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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Nokia announces N9

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

Yesterday Nokia announced the new Nokia N9.  In the process, they concentrated on the features and capabilities of the device, without going into a lot of detail of the underlying OS (Harmattan, which is a variant of MeeGo), or the types of apps the device will support (mainly Qt).  However, as a very striking device with no home button (you access the homescreen via a swipe pattern), this has the capability to be a popular device later this year when it’s released.  With Nokia’s recent statement of shortening the time between announcement and release, all I can say for definite is that it will be out this calendar year, which is still a great improvement on previous announcements.

The device has some very good (even if not the absolute highest) specs:

  • 3.9-inch AMOLED screen (854 x 480)
  • 16GB or 64GB of storage, 1GB of RAM
  • Polycarbonate shell that’s coloured all the way through the material
  • 1 Ghz processor
  • Quad band GSM and Penta band WCDMA (3G)
  • Bluetooth 2.1, NFC, and GPS
  • 8 megapixel which can capture 16:9 720p video recording
  • 116.45 x 61.2 x 12.1mm and weighs 135 grams

The introduction of NFC is also interesting; although the hardware may support NFC payments in the future, there is no software support for that right now; in fact, Nokia is rolling out NFC within a range of accessories too allowing you to perform Bluetooth pairing of two devices by placing them close together and NFC will sort out the pairing.  This is a nice use of technology to improve the user experience.

More information on pricing and availability on UK networks later in the year when it’s released.


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Gadget Show Live happening soon; a few tickets left

Thursday, March 31st, 2011

The Gadget Show Live 2011 takes place from 13th April to the 17th April at the NEC this year.  The Gadget Show Live team tell me…

“The Gadget Show Live has quadrupled in size since it began in 2009 and this year expects 100,000 visitors through the door. It features 250 of the world’s leading electronics firms, including Sony, Samsung, Panasonic, JVC, Nintendo and LG, and features many UK product premieres. New tech includes the latest smart TVs from Sony, Panasonic and LG, which boast not only the usual HD and 3D capabilities, but also a raft of streaming content and online applications.

Visitors can participate in numerous free features, including the new HUB Theatre, an entire hall dedicated to the Game Zone, the Future Technology Project and a larger interactive Test Track. There will also be a one hour long, live theatre version of the TV show in the newly designed Super Theatre (three times a day).

NEW TECH AND GAMES

As well as watching the new smart TVs, visitors can also try out the latest 3D photography and video equipment, such as the new high definition 3D camcorder from JVC (Everio GS-TD1). They can also watch a 3D printer re-creating real objects (on Bits from Bites stand, in Future Tech Project and in The HUB Theatre).

In addition, they can listen to the new Zeppelin Air from Bowers and Wilkins, which has the ability to wirelessly stream music for iPhones, iPads and computers running iTunes. They can also watch through the new augmented reality (AR) video eyewear from Vuzix, which enables 3D video viewing in real time, whilst overlaying the video with home-made 3D content.

A full on tablet war is predicted with all the leading contenders to the crown on show. The best in home computing can also be found with the full HD touch screen VAIO L-Series from Sony and the new multi-touch enabled AKOYA desktops from MEDION. For the house proud, there will be the new compact and lightweight robotic lawnmower from Husqvarna, the new lightweight cordless vacuum cleaner from Dyson – the Digital Slimô – and the next generation of domestic servants from iRobot.

The Game Zone (an entire dedicated hall in association with GAME), will include a major outing for the Nintendo 3DS, a live professional gaming tournament with a £5,000 cash prize from Alienware, plus their new 15 inch gaming notebook. New game launches include the first UK viewing of DiRT3 from Codemasters (released 24 May), the new Duke Nukem game from 2K games, EA’s Need for Speed: Shift 2 Unleashed plus the European finals of the new Mortal Kombat beat-em-up from Warner Bros.

TECH OF THE FUTURE

The Future Tech Project is an unforgettable chance to experience technology of the future. This area includes 3D printing and robotics from Warwick University, mind controlled computing (www.neurosky.com) and even eye controlled computing, seen for the first time in the UK from Waterloo Labs (part of National Instruments).

