h1

Technology can be brill!

July 1, 2007

One of the things that we’ve been missing, just a little, is access to some TV. To be honest, the list of UK stuff that we wish we could watch is fairly short, but then back in London we only watched a couple of hours a week anyway.

That said we have been long-time Formula 1 fans, with our level of interest waxing and waning depending on how interesting the current season was. We’ve been to Silverstone a couple of times, including the year that Michael Schumaker crashed out of the race, and the season breaking his leg. For the last few years then the interest has been low as the F1 world was, well, less than fascinating. Last year as the season started we were well into the planning Op Keo and the move and, even though we could, we didn’t see a single race.

This year though we’ve been tantilised by reports of new blood and a revitalised competition. Tantilising because we don’t have a TV. Actually, that’s not true. We brought our lone TV with us from England and it’s happily sitting on a TV stand in the living room. It’s just that it’s not attached to anything useful, like an aerial. Since we’re renting there’s little point buying a satellite dish and signing up for a package and if we went with a regular roof-top aerial then we’d only get Greek channels which would be of limited use to us. So, we have a TV that get’s plugged in about once a week so that we can watch something on DVD. Our behaviour is considered to be a little odd, even amongst the ex-pats. But then sometimes the feeling is mutual; we know of someone who turned down the perfect house because there wasn’t enough room to install his 4.2 metre (13.8 foot) satellite dish, really!

Anyway, we pretty much have no TV and most of the time that isn’t a problem … but for that pesky F1. We talked about heading down to the beach-front to one of the sports bars to watch the races there, but couldn’t quite bring ourselves to do it.

Today is race #8 of the season, the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours. This morning Ian started muttering to himself about available technology and then did some research on TV and radio schedules for the day. For the record we have a fair number of radios, a couple of computers (both Apple Macs) and a halfway decent broadband connection.

So, right now one of the computers is picking up a feed from the Cypriot TV channel. Since the commentary is in Greek we have the volume turned off. Instead, on the radio we have Radio 5 Live – via BFBS – who are providing full commentary for the race. Just to fill in any gaps BBC Sport have a handy lap-by-lap summary which we’re picking up on the other computer. The TV feed is delayed by around 60 seconds which makes for an interesting listening comparison with the radio commentary.

It’s clunky, it’s quirky, it’s far from ideal but it works! For the first time this year we are able to watch the race live :-)

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