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Freeview changes cause channel scanning problems

To help cope with the increasing number of channels on Freeview, and future changes to do with the switchover to digital television, some changes have been made to the data that helps digital TV receivers tune in, which will cause problems for Toppy owners who have to scan for channels. If you don’t scan for channels, your PVR will continue to work as normal.

Nationwide roll-out

Although the changes have been gradually rolled out, starting with the Sutton Coldfield transmitter, then several in Scotland, they’re now moving to more, and ultimately the whole of the UK. As a result Toppy owners who scan for channels may experience problems, which will typically result in some channels appearing on the wrong number, usually with channel numbers above 1000.

Fortunately, in the usual course of events, you don’t need to scan for channels, so the problem will be noticed most by those who have updated their firmware or reset their PVR for some other reason, such as moving house, or if you’re installing a Toppy for the first time.

Technically, the issue is caused by something called a ‘Split NIT’ – the Glossary link at the left has more information – which is not handled correctly by current Topfield firmwares. The company has been informed of the problem, and we are waiting for a new fix. In the meantime, we recommend that all users update to one of the pre-patched firmwares mentioned below.

What you can do

Fortunately, a firmware patch – called “NIT Fix” or just Nf – has been written by one of the forum members (R2-D2), which resolves the scanning problem, and it has been tested in use by quite a few users. We recommend that all Toppy users in the UK apply this patch to their firmware, so that if they need to rescan their system, all channels will be correctly detected and assigned to the appropriate numbers.

Don’t panic if that sounds a little scary. To make things simple, we have also provided some pre-patched firmwares, which are based on the current recommended version, and you can install either of these in the same way a normal firmware would be installed. You will find them in the Members Only area of the site – a link is at the right, but note that you need to be a registered forum user to access the area.

If you own a TF5800 then you should install the recommended pre-patched version of firmware 5.13.65. This will run on all currently shipping versions of the TF5800, and includes several other patches to improve performance and address some problems - for example, it also ensures the PVR will start up correctly after a power failure, and prevents some of the interruptions usually seen when recordings start. It does not include series link and other Freeview Playback features. If you wish to use those features (found mostly on TF5800s sold after the beginning of this year) or use the Copy function of the firmware, then we recommend you check the information in the forums, or apply the NIT Fix firmware patch manually.

Note that the current ‘Recommended firmware’ installed as part of the MyStuff setup includes the NIT Fix patch, and if you use MyStuff, you should use that firmware instead, as it contains additional optimisations for that TAP. The pre-patched firmware available for download from the Members Only area is suitable for other TAPs, or TAPless use of your Toppy.

If you own a TF5810 then you should install the firmware and TAP that are provided in the TF5810 Unofficial Update Pack V3. Earlier versions of the pack do not include the NIT Fix patch and will not address this problem. You will not lose the series link functionality by installing this update, and you should find that overall the TF5810 performs better with this firmware than with the current official version.


The pre-patched firmwares can be installed in the usual way via Topfield’s TFDN_USB tool; if you have not installed a firmware udpate before, refer to our PDF Guide. Although written for an earlier firmware (so you can ignore the firmware specific info), the update process is indentical.

Alternatively, you can update using a TAP called HDFW, which allows you to store a number of firmwares in a folder on your Toppy’s hard drive, and to install them from there, and to load and unload patches if you wish.

To use HDFW, download the file – a link is at the top right of this page – and install the files Firmware.dat, hdfw.lng, hdfw.tap, ProfileEditor.lng and ProfileEditor.tap in the Program Files folder on your PVR. Do not install them in Auto Start. From the PVR, run the TAP once, and it will create a folder for firmwares. You should copy firmware and patch files into the newly created folder, then run the TAP again. Selecting a firmware and pressing the Record button on the remote control will install it on your PVR.

For more information and advice, please ask on the forum. Links to the firmwares, patches and tools can be found at the top of this page.