Tuesday, 11 July 2006

Topfield 5800 PVR: excellent new English manual

The Topfield 5800 PVR is to me the best Freeview-enabled personal video recorder (PVR), aka digital video recorder or DVR, around.

I chose it after some research and despite a few quirks in its operation the Toppy, as it's affectionately known by its fans, is easily tops as far as I'm concerned: 250 GB hard drive for recording (don't bother with the 160GB version), built-in Freeview digital TV with twin tuners so you can record 2 programs at the same time while watching a previous recording (or in some cases a third and even fourth TV channel), chase play as is standard for PVRs, electronic programme guide (EPG) for ease of scheduling recordings, ability to add extra Top Up TV pay TV channels, upgradeable firmware (with regular updates provided e.g. another in a few days), USB connectivity (with ability to transfer to your PC and archive to DVD), MP3 playback, loads of other features yet you can also download loads of free or cheap programs called TAPS (Topfield Application Programs) to tweak or enhance its functionality (which you can write for yourself if you're braver than me), and last but certainly not least a large, knowledgeable, enthusiastic and helpful user community who provide superb support at all levels. (No DVD playback and it's not HDTV-ready, however.)

Expect a full review soon, but the main purpose of this post is to let anyone who already has a Topfield 5800 PVRT set top box know that the fab Toppy.org.uk users website recently announced the release of a new and much improved English manual written for the UK market, which is a zillion times better than the somewhat cryptic and all too brief manual that came with previous units. It's meant to be included as standard in the next Toppy shipments from Korea, if you're about to buy one, but is also available for free download as a PDF manual.

If you have a Toppy already, do yourself a favour and download a copy, it's very well and clearly written even for complete AV beginners bar a couple of minor typos and assumptions as to level of AV knowledge - but do try this post if you don't even know how to connect gear to a TV - and explains how to set up and use the Toppy from scratch, including some tips and tricks I didn't know about.

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