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Koops

Topfield 5000 PVRT Links-Minifaq

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John's Toppy FAQ - This FAQ contains a larger list of answers than this particular page.

John's Toppy TAP list - A long list of TAP's and their abilities

The purpose of this is thread to organise links to discussions and answers to the more commonly asked questions about the topfield 5000 pvrt.

I will try and keep this as clean as possible.

NOTE: I am not an employee of the Topfield company as such all of the below is just for your information. If you have any doubts about any of the unofficial software linked below either don't use it or read the included documentation and contact its author first!

Topfield community forums

Official Australian Topfield Forums

German Topfield forums Try using Google or Babelfish to translate if you don't speak german.

Official Hardware

Topfield Australia

Topfield Korea

5000PVRt brochure

Official Software

Screenshots of the Topfield menus

Latest Official site Firmware for download (Latest update is "30th March 2004" as of 1/4/2004)

IceTV Firmware - aka "10 May 2005" Firmware

Firmware installation help

Topfield Australia Apps (firmware, usb drivers, TAP's)

5000PVRt User manual - pdf format

Unofficial Software, Toppy information and "TAP's sites"

You first stop should be Strizzi's TF5000PVR TAP and Software Directory. It contains downloads and screen captures of almost all current TAP's.

Tony's Topfield Page Contains "howto's" for converting SD recordings to DVD, and much, much more Topfield information. A must visit site!

Andy Cullen's TAPS - Author of the brilliant Progresskeys TAP

EPG TAP for the Topfield 5kpvrt !(inprogress) - A EPG tap that uses the built into EPG functions of the new API. This tap is still in development BUT early versions are sucessfully being used. Several different Authors are contributing to this project.

John's main topfield page - TAP's and other software.

Ethernet for Topfield 5000pvrt - A Peteru open source project

MAC OS "Altair" transfer util by Cazlar

Portable "Non-Windows" TAP development Environment - Created by Peteru

Gcc for TAP Required to build custom TAP applications.

German TP5000 TAP's site Freespacebar & HD don't spin down apps.

Pen's TAP site New TAP Headers, black bar, Hide OSD and signal level apps.

Chris Ghisler's Page

German user Lucky B's Tap page use babelfish to translate

odvdveer's TAP page

Usage Issues

Silencing a new drive with drive Accoustics tools

Simple viewing of .REC files on a PC, For "watch once then delete" people by THarper

Firmware installation help

Topfield Tricks and Tips (repositioned thread)

Topfield Tricks and Tips (original thread).

Other good Topfield Links

What the toppy STB looks like on the inside Wolfs installation of an internal fan with pics.

What the toppy remote control looks like on the inside Peformed by me when my remote was playing up.

Topfield recording bitrates Various locations around the country

Topfield TF5000PVRt Reviews Huge thread with many users initial thoughts about this machine.

Topfield PVR, USB2.0 questions Common questions about this feature answered.

Should he get a Topfield? Pro's and Con's about this PVR.

Converting .rec files to DVD

Removing broadcaster watermarks

Topfield Apps discussion(TAP's)

Scart connections on the TP5000

Quick Q & A

What is this machine?

It is a Standard Definition Digital Terrestrial Receiver with Personal Video Recorder that records on to an 80gig HDD, it has twin tuners that allow you to record one program while you watch another or record two programs simultaneously, video picture in picture, MP3 Jukebox player, Slide show viewer, it can also connect to your PC via USB 2.0 Port allowing file transfers (mp3, Topfield Applications, firmware & copying recorded tv datastreams to your pc for processing and archiving).

How much is it?

Recomended retail price is : $1099. Prices vary between retailers. Check here for a list of retailers in your state or check this thread for some discounted prices. More recently people have reportedly been able to get them for about $790!. Try going to somewhere that price matches and quoting these prices (harvey norman/dick smiths powerhouse). Not everyone will price match so don't be put off by one retailer not coming down in price.

How many hours of tv can I record on this hard drive?

This all depends on the rate at which the broadcasters transmit. In general australian rates vary from state to state. Users have reported recording times between 22 to 27 hours on the current 80GB disk.

Is this hard drive upgradable?

Yes. However this service isn't being performed or offered quite yet. But it is expected that drives in the region of 120, 160 and maybe 200GB will be available. Contact Topfield or your retailer for more information.

