Topfield / Toppy users - is it better than Tivo or a Media Centre?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series 1 - UK' started by childe, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. TCM2007

    TCM2007 Active Member

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    Dec 25, 2006

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    I see; you weren't watching the recording you were watching a programme which was recording from Live TV (if you'd been watching a recording from Now Playing there would have been no "about to change channels" warning.).

    Yes that is a bug, albeit a pretty obscure one which is quite hard to reproduce.
     
  2. TCM2007

    TCM2007 Active Member

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    Dec 25, 2006
    I don't know the figures any more than you do, but I doubt there are many people subscribing to mixes they don't watch just to avoid the Sky+ fee. Most people who subscribe to the mixes do so because they want the channels which are on them.

    Of course most people actually buy the full £40-something package.
     
  3. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Tivo treated the situation as being like me having wound back the Live Buffer to an earlier time and it now needing to change channels to carry out a scheduled recording (thus clearing the Live Buffer). But as this program was permanently recorded to the hard drive it ought to have been able to let me go on watching it until the end and changed chanel to BBC1 to start recording The Blair Years.

    I find for television that really matters I sometimes end up watching nearly live but often let the program drift back a few minutes if I need to go and get food or whatever during it by pausing. If one doesn't watch some programs live it can then become a few days or weeks and you still haven't watched and before you know it the moment has passed.

    My main problem is having too much recording space so I build up too big a library of things to watch. I clearly need to reduce back to only 150 hours at Mode 0 and then things might start to get back vaguely under control.
     
  4. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    That's only your assumption. Anecdotal evidence on here alone suggests that plenty of people only subscribe to 2 or 4 Mixes.

    It is of course the fact that the whole thing is predicated on making you pay £40 per month and that what you get for £16 or £18 per month is not very exciting that makes me generally not want to subscribe at all. My Tivo is still full with endless worthwhile stuff from the FTA channels.

    Believe it or not TCM there are actually 15 million or so pauper households out there who don't have pay tv at all. Now admittedly these are not the kind of people who are going to very readily buy your £3 to £4 per time magazines so perhaps they simply aren't worth worrying about in your book.;):p
     
  5. Dazbear

    Dazbear New Member

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    Aug 24, 2001
    London UK

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    My apologies the new Topfield 5810 is not a HD box, but does upscale via HDMI, which having seen the results from my DVD to HDTV is quite impressive!

    Just about HD on Freeview - it is already trialling in the Crysal Palace area and Ofcom have said one mux will be reserved for HD in the future and expect to see the main 5 in HD after (if not before) switch over (source - digitalspy)
     
  6. Sneals2000

    Sneals2000 New Member

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    Maidenhead, UK
    Sadly - the London trial ended this summer after 12 months. BBC HD is now only available via satellite and cable - though the BBC Trust have formally approved a full 9 hour a day service via these platforms.

    However the BBC Trust have currently postponed any decision on a Freeview service. The initial choice was either to launch a 4 hour service 0200-0600 using existing DVB-T infrastructure (by switching off BBC Parliament, BBC Four/CBeebies and the three BBCi video streams on Mux B during this period, apart from when Parliament sits late) or wait until a decision about DVB-T2 and the future use of digital dividend spectrum has been decided. They are delaying this decision until 2008 now - as they have to balance people needing to buy two HD boxes (one for the temporary 0200-0600 DVB-T service, followed by a replacement for a future DVB-T2 service) with a potentially delayed Freeview HD launch until 2012. It is likely a compromise will be reached I suspect.

    Ofcoms suggestion that a 7th mux can be fitted in, and that existing muxes can increase compression of existing services to fit in more are not universally accepted by broadcasters...

    I believe there is also an Ofcom requirement for the BBC to switch to 8k 64QAM (as the BBC HD trial operated on) from 2k 16QAM after analogue switch off, and provide Five and C4 with some (all?) of the extra bandwith on one of their muxes that this creates? AIUI this is so that there are just three Freeview muxes Mux 1 (BBC #1 and original BBC mux), Mux 2 (ITV / C4) and Mux B (BBC # 2 and originally an OnDigital mux) that would be required to get all of the original analogue public service broadcasters.

    AIUI this is because the current plans for analogue switch off only carry 3 muxes from the approx 2000 transmitter sites (including relays / fill-ins etc.) whilst the other 3 "commercial muxes" (Mux A, C and D) are only currently planned to be carried from their existing transmitter sites?

