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Spoonfed

Should he get a Topfield PVR ?

33 posts in this topic

A mate is upgrading his HT setup. He has and Infocus X1 projector, and has just upgraded to a Denon 2803 reciever. He will be feeding the X1 SD Component from the Receiver (with this model able to switch composite/Sivideo etc to component).

He currently has the early Thompson STB (Which is very average for PQ).

He whats to replace his VCR with a recordable STB but really needs 2 tuners given his TV needs.

Ast the topic says, Im aware there are still some "glitches" with the Toppy, BUT is it stil worth getting and how BAD are these glitches? By that im mean say 5hrs viewing a night, with schedule recording used everyday how often, and critical are/do the glitches occur?

Another option is the Strong unit, but being single tuner his not as keen.

Another feature of the Topfield is the file "cropping". Ie abiltity to chop bits from the file. How goes is this feature? How does it work? Ie does not simply set the length in "time" to crop from the start, and same to crop from the end? Can you crop from the middle? Does it work well?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.

D

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Topfield is working actively towards fixing bugs...

The glitching that affected timeshift is fixed and for me is totally removed....

Picture quality is excellent!!

With regard to editing, you can either save or discard selection....it is quite versatile.

Not everyone has the problem that I have had with regard to an occasional seizure, and it seems to be related to my very high bitstream rates that ch seven put out here....Topfield are actively looking into the problem.

Two tuners offers many advantages over single tuner...I have both single and twin tuner boxes and definitely would not part with the twin tuners and its versatility under any circumstances.

As far as component goes I have no idea or update..I use s-video to s-video and that for me is excellent.

foss

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...He will be feeding the X1 SD Component from the Receiver (with this model able to switch composite/Sivideo etc to component).

...

Ast the topic says, Im aware there are still some "glitches" with the Toppy, BUT is it stil worth getting and how BAD are these glitches?  By that im mean say 5hrs viewing a night, with schedule recording used everyday how often, and critical are/do the glitches occur?

...Another feature of the Topfield is the file "cropping".  Ie abiltity to chop bits from the file.  How goes is this feature?

Hi there:

IMHO - and I'm sure I'm going to get roundly flamed for this - the Topfield TF5000PVRt is a very good piece of equipment. I believe there are currently three "showstopper" level problems with it (as at the latest 12-Dec-2003 firmware), *but* some users are unaffected - or unconcerned - with any or all of them. These are:

* Unit sometimes freezes-up. For me, using the unit the way I do (now), this is NEARLY NEVER, and I record 2-3 hours/day to watch the next day (or after the kids have go to bed, etc). For other people, using the unit the way _they_ want to, it might be once every day or so. Topfield is currently working with some of these people (not me) to understand and resolve the problem, and it is currently believed it is something that can be fixed with a firmware update.

* Component output is incorrect. Some people who have tried the component (YUV) output from their TF5000PVRt report the colours or the intensity (or something) has being incorrect and/or inconsistent with their other component-outputting source devices. I don't use component (I use RGB-via-SCART, and have tried SVideo and composite outputs too), so I am not personally affected by this problem, but if your friend has a component-capable display device, they should test this with the TF5000PVRt to ensure it is ok. I don't know what the status of any fix/workaround/etc it, but it was raised by various customers with Topfield a few weeks ago.

* Audio reverts to mono sometimes. If the user pops-up the "progress bar" to move forwards/backwards through a recording or timeshift buffer, when they resume replay, the audio is output as mono, and they have to pop-up the audio selection box and re-select Stereo (each time). If they use the (slow) 2x/4x/6x FF/REW instead (which is what I do), then this doesn't happen at all, and the audio output remains as it should in stereo.

Really (IMHO again) they are the only killer problems right now - anything else is probably only an "inconvenience" at worst (from memory anyway) - and as I said above, any or all of them might _not_ be issues for people - that is for example there are a number of folks saying loud and clear that they do *not* have any lockups under any circumstances; it's not obvious why or why not at the moment. (context: Since I have "limited" myself to only using one tuner/recording at a time, and also not rewinding and watching delayed while a recording is still ongoing, I have NOT had a single lockup in about 4 weeks now.)

BTW, as far as your use of the term "glitches", there was a widespread issue - which has now been corrected by Topfield and ALL new TF5000PVRt boxes are already fixed - relating to this, but any "glitching" that might remain now seems localised to something in some particular people's environments (again I don't know what might cause it, but I don't have any glitches at all here in Sydney after having the "main" modification - ie the one that is already done on all new units now - done a month or so ago). As far as simply watching TV - with or without timeshift enabled or in use - you shouldn't expect *any* "glitches" at all, aside from whatever environmental interference your particular antenna/cabling/etc might be subject to.

