Wanted: a box to do catch-up TV | Ask Jack | Technology | guardian.co.uk (click for full article) Summary: Pat Sweeney would like something that handles all the UK's catch-up TV services, not just the BBC's iPlayer, along with movie services such as LoveFilm "I am interested in getting a media streamer that would allow access to all the catch-up TV services - BBC iPlayer, 4oD etc - plus some movie downloads such as LoveFilm. I see lots of boxes around, but none that support all the main catch-up services.' --Pat Sweeney "Come back and ask this question in about two years and I expect I will have at least two good answers, which might be YouView and Roku. Other contenders could include Western Digital's WD TV, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PS3, Google TV, BT Vision and a few others. It's confusing because the best answer could be a personal computer, a dedicated set-top box, a smart TV, a media streamer, a games console, an internet router or some other device. This should not be surprising because most of them basically consist of a processor, memory, software and perhaps a hard drive or other form of storage. They're all computers specialised for different applications, but their functions can easily overlap. At the moment, most people use a combination of different systems for different purposes, to suit their own preferences. Probably the simplest approach is to use a Freeview DVR (digital video recorder) for broadcast TV and for recording TV programmes, while using a PC for the internet-based stuff. This includes all the catch-up TV services, YouTube streaming, movie downloads and so on. A laptop is less than ideal for family viewing, but if both the laptop and TV set have HDMI ports, you can use the TV as an external screen. More serious enthusiasts tend to buy or assemble their own HTPC (home theatre PC). While it's possible to use Windows Media Center for this purpose - it was introduced a decade ago for precisely this purpose - the trend is to use an open source alternative such as XBMC with the TVCatchup plug-in. (TVCatchup is also available for Windows and as an app for iPhone, iPad and Android.) There's also a PleXBMC plug-in."