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How to watch the FIFA World Cup in style

PC Advisor’s World Cup technology guide

Committed football fans can rejoice: technology is going into overdrive to deliver more ways to enjoy the World Cup football action. PC Advisor outlines ways you can get involved.

As you read this, World Cup hype is turning into a full-on marketing onslaught, with almost any sports or technology angle exploited in order to reference the Fifa 2010 tournament. Only the London 2012 Olympics will match it in terms of marketing, consumer interest and the adoption of new, largely untested technologies. While ‘Avatar’ showcased the potential of 3D, for example, the Fifa 2010 World Cup will take it mainstream.

While live video streaming and catch-up TV are obvious avenues, there are lots of other ways technology can keep you up to date with events in South Africa this summer.

Some schemes are neatly linked to the football action: who can argue with getting their new laptop for free should England win the World Cup? Others are more tenuous. Here, we round up some great ways to enjoy the action, whether you’re on a PC, a laptop or a smartphone.

Enjoy the action on your PC

TVs and PCs are fast becoming indistinguishable from one another. A slew of all-in-one PCs are available that take up little space, are stylishly designed and certainly don’t scream ‘I’m a PC’. Many have built-in TV tuners, and it’s almost as though the manufacturers have read our minds about what we’d like to use them for. One advantage of using a PC over a TV, of course, is the storage capacity – you can record a whole series of ‘Doctor Who’, all the England matches or the next series of ‘Britain’s Got Talent’, for example.

Media-centre PCs

Whether you favour the £399 Dell Inspiron One 19, the brand-new Samsung U250 or the £760 Acer Aspire Z5610 with its 23in display, there’s a lot to be said for a home-entertainment PC that allows you to browse the web, show off your photos and kick back and enjoy the match.

The 18.4in Dell doesn’t come with a TV tuner as standard, but you can customise your order to add an external Hauppauge one for around £50. Otherwise, there’s always BBC iPlayer, of course – which isn’t a bad option if you’ve got a full-HD screen to admire (although it won't let you watch live action).

Dell Inspiron One 19

Dell Inspiron One 19

TV tuners

Several brands of TV tuner are available. USB versions plug into your PC or laptop. You then simply position the antenna, install the electronic programme guide and scan the airwaves for channels.

A DVB-T TV tuner will pick up free-to-air digital TV channels as well as terrestrial broadcasts.

The Elgato EyeTV for DTT Deluxe is ideal. The £79 Football Edition comes with a flag for your PC and, should England win the World Cup, you’ll be eligible for a full refund.

PC users can also use an internal PCI card to pick up TV broadcasts – a neater solution, but one that involves unscrewing the case and placing the card in a PCI slot.

Many tuners now have time-shifting and recording functionality, so you can pause live TV or record it and transfer the file on to a portable device.

Compro’s £49 Compro VideoMate has two TV tuners, letting you record one show while watching another.

Laptop skins

If you prefer to use your computing kit to show your support for your team rather than actually watch the football on it, you could invest in a removable ‘skin’. Head to laptopskins.com to find suitable sports-related decals. We found the three football ones illustrated here.

Laptops skins

Laptops skins

Fancy peripherals

Eminent’s football-themed computer mouse, with its football-design trackball and England-flag surround, is available at amazon.co.uk for £8.99 inc VAT.

Eminents football-themed mouse

NEXT PAGE: On the big screen >>

  1. Enjoy the action on your PC
  2. On the big screen
  3. On the web and on the move
  4. Football on your smartphone

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