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FrequencyCast UK - Show #35

The show notes to go with Show 35 of our online technology radio show.

Listen to FrequencyCast Show 35

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Here's what we discussed in Show 35:


This show's news section covered the following stories:.

  • 3D TV logo3D TV: Forget HD... the future could be 3D. Many will remember various experiments with 3D TV over the years - normally involving silly glasses. Last month, Sky demonstrated that 3D TV could soon be a reality. In a demo in December, Sky used an existing Sky+HD box connected to a 3D TV to demonstrate the effect. The screen needs a polarising filter, and you're still required to wear glasses. Japan's already running with 3D TV - just 2 hours a day, but it's a start, and it's believed that 3D TV sets will be debuted at Consumer Electronic Show in January 2009.

  • Freeview channel news: Netplay TV should appear on Channel 48 from the 8th of January. This is an interactive games channel offering casino and live bingo. Also, we can expect a new text service on Freeview in January - DirectGov, and online service from the UK government. It looks like shopping channel Price-Drop TV is set to vanish from Freeview very soon.

  • Virgin Media news: We reported last month that Virgin's set to up their broadband to 50meg. Users of their TV service will be pleased to know that Virgin will be adding 4 HD channels in the next three months. Details at

  • Sky price hike: Sky is set to raise the price of its Broadband server by £5 a month from March for those that don't take out Sky's home phone service, Sky Talk. More at

  • BBC HD TestcardBBC HD Testcard: Got High Definition and home cinema? The BBC has just released an HD version of their test card. This allows users to calibrate their kit. The test card lasts 90 seconds and is in the BBC HD preview loop that runs when there's no HD programming being offered. Full details on the BBC Internet Blog.

  • is back: The service lets you watch 18 free-to-view channels online closed down in February 2008 after concerns by broadcasters, but it's back, claiming to have overcome these problems. Sign up to the beta at

  • Save GMT! LogoThe end of GMT? Every year or so since 1972, we've had to add a sneaky leap-second, to keep our atomic clocks in sync with the rotation of the earth. There are plans afoot to scrap leap-seconds, effectively un-tying the rotation of the earth to the time, and meaning an end to GMT. Don't want France, Germany, Russia and Italy messing with our time? Sign the Save GMT petition today!

  • And finally: Some top reasons not to call 999. Last month, a woman called 999 to complain she was unable to get through to the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing vote line to vote for Tom Chambers. Other recent 999 calls have included a man in WH Smiths complaining that staff wouldn't let him use their loo, someone's who's pizza was delivered with mushrooms, and a call from former Page 3 model, Linda Lucardi, who was stuck in traffic on the M25 and late for her Christmas pantomime.

FOCUS: Internet Cameras

Want to keep an eye on your home while you're at work or on holiday? Or want a home security camera that can get in touch with you if it detects motion while your home's empty?

In this show, we discuss a number of cameras that can help. We've created a have a page dedicated to wireless and wired IP camera, which you'll find here: Internet Camera explored.

Panasonic BLC111Pictured to the right is our favourite of the cameras mentioned - The Panasonic BL-C111. This requires a cable connection to a router - The BL-C131 is a wireless version.

This model has remote pan and tilt capability and a 10 x digital zoom. It has a colour night-time mode, a microphone, supports FTP and can email you with a photo if an event is triggered by motion or heat.

For more on wireless IP cameras, see our Internet Camera explored page.

Focus: USB Scales

Salter MiBody ScalesWe took a look at the Salter MiBody USB bathroom scales in this show. These let you record your weight and a whole lot more, then transfer the data to a PC for analysis. Here's what the scales monitor:

  • Body fat
  • Body water content
  • Muscle mass
  • Visceral fat
  • Body Mass Index
  • BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate)

A nice set of scales, and hopefully helpful in letting you keep a track of your New Year's resolution to shed a few pounds.

