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FrequencyCast UK - Show #37

The show notes to go with Show 37 of our online technology radio show.

Listen to FrequencyCast Show 37

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Here's what we discussed in Show 37:


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

  • Sky HD BoxSky HD Boxes recalled: Sky has announced that some of their Sky HD boxes will have to be replaced, due to a fault with internal cabling. The problem affects around 90,000 Sky+ HD set-boxes. The affected boxes are the early ones made by Pace.

    To see if yours is affected, go to Services, System Setup, System details and check the version number. Pace boxes with version numbers: 9F3001, 9F3002, 9F3003 and 9F3004 have the fault and will be replaced for free by Sky.

    According to Sky, around 1 in 10 of HD boxes are affected, and this is a quality, not a safety issue. The replacement process should take 3 months, and Sky will compensate affected users with three months' free subscription to Sky's HD pack.

  • Premier League TV Rights: The scores for Premier League football are in. Sky 5, Setanta 1. The rights for the 2010 to 2013 Premier League season were split into six packages, and Sky's snapped up 5 of them for the staggering sum of £1.62 billion. They've stolen ground from rival sports service Setanta, meaning that Setanta's 1.5 million subscribers will get half as much Premier action from next year - just 23 games.

  • Freeview logoFreeview news: Last month we saw some re-shuffling - ITV4 moved from 28 to 24, CITV from 75 to 72 from 75, ITV2 +1 moving to channel 27, and E4 moving to channel 28. Five US has also renamed to Five USA. If your box hasn't done so automatically, you'll need to perform a channel scan to get the correct lineup.

  • Freeview HD news: The bids for the fourth HD slot are in, and it's between a combined Film4/Kids TV service, or an offering from Five.

  • Commercial Radio News: Most of the UK's commercial stations get their news from IRN. For the last 16 years, ITN has supplied IRN's news, but from the 3rd of March, Sky News takes over provision of commercial radio news, branding reports with "From the Sky News Centre".

  • DAB future may brighten: Sticking with radio, could things finally be looking up for DAB? We're hearing talk of a national commercial talk station from Global Radio, perhaps London's LBC format, as well as a national music station, possibly following a "Smooth FM" format. There's also talk of a national kid's station

  • Radio Sitcom: Lastly for radio, there's a new sitcom based on the lives of the on-air team at fictitious London station Skin FM. First episode was on Wednesday the 25th on ITV2.

    FM snap

  • BT Vision news: The on-demand over broadband service already offers a small selection of HD movies, and is now adding some TV content with shows such as Planet Earth, Galapagos, Ganges, Supervolcano and Pride. Documentaries such as Hiroshima, and shows including Top Gear, expected soon.

  • And finally: News of a new TV channel coming soon. When I first saw this story, I had to check my watch... but, no, it wasn't April the 1st. From the 20th of March, a new channel will be launched to join the existing Discovery channel lineup. And it'll be called... Discovery Shed. Their mission statement: "The place for men who like good old practical activities to escape to". For more on sheds, check out the shed fan site No news on Shed HD as yet, and no confirmation that Bob Fleming will be the channel's host.

FOCUS: Sat Navs and GPS

It was way back in Show 04 that we covered Sat Navs, so we thought it was time to see how things have moved on.

We took a look at the latest Sat Nav from TomTom, the TomTom 940. This has a Vodafone SIM card built-in, to get live traffic data over the mobile phone network. It has an FM transmitter for getting your MP3 and instructions on your car stereo. It also takes vocal instructions, for hands-free use, and supports IQ routes, lane guidance and hands-free calls.

TomTom Go 940

TomTom Go in action

The TomTom Go 940 is available from Currys, PC World and Halfords


For more on Sat Navs and GPS, see our Sat Nav page.

Interactive Thanks to everyone who got in touch. In this show, we respond to the following mails and calls:
  • Sky Pay Once BoxSky's free service: Mark Kelsa asks: "On Sky's Pay Once, Watch Forever" package, it says that you need a card for BBC 1,2, ITV, Channel 4 and Five, but if these are on Freeview anyway, how come you need a card?"

    The UK is divided up into TV regions: London, Anglia, Scotland, Wales, etc. Regions have their own local programmes (BBC Scotland, etc), and commercial TV companies sell advertising to certain regions. Freeview boxes are fed from a local transmitter, so they know which region they're in, but Sky is beamed across Europe via satellite. So that a Sky box gets the right BBC region, and ITV gives you the right adverts - you have a card that stores information about which region you're in, so you get the right content.

