General chat about the TF5800 and TF5810 PVRs, along with other European Topfield models, customer service, plus other Toppy issues not covered elsewhere

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jimi
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Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by jimi »

Although the hardware is stuck in 2006 (apart from hard drive upgrades) the software certainly isn't.
I remember well the trials & tribulations of doing any transfers, updates etc back then. At one time I used to drop a usb cable out the bedroom window and in through the lounge window so I could connect my pc to the Toppy, then you had to hope ( many times in vain) they would talk to each other and not drop the connection while any transfer was going on :cry:
Contrast that with today, there I was sat in the lounge checking my email on my tablet, I see forum emails, Gramps has updated the logo packs and Geoff has updated Freeview (Scotland).dat & FvTxData.tsv Thanks guys 8)
So might as well update them now, fired up TeamViewer on my tablet and used it to wake up and connect to my PC. Still on TeamViewer started TM on my PC and connected to the Toppy, it offered to update the files, which I accepted, couple of clicks, couple of minutes and done. Restart the Toppy with the remote, check all is well which it is .... Propper Job !!
I can also ftp directly into the Toppy and copy recordings off onto any of my network connected devices, between FTP and TM I never need to use Altair anymore, haven't done for quite a few years.
Thanks to everyone who has made this level of interconnection/sophistication possible on a 15+ year old PVR, even some current equipment can't match it 8)
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+Pe
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; Extend v1.7; EPG2MEI v0.96; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; Font Manager 1.0d; MHEG On/Off A3; (MyInfo B5.6); PruneEPG 1.0; MyStuff 6.6;
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YorkshireJumbo
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by YorkshireJumbo »

What do you use for FTP? I have an old family laptop permanently attached to the Toppy which I fire up daily to do backups using a batch file calling Antares in Command Line mode. It works, but it ain't pretty. I also use it for TM
YJ - You may have speed, but I have momentum
Black Panther since Sep '05, Caps replaced July '10
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by jimi »

AFAIK you can't FTP directly to the Toppy, mine is connected by usb to a Raspberry Pi, which has a FTP server running on it (among other things).
The Pi is connected to my LAN so any of my network devices that can run a FTP client can connect to the Toppy, TM can also connect using FTP.
I use a licensed copy of FlashFXP as it allows me to schedule FTP tasks (like a backup of file transfer) Originally I used to use a free version of FileZilla for FTP, but it has no scheduler.
Last edited by jimi on Thu Jun 03, 2021 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+Pe
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; Extend v1.7; EPG2MEI v0.96; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; Font Manager 1.0d; MHEG On/Off A3; (MyInfo B5.6); PruneEPG 1.0; MyStuff 6.6;
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YorkshireJumbo
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by YorkshireJumbo »

Thanks - yet another reason to get a Pi!
YJ - You may have speed, but I have momentum
Black Panther since Sep '05, Caps replaced July '10
WD10EZRX and Turbosat adaptor added May '16
New Noiseblocker XR1 fan added Mar '21
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jimi
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by jimi »

My Pi has been running virtually 24/7 for over 4 years, never had a problem with it and my Toppy has always been accessible via the Pi in that time.
It runs with no mouse, keyboard or monitor, although I do have an HDMI connection from it to my TV so I could plug in a keyboard/mouse if I wanted to use it in the lounge. I can also access the Pi remotely from my PC using Windows Remote Desktop and all the folders are accessible via Windows Explorer (both on Win7 64bit and Win10 64bit)
Bit of a learning curve to get it set up the way I wanted but worth it in the end. 8)
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+Pe
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; Extend v1.7; EPG2MEI v0.96; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; Font Manager 1.0d; MHEG On/Off A3; (MyInfo B5.6); PruneEPG 1.0; MyStuff 6.6;
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andy___
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by andy___ »

I’ve retired my Toppy after many years of active service. I still have a LOT of TV programmes which were on various hard disks and backups. One of my lockdown projects was to put together a TrueNAS media server which now stores all my Toppy files. These files I now stream to my Amazon Firesticks via Plex. Plex doesn’t recognise .rec files but after a quick batch rename (all 1500 files took one minute in total to rename) the files can be played from any TV, laptop or computer in the house. I think you need the pay version of Plex to stream to tablets and phones. I’ll give the details below in case anyone else is interested.

