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<  General Toppy discussions  ~  Modern, HD equivalent to the TF5800 ?

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mikej2005
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 1:41 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 17 Jun 2006 Posts: 111 Location: UK
Have us 5800/5810 users been left high and dry when it comes to newer, more up-to-date HD alternatives from Topfield ? Or is it accepted that the Icecrypt Freeview HD PVRs are the way to go ?

I bought my TF5800 back in 2005, so have had more than 5 years of use from it. It is the only PVR I've ever owned, and in terms of value for money with respect to usage, it has been one of the best 'gadgets' I've ever bought Smile

This is mainly due to the excellent user community here at this site, which has helped to improve the (very average) Toppy EPG (thanks to the MyStuff team) and to enable me to continue upgrading and improving the Toppy with all the firmware fixes, MyStuff updates (ect) on my 64-bit Windows 7 machines, via the Antares program.

But... times are changing for me. I've held off buying a flat-panel HD TV for many years (due to the better SD picture quality offered by a good quality CRT like my Panasonic 32PD30 IMO), however Santa brought me a PS3 for Christmas and this could be just the push I need to join the HD revolution.

So... the Panasonic plasmas I'm looking at have both in-built Freeview HD and Freesat tuners, with the ability to record to HDD via the USB port.

I would love a Freeview HD version of my trusty TF5800 to compliment the Panasonic's in-built (but presumably more restrictive) PVR capability - does such a thing exist from Topfield or do I have to look towards Icecrypt (T2400?) or perhaps even elsewhere (Humax?) to get machine as good as my TF5800 ?

There must be plenty of other folk in a similar position - so how are you getting on ? How does the 5800 SD picture look on your large 1080p screens and how do you record HD broadcasts ?

_________________
TF5800 with TF-NPT 5.13.65T Firmware, MyStuff 6.3, EPG2MEI v0.96, Extend v1.7, MyInfo B5.5, Font Manager 1.0d, SecCache (UK) v0.4, TF5000DisplayV1_53a
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nwhitfield
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:10 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
At the moment, I've not seen anything that makes me want to switch to HD completely, I'm afraid. There's nothing yet that has the versatility and tweakability of the SD Toppies.

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toodeep
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:00 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Apr 2005 Posts: 282
Per the OP some modern TVs include very basic PVR functionality but don't include the external storage which the user can provide, i.e. maybe use this for HD recording, and the Toppy for everything else, until a proper Toppy replacement arrives.

_________________
TF5800, TS On, F/W: 5.13.65T 14/4/2009 -AbTe+CwOtTdVr
TAPs: Jag's EPG v3.0; DescriptionExtender 2.23; Matrix Screensaver V1.7;
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gomezz
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:07 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 18 Nov 2005 Posts: 3985 Location: Buckingham
The only reason I got a Freesat HD PVR last year was to watch the World Cup footy on ITV as their SD coverage is appalling while the BBC SD footy coverage is tolerable as are most other programmes I watch. A Freeview HD PVR would mean only adding Channel 4 HD for me which is not sufficient reason to splosh the dosh even if the rumours of it coming to Freesat never happens.

_________________
TF5800, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+BmC0CbCfCtDEgEmEvEzIMPePsVdZ
TAPs: Power Down 0.75; QuickJump 1.72; MyStuff 6.6; TAP Commander 1.34; MyInfo B5.4; EPG2MEI v0.96;
Extend v1.7; EIT Sub v0.6; mei2archive BETA 3.8l6; Font Manager 1.0d; (Power Restore V0.7.3b)
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MarkPax
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:09 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 07 Nov 2010 Posts: 520
I hear good things about the DigitalStream HD PVRs, and bad things about most of the others. Not tweakable, but solid performers.

It depends what size plasma you are going for, and how far away you sit. IMHO HD offers only marginal benefits unless you have a TV the size of a garage door, or eyes like a fighter pilot.

