• kradcliffe

    BT is hiking prices for broadband and some calls and is to begin charging TV customers £3.50 for BT Sport.

    BT is hiking prices for broadband and some calls and is to begin charging TV customers £3.50 for BT Sport.
    The company said copper broadband customers will see a £2-a-month increase from April 2, Infinity fibre broadband will go up by £2.50, representing typical increases of 5% or 6% across the bundle.
    BT TV customers will have to pay £3.50 a month for BT Sport from August 1, while customers who have BT Broadband and watch their Sky satellite service will see a £1.50 increase to £7.50 a month.
    Non-BT Broadband customers who watch BT Sport on their Sky box will see their monthly charge go up £1 to £22.99 a month.
    Anytime calling plans will go up by 49p to £8.99 a month and evening and weekend call plans will go up by 30p to £3.80.
    All call pence-per-minute rates are going up by 1p and the call set-up fee is going up 2p to 21p and individual calling features are going up by 25p, such as Call Minder which will increase from £4.25 to £4.50.
    BT said it would soon be announcing details for automatic compensation if it fails on service and was investing in UK call centres, nuisance calls protection and faster repairs by an average of 31 hours.
    It has also frozen prices for BT TV packages and the £18.99 cost for those who only take a phone line.
    BT Consumer chief executive John Petter said: “Customers will get a better package and improved service from us this year in exchange for paying a little more.
    “Millions will have the chance to upgrade to faster broadband and almost a million will be able to upgrade to enjoy unlimited usage for no extra cost.
    “As usual, we’ve taken care of low income customers by freezing the price of BT Basic and capping call costs. We’ve also frozen line rental, which will particularly help customers who only take a traditional phone service from us.”

  • Stuclark

    Microsoft have released Windows 10 Insider Preview build 15007, this build crucially fixes the most annoying bug in 15002, making Windows sensibly useable again.

    15002, the last released build, had a serious Explorer bug which prevented the Action Centre and Start Menu working properly, meaning you'd have to either restart explorer (or in some cases the entire PC) every few minutes. Build 15007 fixes that and is the build MS should have released instaed of 15002.
    (it's worth noting that MS initially said they wouldn't release 15002 due to "break" bugs, but were essentially forced to do so by insider pressure as there hadn't been a build for over 2 weeks due to Christmas.
    Another majorly important new feature (initially released in 15002) is a new method of display scaling for applications *cough Adobe Photoshop *cough* which haven't previously dealt well with high resolution displays under Windows.

    Amongst the raft of other new features, fixes and changes (available to read here) MS have also changed how Windows deals with memory managemet in the desktop version of HyperV, meaning more available memory will be used, or rather made available to virtual machines than in previous versions. This makes it far more feasible to run more than one or two virtual machines on a "normal" Windows 10 desktop without everything running out of memory. (Windows achieves this by reducing the amount of memory it marks as reserved for the host OS and applications)

  • normal

    Gibson continues to expand out of it's traditional guitar market. This time, they've tied up with Usain Bolt to launch the Trainer Ti100 earphones, which are sufficiently different to be worth a look at.

    The Trainer Ti100 earphones are aimed at sports people, weighing only 14g and offering 6.5 hours battery life, as well as freedom of movement through bluetooth. But not only that, but they also incorporate an interesting Aeroflex option will allows users to easily choose between in ear and more secure over ear usage. Not only that, but night runners are also covered too. With NightNav, the earphones illuminate small LEDs to make sure the runner is easily seen.
    On top of these already impressive features, the Ti100 also offers water / sweat resistance and also attractive and strong Zylon cables to extend it's lifetime.
    Available in white or black, it's available from John Lewis for £150 and is certainly worth a look for sports people.

  • normal

    Cambridge Audio has a fine pedigree in home HiFi and home cinema, so it's definitely worth noting when they release two new wireless speakers.

    The Air 100 V2 and Air 200 V2 are upgrades on their original speakers. Here's some information from Cambridge Audio.
    It's worth noting that Cambridge Audio products used to be exclusive to Richer Sounds, but are now also available in John Lewis. We look forward to giving them a test at some point.

  • normal

    Parallels Launch Access 3.0

    By normal, in News,

    You may remember that we spent some time reviewing Parallels Desktop and Access last year and were suitably impressed. Well, it's come to that time of year and they've upgraded their remote desktop programme.....

    Here's a quick reminder video of what it looks like:
    Here's some information from Parallels on the latest new features:
    As it says, there's a two week free trial, so it's definitely worth a go. We found it the best way to access your desktop from a mobile / tablet.

  • normal

    TVs are getting thinner and thinner, and yet sound still has to come from somewhere. This means built in speakers are often disappointing and helps explain why soundbar speakers are becoming increasingly popular. Not only are they living room / partner friendly, but also can add a great depth of sound to match the big pictures on modern televisions.

    Yamaha was one of the pioneers in this field, and have a fine pedigree, so what is the YSP-2500 sound projector like?

    The first thing to note is that whilst many cheaper soundbars provide basic stereo sound, the YSP-2500 creates a 7.1 surround sound effect. How? It has sixteen small speakers hidden behind it’s front grill, which bounce beams of sound off the walls of your living room to create the surround effect. It also comes with a wireless subwoofer to add bass to your experience.

