Small screen hits our pockets

Live TV is streaming to iPhones, writes Garry Barker.
HEY, hey — or words to that recently dubious effect — the iPhone experience has just expanded yet again.
Now we can watch small-screen stuff on an even smaller screen. In short, live television is now available on the iPhone and it is surprisingly good. iphone crowds
I hasten to add that by the above, I am not rating the quality of the content. Rather, I speak of the excellent picture and audio quality of live, free-to-air television on the iPhone.
The operative word here is live, as distinct from episodes of television programs or movies that can be downloaded to an iPhone. The iTunes Store is loaded with them, from Top Gear to South Park; TV shows for $2.99 an episode, movies for $5.99 (rent) or $24.99 (buy).
Elgato, whose EyeTV software pioneered television on the Mac, last week launched an app that allows streaming of live television to an iPhone over a home wi-fi network. mobile phone
Then, not to be outdone, pay TV joined the party with Telstra's BigPond launching Foxtel on the iPhone over the Next G network. The service costs $18 a month for what they call the Ultimate Combo (sounds like a pizza but at least its better than Vegemite's iSnack 2.0). There's a $12 children's option and a day-pass sampler for $4. The best bit: Telstra does not meter its mobile TV services.
Elgato competitor Equinux also has an iPhone TV app but Australian and other user reviews have been cool.
Elgato's app is elegant and user-friendly. It is in the top five apps in the entertainment category in most iTunes App Stores around the world and in the top 10 paid apps of any kind. It costs $5.99 in Australia and includes a program guide and recording capability.
Communion with a wi-fi enabled Core 2 Duo or better Intel Mac running Mac OS X Leopard or Snow Leopard and the latest EyeTV version 3.2 is essential. The Mac does the grunt work of converting the television signal to iPhone format. You also need iPhone OS version 3.0 or better.
Set-up was simplicity itself. Download the app, launch it, tap the screen and, voila! TV on your iPhone, no configuration required — the Mac and the iPhone marry automatically.
Of battery life I cannot speak personally, but if you were watching the Bathurst 1000, you might not finish without refuelling.
I have used it with an EyeTV Diversity tuner, which allows watching one program while recording another, but other brands of tuner compatible with EyeTV should work.
It's also possible to watch TV away from home, using Elgato's My EyeTV service. But even Elgato says it is not for novices, adding: “Please don't try this if you are not familiar with the term, 'port forwarding'. ”
But if you are a communications guru or can bribe a geek with a year's supply of Super Supremes, it can work.
Of course, video has been on iPhone 3G for some time but most of it was from the internet, either via wi-fi or a mobile network. There is, for example, a massive library of video podcasts, some great, a lot so trivial they endanger one's digestion.
Some TV apps deliver specific channels, such as France 24, a news channel broadcasting 24 hours a day in English, French and Arabic. It will help cripple your bank account by consuming large lumps of your 3G bandwidth quota.
Al Jazeera streams its news in English over 3G. Video quality is good but every 10 minutes of viewing burns 7MB. You can be bankrupted while you watch people telling you the world is going to hell in a handcart. But at least there are no ads.
The BBC's live video-streaming iPhone app is not available in Australia, although their text-based BBCReader and scads of free podcasts are.
Then there are apps such as CirclePix's Video Uploader, with which anyone disposed to self-exposure can add mountains of stuff on Facebook and YouTube, mostly, I think, to pass the time as they queue for, say, another Big Mac. At least it is better than spreading graffiti on trams.
IT IS not necessary to be serious always. In fact, a touch of mild eccentricity is beneficial, although I find bursting into tears in front of a parking warden will not stop him issuing a ticket.
Parking wardens have to show they are heartless, even if, deep down, they would like to be pussycats.
Therefore, and though it has nothing to do with parking, I confess I have been diverted recently by a little application called Cuckoo. It turns your Mac into a cuckoo clock. Download it from
You can set the cuckoo to chirp on the hour or at any other five-minute interval. Handy if you tend to go to sleep over the keyboard or get too engrossed in your work.
And just to show your friends that Matt Preston isn't the only man on the planet with a palate, check out Dinner Spinner, an iPhone and iPod Touch app, free from the iTunes App Store.
It is from, which describes itself as "Australia and New Zealand's biggest online food community". It provides access to thousands of recipes, with photographs and reviews. Perhaps best of all, when you don't know what to cook, you can simply shake the iPhone and the accelerometer will throw up its best suggestion.Read More.....


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