Years ago

PVR recommendations

A thread on this topic was already done before but technology changes by the day these days!

I am looking into buying a new PVR and it looks like the Topfield is at the top of my list. I'm wanting to know what the thoughts of people with PVRs recommend or have any useful information to share.


Topic #26768 | Report this topic

Years ago

Yeah toppys are good. Doubler tuner.

However I now have a TiVo and despite thinking it would not be that great when I got it I love it. So easy to season pass shows etc and you never miss a recording. My old toppy got temperamental at times and the HDD stuffed up forcing me to delete all saved data for it to work which sucked when you have unwatched NBA games etc you want to watch! The TiVo after a year has been 100% stable in this regard.

Reply #338265 | Report this post

Years ago

What is the TiVo situation like these days? Thought at one point they were going to abandon it in Australia? I had suggested it to my parents (would get one myself if I didn't already have a PVR built in to my TV) but I think they eventually went Topfield after concerns about the support for TiVo and thinking they could export footage (rarely used).

Season Pass would be what I'd go for - otherwise I never remember to set up recordings.

Reply #338281 | Report this post

Big Sexy  
Years ago

I have a tivo and love it, very easy to use. My mate has a topfield and he really likes it but it is a bit more fiddley to use (you get use to it pretty quickly though). If you have a partner who is not very techy (like me) the tivo is probably the better buy because of how simple it is to use

Reply #338291 | Report this post

Years ago

Stupid question, as I haven't looked at anything Tivo for about 9yrs, but is is similar to iQ in that when you set a program to record it does it when the program starts, not at exactly the time it SHOULD start?

I'm thinking that could be handy when the NBL follows the F1 and it's running 20mins late, for example...

Reply #338293 | Report this post

Juror 12  
Years ago

I love my Kogan and for under $100 bucks it is awesome value for money.

Reply #338299 | Report this post

Years ago

TiVO 320GB


Season Pass - Set in the TV Guide function, will record every episode of the said show

Genre Recording - Set to record everything with 'Basketball' in the title. Or 'Fish' - will record every fishing show

Expandable HDD - Unit comes with 320gb HDD (60 hours of high definition recording) Can get upto 1TB hard drive (180 hours of high definition recording) to accompnay existing storage. **Additional Cost**

PC Software - Can get software that allows you to move footage onto PC. **Additional Cost**

Ease of Use - Very simple to watch, record and playback. If you like a show, hit the 'Thumbs up' button once to get reminders when its on, do it twice to record, three times to season pass

Movies on Demand - Download movies on demand, from a huge selection of titles.

Intelligent HDD Recording - Set recorded programs to delete in order of preference. So if you record a program, but dont have any HDD space left, the unit will automatically delete the programs you have selected as 'delete first'. There is also a 'dont delete' function which ensures it exactly that.

Reliability - Very good. Sold hundreds upon hundreds of these units, and con only remember a few being returned, usually to do with not connecting to the purchased external HDD.

Twin Tuner - Record one show in HD whilst watching another, or record two at the same time while your out, or while you watch something you have previously recorded.


After Sales Support - Disgusting to say the least. Consumer level support must be done via email, and they are useless. Store level support just as bad. Best bet if you have an issue is be very friendly to your salesperson as they are the best chance to have to issue resolved.

Picture Quality - Even when connected with HDMI (best quality) the image is sub-par compared to most HD televisions and other units.

Limited PC - Whilst you can use some PC functions such as transfer of data, this unit is not designed to be 'advanced' for PC users.

Constant Internet Connection - Must always be connected via a broadband internet connection. Either wireless (purchase tivo dongle for $59) or via hard wired connection. TiVo gets its information from the internet, so without it, it will not work. **Anything less than broadband will not work, or very well**

Download Usage - For users with low download limits, they can be caught out downloading movies etc. TiVO operation day to day without movie is very limited, maybe 500mb.

No Antenna Out - Doesnt carry an antenna out connection. Which means that you must always watch TV through your TiVO, unless you split the antenna cable to the TV aswell, or other devices that use antennas. Not a big issue, however can be annoying. Record two programs at the same time, to watch a third you will need an extra antenna cable to your TV.

Warranty - Only one year. If it needs to be repaired it has to go interstate.

RRP $499 - Buy for $399
External HDD $249 - Buy for $199
PC Software $99 - Buy for $99

Total Cost - $697

Final Thought - Good reliable unit, that has its limitations. Easy to use, and the smart recording features, makes programming of favourite shows very easy. Some annoyances with connections, and image quality but shouldnt bother the every day user. Hope and pray your unit doesnt malfunction, otherwise you'll be saying F*** TiVO! (I would recommend purchasing extended warranty, even for those who are dead against it. If their is an issue after 12 months, it is then the job of your retailer to battle TiVO)



Series Record: Very similar to the TiVO in the fact this unit has series recording.

Expandable HDD: Unit carrys a 1TB (180 hours of HD) recording, and can take upto another 1TB HDD. The unit will accept any HDD that uses a USB connection. 2 x USB ports plus an E-SATA HDD, makes life very simple.

PC Connection: Either connect via utilising a USB stock/drive to transfer files from PC to Topfield or Topfield to PC. Connection also via hard wired LAN or wireless LAN connection. PC can act as a media server, and wirelessly play files (movies, images, music) from PC directly to Topfield.

