TOPPY vs TIVO

Discussion in 'Digital TV & Video Players & Recorders' started by martinpeter, Mar 24, 2006.

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  1. martinpeter

    martinpeter
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    I've had a TIVO for about 4 years now, and am considering changing for something else that's still being supported. I like the idea of the toppy asit would help me to have something with YUV output.

    1) How am I (and my wife) going to find it in terms of funcitonality compared to TIVO...
    2) How good is the PC transfer stuff compared to TIVO.

    3) Does the toppy compress the mpeg2 stream and write it to disk (like tivo), or does it write the raw signal data?

    Martin
     
  2. nwhitfield

    nwhitfield
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    The Toppy saves the MPEG transport streams uncompressed, so there's no difference between picture quality live and on playback.

    PC transfer isn't wonderfully fast, but can be between 1/5 and 1/3 of running time in turbo mode, depending on the channel.

    Functionality, there are two main differences you'll probably find, based on comments from people who've made the switch.

    1) The Freeview EPG isn't good enough to give you things like series link; you can use a TAP like UK Auto Scheduler to provide recording by programme name - for example, my search for Dr Who on BBC1, Saturdays, between 1700 and 2100 should catch the new series when it comes.

    2) The Toppy, like most PVRs except Tivo, is more based around watching TV, and choosing the playback files when you want, instead of presenting a Tivo-like main page, with a choice of live tv, or things that you have on your Tivo.

    Nigel.
     
  3. martinpeter

    martinpeter
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    looks like it's Tivo for me for a little while longer. My other half loves the fact it just has a list of what we watch and it always gets it with no effort. I think it's interesting that the good stuff like that from Tivo is not yet implemented in any Freeview PVRs, though I guess it's all a matter of time..
     
  4. Richard46

    Richard46
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    Well it is at least partly because of fear of litigation from TIVO to defend its patents. No doubt there are manufacturers who would gladly provide these features to the British public together with upto date hardware. Unfortunatelly TIVO cannot seem to negotiate licenses with any manufacturers to make this possible.

    Richard
     
  5. Cyril

    Cyril
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    That's what I was hoping.

    Sadly, with the benefit of 6 years of waiting and more research, it seems this is unlikely.

    TiVo stands head and shoulders above any other UK DVR because of a combination of software and metadata that is held in the customised EPG.

    This metadata has to be manually maintained - though other guides are a lot cheaper (digiguide, xmltv etc.) they require a lot of massaging to get your TiVo or other recorder to do it's clever stuff.

    Windows Media Centre is capable because Microsoft has enough money to fund the metadata compilation. I am sure it is losing money hand over fist for this, along with the subsidised Xbox 360s. Their goal is to get into your living room so they can sell you software , games and other services, so the short term losses are sustainable.

    So smaller companies like Topfield won't provide such features without subscription charges of an extra £200 or so upfront costs.
    Larger companies like Philips, Sony and Humax have decided to partner with TiVo instead of maintaining the EPG themselves.

    You can of course build your own HTPC and roll your own metadata. This will be free (apart from hardware), but the £80 cost of Windows Media Centre or £200 for TiVo is a more attractive option for me.
     
  6. Simon James

    Simon James
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    Which Toppy has YUV output?? Can't seem to find the model..:thumbsup:
     
  7. Richard46

    Richard46
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    The TF5800PVR has YUV; In fact watching my LCD monitor with it right now. It is through the Scart.
     
  8. xxxx

    xxxx
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    Funny, my Tivo is still being supported. I get daily EPG updates and just a couple of weeks ago a software change was introduced to make it compatible with the new Sky radio channel numbering (which is more than Sky managed to do with the Sky Gnome).

    I've tried a lot of recording devices with EPGs and the Tivo still beats them all hands down for functionality and accuracy. The only two drawbacks it has are picture quality (which is starting to show its age) and the inablity to record two things at once.
     
  9. MarkE19

    MarkE19
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    TiVo can be 'hacked' to output YUV component along with hundreds of other hacks such as 'mode 0' that can make a big improvement to the PQ.

    Mark.
     
  10. xxxx

    xxxx
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    Yes, I've been using mode 0 for ages. Video quality is still near my bottom limit, though acceptable, but the Tivo functionality does make up for it.

    I doubt I would be as happy if I had a screen much larger than 32in.
     
  11. Cyril

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    I find TiVo mode 0 on a 42" fine using a JS RGB box.

    I could up the quality a lot by using SDI and a scaler (about £700 to £5,000), but I have decided to spend the money on Sky HD instead.

    The majority of my Standard definition viewing will still be using TiVo, as Sky+HD won't have all those nice TiVo features.
     
