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Friday 2 June 2006
We've seen the future. And it works. Ever wanted to watch Belgian TV on your PSP? Or perhaps peruse a French DVD player from a hotel suite in London? That's the future that Sony was selling at the UK launch of LocationFree TV this week - a box that can broadcast the hardware in your living room around the world to your laptop or PSP.
Here's how it works. You buy a LocationFree TV base station (for £349) and, in your living room, plug it in. You connect up the AV outs of your Sky box (for example) and a DVD player (the LFTV box has two inputs) and connect the box to your router with an Ethernet cable. And that's about it. A simple 20 second 'handshake' with your PSP is enough to 'lock' the two machines together for life then - in theory - whenever you choose the LocationFree TV option on your PSP's network menu you'll see your Sky box and DVD player back home.
Incredible but true. Of course, there are one or two provisos to this utopian vision of the future but nothing too spanner-meets-works. For a start you shouldn't expect to be able to connect literally anywhere. Your PSP does have to be within range of a WiFi hotspot and one that isn't too fussy about dishing out free connections to anyone. Hotels and coffee shops are the obvious choices at present.
There are plenty of wireless access points dotted around already and there'll be plenty more soon. Wi-Max (the technology of broadcasting massive 'pockets' of WiFi coverage) is becoming more widespread with many thrusting 'cities of the future', such as Manchester and old London town, aiming to deliver always-on WiFi for their city centres. So, for now at least, forget about watching your prized My Family DVDs on the top of Ben Nevis.