Couldn't I just put in a larger normal pc hard drive??

You could, but firstly you'll be voiding your warranty and it may or may not work anyway so its not advisable to try it unless you know what your doing. The current disk is a specific hard drive made by seagate suitable for pvr type applications. You can read about the spec's of these disks here.

Is there a "Hi-Def" version available?

Not at the moment. The official site had news last year about a Hi-Def version being available by christmas 2003(!) but obviously this isn't the case.

What are these "TAP's" I keep seeing mentioned?

"TAP" is short for "Topfield Application". In general they are small applications that enhance the STB in some way. Good examples of this are things like Signal meters, Image viewers and gui enhancements like Freespace bar. They are normally created by users using the Topfield supplied TAP tools.

Regarding the Topfield apps (TAP's), can someone make one to modify/change/convert files/make divx's/massage my neck after a hard days work?

We are all limited to the functions provided in the Topfield 5000pvr(t) API.

Exactly how fast/slow is the usb-2 transfer?

People are reporting speeds in the range of ~ 9-10GB per hour. This would be when using the turbo mode in the the altair transfer application. This however disables the use of remote control while the transfer happens.

So the 5000pvrt has usb-2 right? Can't I just hook up another external HD for extra space?

No, you can't do this as the STB is an end usb device and not a host device (like a pc). More information in this thread.

How hard is it to convert the transfered .rec files into something I can burn onto a dvd?

Its very easy. After transfering the files I normally demux (seperate the file into audio and video parts) using projectx. I then use mpegschnitt to edit out the ad's. You'll then have your two mpeg files ready to be authored in your favorite dvd author program (ie. tmpgenc DVD author). Then burn the create video_ts file to a dvd. For more information check out this thread.

Can I record from analog sources? ie. my vcr, analog tv, PS2, xbox, laptop rca connection etc?

The Topfield unit is a DIGITAL DVB-T transport stream recorder. So no, you can't record anything via any other cable apart from the DVB-T tuners. - Tonymy01

How big is the timeshift buffer - can you change it?

60 minutes, you can't change it but you can always press record. this saves you a lot of grief as well when you switch channels (as the timeshift buffer is reset). - Olga

Whats with the little white marks on some widescreen tv shows? This seems to especially happen on channel 10.

These marks are just VBI signalling information (more info). Most decent broadcasters cut these out before the signal is sent out to viewers. Some channels like Ten just leave them in. As such viewers that use a method by which they have very little overscan (widescreen on 4:3 tv's or viewers using a pc) can see this information.

Tony has created a Tap called "Autoletter box" that hides this information. You can visit his site here.

Can I play divx,qt,mpeg2 files from my pc on the topfield?

Not quite yet. Peteru, is working on a file converter which should allow us to upload files to the STB and watch them on the TV. It won't strictly allow you to play divx etc directly on the stb as it will require you to convert the file to MPEG2-TS format first.

Edited by Coral

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High definition will have a higher data flow and therefore will result occupying a larger real-estate on the hard drive. Because the media is saved as TS, (transmission stream) compression on the fly could be a resolution. That on the other hand would require a very substantial computation, in particular as three coding are demanded.

We can be sure that any high definition will not be coded and only used as TS for the near future, which in turn would have the need for very large hard drives.

On the other hand, many Australian networks are pumping out LD, SD and HD at the same bit rate, gobbling up disk space unnecessarily. If they would get they act together, 80 Gig would go a long way.

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Just two questions on the TF5000PVRt,

Q1

Is there any use for the two CAM slots. I think it is used for unscrambling services with the Sat model.

Q2

Is it possible to have an "economy" recording mode something like VHS quality resolution. I do watch and delete recorded programs alot and now I have to pick and choose due to the ever reducing HD space. Would new firmware cater for this idea?.

Pep

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Q1. I think the cam slots allow for the possibility of terrestrial but encrypted signals to be decoded on the box and is probably a hang over from the sat version.

Q2. I don't think it would be possible for a future firmware upgrade to include the ability for tunable bitrates. The reason would be that in doing this would require the ability for the stb to re-encode the stream at a lower bitrate. Doing this on the fly would most likely involve a specific encoding chip as I doubt the current one would include this ability judging from similar chips from Sigma Designs. What would be nice would be if the player could automatically encode to customisable mpeg-4 videos but this would need totally different hardware to begin with.

