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<  New users start here  ~  This box is AWFUL

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Normsthename
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 10:35 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 12 Apr 2005 Posts: 118
Quote:
Although I agree with what you're saying, Normsthename, I think it's the reality of the competitive world we live in. Companies want to get their products quickly to market.

I sort of knew I'd be a bit of a beta tester, but I figured the bugs weren't too bad. Hopefully they'll be fixed within 2 weeks. In the last few weeks I've only missed 2 recordings. With a VCR I missed a large number due to insufficient tape space, or couldn't be bothered setting the timer.

I find the machine easy to use, and can't understand kaytie's critisisms. I haven't even read the manual, but hear that it's aweful. Hopefully, Kaytie will do something to get a better signal in both tuners, and maybe this will sort out his problems.

Don't get me wrong, I can't wait for the new firmware.
If it fixes all the major bugs, the Topfield will be unbeatable.
It was just a shame that Turbosat could'nt have given its employers a prototype box each to test on the UK TV system before selling.
It would have delayed it for a few weeks, but it would have been fixed from the off, and they even might have sold some more, because there are people holding back purchasing until it has had the bugs ironed out, and they may well purchase something else while waiting.
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rodneyfoy
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:34 am Reply with quote
Regular contributor Joined: 02 Apr 2005 Posts: 66
By the same token, Inverto seems to be losing customers due to delays from trying to fix all bugs before launch.

The market seems to have divided into 2 camps - those who can accept bugs and those who can accept delays. A manufacturer can't satisfy both.

Whatever, the Toppy can hardly be described as AWFUL.
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glesgaguy
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 12:32 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 27 Mar 2005 Posts: 178
In my opinion the bigest mistake Topfield made was sending the box out with a really bad manual.
If your the type who needs written guides (nothing wrong with that) then the manual can be very confusing.
I personally am the type who just likes to get stuck in (I very rarley look at the instructions for self build furniture).
If you want to use all the "bells and whistles" that the Toppy supplies then at present you have to find them yourself, or use this Forum for help.
Normally if your're having problems, you could justifyably say "have you read the instructions ?"
I admire the contributors on this forum with greater intellect than myself who are prepared to try and enhance the use of the Toppy and share their work with the rest of us.
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kaytie
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 7:14 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 26 Apr 2005 Posts: 16
I fixed up the dual antenna thing. Yes, if you look it did describe this in the manual. However, I didn't get very far with the manual: it was so clearly written by a non-English speaker who hadn't actually used the box and was already riddled with bugs that I didn't give the manual much credence.

For example:

* Why call it a "service"? It's a TV channel.
* Why call it an "event"? It's a TV programme.
* Why refer us to the "Troubleshooting" section that doesn't actually exist?

In fact, the first two of those speak volumes about these UI problems. The engineers read the DVB specs where technicalese talks of services and events. They then expose this straight to the poor confused end user. It's why the timer recordings don't include programme titles and are in the order placed in the box: I would bet good $ that the data structures laid down on the hard disk don't include programme titles and are laid down in order they are made. It's just laziness on the part of the engineers for not putting the timers in time order and displaying the programme title.

On to chase play. I've just tried to chase play The Simpsons on C4. It jumps to the end of the recording (duh) and I press the play button to bring up the progress window. I then hold down << and the display changes to -15:23 or whatever. After a couple of seconds the screen freezes for half a second then plays live TV.

I've enabled Time Shifting, BTW. Anyone tell me what's up? Chase play is one of the key features of a PVR.

I'd just like to address the release-it-early-and-win-customers argument. The law is quite clear about this: we are entitled to products that do what they say and are fault-free. I'm going to keep the Toppy and not ask for a refund because:

(a) I can probably work through these bugs with the help of my fellow customers and a lot of experimenting.
(b) I can probably work around the irritations with the use of TAPs (developed by me and my fellow customers)
(c) I expect Toppy will fix a bunch of these problems over the next few weeks and months (Sky+ at the start was a bit flaky; it's excellent now).
(d) It's better than all the rest (are you listening Panasonic?) and better than a VHS tape recorder and pile of tapes (and better than a decoder and a DVD recorder).

Yes, I rant and complain about substandard stuff. Haven't we a right to a properly working product? In the meantime I will grin and bear it.

GRIN

K.
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glesgaguy
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 9:00 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 27 Mar 2005 Posts: 178
Good to hear that you've decided to try and work out your problems with the Toppy Kaytie, we non techs need intellegent people like yourself, people who are capable of writing Taps, I look forward to you posting your results.
Yes things should work as specifyed and on the whole the Toppy does and you do have every right to express your opion in a reasonable way.
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nwhitfield
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 9:13 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
The Topfield sadly isn't alone in being a product that gets released into the wild without the HCI (Human Computer Interaction) side of things being looked at.

It's a shame that it's not a more widely talked about area; when I studied Computing Science at Imperial, it was a part of the course, and I think it should be mandatory.

There's a lot of sloppiness and geekiness apparent in many bits of kit; the car park ticket machines at Canary Wharf display the message "Transport busy" when you put a ticket in them. It means something to the system designers, who talk of the gizmo that sucks in and spits out tickets as a transport. But really, it's amazing that no one thought to make it display something like "Reading ticket, please wait" before it was unleashed on the general public.

Sadly, not everyone can be as clever and well educated as myself.

