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Playback ahoy!

We’ve learned today that Topfield’s Freeview Playback software is presently undergoing testing with the DTG. The Digital TV Group represents manufacturers and broadcasters involved in digital broadcasting in the UK, and through DTG Testing Ltd, they provide a test service for the makers of digital TV receivers. Testing ensures that the Freeview Playback software – which will be provided in the new TF5810 and as an update to the TF5800 – works correctly with the information sent by the broadcasters.

Freeview Playback

For those who haven’t yet heard of it, Freeview Playback provides facilities such as automatic tracking of changes to broadcast times, so even if a programme’s on late, it will be recorded, and also series link, so you can record every episode of a show with just one button press. It’s also a branding exercise, the idea being that it becomes synonymous with hard disk recording for Freeview, just as the SkyPlus brand has for the satellite service.

We believe that Freeview Playback will first appear on the new TF5810, before being made available as a firmware update to the TF5800.

Under the hood of the 5810

A few more details of the TF5810 are starting to creep out, including the fact that it will have a new style remote control, which will work on a different frequency to the TF5800, allowing you to have one of each side by side, without the remote interfering.

We also understand that there will be substantial changes to the software, including a new-look to the user interface, and we’ll bring you more details of that when we have them.

Update:

We’ve just learned that the Freeview Playback software has passed Group 2 testing by the DTG, which means that it correctly handles both changing recording times and series links. This is obviously a significant step towards the release of the TF5810 and of an update for the TF5800. Although we’re still waiting for more details about the dates – and there are issues such as the case design to be finalised for the TF5810 – we understand that a beta-test version of firmware for the TF5800 with Freeview Playback may appear shortly before the TF5810 is launched, suggesting that there won’t be too long a wait before existing users receive the full update.