I haven't tried the cropping (I really only watch things (once) then delete them), but I understand you can cut out start, middle and end, and thus edit out segments however you like. People have said it isn't very "accurate" (ie you can't edit at the frame level), but I guess if that's your thing, you could download to PC via the USB2 interface (which works fine) and edit it there with specialised tools before uploading again or burning to a DVD-R.

ted.h.

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He will be feeding the X1 SD Component

Component Doesn't work correctly, hopefully it can be fixed soon. One of the reasons I bought the Box.

Im aware there are still some "glitches"

There are still dropouts in the sound and picture (mainly ABC and Ten), its nothing to do with signal level as my Strong and Dgtec are fine. This is after the Mainboard modification.

As other people have mentioned the one thing thats really pissing me off is the sound going back to Mono everytime you use the % jump, progress bar or 30sec Jump. This should be so simple to fix and still nothing from Topfield. They should release a upgrade even if its only got this fix in it.

rgds Damon

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THarper,

Thanks for a very good reply.

While it has its "vices" it seems like overall it is not too bad (well depends how you look at it) and if firmware can fix the isssues then it will be a good unit, nothing else on the market offering all the functionallity.

I emailed Topfield sometime ago to ensure it did have Component (as its specs/advertising claim) and they confirmed it did.

I guess he'll know how good it is if he gets one.

Really though any device should aim to use the highest video connections available (within reason, ie SD box, component, HD box, VGA/DVI etc)

D

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Hi Spoonfed,

Despite what Topfield have said the box does not output component correctly via the Scart. Problems are as described by THarper and others (myself included) still exist. I have had my Topfiel for 4 weeks now and made immediate contact with Topfield who said

"Hi David,

Because the component was only added after the initial

production as an enhancement it is not fully de-bugged yet but it will

definitely be fixed in an upcoming software enhancement soon.

Kind Regards,

Jai Kemp"

When a fix will be made available is unknown (at least to me). But at this stage the Topfield doesn't meet its advertising claims with regard to component output.

Cheers

Jock

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I am very happy with the box, there are still a few things I would like to see fixed soon, even if I had known about them all, I would still have brought it. I use s-video it is a second box for me and it has a very good picture. :blink:

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I agree with others about the toppy still needing a few things sorted, but despite that I will be persevering.

With regards to the editing I've tried it a few times, and although you can cut out segments, its not accurate. For instance if I start the cut exactly at the beginning of an ad break, and end it exactly at the end of the ad break, the first few seconds of the first ad, and the last few seconds of the last ad will remain.

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As other people have mentioned the one thing thats really pissing me off is the sound going back to Mono everytime you use the % jump, progress bar or 30sec Jump. This should be so simple to fix and still nothing from Topfield. They should release a upgrade even if its only got this fix in it.

rgds Damon

I don't get this problem at all. I do use the digital audio connection though.

I have a three freezes now in four weeks. I think they were all while watching (and recording and timeshifting) the tennis on Seven.

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I don't get this problem at all. I do use the digital audio connection though.

I'm afraid to tell you that you almost certainly *do* get the problem (I use the digital audio output too). Try with one of the music/filmclip shows (live/timeshifted or recorded). Get it playing, listen between your front speakers that it is stereo, move to anywhere else in the "file" with the progress bar or the 30-sec skip button, then listen between the front speakers again. It'll be mono. To restore stereo, pop up the sound selection popup and select Mono, then Stereo again, and lo-and-behold it will be back to Stereo (until next time you use that sort of moving through the file again).

On TEN and ABC, if you are using the Dolby Digital audio (rather than the MPEG audio), you won't get this switch-to-mono bug affecting you, but it happens for me on any stations when using MPEG audio via the digital output.

I didn't believe it either until I tried the experiment above, and it has been reported in Germany by users of the Satellite version of the box too (ie TF5000PVR not "PVRt"), so it is something in the common firmware code between those two models of box.

I have a three freezes now in four weeks. I think they were all while watching  (and recording and timeshifting) the tennis on Seven.

Please call Jai at Topfield Australia and describe what happened, and - as well as you can remember - what you were doing on the box at the time the freezes happened (using time shifting, doing FF/REW, recording anything on the second tuner, just sitting watching quietly (was time shifting enabled at the time, even if you weren't "actively" using it).

The more people who actually direct report they have this freezing - and any of the outstanding important issues - the better chance for a quick and thorough fix. BTW, can you please see if you have a recording of SEVEN and post the Mbytes/hour rate of the file, to add to the "collection". (aside: SEVEN appears to have the highest bitrate in many places, and it also seems to be disproportionately the most common channel for people to be having these freezes with).

ted.h.

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I never had any freezes at all since I bought the box at 9/12/03. The odd glitch is in my opinion not necessarily the box but rather in the datastream as my DIGITEC displays it as well. If one watches SBS satellite news from other countries there are at times glitches all over the place.

