YouView boxes improved with both iPlayer and Netflix

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

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In the last week, there have been two very useful improvements to the YouView boxes announced. Firstly, the newer BBC iPlayer interface, which has already rolled out to many other set top boxes was made available on the YouView platform just under 2 weeks ago. Then, today, YouView have announced that Netflix is now available to a selection of the YouView set top boxes.

If you bought your YouView box from a retailer (and it is branded BT or Humax), you should find Netflix becomes available today, and, if you have a BT YouView box and you aren’t already a Netflix subscriber then BT YouView users will be able to subscribe and get the Netflix subscription charged to their BT bill (and there are rumours of an exclusive BT YouView offer from Netflix soon).

TalkTalk and Huawei YouView set top boxes are yet to receive the Netflix update, but it should be available in the New Year.
It’s very nice to see that Netflix will get integrated into the search facilities on the box for Netflix subscribers.

For those who aren’t yet a Netflix subscriber, or won’t get the update until next year, the new BBC iPlayer will at least offer you the last 30 days of BBC programmes (something that has recently rolled out to the website too), and BBC Connected Red Button services, which include BBC Sport video highlights.


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3 launch Mobile Broadband Wi-Fi Hub

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

3 have announced they are launching a Mobile Broadband Wi-Fi Hub, which will allow users who have selected Mobile Broadband USB Modems to be able to share them (to up to 5 devices) via Wi-Fi, in a similar way to the newer 3 MiFi.

This, I guess, is similar to the original D100 USB Router they released a few years ago now, and like that device, only works from mains power; ie it has no battery (again another plus for the 3 MiFi).  However, one very positive aspect is that it covers many of the recent and not so recent USB modems 3 have sold.  The list includes:

  • Huawei E122, E1550, E156G, E169, E1750, E1820, E353u, E367u
  • ZTE MF112 and MF627

This list does include the latest Huawei USB Dongle that offers HSPA+ speeds (up to 21.1Mbps).

It’s 88mm x 66mm x 25mm, gives you around 30 metres range, and is only available in Black (unlike the 3 MiFi, which now comes in White too); pricing and exact availability will follow in time.


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3UK release Huawei E586 in White

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Although already announced, 3UK have confirmed that they now have stock of the White version of the Huawei E586 White MiFi device, which offers the latest HSPA+ speeds where available on the 3 network (they’ve confirmed to me they already have 40% coverage across their network, and will aim for 70% by the end of the year).

Although there’s nothing wrong with the Black variant (I’ve had one on test from 3UK for a few weeks now, and it’s been terrific), a lot of people will like the White variant to match their other devices…

For more information, head to the 3Store.


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New 3UK MiFi unit

Friday, June 11th, 2010

Here’s the new 3UK MiFi (v2) that was launched last night.  The device features a number of minor updates on the previous unit, and really does address many of the issues and concerns that have been raised against the original unit.  In particular:

  • The device now turns on, powers on all radios, and auto-connects to 3UK, instead of needing 3 button presses.
  • The device now features an OLED screen, with information on data usage (from that session), WiFi status (including number of connected clients), SMS messages.  When the screen turns off, the green power light on the power button still lit for immediate visibility of the fact the device is turned on.
  • The management is now all performed from a web browser interface (the old Windows management tool which only worked when connected via a cable is no more); this means Mac, Linux, iPad / iPhone support is all there and working out the box.  This also now allows access to the microSD card reader from all devices.
  • 3UK / Huawei have improved the battery life of the device, but due to the screen needing more power than 4 lights it has roughly the same usage time, although battery charging has been reduced by around 20%.
  • Also, you can use it whilst charging (as opposed to the old unit), and 3UK have moved from miniUSB to microUSB in line with most (but not all) mobile phone manufacturers.
  • In terms of the new device, it will go on sale on 2 July for the same price as the current unit.  As stocks of the old unit run out, the In Car MiFi and iPod Touch bundles will update to the new unit too.

For existing users of the current device, there are no upgrade plans, although you can simply buy the device on PAYG and move your current SIM across to the new unit. One thing though; 3UK are considering releasing a firmware update for the current device which would enable the 1 button startup (ie basically it turns on the auto-connect feature).  Experiments with this though have indicated this may reduce battery life a little.

Overall, this device has resolved the concerns of the old unit, is styled more in keeping with tech nowadays, and is well worth considering.

Finally, thanks to @3MobileBuzz for arranging the event, and even providing cupcakes…


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New 3UK MiFi; any questions?

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

I’m hoping to spend some time with 3UK and see their new 2nd generation 3UK MiFi device tonight.  The picture above may or may not be the design of the new 3UK MiFi (in a generic unbranded casing), although it’s quite likely, given this is the updated Huawei design.  In all respects it’s the same form factor, with the same buttons in the same places, but now features a dot matrix screen providing much more information that the 4 lights of the 1st generation device.

So, if you have any questions for 3UK or for the 3UK MiFi team, then please leave a comment on this post (they won’t be displayed but will be read before the event), or send us a tweet at @UKGadgeteer and we”ll do our best to raise your questions, and get answers for you.

One thing we will be asking about is a web interface; it appears the 1st generation 3UK MiFi was capable of having a web interface, but 3UK decided to disable that feature, and in all the feedback after the launch, the one question everyone asked about was a web interface, so we’ll be finding out whether 3UK have taken onboard the feedback…

Photo courtesy of Abul Hussain on Flickr.


