Recommend me a Freeview PVR

Quartz

Standard Member
It's time for me to get a PVR. I'm just looking for basic functionality - basic recording and playback, but I would like to be able to watch one channel while recording another. I'm not bothered about writing to DVD. No Sky.

I've got a Sony Freeview box with SCART connectors, a Panasonic DVD player, and a Panasonic PW6 with a single SCART connector.

The Freeview signal here is quite poor. I've got a booster box, but I do suffer from occasional screen corruption on even the best channels.

I'm saving up to go HD in 18 months or so - I reckon decent 1080p displays will be a reasonable price by then and HD/BD DVDs will be readily available - so I'm not looking to spend a lot of money.

So what do you recommend?
 

IanSimmons

Novice Member
I bought my Topfield ('Toppy') after a lot of research on this forum. Although this PVR has much more than the basic functionality you mention, you are looking for reliability too, I presume, which seems to vary amongst PVRs. None is 100% perfect but the Topfield is pretty darn good, though not the cheapest.

Will allow you to record 2 channels and watch a third, has chase play, rewind / pause live TV etc. Also, if you feel like it later on, you can enhance the functionality substantially using free 3rd-party programs called TAPs ('Topfield Applications').

See www.toppy.org.uk for the user community site and search this forum for this and other PVRs, for which I can't speak.
 

Ayrton

Active Member
I had a Humax 8000 which I was very pleased with except for the fact that it only had one tuner, so I bought a Humax 9200 which I assumed would work as well. How wrong could I be. After a while it lost its File Allocation Table and consequently all my programmes. It locks up on a regular basis - about once a day last week, although it seems to be behaving better this - so don't trust it to record everything you want whilst you're away.

If it worked it would be fantastic, the spec is otherwise pretty good and the UI is nice, it's quiet... but it has these 2 serious flaws and until Humax get off their backside and do something to fix it, I for one am quite happy to tell anyone who wants to know what I think of their product.
 
K

KpSte

Guest
I had a Humax 8000 which I was very pleased with except for the fact that it only had one tuner, so I bought a Humax 9200 which I assumed would work as well. How wrong could I be. After a while it lost its File Allocation Table and consequently all my programmes. It locks up on a regular basis - about once a day last week, although it seems to be behaving better this - so don't trust it to record everything you want whilst you're away.

If it worked it would be fantastic, the spec is otherwise pretty good and the UI is nice, it's quiet... but it has these 2 serious flaws and until Humax get off their backside and do something to fix it, I for one am quite happy to tell anyone who wants to know what I think of their product.

What software version is your 9220T running?

I've had mine 9200T about 3 months and it's not locked up once. The latest update two months ago resolved the lock ups and added chase play and autopadding. The latest update is being broadcast at the moment (until 9am tommorrow) and is 1.00.06 if you've not got that I'd do a manual update.

There are a few issues with the autopadding but you can leave that unselected anyway and the software engineers are working on a fix for that along with some more goodies for the next update at the moment.

I'm very happy with my Humax it is a replacement for a Digifsion that did have many lock ups and recording from the wrong channel if you were using a favorites list.
 

Paul Shirley

Novice Member
KpSte said:
What software version is your 9220T running?

I've had mine 9200T about 3 months and it's not locked up once. The latest update ... is 1.00.06 if you've not got that I'd do a manual update.
The only lockup free time I had pre 1.00.06 was the couple of months I just stopped using it more than an hour or 2 a week. Owners must update to 1.00.06.

On 1.00.06 it locks a lot less (mostly using USB while its busy) but still crashes without locking, in ways that prevent it recording. Read the autopadding threads before enabling it, the clowns that wrote this didn't test really obvious cases and tried to work around longstanding catastrophic bugs rather than fixing them. Trivial fixes at that.