_________________
TF5800t, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 +PeR0UUuWfZ
TAPs: TAP Commander 1.34; TommyFF v2.1; BlankStuff v2.5; MyInfo B5.5; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.5; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub v0.6; TF5000 Display v1.53;
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scoobydooby
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:29 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 26 Jul 2005 Posts: 518 Location: Broadstone,Dorset (Rowridge IOW Transmitter)
Such is my loyalty to the 5800 that I've just invested more money into it with a bigger HDD & Pata-Sata bridge, this will buy me some more time until a true worthy replacement comes along.

Some flat panels handle SD better than others, read up on user reviews before making a purchase, & of course go & view for yourself, I'm quite happy with the SD performance of my 40" TV when displaying the output from my Toppy.

If you are using the Scart lead supplied with the Toppy a better quality scart lead will help, but dont get suckered into a really expensive one.

Tony

_________________
TF5800t, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 +Vd+Z
TAPs: EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; MHEG On/Off A3; MyInfo B5.6;
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exim
Posted: Sun Jan 02, 2011 3:29 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 22 Feb 2010 Posts: 9
Yep, there are many restrictions that need sorting out before I consider a HD unit: EPG restrictions, non-freesat channel recording restrictions, encryption issues, transfer file size restrictions (depending on format & media / lack of ability to transfer direct to PC) etc...
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aws
Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:12 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 23 Apr 2006 Posts: 114 Location: North Chingford
Well, I've now had my HD "Toppy Replacement" running for a week now, so here are my observations.

I'm running a 3Ghz Windows 7 Pro 64bit Media Centre with 4GB of ram and HDMI output. I have installed two PCTV 209e DVB-T2 USB tuners, and are using them through MCE.

Firstly everything seems a lot easier than it should be. The installation of the 209e's was an absolute breeze, and I installed the PCTV Win7 64bit MCE drivers, so that I could use MC rather than PCTV's supplied "TV Center" application which I found a turn off fromthe start,and won't work with the MC remote.

MCE scans the tuners then downloads a 14 day EPG from Microsoft. First problem - whoever controls the EPG will not supply any HD channel EPG info to MS, as it doesn't hide where it records to, and the recordings can be easily backed up. This easy to get round for BBC1HD,ITVHD and Ch4HD, as MCE allows you to map or copy the EPG data from any channel to any channel. For BBC HD there is a hack that will populate the EPG. Setting up recordings, series link etc, is very easy and clear.

The EPG is fast, intuitive and clear, but not quite as fast to navigate as MyStuff6.2, but I think that's just me having to learn the shortcuts. Search works well, allowing you to put in keywords and the such, and again is very fast. Recordings still happen in the background even if youdon't have MCE open, so sometimes if a HD recording kicks in while you're doing other things it can slow down for a few seconds,but nothing terminal.

Playback is good, complete with audio on the slowest fast forward setting. Good to see a decent speed fast-forward / rewind but which reacts well.

Fantastic that any MCE on the same network can pick up shared folders from the MC with the tuners on and can stream recordings over your network.

First slight drawback. The MC records in "WTV" format. On SD recordings, you can right-click these files and convert them to "dvr-ms", which VideoRedo can open. VRD can also open the WTV directly, but doesn;t seem to find an audio stream. This also seems to be an issue dragging recordings into NeroVision 10. If you try and convert a HD .wtv file into a DVR-MS, it comes up with an error message that dvr-ms does not support the HD format (or something along those lines). There are various applications availableonline to convert HD .wtv files, but I haven't yet had a chance to try them out.

So far the killer app is being able to choose exactly where programs are recorded, the ability to view them and copy them across the network, and they can also be played in Windows Media Player. I can put up with not being able to edit out adverts on HD recordings, so long as I can back them up.

BBC1HD looks fantastic - the "Bears Spy on the Ice" doc being a great example.

So far MCE seems to let you get under the bonnet nicely, so long as you probe down through the settings far enough.

I haven't worked out how to record live TV that has been paused or re-wound - one of the nice things with MyStuff was that you could convert the buffer recording to an actual recording. I haven't yet worked out eeither the button combo for this on MCE or even if it is capable. So far though this is the only thing that makes me want my Toppy back.