Steps:
1. Copy all the files from the Toppy to the TrueNAS box. (This took many hours).
2. Installed the FREE version of the Plex plugin on my TrueNAS box.
(It took a while to configure properly but after watching a few YouTube clips I got it to play media files nicely. I ripped my audio CDs to test it out).
3. I tested out some different files to see if Plex could use them. Toppy’s native .rec files would not work. I next tried rec2mpg which (after a bit of wrestling) converted some files to mpg. It does this by demuxing and remuxing the files using ProjectX under the bonnet. After reading on this forum that the .rec files were modified transport stream files I manually renamed some test files with the .ts suffix. The results were very pleasing.
4. This step is not necessary to play the files, but I used Antares from the command line to output a .csv file for Excel with all the programme information in a single spread sheet. I’ll give some extra detail for this because I couldn’t find it on the forum. Install Antares. In Windows open a command prompt and navigate to the folder which contains Antares. Run something like this from the command line:

Code: Select all

antares info t:\* -r -csv > c:\Users\Owner\Desktop\proginfo.csv
where my TrueNAS drive is t (for Toppy) and output location will need adjusting depending on your local filesystem.
5. I then converted all my files to .ts after saving the file information. Not only did it take only a minute to convert all 1500 files to .ts but Antares could still read the file information (although it could not export it via the command line after renaming) and Plex was able to select the subtitles unlike with the mpg test file. There are several ways to batch rename. My tool of choice on Windows is Total Commander first searching for *.rec in multiple nested folders and then using its Multi-rename tool (Ctrl M) to change the extensions.

Observations:
With my ripped CDs, and some BBC iplayer files, Plex was able to supply some album art and background information. For the Toppy files it only gives information from the metadata of the file rather than supplying reviews and telling me which musicians are currently on tour etc like it does with my audio CDs.

Sadly, my Toppy is no longer powering on. I suspect the capacitors are the problem. I last soldered a set supplied by Andy F about a decade ago. For freeview I’m currently using a Humax Fox T2 which also has some great community add-ons. It’s a lot easier to get the files off the Hummy and you can decode HD files but I haven’t yet figured out how to search the tv listings automatically for keywords like used to do on my Toppy.
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.3; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; (MyInfo B5.6); MHEG On/Off A3;
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LateComer
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by LateComer »

andy___ wrote: Mon Jul 19, 2021 10:37 am...For freeview I’m currently using a Humax Fox T2 which also has some great community add-ons. It’s a lot easier to get the files off the Hummy and you can decode HD files but I haven’t yet figured out how to search the tv listings automatically for keywords like used to do on my Toppy.
Looong-time lurker, first-time poster here - with long overdue thanks to the MyStuff brigade.

Have a Humax Fox T2 also, and while some of the plugins are invaluable (not least to overcome problems like losing it recording schedules when retuning...) I constantly cringe at how substandard its UI is compared to MyStuff (the Hummy modders seem to have placed more emphasis on creating a Web-based GUI rather than improving the TV one).

No problems with mine so far (aside from MyStuff reporting crashes periodically) but given AndyFras' recent post I'm guessing it's now or never for a capacitor update.
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by jimi »

@Andy___
You can also just rename them as .mpg and that will work on most devices (possible not all TV's)

I have a Synology NAS (which runs a media server called Video Station) and I have a Plex Server I can run on a PC, I made copies of the same .rec file, renamed one to .ts and another to .mpg and put copies of the 3 files in a folder on my NAS, scanned the folder with Plex and Video Station and found was this:
Plex doesn't see .rec,.ts or .mpg files
Video Station sees .ts and .mpg and the files are playable via Video Station on any PC or Android device I connect to the network (also .rec files are playable on PC and Android via most video players)
However my TV (older Samsung LED) won't play any of them when connected to Video Station (Plex sees nothing in the folder), it see the files but comes up with "unsupported file type" error when I try to play either the .ts or .mpg

What I have done for the last 5 years or so is transfer the .rec files to a PC via FTP, I then convert them to .mp4 using a program called Handbrake, if it's a series I rename them using a program called "Rename My TV Series" which will search online databases for the episode names and info. Going this route has several advantages (for me at least) Plex, Video Station, PC's, Android and my TV recognise and play the files, if any friends want a copy they are easy to copy to a memory stick and they don't have any problems playing them.

It's not a quick way of doing it but everything is done on a spare PC that I normally run 24/7 for my weather station, I queue the ftp transfers and file conversions and just leave the software to get on with it, when done it only take a few minutes to rename them and transfer them to my NAS. 8)
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+Pe
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; Extend v1.7; EPG2MEI v0.96; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; Font Manager 1.0d; MHEG On/Off A3; (MyInfo B5.6); PruneEPG 1.0; MyStuff 6.6;
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andy___
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by andy___ »

jimi wrote: Wed Jul 21, 2021 11:48 amPlex doesn't see .rec,.ts or .mpg files
I have Plex playing both .ts and .mpg on my TV without problems. I was bashing my head with Plex for a couple of days over issues with permissions. Folders and sometimes their contents were greyed out or missing until these were set correctly and for me that had a learning curve. Even if the folder looks empty, I would try adding it. I would imagine that there might be a few differences between Plex on a PC and Plex running from inside a jail on a NAS although I don't think that is the issue with your files. It might be possible to get Plex running on your Synology NAS. The free version of Plex does play on phones too I discovered as long as you use the browser and not their app.