Sadly, after nearly 9 months fighting this pig my advice remains the same: wait for users to report on the next update before considering wasting money on one. They still seem obsessed with adding features while bugs are left untouched, this is still a machine that can't reliably perform the most basic function of a PVR: record what you tell it to.
 
K

KpSte

Guest
Paul Shirley said:
Sadly, after nearly 9 months fighting this pig my advice remains the same: wait for users to report on the next update before considering wasting money on one. They still seem obsessed with adding features while bugs are left untouched, this is still a machine that can't reliably perform the most basic function of a PVR: record what you tell it to.

I've had the thinks it's recording bug using the admittedly flawed auto padding, there is a fix on the way though and it's not something that the Humax is advertised to do. So with autopadding disabled for now (I just pad manually it's really easy anyway) it's recorded everything I've ever asked it to and that is really quite a lot, it doesn't get much rest in our house. I would recomend it to anyone and it has preformed reliably not like my old Digifusion.

The only other PVR I'd consider is the Topfield, but it's not as easily available and has it's own list of problems take a look on Digital spy's forums. There are no PVRs out at the moment that don't have issues at the moment and we probably will not see a perfect one for a long time. At least Humax listen to customers problems and there are updates that not only fix bugs (although not all have been addressed yet:rolleyes: ) they are also adding new features and functionality. You won't get that from the likes of Sony, and the development of the Topfield seems to be done by bedroom coders with TAPS... I wouldn't really trust that.
 

Anne-Sophie

Novice Member
After 15 years with the same TV and video, I am updating everything. Not being very into technology, and after reading from these forums how knowledgeable you all seem to be, I was expecting some difficulties.

I bought the above machine from Tribal UK thinking that as it wasn't too pricey, if I didn't get on with it I wouldn't have lost too much.

I am delighted to be able to say that set-up was a doddle, and everything worked on my first attempt. After 2 days, I am feeling very happy. Hope it continues, but for the moment I can't fault this unit, though as it is my first PVR, I have no basis of comparison.

As I bought it rather a while ago, then went abroad for a while before setting it up, it is still on softwear version 1.7.7 so I hope Thomson will repeat the up-date soon.

Anne-Sophie
 

nwhitfield

Novice Member
KpSte said:
The only other PVR I'd consider is the Topfield, but it's not as easily available

It's not sold in Curry's, but it's available in quite a lot of other places; www.toppy.org.uk/shops.php has a list.

and has it's own list of problems take a look on Digital spy's forums.

The best place to look is the Toppy.org.uk forum, where we maintain the bugs list that the distributors work with; it's a very stable box, and has been for a very long time - certainly longer than the Humax. You'll see far fewer problems reported on DS with the Toppy than with many other boxes; a large part of that, of course, is because most postings about the Toppy end up on the dedicated site.

the development of the Topfield seems to be done by bedroom coders with TAPS... I wouldn't really trust that.

That's just pure unmitigated drivel; there have been several firmware updates for the Topfield since it was released over a year ago, and whenever there's been a major problem, they've been extremely responsive in bringing out an update.

The fact that users are able to develop software for the Topfield is not, as you seem to suggest, a drawback; it makes it one of the most configurable boxes on the market.

If Topfield simply ignored user comments and bugs, and never issued firmware updates, then there may be some merit in your comments. However, that's not the case, so I can only imagine you're either unaware of how much they update the box, or you're trying to make a cheap shot somehow.

Nigel.
 

Richard46

Active Member
KpSte said:
the development of the Topfield seems to be done by bedroom coders with TAPS... I wouldn't really trust that.

Must second Nigels response to that. Since May last year there have been seven Topfield firmware updates. Far from leaving development to 'bedroom coders' they probably hold the record for producing upgrades. Compare this to the number of firmware upgrades from Digifusion or Humax.
The TAPs are just icing on the cake and very good icing it is. I suspect some of the main PVR manufacturers would benefit from having some of those bedroom coders on contract.
It is true that in the past TAPs did compensate for some shortcomings on the Toppy. This is now only true of a few TAPs and none of them address major issues because there aren't any.
TAPs now principally add features that are just not available on any other Freeview PVRs such as series record type features; configurable jump keys; accessing downloadable 14 day extended EPG info; customisable EPG layouts etc etc.
 