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Perhaps this is worth pinning, as many people are still complaining about the ‘glitching’ that still occurs even after having the upgrade done.

This is only my opinion and is not based on solid findings. But knowing a bit about the hardware used I would suggest that that is the problem and no firmware will ever be able to get rid of it completely.

Let me just point in one direction and that is the hard drive, which only uses an ‘old’ 40-pin IDE cable, running at ATA/33, in comparison to any computer nowadays on the market which uses ATA/133 Ultra DMA. (That is the reason one can’t use a computer hard drive, as drives at that bit rate aren’t on the market any more).

(ATA/33 = 33 MBits, ATA/133 = 133 MBits)

Our box is probably based on the satellite boxes, using the same chipset that only caters for 16 bit, ample for that dataflow coming down from space, but not quite enough for the high data flow we receive. Transcoding is part of the CPU’s work as well, retrieving and recording two channels, all at the same time. (I remember that people have trouble encoding TS’s on computers many times more powerful then that of the box).That said we also have to consider that there are a great deal of components on the market still useful. They are used in order to keep the price down for us to afford such a box, and I for one agree that the price is OK for what I get. (in comparison too so much useless stuff we buy). If gliching is excessive I agree that something should be done, but the odd one here or there is part of the bargain.

The next box that comes on the market will probably not be in the near future (ie this year), which uses more up-to-date hardware and cater for high definition as the price would be closer to a computer then a PVR. If we consider the price charged for a stand-alone DVD burner in comparison to one that fits into a computer then we should realise that the peripheral around the drives or burners are substantial. (DVD burners are only standard definition on one channel, create a great deal of coasters and are without all the other bits we get out of our boxes)

Glitching is not only the boxes problem as we all know and that has been proven in many postings. I use two STB’s and both show glitchings ever so often without recording. That is due to terrestrial problems, also disgust at length. If one TV-Channel does it more then others, then it should be obvious to look somewhere else unless it happens with every box around.

I hope I was balanced in pro and contra; if on the other hand I find a cheque in the mail I wasn’t. :blink:

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Wolf,

Your spiel about hard disk technology seems to be based purely on marketing heresay, not actual technical data. You are wrong about your assesment of the hard disk technology.

You may be on the right track when it comes to the internal bandwidth capabilities of the box, but more likely the limitation is within the embedded OS being buggy or inefficient at processing large amounts of data.

The theoretical maximum bandwith of Australian DVB-T is 25mbit/s. Multiply this by three - two streams recording, plus one playing back and the total bandwidth would then be 75mbit/s, which is less than 10megabytes/s. These figures also assume that you are recording absolutely everything (SD, HD, AC3 and all channels, including program guides, etc) for each frequency tuned.

Even a dog slow 10MHz 32-bit bus will give you at least 30megabytes/s in real world performance.

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Is the 2 tuner feature used much by those with these units ? This seems to be its only main advantage over the much cheaper Strong SRT-5390 pvr.

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If you are right Petero, then your theoretical assumption should suggest that recording HD TS would be no problem at all and would have a great deal of buffer as well. What makes me wonder though is that all manufacturers are only selling boxes on the market dealing with standard definition and only promise HD in the future.

I am aware that our box is able recording HD but can’t display it. That’s the reason I mentioned the work the CPU has to do. If, like you suggest the hard drive is capable to do the job then the CPU seems to be overworked. That is something I have no trouble with. I do doubt though very much that a bit of coding would do the trick unless you know something I don’t.

If you are sure that the problem is the firmware then the guys in Korea need an upgrade.

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Wolf: Check the HD specs that I posted in the minifaq up top.

This particular HD should be more than capable hardwarewise to cope with that should be saved to it.

As for the toppy not having enought cpu to do transcoding ... well, from what I understand about this machine is that it isn't actually doing any transcoding. Its just saving the transmission as it is recieved. This is why people NEED to do processing from the TS to PS files when the transfer the file to their pc.

Just as a comparision my athlon 2600+ @2.2ghz uses less than 10% cpu when recording from my Visionplus card using webscheduler. So the saving of the TS digital transmission doesn't actually require much cpu at all, the majority of which would be used would constitute normal file operations.

