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Top-up TV on Topfield?

BigGazza

Standard Member
Hi all,

I've had my Topfield for a few weeks now, and I love it to bits, particularly with iGuide installed (as someone coming from Sky+), but can anyone tell me if there is any way of getting the Top-Up TV channels i.e. UKTV Gold, Paramount etc. on the Topfield box? One of the main reasons for going for a Topfield was to get the CAM slot, as I thought it gave me access to Setanta and Top-Up. I've subscribed to Setanta, but having called Top-Up this morning they told me the only way to get their service is to buy their box. Is that definitely the case?

Thanks!
 

nwhitfield

Prominent Member
Yes; the current TopUp service is based around a custom PVR, which downloads programmes (not whole channels) overnight, giving you a few hours from each channel per week.

It it theoretically possible to make a Topfield record the programmes from the TopUp service, but it's not straightforward, and TUTV have taken the decision to only allow subscriptions if you have their own box, ensuring that they have control over things like the remote, what the on screen displays look like, and so on.

Their old service, which provided proper channels, instead of selected programmes, was compatible with PVRs including the Topfield, but they no longer accept subscriptions for that.
 

BigGazza

Standard Member
Thanks for confirming that.

I think they must be out of their mind to limit their service in that way! I mean it's not as if their channel selection is brimming with content, so who the hell is going to pay £99 for the privilege of watching what little is on there? Especially, like many of us on here, if you've already got a PVR. Also, I'm assuming that the content download happens via an internet connection, and isn't that going to gobble up an awful lot of peoples monthly download allowance with their ISP's, downloading a lot of stuff that you'll likely then not watch?

Maybe I'm missing the point somewhere, but it seems like an absolutely barmy solution to me.
 

Refrenz

Established Member
Thanks for confirming that.

I think they must be out of their mind to limit their service in that way! I mean it's not as if their channel selection is brimming with content, so who the hell is going to pay £99 for the privilege of watching what little is on there? Especially, like many of us on here, if you've already got a PVR. Also, I'm assuming that the content download happens via an internet connection, and isn't that going to gobble up an awful lot of peoples monthly download allowance with their ISP's, downloading a lot of stuff that you'll likely then not watch?

Maybe I'm missing the point somewhere, but it seems like an absolutely barmy solution to me.

The content download happens through the 3 TV channel spaces TopupTV still own. They used to have 5 channels of space (which they used to provide the original service with, timesharing about a dozen channels across this) but 2 of these channel spaces were rented to them by channel 5 who reclaimed them to use for FiveUS and FiveLife. This left TopupTV up dung creek without a paddle.

So, the new TopupTV Anytime service now consists of 3 channels transmitting pre-selected programmes from a dozen or so channels. I understand that viewers don't get the full channels and cannot watch them live. Instead, the selected programmes are recorded onto the 'special' TopupTV PVR (which I assume must be going like the clappers recording 2, maybe 3 streams at once 24/7) and after that, the viewer can then watch the programmes anytime they want.

One way of looking at is is this - TopupTV Anytime is basically giving subscribers on-demand access to pre-selected (i.e. chosen by TopupTV) content from a selection of non-freeview channels. Another way of looking at is is TopupTV were forced to restructure their business and want customers to pay for a new PVR to accommodate this.
 

BigGazza

Standard Member
The content download happens through the 3 TV channel spaces TopupTV still own. They used to have 5 channels of space (which they used to provide the original service with, timesharing about a dozen channels across this) but 2 of these channel spaces were rented to them by channel 5 who reclaimed them to use for FiveUS and FiveLife. This left TopupTV up dung creek without a paddle.

So, the new TopupTV Anytime service now consists of 3 channels transmitting pre-selected programmes from a dozen or so channels. I understand that viewers don't get the full channels and cannot watch them live. Instead, the selected programmes are recorded onto the 'special' TopupTV PVR (which I assume must be going like the clappers recording 2, maybe 3 streams at once 24/7) and after that, the viewer can then watch the programmes anytime they want.

One way of looking at is is this - TopupTV Anytime is basically giving subscribers on-demand access to pre-selected (i.e. chosen by TopupTV) content from a selection of non-freeview channels. Another way of looking at is is TopupTV were forced to restructure their business and want customers to pay for a new PVR to accommodate this.


Awesome reply, thanks Refrenz.

I guess that means I won't be getting UKTV Gold and Paramount Comedy (which were the only ones I was bothered about) anytime soon on my Toppy.
 

nwhitfield

Prominent Member
The TUTV PVR can record three streams simultaneously; most others can only manage two (though it has recently been established that with some trickery the Topfield can do more). Essentially the TUTV box downloads the programmes across the 3 streams, largely overnight, and files the programmes according to which channel they were from.

You can then browse by channel, and material is kept for up to 7 days before being replaced. It's a novel use for the overnight period when there's usually little of worth on, and they still have some space to broadcast UK TV Gold live for part of the day.

But the Thomson box actually isn't brilliant, in my view (not that it's too bad either); the real problem is the quality of the content. I had a unit for review for a couple of months here, and frankly, if I were paying for my TV, I'd be wanting better stuff than that.

For example, when I had the box here, some of the content from one channel (Living?) was CSI - but not the latest yet to be aired on 5 series. Nope, CSI series 1. And the finest from Paramount? More often 'Badly dubbed porn' than Frasier. Even the add-on Picture Box service is far from the first run stuff that people anticipated; it's more like ITV2's movie selection, admittedly without ads, but still nothing to write home about, in my view.
 
W

Whisper

Guest
Awesome reply, thanks Refrenz.

I guess that means I won't be getting UKTV Gold and Paramount Comedy (which were the only ones I was bothered about) anytime soon on my Toppy.

Exactly what I was thinking BigGazza . I was just looking at the Top Up TV website yesterday when it dawned on me that 'they' tell me what I watch :thumbsdow. Complete waste of time and money. Maybe one day it will be on freeview :rolleyes:.
 

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