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Analogue 1, Digital 0

Analogue 1, Digital 0

A long time ago, thanks to my ex-workchums at BBC Wales (thanks guys!), I bought myself a Freecom Network Mediaplayer – basically a hard drive which you can connect to your TV. I gleefully set about downloading about 350 Gigabytes of ancient TV programmes from your local friendly non-official sources, looked forward to my digitally converged future, and pretty much left it sat underneath my TV set while I watched endless repeats of Top Gear instead.

Then last night, I rashly invited my neighbours to come and watch the recent Doctor Who 2007 Christmas special (the one with the Titanic) with me.

First problem – my Sky Plus had inconveniently forgotten to record any of the Christmas programmes I’d set it to record. So instead, I set about downloading it off the Internet, transferring it over to my Mediaplayer, and we could all watch it from there. After 20 minutes of frantically trying to get the laptop to see the hard drive (by mostly rebooting endlessly, and sticking the USB cable in and out), the file transferred over and I thought all was fine and dandy for the big show.

So the doorbell was rung, dinner was ready, wine was poured, and we all sat down to re-watch Doctor Who. Except about half an hour in, the hard drive started spluttering and freezing. Despite numerous reboots, the device refused to work, although the file itself was fine. Bah.

Thus it was that after a suitable soujourn into town for drinks, we all stumbled back into another neighbour’s house at 1am, to finish off watching Doctor Who. On her trusty ol’ VHS tape. Analogue 1, Digital 0.

Can you recommend any handy devices that’ll let me watch downloaded videos on my TV? Preferably ones that come with a DVD player that’ll upscale via HDMI, and ones that’ll also record off a digital TV signal on demand. Oh, and if it can connect directly to my sound system, that’d be great too.


  • It doesn't tick all your boxes, but I have a Mac Mini connected to the telly. And Robert Scoble does too, so it must be the in thing.

  • This is only good for playback (unless you've got a Windows Media Centre PC), but a recent update for Xbox 360s lets you stream programmes straight from a shared disc.

    But I'm still waiting for the ultimate answer.

  • But it's from Apple so it'll:

    a) be overpriced
    b) be superseded shortly
    c) break easily
    d) have a nice user interface

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