    Any HD via Freeview plans will need to, I suspect, be able to carry 3 HD streams at least, as BBC HD is already on the air, and ITV HD and C4 HD are likely later this year and/or early next, initially via satellite and/or cable.

    The BBC HD trial carried a single 1440x1080/50i HD stream (around 19Mbs) taking up a single Mux running at 24Mbs using 8k 64QAM. Any future HD via Freeview system is going to need to be able to carry two HD services in a mux, or a single HD service and a decent number of SD streams. This will require MPEG4 H264 encoders to improve over the ones currently in use - unless 1280x720/50p cross conversion (as used by SVT HD on their DVB-T system in Sweden in 13Mbs) is to be used, delivering inferior HD on Freeview when compared to satellite/cable. The BBC HD trial included a 13Mbs 720p period - and was significantly worse in picture quality terms...
     
  7. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Sneals,

    Many thanks indeed for this comprehensive rundown of HD broadcasting possibilities on Freeview.

    However in summary any HD broadcasting that will be provided on DTT/Freeview in the next few years is likely to be very limited in quantity and quality and DTT is not the way to go if you want to watch as much HDTV as possible as soon as possible.

    Obviously provision of HDTV by broadband also remains an alternate possibility in due course once BT's 21st Century Network is completed in 2011 and so ADSL2+ at least is available on all phone exchanges. Even then those further from the exchanges may have to download an HD program to their hard drive first and then watch it when the download is complete,

    Whilst extra space for HD on DTT could be provided by the current anaologue frequencies once switched off it seems more lilkey that the greed of the government will see this spectrum sold off to 3G mobile and WiMax broadband providers.
     
  8. TCM2007

    TCM2007 Active Member

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    It's not my assumption that most people are on the full package; Sky give the figure in their accounts. I forget the exact number but it is well over 50%. Of course many have cheaper packages; my contention was that they do not have the cheap package to get free Sky+, but because they want the channels in the package.

    You place a low value on those channels as you don't want them, others do not.


    You'll have to do better than that Pete, I'm feeing quite mellow tonight.
     
  9. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    If so it seems surprising Sky felt the need to so rapidly rebalance the pricing of their Mixes to only £1 extra per Mix (after the new high base line minimum charge of £16) to make it less attractive to only take 2 or 4 Mixes. I would have thought this was almostc cerainly a direct response to the fact that some customers who formerly took a Premium channel and Sky Family pack downgraded to only 2 Mixes once this still gave them access to Sky+ functionality.
     
  10. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    If it comes to my preaching the wastefulness of a top Sky sub you could always try and get me over the fact the in October 2003 I took a return trip to New York from London lasting two days I did not otherwise have any reason to make other than to get on my return flight from JFK to LHR on a long thin white plane with a pointy nose that made the whole trip back to London in just over three hours.

    Now clearly that was a wasteful frivolours extravagance in some people's eyes (especially the eco weirdy beardies who now want to sweep us off the roads after only 2 speeding convictions) but of course I would ague that I could only afford to make that trip due all the money I had saved by not paying a Sky subscription during the preceding 5 or 6 years......

    However no doubt to some who pay for all Sky channels they may consider this to be their own equivalent of the luxuriousness inherent in travelling by Concorde.
     
  11. AMc

    AMc Active Member

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    What an offensive thing to say! You've made yet another tedious dig at TCM2007 based on your own prejudices and in turn insulted a great chunk of the forum - yourself included Mr Freesat?

    Some of my friends don't have TVs at all, that's nothing to do with their economic circumstances and more to do with how they value their time.

    I do wish you would stop picking fights. It really is bad manners.
     
  12. TCM2007

    TCM2007 Active Member

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  13. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    OK interesting but reading more closely it won't really be available in most places till 2012 and undoubtely the HD channel lineup will be limited to one from each of the four terrestrial broadcasters (BBC, ITV, C4 and Five) as otherwise they just won't have any room left to maintain a choice of 30 channels or so in total on Freeview.

    In the shorter term like the next 2 to 4 years anyone who wants to watch HD programs (including FTA ones) needs to go the cable and satellite route.

    P.S. I'm sorry to hear AMc was offended by any comments I made but I think he is wrong to think I offended you. If you didn't actually enjoy most of our little exchanges on here on the whole then I doubt that you would bother to continue with them.
     