There will also be a blurring of the real and virtual world with the latest augmented reality creations from T-Immersion, plus smart textiles and intelligent clothing from CuteCircuit, and wireless kitchen gadgets and food that can heat itself whilst still in its packaging (using the eCoupled countertop from Fulton Innovation).

NEW FREE HUB THEATRE

The new circular theatre offers free access to six daily presentations, led by Stuff TV’s Lucy Hedges and Radio One’s Aled Hayden Jones. They will do the hard work of filtering down the headline news and best tech at the show. Sessions will cover The Future Tech Project, T3’s hottest gadgets, a review of tablets and smart-phones, home gadgets and a music gadget review.

LATEST E-BIKES AND PERSONAL TRANSPORT DEVICES

The first street-legal electric bicycle, the Grace One, will launch at The Gadget Show Live – it’s a carbon neutral e-motorbike which can travel up to 28 mph (UK limit is 15 mph) and requires no driving license or registration, but you must be over 14. A huge range of vehicles, such as Segways and the latest electric bikes from Create, Dumco and Pacific, can be test-driven at the 1,000 square metre Test Track. There will also be a kids transport area with vehicles from Razor and the UK’s top professionals showing off their tricks on the Remote Control Demo Area.

Furthermore, those lucky enough to have a ticket for the Super Theatre will be blown away by a high-energy version of the TV show. Three times daily (each show seating 4,500 people), the presenters will demo the latest tech, whilst the audience participates to win prize – they’ll also see a Jason-cyborg and Suzi Avatar on stage.

…And if all of that isn’t enough, visitors can also find how to make the most of the latest digital cameras in the Photographic Workshop and check out the best in new 3D kit in the new 3D Theatre.”

If you are interested in attending, then there are still some afternoon only (2pm to 6pm) tickets left, which you can purchase at http://www.gadgetshowlive.net/. UK Gadgeteer is hoping to attend and report back on the useful and worthwhile stands to visit.


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Samsung Galaxy Tab updates

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Whilst Mobile World Congress is going this week, many manufacturers will be launching new phones and devices, and Samsung is no exception.  Along with the Samsung Galaxy S2 (Android phone), they have announced their new tablet; the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. This has a large 10.1″ 1280 x 800 screen, and runs Android 3.0 (Honeycomb). The features include:

  • 1GHz Dual Core Processor
  • Dual surround sound speakers
  • HD recording and Full HD playback
  • 8 megapixel rear and 2 megapixel front cameras
  • 599g
  • Google Services (including Google Mail, Google Calendar, Google Maps, Google Latitude, Google Books and Google Talk video chat)
  • Flash support
  • A-GPS (Google Turn-by-turn navigation)
  • WiFi (802.111 b/g/n)

This is a nice high tech device.  Of course, for many, a 10.1″ device is just too big to carry around, and for those, the existing Samsung Galaxy Tab should suit just fine (with the smaller, but still impressive 7.0″ 1024 x 600 screen).  The smaller Tab is also lighter (380g), but is “only” running Android 2.2 (Froyo).

If you are interested in the existing 7″ Galaxy Tab, then 3UK announced on Friday that they are now selling the device with a very competitive data contract; for £25 per month (24-month contract), you’ll get 15GB of data each month to use on the device (there is also an upfront cost of £199); however, compare that to say, Vodafone, who would charge £25 per month (18-month contract) plus £499 upfront, and you just get 3GB of data each month.

Also, if you are looking to buy a Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000 (the 7″ device) soon; you might want to hurry up; Samsung UK is offering a promotion whereby they will provide you with 50 MP3s (from emusic.com), 15 movies (from Samsung Movies), 7 Games (from Gameloft, although 2 are pre-installed), and £25 worth of eBooks (from W H Smith); however, you need to register your device’s details with Samsung before the end of this month (28 February 2011). I should point out terms and conditions apply to this promotion, which do need checking before you commit to the device solely on the basis of this offer.

If you already own the Samsung Galaxy Tab P1000, 3UK are now offering PAYG Pre-loaded Tablet SIMs, which have from 1GB to 12GB of data pre-loaded onto them for use with a tablet.