This however doesn't mean that the cpu has enough power to display, record and work menus all at the same time, just that the hard drive specs appear up to scratch.

ps: Most of this discussion should probably be happening in another thread OTHER than the pinned faq one :blink:

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Well Koops, I’m glad that the box is not the culprit of those complains which in my case was never disputed as pointed out earlier that the odd glitch here or there is part of the bargain. And yeas I read the specs of the hardderive and I also read the side-notes:

• Optimized for A/V applications to deliver smooth, reliable audio and video streams

• Easy-to-use stream management commands are compatible with new ATA streaming command set.

That tells me that the odd glitch has to be expected regardless of bit-rate, which is reasonable. We have to remember that TS transmission packets have data save included up to the tuner, but after that, who knows.

I am not getting into a debate about de- or transcoding as most members seem to have the notion that video is the heavyweight without realising that audio uses most of the recourses, coursing sync problems and screwing up the video in the process.

Well I am happy with my box, harddrive, CPU and all the other bits and I do confess that I have no glitching, apart from the odd one here and there; and I am not the only one. Wouldn’t that suggest looking somewhere else to fix the problem? (again as mentioned before).

Incidentally, I am able adding bits together. In my working life however any developments were rather based on ‘square-root-reality’ and not the printed data.

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Is the 2 tuner feature used much by those with these units ? This seems to be its only main advantage over the much cheaper Strong SRT-5390 pvr.

The two tuners are used in more ways than you have obviously guessed.

1. Record one thing, and watch something else- never have to resort to watching analogue again (if you have ever watched digital, and have a widescreen or at least 4:3 with widescreen mode TV, you would never want to resort to watching analogue while you are recording. Also come 2008, the Toppy will be very handy, as you won't have any means of watching analogue at all).

2. Record 2 things at once- how many times has two good programs come up at once, and you wished you had 2 VCRs? Well now you don't need any VCR, as the Toppy does the job of 2 digital VCRs, with no tape access to worry about (instant access to your recordings, instant access to any % distance within the stream).

Cheers

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Is the 2 tuner feature used much by those with these units ?  This seems to be its only main advantage over the much cheaper Strong SRT-5390 pvr.

The two tuners are used in more ways than you have obviously guessed.

1. Record one thing, and watch something else- never have to resort to watching analogue again (if you have ever watched digital, and have a widescreen or at least 4:3 with widescreen mode TV, you would never want to resort to watching analogue while you are recording. Also come 2008, the Toppy will be very handy, as you won't have any means of watching analogue at all).

2. Record 2 things at once- how many times has two good programs come up at once, and you wished you had 2 VCRs? Well now you don't need any VCR, as the Toppy does the job of 2 digital VCRs, with no tape access to worry about (instant access to your recordings, instant access to any % distance within the stream).

Cheers

Hi Tony...further to that you can record two tuners at once and watch a file that you recorded earlier (while the two tuners are recording say Ch 7 and Ch 10.)..I'm not sure if this was mentioned earlier...I'm sure I probably have somewhere...can't see it in this thread....

Unfortunately at the moment using the box flatout like that causes some glitching.... Hopefully this will be fixed by the next patch which should appear soon.

I will make a comment here...probably to the disdain of some...Haaa!

I have a Samsung HDD DVD recorder which works essentially the same as a Strong....IE records on 1 tuner (analogue...) and time shifts and I have a Toppy that does all of its tricks......There is no comparison between the two, and for me, with the Toppy, you certainly get $400 or more extra advantage over a single tuner box...

Basically, to do what the Toppy does and you only have 1 display unit, you would need 2 Strong units, and the answer to the original question from earlyadopter is yes for me...I use 2 tuners very frequently...its just so good not to be restricted to one tuner recording etc..

foss

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...[The hard drive] uses an ‘old’ 40-pin IDE cable, running at ATA/33, in comparison to any computer nowadays on the market which uses ATA/133 Ultra DMA.

Wolf it might be worth persuing Item 44 via Jai as the machines are blood relations of each other...

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Makus

Those Germans are wincing about some satellite-Topfields. Apart from that you are right that I based my initial post on the satellite versions. However, not having any info on the development of the box, I am not sure whey the limit the drive to ATA/33, even so the drive is capable of handling Ultra DMA at ATA/100. All the specs are based on the later. The only thing I can go on is the drive connections, which is at least tree years old. That is what makes me wonder about the MB’s date of birth.

