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The TF5810PVR is here!

Turbosat has confirmed today that the new Topfield PVR, the TF5810, is now ready to start shipping, following the official release of the firmware.

On sale March 14th, 2008

The official on-sale date for the TF5810 is this Friday, 14th of March – just under three years since the TF5800 went on sale – the first of those reached customers on the 29th of March 2005, three days after the public launch of this website.

TF5810 photo

So, what’s new in the TF5810 and how does it stack up against the TF5800? Well, they’re both built around the same core platform - a chip from NEC called the EMMA2. It’s that which allows the Toppies to record two channels at the same time, and let you watch live TV or another recording at the same time. The TF5810 adds to the features of the original TF5800 with a massive 500Gb hard drive, HDMI upscaling, a proper alphanumeric display on the front panel, and a new, more consistent look to the user interface - as well as the more stylish casing which you can see in the photograph above. There’s a new remote control design too, and it doesn’t clash with the 5800, so you can have both models side by side in your living room, if you’re feeling extravagant.

There’s one loss, compared to the 5800, and that’s the UHF modulator, which is used to provide a signal to TV sets that don’t have a SCART connector, and also by some people to pipe the signal from the PVR around the home. Everything else is fairly similar - like the older model, the TF5810 can run TAPs, so you can extend and enhance its functionality. We’ll be updating the library on this site to indicate which TAPs are compatible with the new model.

Freeview Playback

That logo you can see at the bottom right of the front panel is Freeview Playback , which comes as standard in the firmware for the TF5810, from day one (it’s just been released as an update for the 5800, which you’ll find in our downloads area, too). Freeview Playback adds some useful new features which means that for many users, you might well find the TF5810 does all that you need, right out of the box.

Perhaps the most important aspect of Freeview Playback is the series record, or series link, feature. Just highlight a programme in the EPG, press Record and for many, you’ll be asked if you want to record the whole series or not. If you do, just press OK, and the PVR will automatically set a timer for each episode.

It’s even more clever than that, though – if there are programmes that clash, it will offer to record an alternate showing of a programme, and if the times change, it will notice that too. And if there’s a programme split in half , like a film with the news in the middle of it, recording the first part will automatically record the second as well.

The TF5810 is a little more expensive than the TF5800 was when it was introduced – the official distributor, Turbosat, is selling at £349.99, but there are already web retailers, including Laskys and Play.com, who have it listed for £329.99.