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T-Mobile reduce Internet usage across all tariffs

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Although it’s not 100% clear, it looks like T-Mobile has decided to reduce the amount of Internet data allowance each handset has to quite a low level (in fact, one of the low levels available from the main networks).  Whereas before T-Mobile had a high fair usage limit (often 3-4GB before they got upset and warned users), or stated a limit around 1GB (but without enforcing it), they have just published this information (here) stating that the limit is now 500MB across all contracts (old and new) as from 1 Feb 2011.  When other networks have tried this in the past, they have often accepted that it warrants a change in the T&Cs, and allowed people to cancel contracts early, however, we are hearing that T-Mobile are not letting people out of contracts over this change.

Let’s be clear, for many users this simply won’t be a problem; 3UK recently told me that over two thirds of their users use some of the 150MB data allowance provided whenever you topup, but most did not exceed that limit, nor needed to buy any additional internet allowances, so it may well equally be that many T-Mobile users will never reach the new lower limits, however, there will be some who use devices such as Android phones, which are constantly syncing data (email, calendars etc.) and using online navigation solutions (such as Google Maps), and uploading photos or videos directly from the handset who will find the new lower limit a struggle.

Other networks seem to offer 500MB on their lower tariffs, moving up to 750MB and then 1GB for the higher tariffs (or specific tariffs, such as for the iPhone), so this does seem to be a rather low limit across all tariffs, and there are still statements on the T-Mobile website implying that there are a range of allowance for Apple iPhone devices.

In fact, if you head to the Fair Use Policy pages (here), these still list figures of up to 3GB as applying to new contracts, so it’s definitely not clear what rates will apply for someone taking out a contract today, but it’s fair to say that it looks like T-Mobile may be reducing everyone’s allowances from next month.

T-Mobile have privately let me know that even if you go through the 500MB limit (and they’ve said very few customers do use more than that on a monthly basis), you should still be able to browse the web and read email even at the limit.  It’s ironic that T-Mobile have introduced these new lower limits only a few weeks after 3UK started to remove limits from some of their high end iPhone tariffs…


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Pure announce new iPod / iPhone dock

Thursday, January 6th, 2011

Pure are promoting this as an advanced Apple iPod / iPhone dock, but to be honest, they could have easily promoted it as a DAB radio or an Internet Radio with a dock.  It also features a smooth satin-touch finish, a full-function remote and backlit touch-sensitive controls.  The Pure Contour offers a whole range of features, including:

  • DAB, FM and Internet Radio options
  • iPod / iPhone dock
  • Digital end-to-end technology (Pure ClearSOUND)
  • 36W RMS of class-leading audio
  • Digital, FM and Internet radio
  • Flow technology for internet radio, on-demand content including podcasts, PURE Sounds and media streaming from a computer
  • 30 digital radio favourites, 10 FM favourites and unlimited internet favourites
  • Retractable dock with smooth damped movement
  • Component (YPbPr), S-Video and Composite video outputs for viewing iPod/iPhone video on your TV
  • Stereo headphone socket
  • Alarms and timers
  • Upgradeable via Wi-Fi, Ethernet or USB

All in all, a very nice, well specced unit.  However, it should be given the price; it will retail at £200!

No word on availability yet.


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TiVo finally going to be available soon

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

Virgin Media have this week announced more details of their TiVo plans.  Although the roll out will start in mid-December, for most people you won’t actually get service until early 2011 (it’s not clear whether the rollout is location based, or just limited stocks).  However, I can confirm that although the box will ship with a two tuner capability, it will be enhanced early next year to have a three tuner capability.  Even better for early adopters, this will simply need a software upgrade to enable (ie the hardware is already there), and not an actual hardware upgrade.

The Virgin Media TiVo box will be provided with a dedicated 10mb connection via the fibre network, which will not impact the customer’s own broadband connection, and will not count towards any limits or throttles.  Virgin Media also confirmed:

“The service launches initially with apps from major web brands including catch-up TV from BBC iPlayer, videos from YouTube, shopping from the online marketplace eBay, Tweets from Twitter and photos from sites such as Facebook, and the app line up will expand over the next several months.

