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FrequencyCast UK - Show #36

The show notes to go with Show 36 of our online technology radio show.

Listen to FrequencyCast Show 36

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Here's what we discussed in Show 36:


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

  • Digital Switch news - Not from the UK, but from the US. The 17th February 2009 is the official switchover date in the US... but they're not ready. Around 6 and a half million homes in the US haven't switched, and the US Senate, together with President Obama are fighting to get the switched postponed until June 2009. Over here, this year the following regions switch: Border, West Country, Granada and Wales. More on the UK Digital Switch.

  • Freeview news: A busy few weeks for Freeview. CNN is now available (9pm to 1am only), as is games channel Supercasino and Dave +1. Coming soon - Quest (from the Discovery channel), Russia Today and jewellery channel Rocks and Co.

  • MMS icon iPhone news: When the iPhone launched in 2007, one of the key missing features was MMS picture messaging. Sick of waiting for a patch from Apple, one developer's now released an MMS iPhone app. It's free, but each photo message costs 35p. Available from the App Store.

  • Phones in hospitals: The ban on using mobile phones in hospitals has finally been lifted. Official findings are that most hospital equipment is so well shielded from RF, concerns are largely unfounded, and the ruling is that it's safe to use mobiles, at least in non-critical areas. There is a new scare though - that superbugs are being spread via staff sharing their handsets.

  • Virgin News: ITV's catch-up service will soon be available on Virgin, along with Channel 4 and the Beeb. Also Setanta Sports has just launched a video-on-demand service on Virgin Media, so you can watch Premier League matches for up to a week after kick off

  • HD LogoSky HD: The sci-fi channel is the latest to go HD, bringing Sky's total of high definition channels to 31. Sky's also just dropped the price of their top-end Sky+ HD receiver to £49 (Previously £199)
    To get
    the box at this price for a limited time, go to

  • BT Vision has added lots of content from Living TV - Content available free on demand as part of the TV Pack, or on Pay-to-view. The Honda channel will also be coming to BT Vision. BT Vision review.

  • Channel renames: Just one to report: Five's American import channel Five US, gets a new name from Feb 16th - wait for it... Five USA.

  • Minoru 3D webcamAnd finally: Last show, we talked about 3D TV - Now's there's DIY 3D TV. A 3D webcam's been released, complete with silly glasses. The Minoru 3D webcam is out now for under £50 at

FOCUS: Streaming Media

In this show, we looked at ways to stream audio and video around your home. Who wants to be tied to a PC, when you can have your music and movies flowing from your PC to your telly in the lounge

For details of the solutions we discussed, see our Streaming page.

Interactive Thanks to everyone who got in touch. In this show, we respond to the following mails and calls:
  • 3D TV on the cheap: In Show 35, we looked at Sky's plans for 3D TV. Well, we heard from Ian Coxall with the following: "Following the declaration of 3D TV, I wonder how widely known it is that many films and TV programmes appear to employ a technique that utilises an inherent feature of the optic nerve. In short, 3D moving images have been possible since the advent of the moving image itself.

    3D glassesSeveral years ago the BBC produced a 3D weekend with a special episode of Dr Who filmed in 3D. Funny red and yellow glasses were sold (all money going to a good cause) and a passable 3D show was viewed, albeit in peculiar colours. At the time I wondered how this functioned and eventually came to the realisation that the colour of the lenses bore no real part of the 3D process. The explanation of how it works is this. When filming for 3D effect the camera must travel around the subject in a circular motion with the centre of that circle remaining in the centre of view. Speed of rotation is not crucial providing it is steady and is usually best so as not to cause motion blur. The secret to the 3D image comes when viewing the recorded sequence.

    It is a known fact that a bright image travels along the optic nerve quicker than a less bright image. One eye, therefore must view the image through a neutral density filter. eg. one lens of a pair of dark glasses. Let us assume that the camera travelled around its circle at one inch per second, an unfiltered image travels through the optic nerve of one eye in one second and the dimmer image in the other eye takes 2 seconds. The brain will perceive the combined images with a one second delay between them. In that one second difference the camera will have travelled one inch, thus the brain will see two images from slightly different positions and will interpret it as a 3 dimensional image. Which eye to place the filter over is dependant upon the direction the camera takes around the object. Clockwise motion requires the right eye and anti-clockwise the left.

    Try it out and then look to see just how many films, documentaries and programmes put in a little piece of 3D imagery. All of this without the need for expensive twin cameras, special TV screens or polarising glasses. I wonder why technology has to be more complicated than it needs to be."

  • Nebula TV card: Feedback from Dave Close: "Hi, you have been recently been talking a lot about HD Freeview and that there is currently nothing that supports this. But I can t believe you have never heard of the Digi-TV card by Nebula Electronics. It already supports H.264 television. I have been using this card for a couple of years and I don t see why everybody isn't using it."

    Nebula Digi TV

    Dave tells us that it does everything: IPTV, Pause live TV, PiP, and because its on a computer the program records to Raw data files which could then be transferred to the iPod, etc. The Nebula digital T receivers Dave's talking about were used in the trials of HD Freeview on the Crystal Palace transmitter in 2006, using H.264. The Nebula receiver's capable of processing H.264, so should be able to cope with the new Freeview HD services when they finally appear! Looking at the spec, these are nice little receivers for your PC - available as USB boxes or PCI cards direct from Nebula Electronics.

  • Freeview Advice Repeats: We also want to say hi to David Whittleston: He says "I notice that you often seem to get bogged down by repeated requests and questions about Freeview, which drives me a bit mad because it takes up time that could be better spent discussing new tech; could you please gently remind your listeners about your excellent back catalogue of shows that cover this.". Thanks David - Yes, show 14 covers Freeview issues, as well as our Freeview Advice page.

    David has also got into using Linux Ubuntu: "I've been extremely impressed with it, it was so easy to install and it's free. It's great option for bring life to an old pc for use as a server or basic media centre or even for students who need a computer but can't afford a new one. Please give Ubuntu a shout out on your show (it's endorsed by Nelson Mandela!) .

  • Humax Freesat in other rooms: We had a podline call asking how to feed the output of a Humax Freesat box to other rooms in the house.

    Neither of the Humax Freesat boxes, the FoxSat or the Foxsat PVR, have an RF aerial out, so your two choices are:
    1) Use a wireless AV sender (from Argos and
    Maplin), or
    2) Use aerial cables and getting an RF modulator box (from Maplin Electronics and from TVcables). Both solutions connect to one of the Humax SCART sockets.

  • Sony Readere-Book reader fonts: Elaine Eldridge says "I'm print impaired and looking for a e-book reader that would enable me to read 26point times new roman without having to scroll (in other words the device would repaginate text not just magnify and scroll!)"

    There is a way to allow you to install custom fonts on the Sony Reader. This is possible by using an application called PRS Customizer. It involves creating a new ROM file and installing the file via SD Card. The process should take around 15 minutes, and we've found a handy step-by-step guide on how to do this.

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.

Comments? Please post them in our forum.

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