Nigel.
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kaytie
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 9:21 pm Reply with quote
Joined: 26 Apr 2005 Posts: 16
Damn thing ignored my timers today. When I had a look, it has changed all my recordings to 12/12/2024. Freeview is amazing: a 7123-day EPG..

Interestingly, and probably not Toppy related, is that when my house PC is turned on Channel 5 goes blocky and AWOL. Turn the PC off, and Channel 5 comes back.

Oh, and my attempts to get chase play to work ALWAYS result in a 0 MB empty file. Anyone else having this problem?

K.
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Sulli
Posted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 9:36 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 28 Mar 2005 Posts: 250 Location: Manchester
Have you got your PC power supply near the Toppy?

If you have unshielded aerial cables feeding the two tuners, power leads etc could have great effect on the signal quality.

or it could be the fans causing interference.

You probably know that anyways, but just encase I thought I would say something.

Sulli
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odvdveer
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 9:40 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 28 Mar 2005 Posts: 121 Location: Netherlands
kaytie wrote:
Damn thing ignored my timers today. When I had a look, it has changed all my recordings to 12/12/2024. Freeview is amazing: a 7123-day EPG..

Interestingly, and probably not Toppy related, is that when my house PC is turned on Channel 5 goes blocky and AWOL. Turn the PC off, and Channel 5 comes back.

Oh, and my attempts to get chase play to work ALWAYS result in a 0 MB empty file. Anyone else having this problem?

K.

Install the timerextend tap. This will put your timers back to the date where they belong.
A date that far into the future points to a broadcaster error. When you have the time set to automatic and a channel broadcasts a date into the future, even if it is for a couple of seconds, the topfield will adjust it's date (And it should, because you told it to do so, blame the broadcaster, not topfield). Next thing is that the topfield notices that all your repeating timers are in the past and will adjust the timers to the new date. One Time timers will be erased because they are in the past. When the broadcasted date changes back to normal the topfield date will change back again but the timers will stay in the future. If the wouldn't it would be impossible to intentionally program a timer for more than one week into the future.
The timerextend tap can overrule this behavouir and change the date on timers backwards. I even think (check the readme)

A tap like progressbarkeys can be used to work around this time problem.

Olga

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Topfield 5000pvr, firmware 13.9.05p
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nwhitfield
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 10:04 am Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
If you do want to try the timer extend TAP on your system, kaytie, remember to use the version that's included as part of the Program Manager package, which has been written to cope with the UK remote codes.

You can get the package from http://www.toppy.org.uk/downloads/info.php?tid=139

You'll need to install timer extend, program manager itself, and the tf58keys tap, which handles the mapping.

Nigel.
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sl8
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 11:56 am Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 18 Apr 2005 Posts: 209 Location: UK
odvdveer wrote:
When you have the time set to automatic and a channel broadcasts a date into the future, even if it is for a couple of seconds, the topfield will adjust it's date (And it should, because you told it to do so, blame the broadcaster, not topfield).


This would explain all the problems that I've been having with repeat timers. Yesterday, all my weekday timers were extended by a week and all the 'one time' timers were deleted.

Is it possible that it's a transmitter problem? A lot of people on this forum don't seem to have any problems with repeat timers but I get them all the time.

sl8
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Darkmatter
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 12:53 pm Reply with quote
Forum moderator Joined: 21 Mar 2005 Posts: 1237
Could be, what transmitter do you receive from, and what is your signal level, on the weakest channel, and on the worst tuner.

The Australians suffer badly from that problem ? their solution is to set the time to ?manual?. This ignores the network time, so it will no longer effects the timers. There are obvious downsides ? the Toppy?s internal clock will slowly drift, so you?ll end up padding out all your timers (see timer extend) ? that takes up more space, you have to deal with clashing timers more often, and all extended information is from the previous programme.
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sl8
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:26 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 18 Apr 2005 Posts: 209 Location: UK
We receive from Wrekin B (no Mux C or D) and the signal quality is very poor on one of the other remaining mux's. Can't remember the figures but the channels suffer a lot of break up.

I've replaced the link cable so there's very little difference in strength/quality between the two tuners.
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odvdveer
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:03 pm Reply with quote
Frequent contributor Joined: 28 Mar 2005 Posts: 121 Location: Netherlands
Darkmatter wrote:
Could be, what transmitter do you receive from, and what is your signal level, on the weakest channel, and on the worst tuner.

The Australians suffer badly from that problem ? their solution is to set the time to ?manual?. This ignores the network time, so it will no longer effects the timers. There are obvious downsides ? the Toppy?s internal clock will slowly drift, so you?ll end up padding out all your timers (see timer extend) ? that takes up more space, you have to deal with clashing timers more often, and all extended information is from the previous programme.

That is why progressbarkeys updates the time daily. It will compensate for the drifting. Please check Andy's page for specifics. I do not use this feature, dutch broadcasters hardly ever provide a problem Smile

Olga

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Topfield 5000pvr, firmware 13.9.05p
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nwhitfield
Posted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:17 pm Reply with quote
Site Admin Joined: 20 Mar 2005 Posts: 9579
But, again, there is no point recommending Progress Bark Keys as the solution to the problem for UK users, since there's not yet a version compatible with either Program Manager, or that runs stand-alone on the UK model without awkward side effects.

Nigel.


Last edited by nwhitfield on Thu Apr 28, 2005 3:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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