In any case, if one is willing to buy a 'first release', then one has to expect the odd 'glitch'. Microsoft is in the business for many decades and still hasn't managed to deal with people who stuff up their software. Using buttons for certain purposes which they aren't designed fore will mostly screw up something that hasn't got a finger breaking hardware included. I am not saying that there aren't any system bugs, but that is the chance one tacks if one is eager to be seen at the frontier of gadgetry; otherwise one has to sit back until everything is fixed………… :blink:

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select Mono, then Stereo again,
Are you saying that it still SAYS it's in stereo, but it's not?

I've got it plugged into a crappy old portable, so I can't tell.

Heaven forbid, I should move it from my comp-room to the lounge-room.

Hey Spoonfed, tell him to buy one NOW.

Make sure you get a phone-link voice-activated remote, too.

They're very expensive to aquire and maintain but, if you treat it right, you'll never miss a show.

They're sensitive to particular voice commands, example...

"Hi, honey. I've been called into work. Could you record The Bill, please? Luv ya."

...works fine, while "Tape The Bill, ****" causes the thing to freeze.

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select Mono, then Stereo again,
Are you saying that it still SAYS it's in stereo, but it's not?

I've got it plugged into a crappy old portable, so I can't tell.

Heaven forbid, I should move it from my comp-room to the lounge-room.

Yep, unfortunately that's exactly it. The pop-up audio selection box says it is still selected to Stereo - after you've used the progress bar or jump button to move in the file - but it ISN'T (stick your head between the front speakers to confirm). Select Mono then Stereo again via the pop-up audio selection box and it's restored to actually giving you stereo output.

Annoying, but the workaround - aside from I guess something clever with a programmable remote - is to only use the 2x/4x/6x FF/REW to move through recordings. These are slow but _don't_ muck up the audio output mode.

As others have said, it _can't_ be too tricky to fix this one. At a guess they just aren't re-selecting the audio output to the selected mode - Stereo/Mono/Left/Right - each time when the play-speed is returned to 1xForward when using the "really fast" ways of moving through the file and audio is being re-enabled, and it's defaulting to mono, even though the (displayed) setting still tells you that Stereo is your selected preference.

ted.h.

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I think the component output problem you guys are having is that the output is not (YPrPb). It's just RGB or CVBS out. So of course, if you try to connect it to (YPrPb) input of your TV, you will have problems. Please try that. I hope this helps.

http://www.proav.de/video/RGB_YPrPb.html

:blink:

That is NOT the problem. I know a bit about DVD players and the DACs they use, normally one bit in a register turns the 3 outputs on a DAC from RGB to YUV. This is all Topfield is doing (so Component *is* available in the menu system for TV output), but something isn't quite right according to the people that have tried.

Regards

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I think the component output problem you guys are having is that the output is not (YPrPb).  It's just RGB or CVBS out.

I don't mean to be rude, and I'm sure you want to help out, but do you actually OWN a TF5000PVRt?

On the setup menu option for the video output format, you will see (along with RGB, SVideo and composite) the option for "YUV" output - which is component (576i). Component output is also an advertised feature of the box.

Selecting the YUV option in the PVRt setup, and using a suitable adaptor plug (if your display device doesn't support component-over-SCART) like the DSE "P6656", then connecting to your component display device provides a 576i component picture.

The component output capability *works* as described (ie the box really _does_ output component video when selected to YUV and hooked up correctly to a suitable display device), it just isn't completely "to spec" when compared (white levels, colour intensity, etc) with other component source devices connected to the same display device, and users have to tweak brightness, colour, etc settings in their display device if switching between the component output of the PVRt and the component output of (say) their DVD player. No such tweaking is needed when the SVideo (or RGB or composite) output of the PVRt is used, and the bug as reported to Topfield is to get the levels of component output in-line with what they should be.

I hope that clarifies it.

ted.h.

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Based on pages & pages of winging about the Topfield, which quite frankly I couldn't be bothered reading, I went out and bought a Strong 5390 and haven't regretted it. Even this thread rolls out a string of replies about Topfield faults. A recent thread was Why are there no posts about the Strong 5390?, and a flood of replies said it was because there is nothing wrong with it.

As I understand it the Toppy can simultaneously record 2 programs, the Strong can't. Also the Topfield can export files for editing on a PC so if you are into this it may be the way to go, but then again maybe you want PC card.

Other than that consider this:

The Strong can record one program while playing back another.

If you want to record one program while watching a second live to air you still have the Thompson.

The Strong is a LOT cheaper.

If you really need to record 2 programs simultaneously you could buy 2 Strongs for not much more than 1 Toppy and benefit from 160 GB (2 x 80 GB)

Just my 2c and food for thought.

