Watch and record TV on the computer

Thursday, April 29th, 2010

Gillian Shaw

1 EyeTV Hybrid, Elgato, $ 150 US More from the just-in-time TV department. A tiny TV tuner stick, this receives both digital and analog signals, including HDTV, to turn your PC or Mac computer into a digital video recorder. You can watch and record live TV, pausing just like on your PVR. It also takes video from set-top boxes, camcorders, DVD players and other sources. If you have an Apple Mac, you can edit recordings and export them to iTunes to watch on your iPhone, iPod or ( as soon as it arrives) your iPad.

Helios Solar Weather Station, 2 Oregon Scientific, $ 55 US

A built-in solar panel keeps this weather station powered up by drawing on solar cells to extend battery life. The main power comes from three AA batteries that aren’t included. The weather station displays up to three locations indoors and out, monitoring temperature and humidity. And it will forecast weather for the upcoming 12 hours, including an ice alert if the temperatures drop close to freezing.

3 Contour USB blood glucose meter, Bayer, $ 100

This is a gadget we’re hoping you won’t need, but with diabetes affecting an increasing number of people, Bayer’s new blood glucose meter — the first to have a built-in USB connection so you can store and monitor blood sugar results — is a useful step up from the traditional log book method of tracking glucose levels. It has a colour screen that flags high, low and average blood sugar readings, and stores up to 2,000 test results. Its rechargeable battery is powered up via the USB port on your computer or with a USB wall charger that’s an optional extra. Not available yet, but Bayer is taking pre-registration online.

4 Surge, Novothink, from $ 70 US

This is a carrying case that comes with a built-in solar panel, giving you a charger that extends the life of your iPhone or iPod Touch. A handy double-duty carrier that will get you out of a jam if your iPhone or iPod runs out juice while you’re out and about. Two hours of direct sunlight ( a B. C. winter could prove challenging) will charge your iPhone with 30 minutes of talk time for a 3G network or 60 minutes for 2G. It has four LED lights to signal whether or not you have enough sunlight for a charge, plus to show how much charge is left in the battery. The iPod Touch version is $ 70 US, for the iPhone it’s $ 80.

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