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Digital Voices: Three Star Prisons and TV Licences

Welcome to the latest edition of Digital Voices, our round-up of the week’s best comments. This week there’s been more banter about 4G wiping out Freeview as the auction finally (FINALLY) gets underway, more confusion about the TV licence and whether or not you have to pay it, and the perrenial favourite for comments, the BT RABIT Cable Theft story.

Those of you calling for tougher penalties for bent metal dealers, we’ve got some news for you…

Here’s Digital Voice for the week ending 15/12/2012 – the world didn’t end and we’ve got less than ten more sleeps ‘til Christmas. Reasons to be cheerful!

Digital Voices: Three Star Prisons and TV Licences


Lock ‘Em Up, Throw Away The Key Comment of the Week: BT’s killer RABIT foils copper cable thieves

We hate theft as much as the next person, even moreso when said theft hobbles the upgrading of the UK’s creaky old broadband infrastructure, something which is long overdue.

Our readers have been suggesting all kinds of solution to the problem, from electrocution, deportation to a spell on the gallows. Custodial sentences don’t seem to be doing the job, as one Instant Moyo (GREAT name) says: “the prison regime in UK is better than a three star hotel, so maybe that is part of the problem.”

More sedate suggestions include getting rid of cash payments for scrap so theives are easier to trace.

“To have it paid into a bank account as a name and address with ID such as a driving license should be enough to deter illicit or stolen items being sold for scrap,” says URSULARICHES (whoa, hold off the caps lock there).

Well ladies and gentlemen it looks like your prayers have been answered and Theresa May is your guardian angel.

Last week the Home Office ruled that ‘cash, no questions’ payments are now illegal and police have greater powers to call in on scrap yards to make sure everything’s kosher.

Already since the introduction of the new powers, a hefty theft of BT cable has already been foiled.

We’re still not totally on board with the plans for the Communications Data Bill, but don’t ever say the Home Office doesn’t do anything good for the internet.

Where’s My Bandwidth Gone? Comment of the Week: TalkTalk Player on YouView: Exclusive first review

When we set up our TalkTalk-branded YouView box we noticed a dip in download speeds on our network. That’s fair enough when you think about it, you’re introducing a new device on the network with a heavy on-demand feature. TalkTalk is bundling it’s TV offering on the Plus package, meaning you don’t have to worry about streaming shows eating in to your monthly usage – you get unlimited downloads with TalkTalk Plus as standard.

However this doesn’t mean that you won’t see a speed decrease. Simon Raymont in the comments is saying that his download speed dropped from “14MEG to 8MEG on install of the TalkTalk Youview” which is a pretty steep fall.

We didn’t notice that big a speed drop ourselves, but we’re seeing that other commenters are experiencing this. We’d advise that you do a thorough speed test and do everything you can to optimise your home network before giving TalkTalk a call – check that none of your phones or tablets are connected to WiFi when you’re watching TV or that no-one’s streaming Lovefilm in the other room.


C’mon Sky, More Support For Android Already Comment of the Week: Sky’s Now TV: What do you get for £15 a month?

Sky is notorious for being rather selective about the types of Android phones and tablets that it lets into the fold.

Until recently, Sky Go was only available on a handful of Android phones – high end Android phones from last year to be precise – but this week Sky opened up and allowed a crop of current-gen Android phones into the fold.

But what about Now TV, Sky’s sister on-demand service aimed at non-Sky TV subscribers?

“What about access on android tablets! Phones are too small to watch films on. Of course apple has it’s app released. Missing out on a big market,” quoth one Rew.

Sidestepping the Android fragmentation conversation for one minute, we’d hazard a guess, given the similarity in device support between Sky Go and Now TV, it won’t be long before bigger devices like the Asus Nexus 7 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 2 get some Now TV action.

You Don’t Have To Pay The TV Licence, No Really, Comment of the Week: 4G will wipe out Freeview in 1.9 million homes, confirms Ed Vaizey

With the spectre of the 4G Freeview Fail looming now the auction has finally kicked off, there’s been increased chatter about how to avoid losing Freeview and get around not paying for a TV Licence. Though we’ve done an extensive feature on the matter is appears there’s still some confusion about whether or not you need the licence if you’re just watching online. 

For the benefit of Alexander James-Cochrane Lovet, Ben-Fish Xue and Matt, here’s what the official TV Licence website has to say:

“If you only watch catch-up services online, then you don’t need a licence. For example, you don’t need one to use BBC iPlayer, or ITV player, to catch up on programmes after they have been shown on TV.”

So, you don’t need a licence just so long as you only watch non-live (i.e. as it’s being broadcast) TV on iPlayer, ITV Player, 4oD or Demand Five. Capiche?

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