BT starts Wi-Fi revolution in British homes

By introducing short-radius wireless broadband internet into flats and houses, BT intends to make music and video web content conveniently available anywhere in the home without cables on devices ranging from laptop computers to TVs and hi-fi systems.

A new partnership deal with Toshiba will mark the first step in BT’s plan to make Britain Europe’s leader in the 21st-century technology of the fully-networked wireless home. BT customers will be able to turn their homes into “wi-fi hotspots” of the kind currently used to give business travellers access to e-mail and corporate data while waiting in the executive lounge of an airport.

Until now, broadband access in the home has generally only been available via a strange-looking clunky modem running a cable attachment to a PC.

BT will initially offer home customers wireless broadband access across the airwaves via a range of Toshiba laptops. The latest wi-fi Centrino version, with a five-hour battery life, is priced at UKpound 999 — UKpound 100 less than the usual retail price. Delivery and connection charges for BT’s wi-fi base station, a small box that will sit quietly by the phone connection outlet, will add another UKpound 194 to the price.

The cost of the laptop can be paid monthly and, if endorsed by an employer, can qualify the user for an additional 32 percent-40 percent reduction in the form of a tax write-off depending on the individual’s rate of income tax. Currently, unlimited broadband internet access is available from BT at roughly UKpound 28 per month in most areas of the UK.

BT is determined to take the mystique out of wi-fi and will send an engineer to install the kit and make sure it is working flawlessly before leaving the premises. But being able to surf the net via a high-speed wireless connection from a hammock in the garden is only the start of a much bigger wireless revolution.

BT’s board has a vision of “a wireless connected world”, networking home entertainment products such as the TV and hi-fi, allowing families wireless access to music and film content from the internet from a growing range of devices.

BT and Sony acknowledge they are in talks about the best way to deploy broadband internet across all these devices. Last week, Sony unveiled its first wi-fi-enabled TV set. Pierre Danon, the chief executive of BT Retail, told The Business that the BT board has set itself a September deadline to finalise its strategy for offering customers a range of wi-fi- enabled home electronic products and has already drawn up a final shortlist of manufacturers as potential partners.

In the US, wi-fi is already widely deployed in homes as well as in public places such as coffee shops, bookstores and truck stops. But, until this week, Europe has lagged behind as a result of traditionally high internet call charges and low PC penetration in countries like Italy.

Although Apple offers users a self-install wi-fi base station for early adopters, BT’s initiative is the first to deploy the technology to the mass consumer market.

If BT’s wi-fi initiative is successful, it is likely to be copied across Europe, boosting IT software and hardware sales. IT and electronic manufacturers are already starting to design new products aimed at the kind of connected world envisaged by BT.

According to Toshiba, the home electronics market will now see rapid convergence between the home computing and home entertainment markets, with a handheld remote control managing content across the PC, the TV and the hi-fi.

Source: Sunday Business, London

Product Review

Honor schools other phone makers on design with the hole-punch View 20

The Honor View 20 is Honor’s best phone to date. Why? Just look at the punch hole screen, the striking design, and the exciting 48-megapixel camera for evidence. Here’s our review.
Computing

What is fixed wireless 5G? Here’s everything you need to know

Here's fixed wireless 5G explained! Learn what you need to know about this effective new wireless technology, when it's available, how much it costs, and more. If you're thinking about 5G, this guide can help!
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Home Theater

These awesome A/V receivers will swarm you with surround sound at any budget

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to shopping for a receiver, so we assembled our favorites for 2018, at multiple price points and all loaded with features, from Dolby Atmos to 4K HDR, and much more.
Mobile

Apple Pay coming to more top U.S. stores, including Target and Taco Bell

Apple Pay is the best way to pay on your iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple Pay support is being rolled out across the U.S. for a variety of top retailers, including Taco Bell, Target, Hy-Vee, and more.
Mobile

The 2020 iPhones may only use OLED displays and Intel 5G modems

While some reports hinted that Apple was looking to move away from using Intel tech, a new report suggests the exact opposite. Reportedly, Apple has chosen Intel to supply 5G modems for Apple's first 5G-enabled iPhone, due in 2020.
Music

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.
Home Theater

Spotify adds artist-blocking feature, despite its denials

Though it continues to claim you can't do it, there is plenty of evidence that Spotify added an artist-blocking feature to its platform, making it easy for users to never hear a specific musician or band.
Wearables

With weeklong battery life, the new Honor Watches are a real Dream to wear

Honor has unveiled the new Honor View 20, one of the best smartphones of the year. Alongside it, however, the company also took the wraps off of the new Honor Watch Magic and Honor Watch Dream.
Mobile

2019's 10 best dating apps to help you find the perfect companion

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.
Mobile

Moschino glams up the 48-megapixel Honor View 20 at Paris launch

After its success with the View 10 in 2018, Honor has announced its sequel, the Honor View 20 with an entirely new type of display which has a hole-punch for the camera rather than a notch.
Wearables

10 top features you should be using on your Apple Watch

The Apple Watch can do more than just tell you the time, but you may not be aware of all the different functions it has. Our list of the 10 most often used functions and features will help you understand what it can really do.
Mobile

Get your photos on billboards with Apple’s 2019 ‘Shot on iPhone’ program

Like previous years, Apple has once again launched its Shot on iPhone program, which encourages users to submit the best photos they've taken with their iPhone. Ultimately, the winners will get their photos featured on billboards.