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July 2006 “Bastille Day” firmware released

The latest version of firmware for the TF5800 PVR has now been released, and is available as an exclusive download from Toppy.org.uk, in advance of release on Topfield’s official sites.

Bastille Day

The new firmware is version 5.12.88, dated 5th July 2006; it’s referred to as the “Bastille Day” update as that was the target date set for the release.

Over the last few months, the beta testers have checked numerous firmwares, and tested them against our own set of tests, designed to ensure that any new firmware doesn’t have problems with the core functions of the PVR; in addition, Topfield has carried out their own tests - and this version has been subjected to more tests than any of the previous releases.

Worth the wait

With a wait of over six months since the last firmware, many users are eager to know what’s changed. The good news is that some of the most common complaints about the box have had work done on them, in some cases eliminating gripes completely, and in others starting work on the resolution.

The most obvious change to most users will be in the EPG, which now populates much faster, and picks up information for all channels, regardless of which channel you’re tuned to - so if you switch to the multi-channel view, you’ll see information for all channels within a couple of minutes of turning the PVR on.

Another popular request has made it into the EPG too - it no longer changes the channel of the inset picture as you browse through the channels, so you can carry on watching a programme as you browse or set timers via the guide. And you’ll also see that the Freeview genre information is displayed for programmes as well.

Subtitles

One of the areas that’s received a lot of attention in this update isn’t used by all users, but is crucial for those that do rely upon it - subtitling.

The subtitling performance of the box has been refined and improved over the course of the test firmwares, and all the current problems appear to be resolved - subtitles appear at the correct time, disappear when they’re supposed to, and don’t appear garbled or overwrite each other.

Interruptions

Playback interruptions have long been one of the other top complaints about the box; in the Bastille Day update, although not completely resolved, this should happen less often than in previous firmwares.

One notable change is the jump to live TV when in chase play, ie watching a recording before it finishes. When the recording ends, the box will now jump back to where you were watching very quickly, without needing the intervention of TAPs such as mcgCYRresume or ImproBox; it’s not perfect yet, but it’s a good start.

Interruptions when a second recording starts are slightly less common on this firmware than on others too, though they do still happen - this is an area in which Topfield are working to improve things further.

There are other minor changes in the update too, including the ability to use colour keys for functions such as space and delete on the on-screen keyboard.

TAP compatibility

During testing, most of the beta testers found no problems with the majority of TAPs on their Toppys, but there are issues with some, and the change to the EPG system means that other TAPs may need to be configured differently to work best with this firmware. The downloadable Guide to the firmware update (see link, right) contains notes about TAPs, including some which will need to be updated for compatibility, and should be checked by anyone who’s running TAPs.

Those that are specifically mentioned include Description Extender, eit2mei, EPG Uploader, mei2eit & MyStuff.

OTA, up next

This update will be transmitted as an over-the-air (OTA) update, but we don’t yet have a date for that. We’ll update the news section of this site as soon as we do have one, and we’ll also notify those who are members of the forum Announcements group.

We also hope to be able to bring you news, before too long, of forthcoming enhancements to the firmware - and we’re assured that we won’t have to wait quite so long for the next update.