Maximizing your video on demand experience (part 2)

17 August 2009

With the new on demand video services that let you watch just about everything that's on television on your computer, you may wonder if you need a television at all. Well, maybe not. While there isn't a clear consensus on what situations, if any, you'd need a TV licence for if you're watching solely online, the trend is clear: video on demand is rapidly increasing in popularity. If you want to ditch your television in favor of watching everything online, you'll want just the right equipment to make the most of it.

And while it's sorely tempting to set off another round of "Expensive HDMI cables are better" / "No they bloody well aren't" let's just say that HUKD also rounded up some deals on cables you might need to hook up your awesome new widescreen HD monitor:

Gold Plated HDMI to HDMI 1.5 m cable 1 for £2.99, 2 or more for £2.69 each at 7dayshop + 1% Quidco or 2% Topcashback.

Gold Plated HDMI to DVI 1.5 m cable £3.29 delivered from

Philips HDMI cable £3, Philips HDMI / DVI cable £3 and SLx Gold HDMI / DVI Kit £5 in-store at ASDA.

Now, to get the best performance from your computer, if you don't have a decent sound card, there are good deals on those listed on HUKD, such as this Toshiba Multimedia Center Sound Card: 24 bit, 5.1 channel surround, that hooks up to your hi-speed USB. This is said to work best with Windows XP or Ubuntu. Vista, not so much. It is said to work with a Macbook Pro however.

A set of speakers will help you out, too, and you can get a set of It Works 5102 Speakers 5.1 for 13.49 at Comet (reserve online, pick up at store to avoid 5.82 delivery charge. Specs include: Output power (total): 100W PMPO (10W RMS), Speaker Driver Unit:-, Main Unit: 3" 50W PMPO (5W RMS) Center: 2.25" 10W PMPO (1W RMS), Front: 2.25" 10W PMPOx2 (1W RMSx2), Rear: 2.25" 10W PMPOx2 (1W RMSx2).

If you're mostly going to be watching on your laptop, and if you have loud roommates, you can get a pair of Sony MDR-NC11 Noise Cancelling Headphones for £10 at Sainsbury's, or a pair of the old-school looking Noise Cancellation Headphones for 19.99 at Aldi.

If your computer has less than 4 GB of RAM, you may want to consider bringing it up to 4 GB, particularly if you will be running other programs in the background while you're watching video.

Many thanks to sharp-eyed HUKD readers Bytes and Bobs, DennyDenny, drspa44, Zootaga, steveuk, stiffnuts, RoyalRenegade, Dileas, puls3, madgrabit, and arfan!


  • Tom P.
    "Gold Plated HDMI to HDMI 1.5 m cable 1 for £2.99" WOW that's cheap, nearly bought one from Currys for £69.99.
  • graeme
    in a test the gold plated stuff makes such a minimal difference that you're fine getting standard cables. unless you've got a super-duper top of the range THX system of something
  • Codify
    No point in upgrading to 4GB of RAM if you don't have a 64-bit system
  • The B.
    Of course there's a point of sticking more ram in if you run a 32 bit system, mainly to clear up memory bottlenecks but also to decrease swap file usage and as such disk bottlenecks, what a silly analogy.
  • Bruno
    Codify, true but I have heard rumors that with the new windows 7 you can also get more than 4gbs without a 64x sysem. I dont know how. but anyway those hdmi are dead cheap, I purchased mine for about £20 at PC World. Love HotUKDeals.
  • jaffacake
    windows XP 32-bit as standard will only use 2GB. if you change settings and muck about with stuff, you may be able to get it to recognise 3GB. but it won't actually use 4GB even if it's installed into your motherboard.
  • The B.
    I'm pretty sure Windows Server 2003 32 bit edition will take 32G of RAM, I used to run it as my SQL box at home. I'm now using the 64 bit ed.
  • Martha F.
    I have 8Kb in my Spectrum, is that enough to watch Dr. Who repeats?
  • hypertension a.
    Hi... I am now using windows 64-bit edition. and it is quite better compared to my last 32-bit one. I have extended RAM to 4 GB and it has removed all memory bottlenecks.

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