  14. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Ofcom have today published another consultation on renewing licences on DTT for Mux 2 and Mux A.

    See www.ofcom.org.uk/consult/condocs/tvmux/condoc.pdf

    As part of this consultation in Paragraph 4.1 they state:-

    So as you say TCM it sounds like a limited form of HD programming will be coming to DTT in the next few years.

    Of course it also makes it sound horribly like Sky Picnic is already a done deal reading between the lines in the above statement.

    Either way if this service does get the go ahead Daz would definitely need a new Toppy to get the new HD services.
     
  15. iankb

    iankb New Member

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    I think that you overrate the importance of the number of channels, and those that are only available on satellite or cable.

    Due to Sky's addition of pin entry on the Premier film channels, I reluctantly cancelled my full Sky sub with my Tivo, and switched to a dual-tuner Freeview setup with Windows MCE and the occasional internet download. Once I got over the change, I found that I had far more to watch by having dual tuners than I ever had to watch with my single-tuner TiVo, and that Freeview had more than enough good content if you have a large enough drive capacity to build up a good backlog.

    I find that is helped by Windows MCE in that it can store all episodes of a series in a single folder, and you can then quickly browse large numbers of recordings alphabetically by programme/series name. You don't feel obliged to watch programmes in recording data order, but more according to the type of programme that you want to watch.
     
  16. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    As another one with a very large hard drive capacity, although on a Tivo rather than Windows MCE, and accessing all the Freeview and Freesat channels available I can wholeheartedly agree with you that there is more than enough to watch without ever needing to pay any more than the basic BBC lincence fee. However I am surprised that never occurred to you before when you were frittering away £500 per annum or more to the greedy Murdoch empire.

    There is just no need to pay for movies when so many of them reach the FTA stations in a year or two now and my only weakness in terms of subscribing to Sky is the fact that the two week long Dakar rally is only available on Eurosport. For that reason I pay Sky my £15 (now £16) for one month a year.

    However regarding each main broadcaster only having one HD channel on Freeview that would be a very big change since at present they are very oriented towards their new complex multi station format whereas a single HD channel from each broadcaster would tend to focus on only the most popular shows with the most viewers and so ironically drag people back in the direction of largely watching the same thing at the same time. Of course in a way that is how the conventional terrestrial broadcasters (especially the commercial ones focused on advertising revenue) would prefer it so you can see why they are now concentrating on pushing this strategy.
     
  17. TCM2007

    TCM2007 Active Member

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    I don't think is a strategy as such, just the only practical option.

    Movies take two or three years to get to terrestrial, but in less the BBC has them they are punctuated by ads every few minutes; even with a Tivo to FF that's unbearable in my book.

    I agree though, my Sky viewing is limited to HD series on Sky One (and the BBC obv.), live sports and the odd film. 90% of viewing is from Freeview on MCE.

    So long as Sky has the rugby rights, they've got me; without that I'd pack it in.
     
  18. iankb

    iankb New Member

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    Reading, UK
    It seems to escape your attention that one cannot build up so much of a backlog if one only has a single (Sky) tuner and a 160GB TiVo. Twin Freeview tuners allow one to record a lot more programmes from the peak viewing time that would otherwise conflict, and a 500GB MCE setup allows me to store a bigger backlog. I used to use Sky to record a lot more off-peak programmes, which I no longer need to do.
     
  19. johala_reewi

    johala_reewi New Member

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    Southampton UK
    I find that a single tuner Tivo can find plenty of repeated showings on Freeview so conflicts are not a problem. A 400GB tivo provides a nice backlog and with VBR enabled, I can get even more programmes stored. Twin tuners is not a real priority for my viewing.
     
  20. Pete77

    Pete77 New Member

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    Ultimately it all comes down to how many hours of tv a week you watch. I suspect that iankb watches rather a lot so therefore needs a bigger inwards recording pipeline to ensure that none of the programs from his wider range of viewing tastes are missed.

    Ironically I used to watch a lot more tv in total when I didn't have a Tivo (when I also only had a PC in my office and not at my home). Now I have a Tivo I find I am thinking I could always watch that program some other time rather than now and then don't get round to it (if it is not that important to me).

    The main reason for this is because of the amount of time I now spend on the internet in general and using internet chat forums in particular.:eek::eek:
     

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