokia 9500 and 9210 devices, and has a full QWERTY keyboard. It's powered by Symbian, has Wifi and a 3.2 Meg camera. Remember the Psion Series 5? This is about as close as you can get to a Psion with a phone... Available on contract from MobileShop or SIM-free from

  • o2 Orbit Update: In other phone news, our current favourite device, the o2 Orbit XDA has just had a free upgrade to Windows Mobile 6.0. This free software update can be downloaded from

  • Sagem box with SetantaSports TV News: Two quick sporting headlines: First, you can now buy a Freeview box that's ready for Setanta Sports. For around £40, you can get a Sagem with one month's free Setanta either directly from Setanta, or from

    Secondly, Sky is offering live coverage of Premier League matches on mobile phones. Available on Orange and Vodafone for a fiver a month. More at

  • Freeview Channel News: Not much news on new channels to report. We've not been able to confirm rumours of UKTV G2 coming to Freeview. Freeview viewers can expect Nuts TV and Virgin One soon.
    Radio-wise, best story we could find was the recent arrival of "Traffic Radio", a 24 hour roads news radio station now on DAB. Tune in for the hot rockin' sound of the Hanger Lane Gyratory System hold-ups...

  • And finally: Bad news for the Japanese deaf. Their Government has just cut a Tokyo TV company's subsidy for special programming for hearing-impaired viewers. The weekly five-minute show features a newsreader that delivers the headlines in sign language while stripping. The good news is that "Naked Sign Language News" will continue without the subsidy.

Focus: TV on your PC

The main focus of Show 18 is "TV on your PC". We've created a special page about TV on your PC, but here's a summary of what we discussed:

In the show, we cover why you might want to watch TV on your PC, the types of receivers out there, and information on how to choose a receiver for your PC. Here are the type of receivers we looked at:

PC TV card
PCI card

USB PB TV receiver

USB TV receiver


We also looked at other ways to get TV on your PC:

SlingboxOne option, is our good old friend, the Slingbox. Previously available for around £150, we now have found a way to get this for under £100 - See our Slingbox page for more.

We also looked at TV services delivered over the Internet - At the time of recording, the BBC iPlayer had just launched - offering 7 days of BBC TV shows. There's also online TV services from Channel 4's 4oD, Sky and Five, as well as live streaming from ITV. See our On Demand page for more.

We also mentioned Joost, a new TV Internet service that's finding its own content providers, and a service called Jump TV. Offers 250 TV channels from over 70 countries - mostly useful for those looking for TV from outside your home country.

For more on TV on your PC, see our dedicated page: TV on your PC

Focus: Helicopter

Pico Z HelicopterDescribed by our producer as a "demented wasp", the Pico Z X Rotor is a cracking little helicopter. Tiny, amazingly light, and very hard to damage, this is a great little toy - and loads of fun. It takes a while to master, but it's well worth it, as you'll hear if you listen to this show!.

Supplied with a controller that allows control of power and left/right, the 'copter is rechargeable and... heck - just go get one!

Available for less than £25 from I want one of those


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

  • Broadband Follow-on: We had a great reaction to our "Getting Broadband feature in show 17 - We had a blog comment from Gomez saying that Tiscali is in the process of taking over Pipex, and he was also disappointed that we only mentioned the "big boys" and did not talk about the availability of the many smaller players who can offer cheaper, more reliable service.
    We heard from Steve Noah who suggested some links for us, including one for a free download accelerator for Tiscali customers unable to get broadband.
    Be Broadband We also had a message from Lindsay Reid, surprised that we didn't mention 'Be Broadband' who offer speeds up to 24 Meg on an increasing number of exchanges. She also mentioned the option to get broadband via satellite for those too far out from an exchange. For high-speed Internet via a dish, check out Tariam Satellite Broadband.

  • Sky in different rooms: Janet Lodge asks: "I have 4 TVs in my house. Do I need a Sky box for each television in my home?". Well, you have two options - you can run an aerial cable from your Sky box to each TV set in your house. The limitation here is that all connected TV sets will all be able to see the same channel, as the Sky box can only output one channel at a time. To be able to get different Sky channels in each room, you'll need Sky Multiroom - one box for each telly. Sky can install this for you. Each Sky dish can support up to four Sky boxes. See our Sky FAQ for more on this subject.

  • ION USB CassettePlusDeck for Cassette dubbing: We had a call about PlusDeck cassette device that slots inside your PC's case and allows you to dub audio cassettes to MP3 files. Price is £80, and it only works internally. See our PlusDeck page for more.
    We have found an external cassette deck for a PC that works over USB - This costs around £90 and is a lot easier to connect. The twin cassette USB ION is available from Firebox, Argos and Maplin.

  • S-video vs. SCART? Site visitor Nige asked whether he should connect Sky+ to his new LCD via SCART or S-Video. Technically, S-video offers better video quality than composite video, although many prefer watching composite. Note that SCART leads carry both video and audio, whilst S-Video just handles video - if you go with S-video, you'll need to connect audio to your TV separately, typically using two phono leads. If you need any S-video or phono leads, try Maplin or TVcables.

  • Virgin Media TV over Internet? A message from George. He wants to watch Virgin Media TV shows on his laptop over the Net. He's heard Sky offers this but not Virgin. Is this true? Afraid so. Sky does indeed offer some of their TV content over the Net via Sky Anytime, but Virgin doesn't offer this. One option for George, is the good old Slingbox, that'll let him watch the output of his Virgin Media v-box over the net remotely.

  • Namechecks: Hi to Mr Wappuccino himself, Vinny the bearded butterfly. Also to Gareth Mitchell, from the BBC's Digital Planet show - he's now a FrequencyCast listener.

Oh, note that there's now a FrequencyCast Facebook account for both Carl and Pete - Who do you prefer most? Sign up to our Facebook page


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