I noticed when adding some audiobooks that Plex reacted differently depending on which library type you select; I don't think all libraries play all the file types. Following your post, I repeated your experiment. When I added the files with the library type "TV programmes" Plex described the folder as empty. :shock: However, when I added with "Other Video" the .rec file looked like it didn't exist but the .ts and .mpg both appeared and played fine. :) There seems to be some code interpreting what to do with the files based on their extension. For that reason, I would recommend using .ts over .mpg since I read on this forum that .rec files are Topfield's proprietary transport stream files.

I've used Handbrake a few times and it's excellent software. I had some old video which I edited years ago with Avisnyth for DVD and recently used Handbrake to convert the files to mp4. Generally speaking, I try to avoid transcoding. With Toppy files I used to demux with ProjectX and edit with Cuttermaran and both pieces of software were very fast because they did not transcode anything. I do the same thing wih the .ts transport streams which come off the Hummy which can be edited to mp4 without transcoding with Avidemux. Some of the large 1080 files from the Hummy I get Plex to transcode on the fly when I’m watching them on the TV. If the Topfield .rec files were not a proprietary format I’d consider emailing the people at Plex as I’m sure they could write a few lines of code to play Toppy files out of the box if there were enough demand for it.
https://support.plex.tv/articles/203824 ... supported/
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.3; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; (MyInfo B5.6); MHEG On/Off A3;
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alan_m
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by alan_m »

You can remove the topfield header from the files

http://forum.toppy.org.uk/phpBB3/viewto ... 9725#89725

There in more that one solution in that thread. maybe end up at:

http://forum.toppy.org.uk/phpBB3/viewto ... 344#194344
and
http://www.pauljonathan.eclipse.co.uk/index.htm
Ex Toppy 5800 user - now migrated to Xtrend ET10000 Enigma 2 box with 2 terrestrial and 2 satellite tuners. Second box Zgemma H9S (Enigma 2, satellite)
jimi
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by jimi »

Alan
I use MPC-HC (the current iteration of MPC) and VLC, both will play .rec files straight from the toppy with no alteration to headers, both will also play .rec renamed to .ts or .mpg with no problems.
I have tried the rec2ts and rec2mpg in the past, both work but I had problems with the converted files in PLEX (sound out of sync) and my TV refuses to play them via PLEX

Andy
I forgot about PLEX being very finicky about what folder you put files in. I had this problem in the past with a load of music documentaries I had transferred from the Toppy. If I put them in TV shows they are not seen by PLEX I moved them to Films (PLEX Movie folder) and they are seen. Tried this with my 3 test files and 2 .ts & .mpg are seen and will play in PLEX, unfortunately won't play on my TV via PLEX
I suspect my main problem is the TV or rather the limited video codecs it will play, I went through this quite a few years ago with no success and ended up using the process I detailed in my last post, which never gives me any problems.
I only other change I made was switching away for PLEX to Video Station when I got a new NAS, I find it much more reliable and less finicky than PLEX
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+Pe
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; Extend v1.7; EPG2MEI v0.96; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; Font Manager 1.0d; MHEG On/Off A3; (MyInfo B5.6); PruneEPG 1.0; MyStuff 6.6;
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andy___
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by andy___ »

jimi wrote: Fri Jul 23, 2021 10:08 am I forgot about PLEX being very finicky about what folder you put files in. I had this problem in the past with a load of music documentaries I had transferred from the Toppy. If I put them in TV shows they are not seen by PLEX I moved them to Films (PLEX Movie folder) and they are seen. Tried this with my 3 test files and 2 .ts & .mpg are seen and will play in PLEX, unfortunately won't play on my TV via PLEX.

