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Ian Calcutt

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Humax HDR-1000S Freesat+ recorder with FreeTime

Humax HDR-1000S Freesat+ recorder with FreeTime

The all-new Freesat recorder has arrived, after a long gestation, sporting a nifty user interface and the FreeTime system that integrates catch-up services such as the iPlayer and ITV Player into a programme guide that goes back in time, as well as ahead for planning hard disk recordings. Humax HDR-1000S Freesat+ recorder with …
Ian Calcutt, 15 Nov 2012
Pure Sensia 200D digital radio

Ten digital radios to suit all budgets

Product Round-up After a slow start, digital radio might finally be getting somewhere. More people are buying DAB radios, coverage is increasing and, digital stations account for a growing share of the radio audience, according to the stats [PDF]. The BBC’s four main exclusively digital radio stations, for instance, reach a combined total of …
Ian Calcutt, 08 Sep 2012
Humax YouView DTR-T1000 IPTV Freeview DVR

Humax YouView DTR-T1000 IPTV Freeview PVR review

YouView is the ambitious but agonisingly delayed joint venture from the UK's main broadcasters involved in Freeview along with telcos BT and TalkTalk. As expected from that bunch, it combines a digital terrestrial recorder with internet-TV extras such as catch-up programme players and (soon) on-demand video, including optional …
Ian Calcutt, 02 Aug 2012
August DTV700B portable Freeview TV and DVR

August DTV700B portable Freeview TV and DVR

Review The portable screen market is now dominated by compact DVD players, smartphones and tablets, so if you want a teeny telly for watching live programmes on the go, there isn’t a massive choice. One contender is the DTV700B, a newly upgraded version of August’s low-cost 7in portable digital TV. August DTV700B portable Freeview TV …
Ian Calcutt, 22 Mar 2012
Spotify v. Pure

Spotify v. Pure Music

Review Spotify began as the cool on-line portal that set a high benchmark for music streaming services. It’s now a fast growing, song spewing giant but it is not alone, as entertainment corps and smaller contenders want a piece of the action too. Philips Streamium with Spotify Philips Streamium with Spotify Spotify competes with …
Ian Calcutt, 17 Feb 2012
Cocktail Audio X10 network music player and CD ripper

Cocktail Audio X10 CD copier and music streamer

Review The Cocktail Audio X10 is a compact hi-fi component with a network connection for internet radio, audio streaming from shared devices and file transfer. It’s fitted with a 500GB or 1TB hard disk, which serves as your music library, either for existing digital audio files that you copy to it or CDs ripped using its slot-loading …
Ian Calcutt, 31 Jan 2012
WDTV Live Hub

Ten... IPTV set-top boxes

IPTV Week IPTV Week logo Nearly every new gadget can be connected to the internet. The smart TVs popularised by Samsung and others are the focus of this but you don’t need to shell out on a new telly - a cost-effective IPTV box can do it too. IPTV means the delivery of TV shows and films over broadband. It can include live channels but …
Ian Calcutt, 24 Jan 2012
Pure Highway 300Di in-car digital radio adapter

Pure Highway 300Di in-car digital radio kit

Review CES 2012 Week Since 2008 Pure has offered its relatively cheap first-generation DIY upgrade kit to add DAB radio and more besides when motoring. Now comes the second generation Highway, with an improved aerial and two-part combo of a main ‘interface’ unit, which is fitted under the dashboard near the car’s existing radio, and …
Ian Calcutt, 11 Jan 2012
Ten Mini Hi-Fi systems

Ten... mini hi-fi systems

Product Round-up Compact enough for a bookshelf but punching above their weight compared to a portable radio, mini hi-fis are an audio staple. These items can become the sole sound system for anyone pushed for space in bijou flats, bedsits and student digs or serve as a back-up in bedrooms, kitchens and other places around the home. This part …
Ian Calcutt, 07 Jan 2012
Jamo S426 HCS 3 home cinema speaker system

Jamo S 426 HCS 3 home cinema speakers

Review There is no shortage of home cinema speaker packages priced at around the £300 mark. It is less common to find one incorporating a large floorstanding pair but that’s exactly what long-established Danish brand Jamo is offering with this bundle. It seems too good to be true, yet somehow it is. Jamo S426 HCS 3 home cinema speaker …
Ian Calcutt, 22 Nov 2011
Ten... noise-cancelling headphones

