Topfield TF7000HDPVRt

It's taken a while for Topfield to actually release an HD model of its popular PVR line. The TF7000HDPVRt is finally here - but the lack of networking support seriously detracts from what is otherwise an excellent PVR.


6.0
CNET Rating
4.1
User Rating

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Design
The TF7000HDPVRt is available in either a black or silver body finish, although the front faceplate is black in either case. Our review sample was the black model and if there's one design implementation that Topfield's made that improves the overall Topfield experience, it's in the snappy slimline design of this particular PVR.

Front controls on the TF7000HDPVRt comprise channel, volume and an oddly squishy power button. At the rear, you'll find audio and video connectors, covering the spectrum from simple composite up to HDMI, as well as a single USB port.

The TF7000HDPVRt's remote is short and has the same glossy black finish as the unit itself. It's noticeably smaller than Topfield remotes of the past have been, although it contains the same basic feature set, albeit with many of the buttons in different places.

Features
Like the TF6000PVRt and TF5000PVRt, the TF7000HDPVRt is a Personal Video Recorder, designed to record free-to-air digital TV signals. Like its predecessors, the TF7000HDPVRt records directly to an internal hard disk; in the TF7000HDPVRt's case it's a 250GB model. Owing to the format that Topfield PVRs record in, that doesn't give you as many hours as you might expect from say, a hard disk equipped DVD-recorder; 250GB in Topfield's recording format gives you around 70 hours worth of SD recording or around 30 hours of HD.

Where the TF7000HDPVRt differs from its predecessors is in the inclusion of dual high definition tuners; previous models have been limited to standard definition watching and recording only. The practical upshot of this is that you can watch and record all the high definition content currently broadcast in Australia. The downside here is that current HD programming (outside of imported American shows) is thin on the ground, a fact highlighted by the fact that Kerri Anne's morning show is currently broadcast in HD. Does anyone need that?

As much as we like the addition of HD tuners, in several other respects the TF7000HDPVRt is a lesser PVR than its predecessors. The previous model, the TF6000PVRt featured wireless networking support, meaning you could set it to automatically update the EPG with no user intervention, and both the TF6000PVRt and TF5000PVRt offered direct connection to a PC via USB for program updates, as well as adding in new functionality via Topfield's TAP program system.

The TF7000HDPVRt has no network connection whatsoever; you can't program it to perform extra tasks, which has always been a big plus for Topfield's PVRs in the past, and you can't pull programming off the TF7000HDPVRt either. It also means that despite having dual HD support, the TF7000HDPVRt lags behind both the PVR and Media Centre pack in terms of streaming media and even updating the EPG. ICEGuide is supported, but the only way to upgrade it is via a USB flash stick. This does have an upside - the ICE TV guide files are just a text file, and as such you can download it easily from OS X or even Linux if you like, something that's not been easily accomplished in the past. There's a significant downside here, however, as the USB port on the TF7000HDPVRt is at the rear of the unit. If you've got it sitting in an entertainment unit, it's difficult to get to it.

Performance
In the PVR market, we've always liked Topfield's approach to TV watching, and in most respects the TF7000HDPVRt meets our expectations well. HD broadcast quality was excellent, and once we'd set up ICEGuide, it all worked smoothly during our test period.

Topfield boasts that the channel switching time has been drastically reduced - down to less than a second - and indeed the TF7000HDPVRt does surf channels that bit faster than many other solutions, including most of the media centres we've tested. If you're a compulsive channel flipper, you may find this a godsend. If you're the significant other of a compulsive channel flipper, the TF7000HDPVRt might just be grounds for a divorce.

Topfield PVRs have benefited from being ahead of the pack for some time, given that they've offered dual TV tuners in a world where most PVRs and Media Centres only offered single tuners. Those competitors - especially in the Media Centre space - have largely caught up to Topfield, and the delay in bringing an HD model to market means that Topfield is playing in a far more level playing ground this time round. There's plenty to like about the TF7000HDPVRt - the design style is pleasing to the eye, the smaller remote is easier to use and the fast channel switching works well.

It's just that the TF7000HDPVRt isn't the only PVR worth watching any more. In a world of AppleTVs, improved Media Centres and even a number of brand-name (and imported) PVRs offering more, the TF7000HDPVRt is something of an also-ran prospect.