  12. RobTi

    RobTi
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    Any chance of a link for these features
    Thanks
     
  13. nwhitfield

    nwhitfield
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    For the Toppy, or the things people are talking about for the Tivo?

    Nigel.
     
  14. RobTi

    RobTi
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    Sorry the TiVo:oops:
     
  15. MarkE19

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    There is a complete section on the hacks that can be done to a TiVo at the TiVo Community Forum and many that are for the Uk TiVo in the UK section. A search on the community for say 'mode 0' should bring up loads of information.

    HTH,
    Mark.
     
  16. Tony8377

    Tony8377
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    Thought I'd add my comments to this thread as I posted the same question a couple of months ago and ended up going for the 250GB Topfield purely on picture quality.

    I had a 120gb Tivo for 3 years which had Mode 0 enabled at very high bitrates but picture quality was still poor.

    Have only loaded three TAPS, JAGS EPG (the Tivo program), Standby Tap, and the TAP to Scan through a program using the teletext buttons. Here are my thoughts;

    JAGs electronic program guide is excellent, you can priorities programs, select which channels and a range of times, or get it to record from all channels at all times. Tivo you had to do it per channel which was annoying when other channels bought the rights. You can also manually type in a program name so even if it's not currently scheduled for the next two weeks you can still setup a season pass. You can also priortise season passes although with two tuner this doesn't happen too often.

    You can also add padding however if you do this and two programs are on two new channels in the next time slot it will miss one. I tend to only add padding to programs on late at night.

    You don't get Tivo suggestions or actor searches but suggestions were useless anyway. Read the equivalent of this thread every month and that's all I ever need to know about new programs. Much better than Tivo.

    Jags EPG isn't perfect and there are a few tips. It records all programs with a particular word in it, say LOST unless you specifically set it up to record LOST only and nothing else. Also because the 7 day EPG doesn't fill for the full 7 days on some channels it will set up recordings for lower priority programs on other channels but wont overwrite them when higher priority programs come along. This is easy to get around by telling the toppy to only scehdule recordings two days in advance as that way all channels are generally fully complete by that point.

    It has no notion of repeats so records all episodes all the time. This doesn't worry me at all, just means you spend a couple of minutes a day deleting things. You would be amazed how many times channel 4/E4/More 4 show the same program. Repeats can be reduced by limiting the search criteria, say only record that particular program after 7pm and before 12pm.

    Why you should change;

    1)Once you have setup and been using it for a couple of weeks you will love it. Being able to record two things and watch two others (PIP) is great and you never miss anything. The Autoscheduler is better than Tivo as it scans all channels, all times. I never used the film search and rarely found the suggestions useful.

    2)Picture quality is soooo much better than any Tivo on a Plamsa. It's better than the AUX button on the Tivo.

    3)You can sell the Tivo and more than cover the cost of the Topfield and have cash left over. I made £100 easy selling Tivo & Two freeview boxes and cables.

    4)Navigating through theTopfield is a pleasure (a big caveat is "once you get used to it" - for the first two weeks its a bit of a chore). You can schedule recordings, change all options, delete other programs or see whats on, at the same time as you are watching Live TV or a recorded program in the background.

    5) Just like the Tivo you never need to Watch live TV, you just watch everything pre-recorded - I certainly do.

    6) Fast Forwarding through a recorded program is easy. You can jump forward in 3min, 1min, 30 second gaps, and then rewind at 10 second gaps so you breese through adverts.

    7) Only had one corrupt program, I averaged more than that on my Tivo and the toppy has probably recorded a spare.

    8) Hard drive size means you can record upto 120 hours (approx) so aren't always worried about space, and you could always transfer files onto your PC to free up space.

    As you can see I am impressed and I thought I couln't live without Tivo, but now I wish I had made the move sooner.:smashin:
     
  17. Cyril

    Cyril
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    Sadly I wish this were true for me -I guess it depends on which TiVo features you use most!

    For me a Toppy comes nowhere near TiVo as the metadata for actors, directors, wishlists etc. are what I rely on.

    I also need a completely unattended solution, so deleting repeats etc is so last century.

    I have multiple TiVos, so twin tuner is not a problem.

    Picture quality will look bad on Toppy once Sky HD arrives anyway!

    I'm not saying that the Toppy isn't great once you have the Taps installed.

    It's just that heavy TiVo users who have both the Toppy and other Freeview DVRs tend to stick with TiVo despite the drawbacks.

    Apart from Windows MCE, the Toppy is generally considered the best non-TiVo standard definition DVR in the UK

    http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.php?t=248346
     

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