I wish Topfield had kept up with DVB-T2 and PC /networks connections. At the moment though, I'd give MCE 7 to 8 out of 10 - room for improvement but perfectly usable as is.

AWS

exim wrote:
Yep, there are many restrictions that need sorting out before I consider a HD unit: EPG restrictions, non-freesat channel recording restrictions, encryption issues, transfer file size restrictions (depending on format & media / lack of ability to transfer direct to PC) etc...

_________________
TF5800, IA On, TS On, F/W: 13.65AbBfBqCeCkCpCwCyDeEcEeEfEpErEsFFmGmHHeKtMhNfOtPPcRRaReRhRpRsSSdSlSrStT2TdTeTfTpTsVrXpXwXl
TAPs: EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.1; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; MyInfo B1; TF5000 Display v1.43;
Other Kit, Onkyo TX-SR607, Pioneer Kuro KRV-32, Media Centre Dual Core 3GHz Intel, Radeon 4670 HDMI, BluRay, 1080 24, Power DVD10 Ultra, Windows 7 Pro 64bit, AE1/JBL speakers.
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aws
Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 23 Apr 2006 Posts: 114 Location: North Chingford
Latest update - have done some more research with the latest version of VideoRedo - the missing audio problem is due to the MCE recording both audio streams (main + audio descriptive) regardless of whether there is an AD track, and VRD seems to pick the blank stream by default. Selecting the correct audio stream brings back the sound.

AWS




aws wrote:
First slight drawback. The MC records in "WTV" format. On SD recordings, you can right-click these files and convert them to "dvr-ms", which VideoRedo can open. VRD can also open the WTV directly, but doesn;t seem to find an audio stream. This also seems to be an issue dragging recordings into NeroVision 10. If you try and convert a HD .wtv file into a DVR-MS, it comes up with an error message that dvr-ms does not support the HD format (or something along those lines). There are various applications availableonline to convert HD .wtv files, but I haven't yet had a chance to try them out.
exim wrote:
Yep, there are many restrictions that need sorting out before I consider a HD unit: EPG restrictions, non-freesat channel recording restrictions, encryption issues, transfer file size restrictions (depending on format & media / lack of ability to transfer direct to PC) etc...

_________________
TF5800, IA On, TS On, F/W: 13.65AbBfBqCeCkCpCwCyDeEcEeEfEpErEsFFmGmHHeKtMhNfOtPPcRRaReRhRpRsSSdSlSrStT2TdTeTfTpTsVrXpXwXl
TAPs: EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.1; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; MyInfo B1; TF5000 Display v1.43;
Other Kit, Onkyo TX-SR607, Pioneer Kuro KRV-32, Media Centre Dual Core 3GHz Intel, Radeon 4670 HDMI, BluRay, 1080 24, Power DVD10 Ultra, Windows 7 Pro 64bit, AE1/JBL speakers.
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Darucla
Posted: Tue Jan 11, 2011 1:17 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 06 Jun 2007 Posts: 1543
It is worth keeping an eye on the VideoRedo beta thread, if you are not already doing so. The latest version 610a seems much more bug-free than the original V4 release. And they do release fixes for earlier versions as well, which is reassuring.

_________________
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -CpFm+C0EgIPeUUsUuUyVyWf
TAPs: EIT Sub v0.6; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyInfo B5.5; MHEG Control B2; MyStuff 6.4; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 24/5/11
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bpascua
Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 4:39 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 16 Jun 2008 Posts: 214
I am wondering are you going to get a better picture out of a 5810 because it has a HDMI port? and does this 720 DPI upscalling shenanigans....or will it be no different. I am also in the "nice new telly" and want to leverage HD wherever possible.

Cheers

Brian
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DX
Posted: Thu Jan 13, 2011 6:34 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 06 Apr 2005 Posts: 2695
bpascua wrote:
I am wondering are you going to get a better picture out of a 5810 because it has a HDMI port?