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Jules
1
Rating
 

Jules posted a review   

Worst purchase EVER! Have had to send it to Sydney twice for repair and now it's out of warranty and I've had nothing but problems. It freezes at least once a day, channels keep dropping off etc., etc. This started within weeks of purchasing the item brand new and it's been getting progressively worse. Most days I want to chuck it against the wall but I paid a lot of money for it. I won't be buying another Topfield STB again.

haples
1
Rating
 

haples posted a review   

The Good:i has a nice blue button

The Bad:it keeps stuffing up

it seems topfield not only droped the ball with this one but lost it
a bit like vista NOT ENOUGH TESTING INDIPENDENT TESTING if you can't do it right then get out there is no room for error these days keep this up and you will crash and BURN the people at the top should be worried this is a major stuff up brand name in my area is now **** it smells unplesent and advice is don't it will give you grief why can't you people find a fix like vista won't work or don't want to spened the BIG dollars to fix it (recall all models with new ones that WORK )

Mr Pete
3
Rating
 

Mr Pete posted a review   

The Good:When it works....

The Bad:Lost Channels, Timer Setting, EPG

It worked just fine for two years, but now a couple of times a night it looses all its channels and you have to do a tedious research from them all. Looses all its Timer settings as well as the EPG. For a machine that costs this much it really ought to last longer than two years.

Never buy a Topfield again.

Chriso
2
Rating
 

Chriso posted a review   

The Good:when it works it is good

The Bad:it more often does not work

concur with many others on this forum the Topfield TF7000HDPVRt is the most infuriatingly unreliable piece of technology ( ie crap) I have ever owned. When it works it is great but it has so many incomprehensible glitches it is not funny. It wipes all the channels ( for no apparent reason), some days it simply wont turn on ( for no apparent reason) then magical will turn on only to not turn on again the day after. It freezes all the time, trying to delete saved programs only aggravates the stupid beast to freeze again. Never again.

Driver
1
Rating
 

Driver posted a review   

The Good:Good reason to get a Media Center PC instead

The Bad:Runs extremely hot, very unreliable.

Power supplied died and had to be replaced out of warranty. Machine also runs EXTREMELY HOT, thus continues to freeze up.

After reading all the negative comments along with my own experience, one has to wonder if Topfried staff are the only ones posting the 10/10 reviews.

 

terryjay posted a comment   

The Good:Ease of use and setup

The Bad:Loss of settings and channels

A great unit in concept but needs some firmware updates to overcome the loss of services / settings problem since the introduction of the additional channels. We love the idea of watching our favorite shows commercial free.

Jonalanat
8
Rating
 

Jonalanat posted a review   

The Good:Best HD picture I have seen

The Bad:Sometimes plays up

I have had this unit for 3 years and found it to be the best in terms of quality of picture produced.

Does everything it needs to do properly.

Only negative is that sometimes it does freeze (every 6 months or so), but only fleetingly and then goes back to normal.

Zilla
1
Rating
 

Zilla posted a review   

The Good:Nothing

The Bad:Everything

- Timer recording does not stop, filling the HDD
- Cannot delete large files off the HDD
- Unit locks up and does not respond to the remote
- Firmware updates stopped 12 months ago
- Unit will now not start up at all, probable power supply failure

Miggs
1
Rating
 

Miggs posted a review   

The Good:Makes an excellent, (if not expensive) bookend, my wife thinks the blue light is pretty.

The Bad:Everything on the spec sheet

I would have rather urinated on $600 and then set it on fire. This has to be the most useless, unfit for purpose piece of "electrical"(if you can call it that) equipment ever produced. Firmware upgrades make problems worse, Topfield will not acknowledge they have a problem with LOSS OF SERVICES even though it is the most common problem on there forum. I cannot believe how **** this pvr is. How to fix it you ask? just turn OFF the Free guide and it works properly!??? Then the very thing I bought it for is now redundant. Honestly, how these people get away with it is beyond me. I will buy another TOPFIELD product, the day i get my brain replaced by a cauliflower.


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User Reviews / Comments  Topfield TF7000HDPVRt

  • Jules

    Jules

    Rating1

    "Worst purchase EVER! Have had to send it to Sydney twice for repair and now it's out of warranty and I've had nothing but problems. It freezes at least once a day, channels keep dropping off etc...."

  • haples

    haples

    Rating1

    "it seems topfield not only droped the ball with this one but lost it
    a bit like vista NOT ENOUGH TESTING INDIPENDENT TESTING if you can't do it right then get out there is no room for error..."

  • Mr Pete

    Mr Pete

    Rating3

    "It worked just fine for two years, but now a couple of times a night it looses all its channels and you have to do a tedious research from them all. Looses all its Timer settings as well as the EPG..."

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