I suspect my main problem is the TV or rather the limited video codecs it will play.
Hi Jimi. If you can play the files via Plex on other devices you may be right. Since you've gone to all the trouble of making the files it might be worth a couple of quick settings checks. I don't know what device, if any, you use between the server and the TV. I use an Amazon Firestick which has its own Plex app. Since I just installed them both recently, I'm confident that the server software and the app software are very recent versions. If you're using software on Smart TV, I'd try uninstalling and reinstalling the app in case something has been updated recently. Uninstalling and reinstalling the server software would obviously be more hassle if it isn’t the most recent version.
On my Firestick under “Settings” then "Video Quality" there are several settings such as "Play smaller videos at original quality". Maybe your app will have similar settings which might mean that the server doesn’t transcode to mp4 on the fly using a codec that upsets the TV. I’d be very surprised if any TV can’t play mpg transport stream files. There are other more technical articles on the Plex site but on this board we're just trying to get .rec files to play on the TV in 2021.
https://support.plex.tv/articles/204604 ... ia-server/
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs: PcControl B1.3; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.6; Font Manager 1.0d; Extend v1.7; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; (MyInfo B5.6); MHEG On/Off A3;
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munk
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by munk »

Plex is very picky about the naming conventions used with TV shows. I recorded a load of Everybody Loves Raymond on the Topfield, copied them to a NAS and then had to meticulously rename each file (from .rec to .ts) so it followed a strict naming convention - so the folder they all lived in was for example:

/var/media/tv/Everybody Loves Raymond

on the server (this is a FreeBSD server, same as most *nix NAS server setups in terms of Plex)

and then under that folder I have more folders one per season ie

/var/media/tv/Everybody Loves Raymond/Season 1
/var/media/tv/Everybody Loves Raymond/Season 2

etc

and then the actual .ts files within each season are named like:

Everybody Loves Raymond (1996) - S01E01 - Pilot.ts
Everybody Loves Raymond (1996) - S01E02 - I Love You.ts
etc

and with this strict naming convention, Plex is able to catalogue them OK.

I believe movie naming convention requirements aren't as strict which is why your music documentary tv shows were probably displayed OK when labelled as movies. It might have been possible to get them to show up as TV shows if you named them according to the strict naming convention requirements (which is easier said than done when it's something more obscure like a music documentary and not obvious exactly what the naming convention should be for that kind of content!). To be fair they're probably better off labelled as movies rather than tv shows due to the way they're listed in the libraries within plex.

There's a document on the plex support pages somewhere about it:

https://support.plex.tv/articles/naming ... how-files/

The key point (in bold) from that page relating to the issue:
TV shows can be season-based, date-based, a miniseries, or more. Both the folder structure and each episode filename must be correct for shows to be correctly matched. If you’re not sure whether a show is season- or date-based, check The Movie Database (TMDB) or The TVDB and name it as it appears there.
I know from experience you don't have to go so far as to actually use / include the title of each episode for 'well known' tv shows (ie most mainstream tv shows)... ie for the first show of the Everybody Loves Raymond series above if I'd just named it:

Everybody Loves Raymond S01E01.ts

instead of:

Everybody Loves Raymond (1996) - S01E01 - Pilot.ts

then Plex would have been able to catalogue that OK - as long as it has enough detail in the filename to cross reference it using the library agent then it's fine.
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy
TAPs:PcControl B1.4; EPG2MEI v0.96; MyStuff 6.6; PruneEPG 1.0; MyInfo B5.6; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; MHEG On/Off A3; TSSaver v0.5; UK Subtitle 1.9;
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jimi
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Re: Topfield 5800 in 2021

Post by jimi »

I spent a while wrestling with Plex and it's foibles regarding folders/structure/naming a few years ago and got it to work to a level I could live with, but since getting the Synology NAS I find Video Station easier to use.
I use Rename My TV Series 2 https://www.tweaking4all.com/home-theat ... series-v2/ which is great, it uses a couple of online databases and allows you to configure the rename format the way you want it.
As I said I think most of my problems are down to the TV which Samsung haven't (and probably won't) update the software for. As It is it no longer supports any of the current catchup players (iPlayer etc) To get round this I use a Roku Express which works great for the catch up players, runs Netflix, Amazon Prime etc no problem, it also has PLEX and Synology apps, tried both and neither will play ts/mpg files (again on the same TV) files all play perfectly well on my PC's/Android devices.
For amount of times I use it I'm happy enough to keep converting to MP4, with the bonus that it makes the files very easy to share with friends & family. By using Teamviewer I can set it all in motion from my tablet, while sitting watching TV (via the Toppy)
TF5800, TS On, F/W: MS6 Recommended F/W 12/9/2009 -Sy+Pe
TAPs: PcControl B1.4; Extend v1.7; EPG2MEI v0.96; SecCache (UK) v0.4; EIT Sub (Game) v0.6; Font Manager 1.0d; MHEG On/Off A3; (MyInfo B5.6); PruneEPG 1.0; MyStuff 6.6;
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