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Tech Digest

Potentially useful gadgets of the week: Samsung's mobile TV range

Samsung Digital TV PortableIf you thought that TV on the move was all about catching a few seconds of Big Brother on your phone, think again. At IFA, next month's huge consumer electronics fest in Berlin, Samsung is set to unveil a wide range of mobile TV products. This means adding a screen and tuner to pretty much every portable item in its portfolio, including personal DVD players, personal media players and even camcorders.

The devices will tune into TV via the DMB (Digital Multimedia Broadcasting) format, a variation of DAB the digital radio standard that has been very successful in the UK and Germany. The first DMB products are likely to be available in Germany next year for the World Cup, though a UK launch won't be too far behind.

Quite who will offer digital TV services to these kind of devices remains to be seen. Samsung's marketing chief, David Steel, points out the obvious candidates are those who already offer digital radio stations - so maybe the BBC and the EMAP group, which has several music TV channels. Sky is almost certainly looking at the format too, as are news channels like ITV and CNN. Digital TV on small devices is already available in both Japan and Korea.

Traditional 'how did that get on eBay' Story: Slot Machine Golfer

GolferSlot machines and golf... together at last! Okay, so this gizmo will appeal to an extremely limited audience, but we're still glad it exists. It's a six-foot wooden golfer statue that's also a working slot machine. According to the auction listing, there's "only one man in the world carving these unique items", although to be honest maybe he should take that as a hint. It accepts real coins, although you might not have any left after shelling out $10,000+ for the thing.

OTT home entertainment stuff: Sky's Gnome

Sky TV subscribers who can't bear the thought of missing a second of the action on TV or radio can now keep up with events via the Sky Gnome. This dinky little wireless receiver lets you listen to Sky TV and radio channels anywhere in the house - so long as the Gnome is within 30m of your Sky box. Obviously this is no good if you were planning on watching a Buster Keaton weekend movie bonanza, but if you don't want to miss out on sports commentary, or if you just want to listen to a bit of radio, you'll be able to get up to eight hours of listening done before you need to recharge the batteries. Available in Cool Blue or Funky Orange. It'll be out in October with prices still to be confirmed.


Vaguely useful gadget of the week: first ever wind-up digital radio

Cranky RadioEveryone loves a good world -first, especially an eco one such as the world's first wind-up FM and DAB radio. That's right, crank lovers, you can now join the choice-filled world of digital and groove to the almighty Planet Rock, catch the new bands on XFM and even chuckle along with the classics on BBC 7. The Freeplay Devo - someone in Freeplay obviously knows their late 1970s post-punk bands - as this smart little green machine is known, goes on sale on October. For those times when you want to youíre your muscles a break you can also plug it into the electricity mains. There's some very limited info available here.

Child-unfriendly gadget of the week: MP3 players for kids

Here's an intriguing prospect: MP3 players designed to rock the nursery world. Bush/Alba is launching a series of models under the idrops banner aimed unashamedly at kids. Each player is not only colourful, features 128MB of storage and comes with a neckstrap and earphones, but is accompanied by its own sticker sheet. But the genius move is that the players also feature a pre-loaded bedtime story, meaning that time poor parents can skip the latest instalment from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and let the idrop take over leaving them free to enjoy the latest episode of Extras. Bet it's already on the Social Services' hit list...


Quick Picks

There's loads more of this stuff at Tech Digest, Shiny Shiny, Green consumer blog HippyShopper and Bayraider, which highlights the best and worst of online auction sites.

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