Ten... noise-cancelling headphones

Product Round-up Based on technology developed in the 1980s for airline crews, noise cancelling headphones are getting better every year. They are no longer luxury items but essential for frequent travellers, making journeys more tolerable. Built-in microphones detect extraneous sound, such as aircraft engine hum or noise from trains and buses …
Ian Calcutt, 19 Nov 2011
Orbitsound T12v3 soundbar

Orbitsound T12v3 spatial soundbar

Review The popular Orbitsound T12 soundbar has reached its third version. Retailing for the same price as version two, the new edition looks the same externally but there are various improvements inside, including a better subwoofer speaker, higher quality components for the main speaker drivers and an extended volume range. …
Ian Calcutt, 27 Oct 2011
Sony BDP-SX1 portable Blu-ray player

Sony BDP-SX1 portable Blu-ray player

Review Just as DVD players inevitably shrank to become portable, so have the Blu-ray successors. Whether this actually makes difference to you depends on how many Blu-ray discs you have and how much you might want to watch them away from home. Sony BDP-SX1 portable Blu-ray player Worth the disc? Sony's BDP-SX1 The BDP-SX1 is not the …
Ian Calcutt, 18 Oct 2011
Ten Freeview HD recorders

Ten... Freeview HD recorders

Product Round-up The UK’s ongoing digital switchover means that Freeview HD has probably now rolled out to a transmitter near you. If you’re using old digital TVs or set-top boxes, you won’t get the four – soon to be five – high-def channels through your aerial, alongside the standard line-up. One of the best ways to upgrade is with a new …
Ian Calcutt, 11 Oct 2011
Philips GoGear Muse 3 PMP

Philips GoGear Muse 3 PMP

Review Any portable media player has to contend with the entire smartphone market. If you don’t mind running down the battery, mobiles can be as good as dedicated players. New PMPs need extra frills to stand out. With its third-generation GoGear Muse, Philips has added some interesting tweaks. But are they enough? Philips GoGear Muse …
Ian Calcutt, 20 Sep 2011
Onkyo TX-NR609

Onkyo TX-NR609 AV network receiver

Review AV receivers have made a concerted effort to keep up with TVs, consoles, set-top boxes and disc players in recent years by incorporating an Ethernet port to play your digital music collection over a network as well as internet radio and extras like Last FM and Napster. Onkyo TX-NR609 Double bass player: Onkyo's TX-NR609 Onkyo …
Ian Calcutt, 09 Sep 2011
Audio Pro WF100q

Audio Pro WF100 wireless streamer

Geek Treat of the Week Anyone who’s tried wireless tech over the years knows how tricky and expensive it can be to get superior sounding audio around the home without wires. Step forth Swedish hi-fi brand Audio Pro, that has come up with a user friendly package that gives you a wireless transmitter/receiver duo. Audio Pro WF100q Plug 'n' Play: Audio …
Ian Calcutt, 08 Aug 2011
Pure Sirocco 550

Pure Sirocco 550 music combo

Review Pure has pumped out tabletop digital radios and pocket portables for yonks, but largely avoided micro hi-fi. The notable execptions being its DMX and Legato products a few years ago, the inexpensive DAB-equipped Sirocco 150 in 2009, and this new 550 model. Pure Sirocco 550 Beat combo: Pure's Sirocco 550 Compared to its …
Ian Calcutt, 03 Aug 2011
Philips BDP7600 Blu-ray player with Net TV

Philips BDP7600 Blu-ray player with Net TV

Review Sidestepping the cheap black plastic approach of even some mid market Blu-ray Disc players, the BDP7600 from Philips has a robust metallic build. Its smooth and quiet disc tray emerges from a mirrored front panel, which is otherwise interrupted only by a USB port to the right. Beneath the fascia is a curved control strip with …
Ian Calcutt, 23 Jul 2011
Popcorn Hour PopBox

PopBox 3D set-top media player

Review Now that playing digital files from USB keys, or streaming them over a network, is a feature built into many TVs and almost every new gadget that plugs into one, it's inevitable that standalone players will become cheaper. The PopBox sits at the bottom of Syabas Technology’s Popcorn Hour range of media players. Popcorn Hour …
Ian Calcutt, 28 Jun 2011
Virgin Tivo

Virgin Media TV Powered by TiVo

Review TiVo is synonymous with hard disk video recording, at least in its native US. To date, its profile was lower in the UK, though a few thousand models of the original UK model were sold about ten years ago, winning it a loyal if small fanbase. Virgin Tivo Cisco's Virgin's TiVo box: PlayStation 3-like curves and minimalist styling …
Ian Calcutt, 25 May 2011
Crystal Acoustics PicoHD5.1

