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

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.

On the big screen

Upgrade your TV for 3D footie action

If the idea of 3D broadcasts appeals and you already have one of Sony, LG or Philips’ top-end HDTVs, you may be able to buy a 3D upgrade kit for it. Check your TV’s model number against the listings at the manufacturers’ website to find out.

The kit includes a pair of 3D glasses, but these will almost certainly be specific to the TV brand – no use if you want to host a World Cup party.

Laptop on the couch

Buy a 3D-ready TV

If you can’t upgrade your existing TV, Panasonic, Philips, Sony, Toshiba and LG are all rolling out 3D-ready sets. If you buy a Toshiba TV or laptop now and England win the World Cup, you’ll get your money back.

Bring the World Cup to your HDTV

If you want a 10ft view of the footie, a Freesat box will let you enjoy it in HD and also boost the number of channels at your disposal.

Freesat and Freeview have launched HD services, and both will offer access to World Cup matches broadcast on BBC and ITV HD channels. To take advantage, you’ll need a Freeview or Freesat HD settop box, an HDTV and, for Freesat viewers, a satellite dish.

Grundig and Goodmans have already launched settop boxes that support the HD service. Both devices cost £149 and feature an HDMI port for hooking up to your HDTV. Snap up the Grundig GUD300HD or Goodmans GBD300HD from argos.co.uk or play.com.

Meanwhile, Humax offers a Freesat-compatible settop box that comes with either 320GB or 500GB of internal storage and is priced from £279. It has twin TV tuners, letting you record one channel while watching another or record both channels at the same time.

Football fans welcome

If all this talk of watching the football is making you thirsty, there are plenty of places to watch the World Cup. Pubs and restaurants up and down the land will be screening matches – and not just England ones. If you’re intrigued by the idea of Sky’s new 3D broadcasts (introduced just in time for the Fifa World Cup, having been trialled at select locations when big Premiership matches have been on), take a look at the Sky TV 3D Pub Finder: 3d.sky.com/pubfinder.

Football fans in the pub

Swap one game for another

EA Sports has added a web dimension to its FIFA 10 Ultimate Team game, making it easier to make substitutions and manage your team. There’s also a special 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa game for PC, Microsoft Xbox, Nintendo Wii or PlayStation 3.

FIFA world cup game

NEXT: On the web and on the move >>

  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

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.

On the web and on the move

Projected results

At a pinch, you could use one of the mobile services we’ve outlined and beam the match on to a larger screen for more comfortable viewing. A pico projector such as the MiLi for iPhone and BlackBerry is ideal. Samsung even sells a phone with a built-in projector, so you can better enjoy the video content delivered by your handset.

Hear it on the radio

The web offers several ways to enjoy TV broadcasts, radio shows and live commentary. You can watch everything unfold via Twitter, log into the Fifa and BBC websites to get near-instant updates, tune into internet radio stations and even have a flutter.

If your internet connection isn’t fast enough to give a smooth picture or you’re concerned about busting your download limit, consider web radio instead. BBC Radio Five Live (bbc.co.uk/5live), Five Live Extra (bbc.co.uk/5livesportsextra) and TalkSport (talksport.net) will offer live coverage of the World Cup.

Radio

The radio is a great way to enjoy the World Cup

Sling content your way

Streaming services such as Sling Media SlingPlayer Mobile let you access remote devices – including your TV and PC – via a web browser.

You’ll need a £100 Slingbox Solo and a means of logging in – a laptop or web access at your hotel is the best bet. A version is available for iPhone and iPod touch owners, but you’ll still need a Slingbox set up at home.

Have a flutter online

If you consider yourself an armchair pundit, you can contribute to the debate via the PC Advisor Forums. Or you can put your money where your mouth is.

Fifa, Fantastar and Fantasy World Cup 2010 had already posted details of their World Cup betting schemes by the time we published this article.

NEXT: Football on your smartphone >>

  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

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.

Football on your smartphone

Mobile phones ought to be natural territory for World Cup coverage, but there are some serious restrictions over which companies can capitalise on the interest in the tournament. Even the BBC, which had planned to offer a News and Sport iPhone app, has had to have a rethink. As we went to press, the BBC Trust was still deliberating over whether the availability of these BBC apps would undermine commercial rivals.

Unofficial (but football-related) offerings for mobile phones include Duchy’s  59p 2010 World Cup app and the £1.19 Mirror Football app. Both provide match schedules and updates of any team changes, so you will at least be informed before you head to the pub to catch a game. Furthermore, a free app called iSouth Africa 2010 offers similar information ahead of the tournament’s start.

iPhone World Cup

Sky Sports apps for Orange and O2 Active will continue to offer football coverage via Sky Sports 1, 2, 3, 4 ESPN and Sky Sports News on mobiles (£5 a month each). The Sky Sports Live Football Score Centre apps for Nokia and iPhone will provide live streaming of matches to Sky subscribers, but again, the World Cup is excluded.

Instead, you’ll be best off using Twitter and online news sites to keep up to date with happenings when you can’t be watching an important game and contenting yourself with your own imminent glory by becoming a virtual football manager via EA’s £3.99 Fifa 10 or the about-to-launch 2010 Fifa World Cup South Africa app.

  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