The service will be supported by a brand new set-top box offering 1 terabyte of storage – up to 500 hours of standard definition programming – as well as access to 4,600 hours of TV shows, movies and music on demand. In due course, there will also be the facility to set recordings remotely via online and mobile devices.

Featuring cutting edge hardware design, the Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo box will have three tuners [UKG: once the software update comes next year], allowing viewers to record two channels whilst watching a third so recording conflicts become a thing of the past. The future-proofed service will automatically be updated with new features and functionality as they become available.

Virgin Media TV powered by TiVo will begin to roll-out from mid-December. Standard price of £199 [UKG: plus £40 installation charge], plus £26.50 per month [UKG: when taken with a phone line too; else it’s £32.50 per month] for the XL TiVo package which features over 160 channels, an unrivalled TV on demand library and access to all standard HD channels.”

For further information, or to register for interest in getting the new TiVo service, visit: www.virginmedia.com/TiVo.


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3UK now selling HTC Desire HD

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Although I’m not sure it’s actually available today, 3UK are now selling the HTC Desire HD, with orders due to be delivered by the end of next week.  The HTC Desire HD builds on the success of the HTC Desire and adds a 4.3″ touchscreen as well as an 8 megapixel camera supporting HD video recording, plus it’s one of the devices supported at the new HTCsense.com portal.  3UK are selling the HTC Desire HD on the One Plan for £40 per month (24 month contract), bringing 200 cross network minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 3UK3UK minutes and 1GB of Internet, free Voicemail, and an impressive 6 months free Spotify Premium subscription (although the data usage will need to come out of your 1GB allowance if you use it on 3G).

The HTC Desire HD is also available on lesser plans, eg the Internet Texter 500 plan for £35 per month (24 month contract) giving you 500 cross network minutes, 5000 texts, 5000 3UK3UK minutes, 1GB of Internet, free Voicemail, and just 2 months Spotify Premium subscription.

Of course, if you can’t afford this, the HTC Desire is still good value from 3UK for about a fiver less per month, or you can even get the HTC Desire on the One Plan for £25 per month (24 month contract) if you go for a refurbished stock item.

As always, head to the 3Store for more details.


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HTC also launch two Android Handsets

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

What a week last week was!  On top of the Nokia phone announcements, and the LG Optimus One phone we covered this morning, HTC also launched 2 new Android v2.2 phones last week.  Now, both of these look very interesting devices, so read on for more information on the devices…

(more…)


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Canon launch new DSLR & add Eye-Fi support

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

Others have already covered the launch of the Canon EOS 60D last week, but one thing that caught my attention was the Eye-Fi support that Canon have added into this camera.  Although not the first Canon to support Eye-Fi, it’s nice to see Canon bringing Eye-Fi support to their DSLR range too.  If you don’t know, Eye-Fi are SD memory cards with additional features such as built in WiFi for automatically uploading photos, and some even have limited GPS support too.  For the WiFi upload to work, the camera must be turned on, and the main function of including Eye-Fi support in the camera’s firmware is that it can keep power to the memory card until the transfer is complete.  The support often also includes the ability to configure some of the details of the Eye-Fi card too (although I wasn’t able to confirm what level of control Canon offer).

So, the Canon EOS 60D takes the Canon EOS 50D and builds on it, adding a number of new features; the main features of the camera are:

  • 18 megapixel self cleaning sensor
  • supports EF and EF-S lenses
  • shoots at up to 5.3fps
  • 63 zone metering with 9 AF points
  • captures 1080p video at up to 30fps
  • the tilt and twist LCD screen of many Canon compact digital cameras is included
  • the built in flash can act as a remote Speedlite trigger

The Eye-Fi support is quite key on this device; previous EOS DSLRs supported Canon’s Wireless File Transmitter, whereas Canon have stated the Canon EOS 60D is not compatible with the previous WFT devices, and no new WFT device is planned, therefore the only self-contained solution available to users is the Eye-Fi option.  In fact, Canon have also announced a number of new PowerShot cameras with Eye-Fi support too, and Nikon’s new D3100 supports Eye-Fi too, so it looks like this is the “must have” new feature for this year…

The Canon EOS 60D will go on sale in the next few months and has a UK retail price of £1099.99 (inc. VAT), although I expect that will quickly drop to a lower level.


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