Crystal Acoustics PicoHD5.1

Review Most TVs now have memory card slots and USB ports for showing digital photos or playing music and video from your own collection. The Crystal Acoustics PicoHD5.1 media player provides the same features for just about any TV, especially HD-ready ones. If your set lacks the sockets, or doesn’t play the formats you want, you can …
Ian Calcutt, 06 May 2011
Zomm

Zomm wireless leash

Review The Zomm is a pebble-shaped wireless ‘leash’ for mobile phones. It pairs to a phone using Bluetooth and if the two devices are separated by a few meters then the Zomm alerts you, first by vibrating, then flashing and a few seconds later by beeping. Zomm Protect and survive: Zomm's wireless leash is controlled by just one button …
Ian Calcutt, 28 Mar 2011
Pay TV compared

BT vs Sky vs Virgin

Group Test When the final old-style analogue broadcasts cease in 2012 the default way of receiving TV will be Freeview. For years there have been alternatives for those willing to pay more, and you can end up with as many channels as Lady Gaga has costumes. Like those outfits, you might think: is it necessary to have so many? Pay TV …
Ian Calcutt, 10 Mar 2011
Q2 Internet radio

Q2 motion-controlled internet radio

Review The Q2 is the simplest Internet radio you’re likely to find. It’s good looking too, with its tidy cube shape, rubberised casing and five colour options: white, black, lime and a couple of flowery pink and blue versions. Q2 Internet radio Hip to be square: Q2's Internet radio The last two colour choices presumably cater for …
Ian Calcutt, 09 Mar 2011
ONKYO CS-545UKD

Onkyo CS-545 combo mini hi-fi

Review For music fans who aren’t ready to let go of their CD collection comes the CS-545, a mini system from Japanese audio specialist Onkyo. Aside from the disc drive, there’s an integrated iPhone/iPod dock, stereo line input at the back, radio tuner with 30 presets each for FM and DAB and an alarm timer. You can plug in a USB memory …
Ian Calcutt, 11 Jan 2011
Pure One Mi portable DAB radio

Pure One Mi portable DAB/FM radio

Review The traditional battery powered transistor FM radio still takes some beating when it comes to listening in places like the bathroom or garden shed, if that’s where you choose to spend any length of time. Indeed, Pure had a big success with its £45 palm-sized One Mini so it has sliced a few millimetres from that model, shrunk the …
Ian Calcutt, 11 Nov 2010
Pure Oasis Flow waterproof DAB radio

Pure Oasis Flow weatherproof DAB and Internet radio

Review Pure’s range of digital radios has typically included portable DAB models and several Wi-Fi equipped versions for streaming audio from your computer and access to Internet stations. Many are designed with portability in mind if you’re inclined to splash out on the optional rechargeable battery packs. While the Oasis Flow might …
Ian Calcutt, 04 Nov 2010
Etón Soulra

Etón Soulra solar-powered iPod dock

Review While there are plenty of solar chargers to keep gadgets going in the great outdoors, sun-powered iPod speaker docks are rather thin on the ground. Step forward Californian company Etón Corporation, which specialises in portable and often eco-friendly products such as wind-up and solar radios. Etón Soulra Waiting for the sun: …
Ian Calcutt, 04 Aug 2010
Pioneer BDP-330 Blu-ray Disc player

Pioneer BDP-330 Blu-ray player

Review If a recent survey for HP is to be believed, Britons remain committed to packaged media, with 75 percent wanting hard copies of films in a box. So despite the advance of video streaming and downloading, perhaps it’s not yet time to write off conventional disc players, like Pioneer’s latest Blu-ray offering, the BDP-330. Pioneer …
Ian Calcutt, 30 Jul 2010
Panasonic SC-BT735

Panasonic SC-BT735 Blu-ray home cinema kit

Review Well-heeled home cinema devotees like to put together a trustworthy disc player, an amp built like a battleship and classy, carefully chosen speakers. Meanwhile, the budget and mid-range market is catered for by simple one-box packages, which flourished in the DVD era, so it’s no surprise to find an increasing number based on …
Ian Calcutt, 12 Jun 2010
TEAC R-4iDNT

Teac R-4iDNT Wi-Fi/DAB/FM radio and iPod dock

Review Despite the UK’s proposed analogue radio switch-off at some yet-to-be-decided date, it’s fair to say that DAB has hardly been a roaring success. Most digital radio manufacturers hedge their bets and include an FM tuner, while there’s a growing trend of adding an Internet connection for accessing thousands of online stations in a …
Ian Calcutt, 21 May 2010