Software/Fireware: Topfield constantly release software and firmware that allows you to update your unit, and fix any 'bugs' that may happen. Go to topfield site, download fix onto USB, insert into unit to upgrade. Fantastic way to keep technology new.

Twin Tuner: 2 High definition tuners allows you to record two programs at once. What is unique with this unit is you can actually record 4 programs at the same time, as long as its only two different networks. i.e record 7MATE,and 7TWO, and record 9GEM, and 9GO.

After Sales Support: Fantastic help desk support by topfield. The guys know what they are talking about and are always happy to help. Combine this with the software upgrades and that should keep you happy.

Reliability: Sold many of these units, and did not have many issues. Just about every issue encountered was HDD related, as is the case with most PVR's.

Imag Quality: Impeccible. Via HDMI, the units use a high end HDMI upscaling chip, the provides flawless quality.


Sluggish: Most PVRs operate a bit sluggish, and whilst Topfield certainly isnt the worst, it is not a quick as the TiVO units.

Reliability: I have put this in both, as sometimes the Topfield units have had patches of unreliability. In terms of, a significant portion of a shipment gets returned for one reason of anohter. However most good retailers will send them back if they notice the trend, bad retailers wont. If you get one that works, you should be fine.

Ease of Use: Or lack there of. Like most new technology, it'll take some getting use to. The basic functions are not hard, but if you are a big technophobe, you may want the manual near by.

Menu Layout: Storing of programs and the entire menu layout is not great. Again once you work out what everything does it is not too difficult, but can be a pain in the backside if trying to do things quickly.

Noise Level: Due to the large HDD, and twin tuner, on hot days the cooling fan can become audible. Not a huge issue, however if you are recording at night in a bedroom and the cooling fan is whirling, it can be a bit annoying.

No Intelligent Recording: Apart from Season Record, the unit is very limited in the intelligent recording area. You will need to scroll the 7-day guide regularly to ensure that you dont miss you programs.

RRP: $799 - Buy for $650ish
WIRELESS USB DONGLE: $99 - Buy for $79

Total: $729

Final Thought: For myself I would buy the Topfield, as I find its annoyances are outwighed by its PC connections, and after sales support. I am a regular TV show downloader, and by being able to dump a TV Show onto a USB, and plug it into the Toppy to watch, is a very good feature. This is also probably the reason I would buy the Topfield too - because I download most of my TV shows, and only record things like the Basketball or what I cant download.

If your a PC user regulary - Buy to topfield
If you want ease of use and to just record - Buy the TiVO

*** I cannot stress enough to buy extended warranty. I know some people will blast me for recommending it with the 'statutory warranty' etc etc etc, however for less than $100 bucks get a 5 year warranty, because I could almost promise you that in that time, you will have a a malfunction ***


Reply #338310 | Report this post

Years ago


Download Usage - For users with low download limits, they can be caught out downloading movies etc. TiVO operation day to day without movie is very limited, maybe 500mb - per month


Reply #338312 | Report this post

Years ago

I have been looking into this a little, because I am looking at transferring stuff of IQ to my computer. Apparently you cant just transfer it but you can dub it over if your PC has a video card, which mine does.

So my question for you tech savvie people - What software do I need to do the above? Something free or readily available on torrent websites would be what I am looking for!

Reply #338320 | Report this post

Years ago

Playstation Play

Reply #338324 | Report this post

Years ago



Reply #338326 | Report this post

Years ago

just wonder with the above that if you start watching whats on your iq if you can rip it off to that unit
if you can
well then that seems the go to me

Reply #338327 | Report this post

Years ago

I have a Topfield 7160 (HD twin tuners, 500GB HDD) and still believe it is fantastic value for money - I believe they're around $360 now. As said above, you can plug in an external HDD to play or transfer mpg or music files. It has an FTP server as well as a Web server, whioh enables high-speed transfer to/from PCs.

It has a fairly new feature "Intelligent Recording". If you select IR on a program from the EPG, it will automatically record every occurence, regardless of date, time or channel. The downside is that it takes the name literally, so you can get caught out if they add something to the standard program name, e.g. "... - Final", or "..... - Special Time", etc.

The problem of programs starting/finishing later than advertised can be overcome by internal settings which automatically start recording "x" minutes early and finish "y" minutes late. Mine are set to 2 mins early and 25 mins late so I rarely get caught out!

I can only comment on Topfield as I've never used Tivo but I do have high confidence in the product and can certainly recommend it.

Reply #338348 | Report this post

Years ago

Thanks guys, and a double thanks for the information from Rant and RG!! greatly appreciated.

Reply #338361 | Report this post

Years ago

Topfield has some nice software touches but if your reception is slightly weak even with antenna you may be unable to get all stations. My TV tuner picks up all stations but the Topfield doesn't get any SBS and 2 and 9 and their derivatives break up most days. Very disappointing. Will try Kogan as an experiment.

Reply #338400 | Report this post

Years ago

Topfield supports ICE TV EPG I found this added extra functionality. Do check out the ICE TV site for great deals on topfields. I bought my topfield from some one else and found this sight later. I was quite miffed that I had payed too much for my topfield. ICE TV had better deals and are certainly worth a look.

Reply #338440 | Report this post

Years ago

Kogan for bang for buck

Reply #338520 | Report this post


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