  • Cricket in Stereo: We were told off in a podcast call about a question on Test Match Special in the last show. Is the cricket in stereo, and what's the bandwidth? Test Match special is available on Radio 4 Longwave. It's also on 5 Live Sports Extra. You can get this on DAB, online or via digital TV. For DAB, it's transmitted at 64kbps mono, and on Freeview, Freesat and Sky, it's at 96kbps mono. As far as we know - that's the top rate, and there's no stereo TMS service.

  • What is "Full HD"? Brian White contacted us about HD TVs. "Amongst all the complex hype that the retail trade use, is the phrase 'Full HD'. It would be most helpful if you could explain the difference between an HD Ready TV set and 'Full HD'. As a layman, it is not hard to see that the primary difference is price.

    HD LogoThere are two numbers used in the HD world, 720 and 1080, and this reflects the number of lines that make up the picture - then there's a "p" or an "i", for "progressive" or "interlaced". Technically, "1080p" is at the top end of the four HD variants, and it's this format that's what's called "Full HD". Note that the likes of Sky are only using 720p and 1080i at this time, and there are many out there that believe the average viewer won't see much of a difference between 1080i and 1080p, other than to their wallets. More on HD

  • BT Vision costs: "With BT Vision, when I see the program line up for say a football match, it says On Demand. Does this mean it's included in my sports package? Or is it like Sky Box Office where I select the game and I am then billed for it?

    To watch on-demand Sport on BT Vision, you can either sign up to a Sports or TV package, or go subscription-free and pay for what you watch. If you're paying for a subscription, then the on-demand content for that package is free.

  • BT Vision Audio Description? Charles Peck asked us whether BT Vision supports Audio Description for the visually impaired. Sadly, we're told that it doesn't yet.

  • Can't connect via router? Jocelyn in Cranleigh asks: "I recently purchased a Denon S-52 Internet Music System. It works fine with a wired Ethernet connection but will not detect the wifi router - I use a Netgear DG632. Have you or any of your listeners had a similar problem, or is this just my persecution complex at work?
    Some things to try - turn off encryption (briefly) to see if it's a security issue, or perhaps set the router to a different channel (there are 13 to choose from). Also, make sure the router SSID is visible. If you're still having problems, try asking in our forum.

  • Sky, no magic eye: We took a podline call about a problem with a TV Link not working. With the magic eye - check you're not going through a booster (as some block TV link signals). Then, check the RF2 socket is powered, by pressing 'Services', 4 0 1, 'Select' to get to the engineer menu, and selecting option 4. See our Other Rooms FAQ, or try our forum if you're still having problems.

  • MP2 on the move: Mark Jarvis says that his most used gadget is his Pure Evoke 3 DAB radio which he uses for time-shifting radio, mostly plays and documentaries from BBC Radio 4. Can we recommend a mobile solution that will play the recordings which are made onto SD cards without any complicated transfer procedure?
    Cowon iAudio D2 16GigChances are, the recordings are in MP2 format, in which case, give some of the Cowon media players a look, as many support mp2 without conversion. Go to Advanced MP3s and do a search for devices from Cowon that suit your budget. We're fans of the Cowon iAudio D2, reviewed in show 31, which can play back mp2 files without conversion, and has an SD card slot.

  • DVD Recorder for Camcorder: We took a podline call from a listener asking for help connecting a camcorder to a DVD recorder. Most DVD recorders will accept input from an analogue camcorder, as long as you have the right lead. If you need a lead, try Maplin - if you need more help, get back to us with a model number for both bits of kit, and we'll try to help.

  • BT Vision and Apple TV: Another podline call... this one about BT Vision, the Home Hub and Apple TV that we mentioned in the last show. We're not aware of any problems with using Apple TV and a BT Home Hub. And as for the free box, yes, you can get a BT Vision box with recorder if you sign to BT Broadband. The box is free if you subscribe to a BT Vision package, otherwise it's £29.36 until the end of March if you don't want to subscribe to Vision.

  • Sky's USB and Ethernet: Paul Stone asks "The Sky HD box has USB and Ethernet ports which currently do nothing. Is Sky going to release the potential of these for music playing, downloads, web browsing or faster Sky Interactive?"
    We don't think anything's been made public about plans for these sockets, and if asked, the official word is "reserved for future use". Pete's money's on the Ethernet being used for on-demand over Sky Broadband in the future. Watch that space...

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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