K

KpSte

Guest
If Topfield simply ignored user comments and bugs, and never issued firmware updates, then there may be some merit in your comments. However, that's not the case, so I can only imagine you're either unaware of how much they update the box, or you're trying to make a cheap shot somehow.

No cheap shots intended, but of course as webmaster of the toppy site you have come over a little defensively I'd expect that. I was just trying to set the record a bit straighter regarding the Humax. I've expereince of a few PVR's and while I'd amit the Humax is not perfect it's a lot better than most PVR's indeed I did say the only other choice for me was he Topfield so I'm not anti Topfield in anyway. My comments reguarding TAPs is down to posts I've seen where they have made the box unstable resulting in people removing all the TAPs they had installed due to not being able to figure out which is causing the lock ups.

The Humax is a very stable product (still never seen a crash) the picture quality is exceptional and around £60 cheeper than the Topfield that made it the choice for me.

So less Humax bashing please lets just all be friends.:thumbsup:
 

Richard46

Active Member
KpSte said:
So less Humax bashing please lets just all be friends.:thumbsup:

Most of the adverse comments about the Humax on this thread have I think come from Humax owners.

You made a groundless claim that the Topfield is supported by 'bedroom coders'. Now asking others to refrain from 'bashing' is frankly a bit rich. Very few Toppy owners are interested in bashing other people's kit they are too happy with what they have to be bothered. See posts from Toppy owners above; praising the Toppy not bashing the Humax.

Actually I read lots of posts from happy Humax owners and on the other hand clearly a number of people have some problems with both the Hummy and the Topfield.

Anyway back on topic from my own experience I would recommend the Toppy; I have two running every day; in last eight months lost one recording and had one harmless lock up.

From what I read on the forums if I was to recommend another PVR I would on balance recommend the Humax; that friendly enough for you.
 
K

KpSte

Guest
You made a groundless claim that the Topfield is supported by 'bedroom coders'.

You said yourself that the Topfield is "supported" by TAPS, so I'm not sure how that is a groundless claim? They do indeed add some functionality to the Topfield... if you've got a computer at home.
 

LV426

Administrator
Staff member
MOD COMMENT: That's more than enough personal argument. This is not the place to debate someone else's posting style nor the means by which they arrive at their opinions. If you don't have anything to say about PVRs, don't post. Thanks.
 

jerry

Active Member
KpSte said:
What software version is your 9220T running?

I've had mine 9200T about 3 months and it's not locked up once. The latest update two months ago resolved the lock ups and added chase play and autopadding. The latest update is being broadcast at the moment (until 9am tommorrow) and is 1.00.06 if you've not got that I'd do a manual update.

There are a few issues with the autopadding but you can leave that unselected anyway and the software engineers are working on a fix for that along with some more goodies for the next update at the moment.

I'm very happy with my Humax it is a replacement for a Digifsion that did have many lock ups and recording from the wrong channel if you were using a favorites list.


KpSte:- I have had my 9200T for just a couple of days and it has already frozen so I rang the helpline and have down loaded over the air the update. I understood that chase play was not an option with the 9200T but your saying that it now has it. How can I tell if the download I received has made my machine chase play?
 
K

KpSte

Guest
KpSte:- I have had my 9200T for just a couple of days and it has already frozen so I rang the helpline and have down loaded over the air the update. I understood that chase play was not an option with the 9200T but your saying that it now has it. How can I tell if the download I received has made my machine chase play?


Yes Chase play is inculded in the latest update 1.00.06, when a recording has started after around 5 seconds or so it appears in the recorded items list. I've not had any lock ups with this version of the software it was one of the main fixes.
 

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