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FrequencyCast UK - Show #22

The show notes to go with Show 22 of our online technology radio shows.
In this show, our featured topic is TV Accessories

Listen to FrequencyCast Show 22

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This show's news section covered the following stories:

  • Freeview Playback: Those with a Freeview hard-disk recorder badged as Freeview Playback, may be interested to know that there's talk of a Freeview Anytime service being added, where some Freeview content gets downloaded to your box overnight - similar to the Top Up TV Anytime and Sky Anytime service. We'll keep you informed.

  • Hi-def news: In December 2007, two new HD channels went live on Sky Digital... First, there's Channel 4 offering shows like Ugly Betty in HD. More shows, including Hollyoaks, are expected in HD from 4 in 2008. Channel 4 HD is on Sky Channel 140. There's also Luxe TV covering luxury homes, jewellery and travel, in HD on Sky Channel 286.

  • Pure HighwayIn-car DAB: If you're a fan of the extra radio channels you can get on digital radio, note that there's now a cheap way to get DAB in your car. Pure has brought out the Pure Highway. Requiring no special installation, it's powered by the cigar lighter and sticks onto your windscreen like a satnav device and rebroadcasts DAB stations onto a free FM frequency that your existing car sound system can tune into. You can also pause and rewind DAB. Great idea, and available online for under £80. Pure Highway availability

  • DAB / FM / Wi-fi radio: Revo has launched the world's first ever combined DAB, FM receiver and Internet radio, that's also ready for the new DAB+ standard. Called the Blik RadioStation, this can also stream your music from a PC or Mac using Wi-fi. The brick-shaped Blik is available now, offering well over 9,000 stations. The Blik RadioStation is available directly from Revo for £149.99.

    Revo's Blik Radio

  • Channel 4 Radio delayed: It looks like the launch of Channel 4 Radio, the national digital speech service set to rival Radio 4 may be delayed until April 2009. E4 radio, with a mix of music and comedy, is still set to launch in the second half of 2008.

  • Free BT Vision movies: expect to find an interactive newsletter coming to BT Vision boxes soon. Also, BT is trialling a free movie download service where you can watch a movie for free - if you're prepared to sit through some non-skippable ads. There's only three films in the trial - the, cough, huge blockbusters Mischief Night, Played and The Punk Rock Movie.

  • Home Hub Software patch: BT Home Hub users note that from December 2007, an auto update is being pushed out to users. If you've been naughty and never changed your Hub's password, note that 6.2.6E changes the default password from "admin" to your Hub's serial number. The update also fixed some wi-fi issues.

  • And finally: The things you find on eBay - The 300mph Vampire dragster that nearly killed Top Gear's Richard Hammond popped up on eBay just before Christmas. Last seen with a bid of nearly £5,000, the description stated "In first-class pre-crash condition, the Vampire is now a little the worse for wear after its much-publicised excursion into the weeds. It is being sold as scrap without any warranty or guarantees whatsoever".

Focus: TV Accessories

The main focus of Show 22 is "TV accessories", as voted by our show listeners. Take a listen to hear us describe these in detail. Here are links to the product we mentioned on our TV accessories feature:

Sky TV Link

Got a Sky box? Consider a Sky TV Link/Eye - This lets you watch TV in a second room using existing co-ax aerial cable. You can also change channels remotely using a standard Sky remote. Available from Maplin or Argos (around £15 - cat no 534/3250)

Sky TV Link

AV Senders

If the idea of running cables around your house to get telly in your bedroom doesn't appeal - consider an AV sender.

DigiSender AV senderThese connect to one of the SCART sockets on a digibox and transmit the output wirelessly to a receiver that can be connected a SCART socket on a second TV. Wireless AV senders are available from Argos and Maplin.

HD: Note that there are no AV senders capable of sending Hi-def as yet

Range: States transmission ranges go up to 100 metres, but walls and floors reduce the range

CABLE TV: Not all AV senders work with Virgin boxes - see the AV Sender FAQ for more. For example, this one listed at Maplin: Wireless Video/TV Link states that it doesn't work with cable TV remotes. However this one at Maplin: DigiSender X7 states that it is 100% compatible with cable boxes. AV Senders - Note that not all AV senders work with Virgin Cable - See our Cable TV FAQ for more.

Remote control: Many AV senders can also pass remote control commands to wirelessly too. If you want a remote control extender, consider the Smart Blaster.

Wi-fi interference: As AV senders use the same frequency range as wi-fi (2.4GHz), some senders experience interference from nearly wireless routers. We've heard reports that the AV sender from Gizoo might be worth a look, as it has 4 selectable channels.