Best of luck,

Dik

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As I understand it the Toppy can simultaneously record 2 programs, the Strong can't. Also the Topfield can export files for editing on a PC so if you are into this it may be the way to go, but then again maybe you want PC card.

Other than that consider this:

The Strong can record one program while playing back another.

If you want to record one program while watching a second live to air you still have the Thompson.

The Strong is a LOT cheaper.

If you really need to record 2 programs simultaneously you could buy 2 Strong's for not much more than 1 Toppy and benefit from 160 GB (2 x 80 GB)

Just my 2c and food for thought.

Best of luck,

Dik

Yes you can record 2 different channels and playback a pre recorded program all at the same time, I havent done that yet but I have used the 2 tuners to record 2 shows at the same time when I'm not home, none of the faults of the toppy are extreme for me, so I am very happy with it, I paid $960, I'm not sure what 2 Strong's would cost.

I would think it would be a pain having 2 boxes, 2 remotes and then having to join them all together and swap inputs to watch something else on the other hard drive.

The other thing is Topfield are working on a fixes for all these small problems, the major problems where fixed straight away, so my guess is the box will be perfect in a few months. :P

Thats choice for you, I'm happy with the toppy your happy with the strong and thats all that matters. :blink:

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Thats choice for you, I'm happy with the toppy your happy with the strong and thats all that matters. :blink:

Agree.

There are still some pretty damning posts regarding the Strong, you just have to search for them (like not recording the main channels in a couple of areas at all).

Can you hit rewind while watching a live program to hear what was said if you missed it (like watching the NSW lotto machine die on Tuesday, where they called on the 2nd machine. So I simply hit rewind to find out why).

Can you get subtitles happening on your recordings, in case you couldn't work out what someone said?

Can you choose the Dolby track, and decide this isn't as good, and choose the MPEG track on your recordings?

The Toppy can do all these things without fiddling or tweaking anything.

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I am not trying start a Toppy Vs Strong thread here, but when I see the Toppy being run down by a non owner, and I may have contributed to that persons thought process, I feel obliged to add an opinion and Toppy supportive comment here.

I have been critical of the Toppy only in one regard, and that does not appear to affect everyone...and that is the seizure problem which happens quite infrequently and when it does, mainly on ch 7 for me....The problem is being addressed at the moment ..some other bugs will be addressed very soon....

I have the equivalent of a Strong in another box...(probably better than equivalent)...It has the same features and more and I can assure you, there is no way I would have the Strongs features in preference to the Topfields features, for the sake of a piddly $300...

Two tuners and the ability to dual record and time shift gives amazing versatility, and the ease of operation is is to be commended

foss

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I am not trying start a Toppy Vs Strong thread here

Neither am I, just proposing an alternate option if you decide not to go down the Toppy route.

Best of luck,

Dik

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It seems while it has its "glitches" the toppy is not bad with some very good and usefull functions (gee more than i can do with my single PCI DTV card till better multi card support comes along)

It seems that glitches are not super common, and more related to channel $even, no supprises their they will screw us anyway they can :blink:

It also seems that in the coming month or two (maybe?) the remaining issues will be sorted.

I think i'll tell him to get the Toppy but make him aware of this thread.

Thanks for all the input

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I think i'll tell him to get the Toppy but make him aware of this thread.

Definitely have him read this thread for (what I consider to be) the "showstopper" issues - and I believe there are only three of them, of which zero-to-three might apply to his intended use of the box - and *also* he could do worse than look through the unofficial buglist website, where you will see a *lot* of things, which are almost all suggestions for change/improvement, rather than things that would disqualify the box (IMHO anyway).

For maximum peace of mind, maybe he should also call Jai Kemp (Managing Director of Topfield Australia) on 1300 889 803 and ask about any issues he reads about that he is particularly concerned with (ie how bad they really are, when Topfield will have a firmware update available to fix them) *before* he buys one. Jai is a nice guy and definitely receptive to phonecalls; these PVRt boxes _are_ becoming the cornerstone to his business, so he will be working hard with Topfield's engineers in Korea to make sure there are no outstanding problems or serious useability issues which would cause the boxes _not_ to sell like hot cakes and have great word-of-mouth. The mere fact that you and your friend are concerned about problems is the reason _he_ should be concerned also, and IMHO addressing the concern is pretty-much as important as addressing the problems themselves!

ted.h.

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The newer more innovative alternative is the 9022. It has direct Component, S-Video, Composite and HDMI all are independently active at the same time.

Topi's Component, S-video is via Scart, limiting the outputs to one format at a time.

Dual tuner let you records up to 4 at the same time, Chase play etc...

The 820 will do Sat-Pay TV.

Click underline for more info.

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