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T-Mobile launching 3rd Android device today

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

T-Mobile Pulse

Although we have little further details yet, T-Mobile will today be launching their third Android device, which will be called the T-Mobile Pulse.  This is a Huawei device (not HTC), and features a 3.5″ touchscreen, and 6 home screens which can be customised.  Beyond that, we have no further information as yet.

As this information came from T-Mobile UK, we can at least assume the device will be available in the next month or two…


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Mobile Wi-Fi device coming to 3UK

Thursday, August 6th, 2009

3UK Mobile Wi-Fi Device

This is a picture of the new 3UK Mobile Wi-Fi device from Huawei, which is going to be available on 3UK soon.  Given the removal of the Huawei-specific D100 Router from the 3Store, and the move back to ZTE USB Mobile Broadband modems, we did wonder whether 3UK might be planning such a device.  It’s only 86 x 45 x 10mm (smaller than many mobile phones) and will allow “several” devices to connect to the 3G connection via Wi-Fi.  We understand “several” means 5 devices, although whether 5 all actively connecting at once will overload the 3G connection is another matter.

It can also be connected via USB directly to a computer, but early Huawei branded versions did not allow simultaneous connection via USB and Wi-Fi, so when connected via USB, these devices no longer shared the connection; we are not aware of whether or not this issue has been resolved.  You do, however, get access to an up to 7.2mbps down, 5.6mbps up connection when directly connected via USB.

Unlike the D100 Router, this device does have a built in 1500 mAh battery, and will recharge via USB, with up to 5 hours access.

We’ve seen this unit referred to as a MiFi device, which is actually a product brand name of a competitor, and not a generic name for these devices, but nonetheless, it looks very interesting, and we’re hoping to get a review unit soon.


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Another 3G WiFi Router

Monday, July 20th, 2009

3G HW550

After we covered some options for sharing your 3G connection a couple of weeks back (here), Solwise have informed us they have another device available which can also act as a 3G WiFi router; the Aztech 3.5G 11n Router.  This device brings together 802.11N WiFi technology with 3G (not this device does not seem to act as an ADSL router like the previous device we featured, but can be added into an existing wired network).

At only £53.66 this is a nice cheap device for sharing your 3G USB Modem with other users, and it seems to support the majority of USB Modems in use today (with support for various Huawei, Option and ZTE devices).  An interesting device for when away from home and looking to provide multiple devices with internet access.

More details available direct from Solwise here.


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UK Gadgeteer Offers Page

Wednesday, July 15th, 2009

3 logo

INQ1 Silver £15 per Month, Free 3 to 3 calls at 3M

Although we update the UK Gadgeteer Offers page most weeks with new deals we have found / agreed with companies, we thought we would draw your attention to the last update, which added a couple of exclusive 3UK offers.  Both offers include a white USB Mobile Broadband Dongle, which are currently very rare on 3UK, to the extent that if you head off to the 3Store website, you will only be offered the black ZTE modem.  However, we can provide you access to the white Huawei modem with two options; either a 24month 15GB contract for just the USB dongle or with an Acer laptop.  Head off to the UK Gadgeteer Offers page to see these two offers and links to the offers direct at 3UK.

Please note these are time limited offers, and will be removed once they are no longer available from 3UK.

We try to provide access to deals such as these (ie not available to the general public) as often as possible; if this deal does not interest you, please keep an eye on the UK Gadgeteer Offers page in case something else catches your fancy.


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Want to share your Mobile Broadband…?

Monday, June 29th, 2009

3 D100 Wi-Fi router

We first covered the Huawei D100 Router as sold by 3UK earlier this year, but we now see it’s been removed from the 3Store (most likely due to 3UK concentrating on the ZTE USB Modem right now, which is not compatible with the Huawei).  Well, courtesy of Hot UK Deals, we’ve been informed that Carphone Warehouse are currently selling their stock of the 3 branded device at half price, which is £34.25.  That’s a very good price for the device, although it is limited to only working with 3UK, and, as already stated, needs a Huawei 3UK USB Modem to work.  However, once you have that, it will offer you the ability to share your 3UK Mobile Broadband connection with upto 4 other devices via Wi-Fi as long as you have access to a power socket.

Given that this does have these limitations, what are the options for others?  Well, the Solwise 3G Router may help out; although it’s designed as an ADSL router, it has a 3G failback capability (ie when the ADSL line is down, it will use a 3G USB Modem instead).  Now, because this isn’t being sold by any particular network, it’s not limited to one mobile network, and also supports a whole range of USB Modems, including a number of ZTE models as well.  It can even support some mobile phones being connected via USB if you have one lying around spare.

As the Solwise has both an ethernet port and Wi-Fi capability, it can act as a nice portable connection sharing device too. The Solwise is a little more expensive at £60 though (although for another few pounds you can get a Euro plug adaptor for the same device given you the ability to use it across Europe; although use a local SIM or be prepared for some horrendous data roaming charges!).

Both these devices still have one problem; the USB Mobile Broadband Dongle has to be physically located close to the main unit (and hence a power socket); if this location does not have the best 3G signal, then you should head over to Mobile Fun, who sell external aerials and signal boosters for the majority of USB Modems on the market (and have some generic ones for those without external antenna sockets).  Finally, it’s not clear if Carphone Warehouse are selilng the Black or White variant (or if you get a choice when ordering online), so it may be prudent to go to your local store if you are looking for a particular colour.

We should say that T-Mobile have a similar unit, but it’s only available with a new Mobile Broadband contract, so if you already have a device, there’s no wasy way of purchasing one…


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