You might or might not, it depends on the TV. If you use the 5810 HDMI port then you can use the 5810 to upscale the SD picture rather than the TV. If your TV has a better upscaler than the 5810 this might actually result in a worse picture. If your TV upscaler is bad then the 5810 might make a better job.

The only way to know is try it and see. On my TV I don't notice a difference in picture quality between connecting the 5810 by scart or hdmi.

bpascua wrote:
I am also in the "nice new telly" and want to leverage HD wherever possible.

In that case you don't want an SD PVR like the 5810. Get a proper Freeview+ HD PVR like the Humax HDR Fox T2. Upscaling an SD picture is never going to be as good, however it is done.

Personally I went for a HTPC much as aws did.
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groovyf
Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 3:29 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 30 Mar 2005 Posts: 433 Location: Halifax, Emley Moor transmitter
I've been watching quite a bit more HD on my Bush Freesat HD lately (mainly thanks to BBC1 HD becoming available), sadly however, as I'm in an apartment block with a communal dish it means I've only one satellite wall socket so can't make use of multi-tuner Freesat PVRs.

Unsure on Freeview HD reception with communal aerial... can't really test it either without buying kit.

_________________
TF5800, IA On, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -FmSy
TAPs: Archive v1.0a; TAP Commander 1.34; EPG2MEI v0.96; EIT Sub v0.6; MyStuff 6.2; QuickJump 1.42; SecCache (UK) v0.4; UK Auto Scheduler v0.72; UK Timers v1.2a; MyInfo B5.4;
Sig generated by MyInfo on 16/3/11
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DX
Posted: Fri Jan 14, 2011 4:48 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 06 Apr 2005 Posts: 2695
groovyf wrote:
I've only one satellite wall socket so can't make use of multi-tuner Freesat PVRs.

I'm not sure if you are aware but the Humax Foxsat HDR will operate in single feed mode. Obviously this does have limitations but it can still do dual recording provided the channels have the same band and polarization.
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aws
Posted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 1:27 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 23 Apr 2006 Posts: 114 Location: North Chingford
OK, latest update.

Been really impressed with the MC7 so far. Because it works as a standard windows PC, I can use LogMeIn to access it. Today I used LMI on my iPhone, to check that my MC had found a program I had set on series link. The problem was that I saw that program was going out on a hotel room TV in Amsterdam. It had picked it up no problem.

Even if you close MC the timer recordings remain active. I have yet to test if that's still the case in sleep mode.

I have had a problem with the MC series link being unable to detect the difference between a Dave repeat and a new episode in a new series which is a little annoying with Shameless and Top Gear. Oh well, what you gain with search features and a 14-day EPG you lose in other ways I guess.

Picture quality is fantastic, even on SD. The PC up-res's SD to 1080/50, so I guess it's only limited by your graphics card, RAM and processor. I've had no problems with two HD USB tuners and bandwidth - they're both plugged into primary motherboard ports.

I haven't had a chance to test the 5.1 sound yet, but there is a program soon that I know was mixed and delivered in 5.1, so I can check on that one. 5.1 sound was a paid extra on TV Centre, so I was keen to see what MC does.

I'm slowly ironing out operational / bug difficulties with VideoRedo4, but have had some good results saving back to .WTV format and making DVDs of SD recordings.

So far so good. If you already use a media center to watch BluRays, or have it as a music hub, then I think this is so far the cheapest and most flexible way of making it into a twin-tuner freeview HD recorder, with unlimited storage and very flexible backup.

AWS

_________________
TF5800, IA On, TS On, F/W: 13.65AbBfBqCeCkCpCwCyDeEcEeEfEpErEsFFmGmHHeKtMhNfOtPPcRRaReRhRpRsSSdSlSrStT2TdTeTfTpTsVrXpXwXl
TAPs: EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.1; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; MyInfo B1; TF5000 Display v1.43;
Other Kit, Onkyo TX-SR607, Pioneer Kuro KRV-32, Media Centre Dual Core 3GHz Intel, Radeon 4670 HDMI, BluRay, 1080 24, Power DVD10 Ultra, Windows 7 Pro 64bit, AE1/JBL speakers.
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