    Features & Specification
    Alongside the surround sound and wireless subwoofer already mentioned, the YSP-2500 has 3 HDMI inputs (and one output), two digital optical inputs, one digital coaxial input, and even a socket to add an additional / alternative subwoofer. The HDMI sockets are 2.0 / ARC and allow you to pass through 4K and 3D video, as well have being able to be controlled by your TV remote. Which is just as well as the remote is very dull. If you do need to control setup or the advanced features such as sound modes, then there’s also a very handy app available for iOS and Android which works well and is really easy to use.
    Other than that, the soundbar supports a host of surround sound formats and also has bluetooth aptX to stream high definition audio from your phone.

    Taking it out of the box, the first thing you notice is that it’s a lot bigger than you expect if you’ve been looking at supermarket soundbars. Saying that, it’s still surprisingly small compared to other high end sounders, and less likely to block IR sensors on your TV. As an added bonus, the large feet on the bottom of the speaker are removable and can be replaced by small feet, making it shorter still. It also comes with a very handy, easy to use template too if you’d like to wall mount it.
    Length wise, this YSP-2500 is suited to being used with larger TV’s. Whilst you can start using it with 50” screens, I’d personally recommend using it with 55”+ size screens purely from an aesthetic point of view.

    The speaker itself is solidly built and has a nice, premium finish. To the left of the front, it has simple display which tells you which inputs are selected and the volume. There’s a couple of input selector and volume buttons on the top, two discrete sockets on the front for headphones and the set-up mic, and everything else is behind.
    The wireless subwoofer still needs to be plugged into the mains, but otherwise you're free to position it where you like in your living room, and it isn't bad looking either. It’s slim and can be positioned either standing, or lying flat, which makes it even more flexible.

    First thing to note is that set up is really super duper easy. You plug in the mic which is included, plop in on a cardboard stand which comes with it, put that in the viewing position. Tell it to start, leave the room, and come back 3 minutes later after it’s made a variety of strange noises. That’s it. Yamaha really are very good at auto set up on all their AV gear.
    Coming back to it’s performance. If you’ve never used external speakers before, you’ll immediately be left wondering why not. It’s a night and day experience compared to any TV’s built in speakers. Everything sounds 1000% better. The subwoofer also works seamlessly with the main speaker to create the missing depth, and there’s a general improved ‘ambience’ to the sound. If you’re used to a decent separates system, and speakers, then you’ll still be surprised that you’re not sacrificing much. It’s only if you’re used to higher end equipment, that you’ll notice a drop in sound quality.
    The one thing everyone’s asked me is, does the surround sound work? I’m afraid it’s a bit of a yes / no answer. I’m used to using a 5.1 speaker set up and no matter how clever Yamaha is in bouncing sound beams off walls, it’s not as good as the real thing. Saying that, it gives a pretty good go. Whilst some people were amazed by the surround sound effects of the YSP-2500, I personally felt it didn’t give the same directness of a 5.1 speaker system, but did create and enveloping sound scape which did bring you into what you were watching. That may partially be down to the lay out of my living room, which has a number of curtains which reduce the amount of surfaces sound can be bounced off. Sound doesn’t bounce off soft furnishing or windows that well compared to walls, and it’s worth noting for all similar soundbars if you’re exploring such an option. One other factor to consider is the size of your living room. This will work excellently with your average size living room, but starts to lose its potency in large rooms.
    I really enjoyed watching a variety of films and programmes. The star of the show was the subwoofer, which was well balanced and had good control over the sound. It’s musical performance though is best described as pleasant. Although you can improve the overall sound of music being streamed from your phone, by adjusting the direction of the sound beams, I found that some sounds in the music sometimes went ‘missing’ so I wouldn’t recommend trying it. Otherwise, whilst not as good as a dedicated pair of stereo speakers, if you simply want to play music, and not worry about the fidelity of it, then the YSP-2500 does a decent job playing music and doesn’t draw any attention to any shortcomings.

    The Yamaha YSP-2500 is both attractive and well built. It has a great list of features, but part of me was wishing it also had built in streaming services such as Spotify/ Deezer / Google Play etc. It wasn’t a significant niggle, as I could still stream music from my phone, but would become an issue if I received calls etc.
    At £700, this isn’t a cheap option. I know plenty of people who wouldn’t spend that on their TV. What this is is an excellent option for people who want to enjoy their TV viewing by improving the audio experience, without cluttering up the living room with extra boxes and cables. At a push, I could probably buy a better sounding separates system for the same price, but it lacks the simplicity and elegance of the YSP-2500, and therefore it still makes an excellent choice.

  • normal

    For those who don't know, I love juicing. I have at least one large homemade fruit and vegetable juice every day. I was naturally excited to be able to review Philips latest generation of juicer. So what is it like?


    Well. Here's a video!

    It's currently selling for £100 on Amazon. If you don't have a good juicer yet, I'd highly recommend this, just don't believe Philips marketing about super easy cleaning system.

  • normal

    Following on from last month's launch of new affordable receivers, Yamaha is following it up with the launch of their new high end Aventage range, with prices starting at just £550.

    Here's a press release from Yamaha:

    These should be available from approximately August/September. The RX-A550 will be £550, RX-A850 £900, RX-A1050 £1000, RX-A2050 £1500, RX-A3050 £2000.