Signal Booster

Aerial Signal BoosterPeople think of signal boosters as the cure to weak Freeview signal - but they're not always the answer. If you're in a bad signal area, all a booster will do, is amplify the signal, as well as the interference. Where a decent signal booster can come in handy though, is where you're feeding your TV aerial off to other rooms, or to lots of bits of equipment such as a recorder. Here, boosters can be used to ensure a decent level of signal is passed around. For a good choice of boosters, try Maplin - we get good results with one of their SLx Signal Boosters, which supports Sky's TV Link. You'll also find boosters at Argos


Surround sound

Fancy in-house Surround sound? Look for 5.1 - This means 5 speakers and a subwoofer, carefully positioned. Apologies for those who's hearing was damaged by our attempts at surround sound in our podcast. My head hurts. There are three key types of surround sound:

  • Dolby Digital / DTS - for a true "cinema" experience
  • Dolby Pro Logic II - processes standard stereo into surround sound
  • Virtual - no need for rear speakers, it creates a pseudo surround sound

Check Argos for some low-priced Surround Sound kits.



Slingbox A great bit of kit that we covered back in Show 03 - this allows you to watch your home TV system over the Internet from around the world. Great for ex-pats, watching TV at work, or catching your favourite shows while travelling.

More on our Slingbox page.


Remote controls

If your coffee table is chock full of remote controls, consider getting a remote control controller. We're quite keen on the One for All Kameleon range, with their clever backlit blue touch screens.

The Kameleon can control your TV, DVD, satellite, cable, Freeview box, amplifier and lights. It operates over 1500 brands, and is "future proof" as you can upgrade the remote control codes via phone or internet. Easy to use and available for controlling either 5 or 8 devices.


Kameleon remote controls from One 4 All are available online from Maplin, Pixmania and

In the show, we also looked at the Logitech Harmony 885 - This has a colour screen, PC USB, can control 15 devices, has an Internet database, supports macros, has a PC wizard and can remember the state of devices. It's had great reviews, but isn't cheap.

The Logitech Harmony 885 is available for around of £150 from BT Shop , Pixmania and

Harmony 885

You can get other generic universal remote controllers from Maplin and If you're looking for a replacement remote control - try Partmaster.


Freeview SCART receiver

Bush iDapterWe agreed that Freeview set-top boxes aren't what we'd call a TV accessory. If you're looking for more on Freeview, see our Freeview page

The one exception that we decided to mention is that Bush iDaptor, at around £35 from Tesco and Currys that plugs straight into a TV's SCART socket. 


Apple TV

Popular with Apple and iTunes fans - this lets you watch videos, view photos and listen to podcasts on your TV. You can connect Apple TV to your widescreen television and wirelessly sync your iTunes library.

Apple TV

It has an HDMI port and component video output for connection to your telly, plus built-in 802.11 wireless capability syncs your iTunes library to any Mac or PC in the house.

The Apple TV is available from



An amazing little product. Switch off TV sets with this single-button remote control. Annoy your friends, or turn off annoying TVs in pubs and restaurants

Bonus AudioBonus material! As promised in the show, here's a short MP3 file explaining the fun we had with a TV B Gone. Listen to our Off The Record MP3: Play Now or Download MP3

The magical little TV-B-Gone keyring was available from I want one of those or Prezzybox - It appear to have been replaced by the Telly Terminate


RF Modulator

If you've got a DVD player or a set-top box you want to connect to your telly, but your TV set doesn't have a SCART socket... Buy a box called an RF modulator. This has a SCART socket on it, and converts SCART signals so that they're transmitted through a TV aerial. Plug your Freeview box in one end using a SCART lead, and the other end into your telly using an aerial cable.

There's an RF Modulator available from Maplin Electronics and from TVcables 

RF modulator


SCART Switch

If you've got too much kit and not enough sockets on your telly, you'll be needing a SCART switch - these are available as manual or automatic. Check out the range at TV Cables or Maplin Electronics. You can also get HDMI high-definition switchers too.

We're particularly keen on the BlueDelta SmartSCART... Unlike many of the SCART switchers on the market, this one is fully automatic - it detects which socket to switch based on signals sent from your equipment - and there's a little red light to indicate which SCART is active. There's also a record loop - so you can get your video or DVD recorder to record from one source, whilst you watch another source.

Bluedelta's Smart-SCAR

The BlueDelta Smart-SCART comes with a mains adapter, and is available directly from Maplin (£34.99 - cat number L08BJ)


Surge protectors

If you've got lots of kit connected to your TV, you may be wanted to protect your expensive investment - Get yourself a Surge Protector to prevent electrical spikes damaging your kit. There are some decent Belkin protectors available from Maplin and Currys. 

The model we discussed in the show is the Monster HTS800, pictured below.

Monster Power Surge

This can also protect your satellite connectors and has and audible/visual surge alarm- Not cheap, but pretty impressive.

