Info, tips and guides
Frequently Asked Questions
To make it easy to find answers to your questions, we’ve divided the FAQs into categories. Just select the appropriate category from the menu to see all the solutions, or select All FAQs from the menu to see them all. The most popular questions are at the top of each category.
As part of the changes for the switch off of the analogue TV signal, changes have been made to parts of the Freeview signal. Older toppy firmware does not understand these changes, and so stores some channels with numbers from 1000. This news article explains how to solve the problem - in short, update to a recommended firmware version.
The TF5800PVR is the UK version of Topfield's TF5000PVRt, which is a personal video recorder (PVR) with two tuners for digital terrestrial television, commonly known in the UK as Freeview. Essentially, it provides the same sort of features as the Sky+ box does for UK satellite viewers, but through your ordinary TV aerial, and without the need to pay a monthly subscription. The TF5810 is a new model, launched in March 2008, which adds some additional features.
No. Like other Freeview PVRs, the TF5800 and TF5810 can only record from the built in tuners. It cannot record a signal from the SCART socket onto the hard disk. The same is true of the satellite models from Topfield. And while the satellite models will be able to record from your existing dish, you cannot use them to record channels that rely on a Sky viewing card, since the necessary CAM is not available. If you want to record from Sky One, you need a Sky+ box, or a PVR from your cable TV company. (Strictly speaking, you can record Sky channels if you have a Dragon CAM, and are prepared to do some fiddling; it's not for novice users, however).
Yes. It requires a CAM, which fits in one of the slots on the front of the box. By using a CAM, the Toppy should remain compatible with future pay TV services, as well as existing ones. Check pay service providers sites for current arrangements; these can change quite frequently. Also see the "What pay TV services are available?" FAQ.
No. The HD Ready label applies only to screens, so you will never see this logo on a Toppy.
The label that you will not be seeing much of yet, and which could theoretically appear on something such as an HD Toppy, if there were to be one, is the HDTV logo.
This logo means that the equipment can receive and process a high definition signal, and is what you'd find on set top boxes, PVRs, integrated TVs or DVD players ('receive and process' includes pre-recorded material).
What you'll need, ultimately, is a receiver of some sort with the HDTV logo, and a display with the HD Ready logo, or an integrated set with the HDTV logo.
The new TF5810 will provide an HDMI connection, but it will not be an HD receiver; instead it will upscale the images from Freeview channels and send them via a digital connection to your TV set.
The official Topfield software is now compatible with Vista, but you need to download the 32 bit Vista drivers separately. There are not yet any 64 bit drivers. There is also a third party tool called Wuppy, that allows you to transfer files to and from the PVR from the Windows Vista command line. You can find Wuppy and the Topfield Vista drivers in the ?Windows tools? section of our Downloads library.
To help you get started quickly with Freeview Playback, we have produced a quick guide in PDF format. It's only 2 pages long, and you can download it here.
There's a section of the FAQ pages being created for several of the popular TAPs; you'll find them listed at the bottom of the list of FAQ categories, so just pick the appropriate TAP from the list, and you'll see some of the most common questions and answers about it. If you're not sure which TAP you want to know about, start with the Popular TAPs category. You'll also find plenty of other information in the TAPs section of our forums.
The TF5810 is a new model, introduced in March 2008. It is very similar to the older TF5800 PVR but with a new casing, a larger hard drive and an HDMI port, which allows the picture to be upscaled and sent digitally to an HD Ready TV set. It also supports Freeview Playback from introduction, whereas older TF5800s require a firmware update. A more detailed comparison of the two is available here.
Although you might not have thought about it, if you have an ordinary television and a video recorder, you have two tuners - one in each box. That's what makes it possible for you to watch one programme on the TV while you record a different channel on the video recorder. With an ordinary digibox, if you want to record a digital channel, you either have to watch it, or choose from just the ordinary analogue channels on your TV, while you record the digital programme.
A twin tuner PVR gets round this problem, and allows you to watch one digital tuner while you record another, or even to record two different digital channels at the same time.
Yes. Firmware can be upgraded by download from a PC using either a serial connection or a USB cable. Firmware updates can also be done over the air (OTA), but that requires the August 2005 update or later. One new method of upgrading is to do it via the HDFW TAP. See: this forum thread for more info.
The new TF5810 model supports Freeview Playback from launch. The older TF5800 supports it with firmware versions 5.14.08 onwards.
You can Hide the "Press i" message on BBC channels by pressing the GREEN interactive button. Interactive features can also be turned off completely by going to Menu - System Setting - and disabling Interactive Service.
There are a few PVRs available in the UK at the moment, but not all of them have two tuners, and none of those can do all the things that the Toppy does - some can't even record two things at the same time. The Topfield is based on a model that has been available for some time in other parts of the world, has a good pedigree, with regular software updates. As well as all the features, it has a large hard disk capacity, and two CI slots for CAMs, which allow you to decode pay TV channels, should you decide you want to subscribe to any.
Jag's EPG will run on firmwares from 5.12.88 onwards, but due to the new EPG code in the firmware, there is less memory available for TAPs. This is not normally a problem, but Jag's makes a complete copy of the EPG, using up much memory. Additionally, the background scanning can slow down your Toppy too, and cause further problems. If you are running a firmware from 5.12.88 onwards, you should read the threads regarding Jag's EPG and change the settings to make it work reliably, or switch to an alternative EPG TAP.
