Switchover is well under way, but there are still thousands of outmoded TV sets in need of an upgrade. Not that there's any shortage of Freeview-equipped set-top boxes on the market, or course.
Well, you have to hand it to them! Those clever bods down at Dream Multimedia have managed to cram a fully functional single-tuner satellite PVR into a package no bigger than a microwave TV dinner.
It's hard to believe that there was no regular radio broadcasting a century ago; homes, shops, businesses without a radio in the background. When radio did arrive, the first technology was AM, and it's still with us after more than 80 years. FM radio took off in the 1950s and is still going strong. It will probably be with us for years after analogue PAL colour TV is switched off in 2012.
Many Freeview adapters allow you to record the channel you're tuned to using a VCR or DVD recorder. If they have an aerial loopthrough you can record a digital channel while watching another channel on your TV. But what if your TV only has an analogue tuner and you want to record one Freeview channel while watching another?
Regular readers will appreciate that the personal computer and digital TV worlds are complementary and ripe for merging. Do so, and you can watch TV (high or standard def) in a desktop window while you work - or in its full-screen glory on a flat-panel TV.
The first range of Freesat-receiving (including HD) TVs to appear is Panasonic’s PZ81 plasma range, which comes in three sizes – 42in, 46in (about £1,600) and 50in (about £1,800) and, for those whose Freeview/aerial coverage isn’t entirely non-existent, also boasts DTT and analogue tuners.
It's probably fair to say that the much-hyped Freesat initiative has been something of a fiasco so far. Much of the promised hardware has not yet materialised and, as a result, supply has failed to meet demand. However, there are alternatives - especially if you're specifically interested in getting hi-def for free.
Until now, inroads for Setanta Sports into the PC TV crowd have been stymied by the lack of decrypting hardware. Hauppauge has delivered a solution with the WinTV CI, a common interface module that takes CAMs and cards for satellite and terrestrial pay-TV services (except Sky) when used in conjunction with most recent Hauppauge satellite or DTT PC tuners.
To date, taking a TV show with you to watch on a laptop or portable media device has meant downloading it (e.g. from iTunes) or else recording it using a TV card or capturing it from a set-top box on a computer and converting it to suit.
Disarmingly small, like all the Freesat receivers so far, the Bush model is tasteful in piano-black plastic with a wide chromed stripe across the front. There's no front panel display – the only adornments on the front (apart from the Bush and Freesat logos are the Channel up/down, Volume up/down and power buttons.