TomTom SatNav

TomTom Go 720We're impressed - Since our review of SatNav back in Show 4, things have moved on and we had a quick play with the new TomTom Go 720, with its speech recognition, FM transmitter and its ability to read out street names. Nice! If enough listeners are interested, we may review this in more depth in an upcoming show.


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

  • Free Sport on Freeview? Joseph asks: "Will there be free a free sports channel on Freeview?" Sorry, no signs of a free Sports channel, although Sky Sports news is available on Freeview. If you're prepared to subscribe, there's Setanta on Freeview, BT Vision or Top Up TV via an aerial.

  • Watching UK TV overseas - Sarah, an ex-pat in New Zealand asked about watching BBC, ITV and C4 programmes via her PC. She's having no luck being able to subscribe to anything as I live abroad. Unfortunately, it's all about broadcast rights, territories, and money... A broadcaster will pay to screen a TV show within a certain country for a certain time period for a certain fee. If a service were to pop up offering TV shows to a worldwide audience, then the TV studios lose out, hence the restrictions you're seeing - it's just like DVD region encoding. You could take a look at Jump TV or Joost for some extra TV content, or if you know someone in the UK, go for the Slingbox option.

  • BT Vision Self-install - Thanks to Dr Ajaz Gondal for contacting us about BT Vision and pointing out that the Vision self-install kit includes two powerline adapters to allow you to connect your Vision set-top box to the Home Hub over the house's mains wiring - another reason to get a free BT Vision box! We looked at Powerline adapters, a.k.a Homeplugs back in Show 2, and we reviewed BT Vision in Show 12.

  • Freeview Playback - Darren Ney asked us what the difference is between a Freeview Playback PVR and a standard Freeview PVR...
    Freeview Playback is a certification for Freeview PVRs, and means that a recorder must have at least an 8 day programme guide, have series link and be able to handle recordings where there's been a schedule change. Many PVRs handle this already, but the Playback logo is to make it easy for consumers.

  • Jailbreaking the Touch. New listener Chris Cockram has recently bought an iPod Touch, loves it to bits, but is disappointed about the lack of features on it compared to the iPhone. He's heard about Jail breaking the iPod touch, and also wanted to know whether Apple going to be bringing out a Software development kit.
    Jailbreaking is the process of unlocking Apple's iPhone and iTouch devices, so that they can run third-party apps - for the iTouch this means Calendar editing, stocks, weather, etc. There's some risk though, and Apple won't be pleased if you do this. Apple's announced that developers will be able to get their hands on a kit from February 2008 to allow them to start developing third party apps for the iPhone and iTouch, and there's talk of a software upgrade from Apple to add more features to the iTouch soon.

  • o2 XDA Orbit 2XDA Orbit Replacement - A question from Doug Rattray: "I got an OČ XDA Orbit on your recommendation last year, and it's served me well. My contract will be running out in late January so I'll be looking to upgrade". He wants to know what we'd recommend and is looking for something with the same functionality (GPS, MP3 player, reasonable camera).
    Well, our Pete tells us that O2's bringing out the Orbit v2 in January 2008 (pictured here) - GPS, 3meg camera, 3G and videocalling. It's also known as the HTC Touch Cruise. Or if you fancy a phone with a keyboard, there's the o2 XDA Stellar, available now. Both can be found at

  • Connecting a V-box to DVD - We had a call to our podline asking for help recording from a V-box to a DVD recorder. Our advice is to try a basic connection - Disconnect everything, then start from basics.
    Line in icon Connect your DVD recorder to the TV using SCART and set your TV to watch a DVD. Then, connect your V-Box to the DVD recorder Line In using another SCART lead. Next, the step that's often missed, set the DVD recorder to record from the Line In feed (normally labeled with the icon shown here) that the v-box is connected to by SCART and start recording. See our FAQ on this subject

  • Freesat - What and When? Dean Cousins asks: "I have heard about Freesat launching in Spring 2008. Can you let us know a little more detail about what its line up is likely to be and when the new receivers will be available. As always I enjoy the show and wait with baited breath for it to pop up in my podcast inbox."
    Freesat is a joint venue with the BBC and ITV - You'll get over 80 TV and radio channels for a one-off installation fee. Channels aren't confirmed yet, but we know that there'll be the main BBC and ITV channels, BBC Three, BBC Four, ITV2 and ITV3. There's also be subscription-free HD channels from the BBC and ITV, plus the BBC radio stations. We've heard that the service may launch in March, with receivers being available on the high-street - you'll need to get a dish installed for Freesat. We'll keep you updated on FrequencyCast.

    Brian The Brain

    Oh, and if you were wondering, the show featured Brian the Brain, a rather annoying talking kid's toy. We've no idea how this chatty lump of perspex made it into the studio, although we suspect this is one of Carl's Christmas presents - after all, the box says "Suitable for children aged 8 and above".
    One of our team's put together a review - See the Brian The Brain review.


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