Yes. The new TF5810 will have Freeview Playback when it is introduced, and the TF5800 is compatible with Freeview Playback when running firmware 5.14.08 or later.
If you're using any TAPs, you should try starting the PVR without any of them running (this can be achieved by holding down the zero key on the remote control during boot). If you still have problems, check that you have the latest firmware installed. Since firmware version 5.12.25 in December 2005, it has also been possible to disable MHEG via the System Setting, and you should try this, as sometimes problems with the interactive services have been known to make the Toppy crash.
The TopUpTV service provides a couple of channels, including UKTV Gold and TCM, but is not presently available to new subscribers. TopUpTV Anytime is a service that includes the original one, and additionally provides a range of programmes from other channels overnight, recorded and organised by a customised PVR. Although you can record from this service with a Toppy, you won?t get the whole service, for technical reasons.
There is an additional sports channel available from Setanta, which started in March 2007
Yes. You can add additional functionality via TAPs.
Yes, you can. The Toppy has a USB 2.0 connector, which you can use to link it to your computer. You'll find links to software in the PC and Macintosh sections of the software library. Topfield provides offical software for Windows, while there is third party software for the Mac, and also tools for Linux.
The TF5810 supports TAPs, but we have not yet tested more than a handful. With the first TF5810 firmware, version 5.15.08, you should set timers either with TAPs, or with the firmware, but not mix both. Additionally, the red button on the remote is not available to TAPs. Both these issues should be addressed in the next firmware update. As users report more TAP compatibility, we will update the listings. You can find out which ones have been tested on so far on this page.
The Toppy.org.uk Remote Control service, provided via this web site, allows you to create timers and searches on your PVR by filling in web pages or sending text messages from your mobile phone. You could do lots of work to set a system up yourself, but with Toppy Remote Control, we've done it all for you, and made it as simple as we can.
You can use the site's search page to search through our FAQs, links, and the descriptions of guides, TAPs and bugs. On most pages of the site, you'll see a magnifying glass icon at the bottom right of the screen, which will take you to the search page. The forums also have their own search screen, allowing you to search through previous posts.
If it's a very new one, it will have the Freeview Playback logo on the front. If not, you need to check the firmware version. Choose Menu, then Information. Depending on the firmware you have, the item you need to check will either be called IRD Status or System Status; select it, and look for the Application Version, which needs to be 5.14.08 or higher.
You can create several favourites lists on your TF5800, and channels may appear in more than one. Press Menu and select Organizing Favorites to get started. When you have created lists of favourites, press the Opt key, highlight Fav List, and press OK, or just press the List button twice if you have any firmware other than the original UK version. Select one of your favourites lists and press OK. Then select a channel from the list, and press OK again.
When you press the List or OK/List buttons you'll see the whole list of channels, but when you press P+ or P- you'll simply move through the channels in your favourites list, and the name of the list will appear briefly at the top right of the screen.
Some broadcasters are very lax at keeping their EPG up to date, and fail to transmit it for days at a time. In particular, this problem seems to affect Multiplex 2 more than others, which is the ITV and Channel 4 mux. Also firmwares before 5.12.88 take longer to populate the EPG. See this article for more details
Please post all questions to the MyStuff thread on Toppy.org.uk, or check the MyStuff section of the site FAQs.
Before you post in the forums, check the bugs list, and see if your problem appears there. If you're a registered forum user, you should check the detailed bug reports available in the services section of the site, which you can browse by firmware version and by features affected, so you can see all the bugs to do with recording, for example. If you do post in the bugs forum, remember to check to see if there are existing similar reports first, and provide as much information as possible, including your firmware version and ant TAPs that you are running.
Press the Menu button, choose Recording, OK, then go to the bottom entry, Timer Recording, and OK again. You'll now see all your timers listed on the screen, indicating if they're weekly, daily, once and so forth. To see more details, highlight an entry and OK.
To stop all your auto-start TAPs loading when the Toppy starts up, hold down the 0 button on the remote control. Press it as soon as the 'run' message appears on the front panel, and hold it down until you see the picture cycling through the aspect ratio options.
You can see most of the TF5800's main screens in the online edition of the manual; just click the TF5800 manual link at the left of the screen.
It supports all the Group 2 features, which means that it can automatically record series of programmes, track changes to the programme schedule, and compensate for late running of programmes. It will also re-schedule recordings if a clash occurs.
If you experience picture break-up, then it's possible that you have poor signal strength/quality, and it's worth checking your setup using our install guide. We have some links that will give you reception information too. It is important to appreciate that Freeview requires a clean signal as well as good strength. Unlike terrestrial television, a booster can worsen the situation as it can amplify defects in the signal. As well as checking the aerial, it's also often worth replacing the cable with CT100 grade, which gives much less signal loss.
There is an excellent manual available in the Guides section (under user-contributed guides) that covers the ins and outs of Jag's EPG.
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Thanks to everyone who helped compile the FAQs we use on this site. They come from a variety of sources, and we’ve tried to credit them where we can. If we’ve missed anything out, please let us know!