I am not knocking the box as it works fine for me and I only try easing people’s expectations, which in some cases are based on little or wrong information. In realistic terms, every piece of equipment one purchases has to be of age and no wishful thinking will get rid of the walkingframe that hampers the speeding.

:blink:

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Is the 2 tuner feature used much by those with these units ? This seems to be its only main advantage over the much cheaper Strong SRT-5390 pvr.

Another point that others have not mentioned about having 2 tuners:

You can also watch one of the broadcasts in time shift (e.g. 10 mins behind) while recording that show, and another to the HDD.

One great use I have found for this is you can start watching TV an hour after all the good shows start, even if they are back to back and on different channels, and not miss a single bit :blink:

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Is the 2 tuner feature used much by those with these units ?  This seems to be its only main advantage over the much cheaper Strong SRT-5390 pvr.

Another point that others have not mentioned about having 2 tuners:

You can also watch one of the broadcasts in time shift (e.g. 10 mins behind) while recording that show, and another to the HDD.

One great use I have found for this is you can start watching TV an hour after all the good shows start, even if they are back to back and on different channels, and not miss a single bit

Yes...well...I have often stated that is what I do...As an example, I will pick the two channels that have the best programs and start recording them from 5-6 pm onward...that way I can go at any time to any where on those recordings on those two channels/tuners and watch for however long I want , then go to the other tuner and watch whatever I want and whenever I want on it..if i wanted to I could watch a previously recorded file while they are recording, and when that file is finished, go back and start watching either of the recording files at any point I like.

I also have another PVR that I can record Austar or other programs from another STB for further timeshifting....

Lets just say I'm not stuck for timeshifted or recorded files to watch however and whenever I want....all it takes is a bit of forward planning, but its worth the effort....in fact, it is BETTER to be watching in a delayed form of some sort, because you can skip through ads...about 9 pushes of the yellow button( takes 4 seconds at the most to skip 4 1/2 mins of ads ) and a short wait is about right for prime time viewing up here.....

Time shifting like that helps manage time better and in fact I will often deliberately do something like have a shower or walk the dogs in the equivalent of ad time...IE pause the Toppy, walk the dogs, then start watching when I come back, skipping ads till the dog walking time is caught up...so...I have walked the dogs in ad time...not having to find extra time for dog walking or miss the program!!!.......now all we need are better programs.

Yes...I do have TV eyes :ph34r:

foss

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Well done. Assuming the info is accurate, it should be easy to write a bit of code to wrap MPEG-2 TS files and unwrap Toppy files.

Maybe it's time I bought myself a Toppy and started hacking :blink:

If only I could get a factory warranted Toppy with a 200+ GB hard disk and a Linux version of Altair...

I've got plans and programming skills ready to be used :P

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The two links to the DontSpinDown TAP at the start of this topic lead to a zip file which is apparently corrupt. It is very small and FilZip says it is corrupt. The repair option of Filzip won't fix it, either. Does anyone have a good copy of this TAP?

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Malcolm: I think I have a copy of it on my work pc, i'll have to check in the morning.

[edit] the field.de domain wasn't resolving for me. Possible dns change?

Edited by Koops

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Works fine for me, I downloaded and put in my TAP folder

My TAPS

Maybe your ISP has cached it incorrectly?

Regards

Doesn't work for me either - and I can't see any altair zip file in your TAP directory Tony, am I blind?

edit/ ah... you were talking about the dontspindown TAP, my mistake.

V.

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I'm trying to have pretty much everything tap related mirrored on my site.

Don't try and run everything though. Read the documentation as some of the files are for other incompatible with our topfield. They are mainly there for reference in the case I can't find them again :blink:

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By the way, the new Altair proggy is heaps better than the old one. It doesn't have probs with uploading anymore (I wasn't able to upload any of my recordings back into the Toppy with the older Altair).

I don't put publicly avail things on my site (ok, I have done it once or twice to help out). All Altair, USB & drivers are available on the Topfield Australia downloads and keep an eye on the Topfield international site for newer downloads too. http://www.topfield.co.kr

Now that uploads of recs don't stuff up, I might investigate that ProjectX option of "add topfield headers" again, and see if we can make the Toppy play any MPEG2 file.

Regards

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