The Salter MiBody was available half-price at the time of writing from Boots. It's also available from Argos

Salter MiBody PC Screenshot
The MiBody Health Management PC Application

Interactive Thanks to everyone who got in touch. In this show, we respond to the following mails and calls:
  • Changing channels at set time: Mick Stanyer asked: "Is there anything on the market that will change channel on a digibox at a set time every day? For example, Cartoon Network 7am till 8pm, then Hallmark from 8pm to 7am".
    One For All URC7781 We assume that Mick is looking to get his box to change channels automatically as he's connecting to a recorder. Many digiboxes have a timer option that allows you to programme a channel switchover at a set time and some boxes may already have a timer facility. If it doesn't, there is another option. Get a Universal Remote Control that supports "timer macros" - these can be set to send a series of remote control commands at a set time. We've found the One-for-All 12-way unit on offer for under £20. One For All make a range of Universal Remote Control handsets, and some of these support "Timed Macros", where you can set the remote to send infrared commands at a set time. The model we've found, the One For All URC-7781 can handle 12 devices and has an onboard clock for sending timed remote control commands. The One For All URC7781 is available from Argos and Tesco Direct.

  • Feeding other rooms with Freesat: Chris Ryder says: "I've managed to obtain one of the new Humax PVR boxes from Argos. I was hoping to be able to take off a signal via RF out to my pc/tv, but windows media cannot find a signal. Any ideas?
    It seems that the Humax Foxsat-HDR doesn't have an RF aerial output socket, and can't send a modulated output to a second TV or a PC TV receiver can use. This is odd, as boxes like the Sky+ box have this as standard. There are a couple of workarounds - if you have a PC TV receiver with a video composite in, you can use this, otherwise get an RF modulator to convert from the Humax SCART to an aerial signal that a PC can cope with. Link on our show notes.

  • Radio 4 Longwave: Next, we had a podline call from Jeremy asking whether Radio 4's FM service is available on DAB. When extra programmes are broadcast of Longwave, such as Yesterday In Parliament and The Daily Service, these are also available on DAB as a secondary service. The channel appears when extra shows are broadcast. Cricket fans note that Radio 4's Test Match Special is available on DAB.

  • SWAP Watch ringtones: "Josh the Cool" asked Carl about the SWAP Mobile Phone Watch. He wants to know whether it supports custom ringtones? Good News Josh, yes it does - I tried it with mine, and was able to copy an MP3 from my PC to the SWAP and set it as a ringtone. Full instructions in the show. Nifty.

  • Plusdeck on a laptop: We had a podline call asking whether the Plusdeck can be connected to a laptop. For those not in the know, PlusDeck is a unit that slides into your PC's case. It's the size of a CD / DVD unit for your desktop, and it allows you to convert audio cassettes into MP3 format. Ken's got a laptop and wants to use a Plusdeck. Sorry Ken, but the Plusdeck won't fit in a laptop, and there's no easy way to get this to work on a laptop. What you'll be needing is a USB version. There's a twin-cassette version that will let you archive off all of those old cassettes. Normally £99, but we've found one £20 cheaper. Link on our shownotes.

  • Convert 60mHz to 50mHz: Mark Horley's been in touch with a question that has us stumped, so we're seeing if our listeners can help. He asks: "My Elo Touchscreens have a native resolution of 60mhz standard uk pal is (rounded up) 25fps so double is 50mhz. What can be used to stop the stutter that happens on viewing. I am using a pinnacle PCTV at present to stream the cable tv and the stutter is bad... is the 'upscaling' hardware or software solved?"

  • US Digital Switchover: Our old friend Darren Ney's been in touch with an update on the US Digital TV switchover. He says: "I get two pen pals in the USA and they say Digital switchover for them is the 19th Feb 09. They have all been given a 10% discount on set top boxes. They are also testing HD TV via the antenna in parts of the USA but HD boxes via the antenna are very dear and are only on sale in 40% of the USA they told me. Also only 50% of the USA seem to have an HD ready TVs.70% of the USA have cable TV or TV via a dish anyway. Here in the UK in 2009, we can expect to see the rest of the Scottish Border region switch, as well as the start of the switch for Granada, West Country and Wales.

Any questions for Carl & Pete? Got a comment on the world of TV and Technology?
Call 020 8133 4567 and leave a message and be heard on the show.

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