Today with Seán O'Rourke
The mid-morning current affairs magazine with the stories of the day, sharp analysis, sports coverage, in-depth features and consumer interest.
A huge project to build a necklace of 750 high voltage pylons from Kildare to Wexford to Cork is bringing hundreds of protesters to meetings around the country. The Grid Link Project will cost €500 million and, although the final route has not yet been selected, last night around 300 people gathered in Cahir in Co Tipperary to voice their concerns. Sean spoke to John FitzPatrick, Director of Grid Development with Eirgrid and Valerie Cox went along to the meeting in South Tipperary.
As British Prime Minister Tony Blair's right-hand man, former journalist and political analyst Campbell played a critical role in every aspect of ‘New Labour’ strategy. The four volumes of his diaries which charted the period in Opposition and in office, between 1994 and 2003, were a publishing sensation. In a newly edited one-volume edition which focuses on Ireland, and one of the Blair government's biggest successes, the Northern Ireland peace process, Alastair Campbell takes us from the high of the Good Friday Agreement and devolution in Northern Ireland to the deadly lows of the Manchester and Omagh bombings, and explodes the tensions, all-night talks, adrenalin-fuelled negotiations and heady personality clashes that are such an intrinsic part of twenty-first-century politics.
The Irish Diaries (1994 -2003) By Alastair Campbell (edited by Kathy Gilfillan) Published by The Lilliput Press. Price: €16.99 paperback.
From rabbit ears to internet-enabled televisions - the simplicity of two-channel land has been replaced by almost unlimited content available on myriad household devices:
Mobile phones are now televisions and modern TV sets be used to make video calls.
Sean spoke to Conor Brophy who has been looking at the Smart TV revolution. He's also been seeking out the cheapest and easiest ways to enjoy it in your living room.
What do we mean by Smart TV?
Manufacturers of televisions use the phrase smart TV in reference to televisions that are capable of connecting directly to the internet. In general when you're talking about consumer electronics any time you see or hear the prefix smart before any device it means that in some way it can connect to the internet and make extra features available to you as a result.
If you have Sky or UPC at home they are providing you with content either over satellite or cable. If you also have a broadband internet connection a Smart TV opens up a whole extra layer of programming and services that you're not otherwise privy to.
So what type of content are we talking about?
Netflix, a company a lot of people will have been hearing about recently, is a good example.
For those who haven't it's a service, essentially, that you subscribe to online and that uses the internet to deliver films and television programmes. It began by licensing those programmes and films from studios but now has branched out into producing its own documentaries, series - such as House of Cards and Orange is the new Black - and films.
That might not float your boat if, for example, you subscribe already to Sky or UPC and you have a lot of that stuff available to you anyway. But it could be well worth looking into if you're on Saorview, for instance, because it gives you unlimited acccess for 6.99 a month with no minimum contract term. So, let's say, if you've been hearing all this buzz about Breaking Bad you could, in theory, sign up watch the whole show over the course of a month or two and cancel your subscription. It's pretty flexible in other words.
Another option a lot of people are opting for is an Irish company called AerTV. Again with a broadband connection that will give you access to all of the Irish terrestrial channels for free. Additional channels, including the BBC channels, will cost you €5.99 per month.
If you don't want to watch all this on a laptop or desktop and a Smart TV is out of your price range what are the other options?
There are a bewildering number of ways you can skin this cat. Among the options are a set-top box such as AppleTV (€109) or a smart DVD player. Samsung has one for €149. The advantage of that is you get your blu ray DVD player and you effectively turn your TV into a Smart TV for about €500 or €600 less than you would pay to buy a Smart TV.
The other technology that seems all pervasive is smartphone technology and it's now becoming more straighforward to transfer content from your phone to the TV and vice versa...
Again looking to AppleTV as one example: if you have an Apple iPad you can play a movie on it and pop that straight up onto your television. One of the big advantages to doing this is that you can view high definition content from your iPhone or iPad on television.
This option is also available to those who have other makes of smartphone. You can use the latest Samsung handsets with their TVs and their Smart DVD players for instance.
Does all of this render the cable or satellite subscription somewhat redundant?
No. The fact is UPC, Sky and Magnet all have pretty compelling offerings bringing together sport, news, documentaries, film and a rake of other channels and content. They also have their own unique deals. Sky has a lot of American television series that are really popular. Both of them offer services that allow you to access your UPC or Sky subscription on your computer, mobile or tablet.
Really the questions are: how much do you want to spend? Do you want to have to upgrade the devices such as TV, games console or set top box and is it worth your while? What sort of content are you after? For sports such as Premier League football or Heineken Cup (should it survive!) Sky or UPC packages are - no pun intended - the only game in town. For movies and TV series there are a range of other options at different prices and available in different ways.
If you have a broadband subscription the message is that you can use that to access a lot of content and you may be able to do so in a more cost-effective and convenient way than subscribing to, for example, Sky or UPC.
Almost 10,000 people from Ireland and around the world will attend the fourth Dublin Web Summit taking place today and tomorrow in the RDS. The event will see some of the world’s leading company founders, investors, and industry-leading firms come together at more than 60 events across the city.
As part of the summit, at 1.30 this afternoon, NASDAQ will be opened for the first time ever in Ireland by Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
Sean spoke to three people who are taking part in the summit about their own careers, their history background and interests, before bringing the three of them together to examine some of the issues facing the web summit this year.
Sean first spoke to Cathriona Hallahan, the Managing Director of Microsoft Ireland.
A major trade delegation to the Gulf region this week will see the Irish dairy, bloodstock, and food industries attempt to increase ties with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
Investment plans from the Irish Dairy Board and hopes to double food exports to the Middle East in the coming years, Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney’s trip involves 34 industries from internationals like the Kerry Group to smaller industries like Keogh’s crisps as well as representatives from Bord Bia and the department of agriculture.
Sean spoke to RTÉ’s Damien O’Reilly from Saudi Arabia.
There will be nightly water restrictions in Dublin which will take effect between 8pm and 7am each night which are expected to be in place until at least next Monday. The situation will be reviewed on a daily basis by the four Dublin Local Authorities.
Sean spoke to Michael Philips, Dublin City Engineer on why nightly water restrictions were necessary.
Presenter: Sean O'Rourke