Author Topic: IceTV and Topfield. A review.  (Read 7532 times)

Offline coolguns

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IceTV and Topfield. A review.
« on: October 13, 2008, 01:39:10 PM »
I recently brought a topfield TF71000PVR after having it recommended to me. Up until now I have been using the Platinum Foxtel and figured the Topfield wouldn't be much different. Unfortunately, after almost a month of using the Topfield and IceTV EPG my views on this aren't all that spectacular. Compared to the Foxtel, my experience has been a nightmare. Basically I've had nothing but drama's, most of which are technical in nature. By profession, I am a Computer Network Engineer, so tackling issues such as wireless LAN's, Static IP addresses, LAN security, internet connections and PC issues was not about to deter me from spending the time and money to get it all working.

I'd like to state first and foremost, that if you are Mr and Mrs Joe Average then forget it. In order for me to get the Topfield to connect to my wireless LAN I had to resort to the online forums to get advice! In the end I had to update firmware, and strip all the security from my LAN to get the Topfield to connect to it, an exercise that was recommended in the forums. Thankfully, after reconfiguring the wireless security and fiddling around I finally had the Topfield on the network, with security enabled. In fact, had I taken the time to check the forums regarding IceTV and Topfield I may have decided against purchasing it. A good indication of how well a product or service works can be determined by the volume of posts and issues logged on the support forum(s). The IceTV and Topfield forums have thousands upon thousands of posts, mostly from users suffering technical issues. For a service that really hasn't been around that long it sounds a fairly loud warning to consumers.

After getting my connection sorted out I proceeded to take advantage of the free trial to IceTV.  I created an account, setup and tested the interactive connection to my PVR and began testing the TV Guide by scheduling a couple of favourite shows. Then the drama began. The first and probably most disappointing issue arose when I discovered that if my Topfield was in standby mode and I was wanting to schedule a show to record during the day from a remote internet browser, the electronic guide doesn't wake the Topfield to tell it what to do. Foxtel's IQ service doesn't suffer this problem, and it certainly wasn't an issue I'd even considered. In our day and age it was a natural assumption to think that I could use the IceTV interactive service to pick and schedule shows while my unit was in standby mode and expect them to be recorded when I got home.

After realising that I'd either have to leave the Topfield on during the day, or make sure I'd scheduled programs at least 24 hours in advance, I figured that after all the aggravation so far, I'd just have to live with it. I continued to test and evaluate the IceTC service. One morning from my office I scheduled a program to start that evening at 8:30pm. When I got home at around 6pm I turned the Topfield on so that it could pull down my newest schedule. By 6:30 pm, nothing had happened. My scheduled show had not appeared on the timer settings. At 7pm I forced a test connection to IceTV and it wasn't until almost 7:30pm that the show finally appeared. After researching this issue on the forums I discovered that IceTV's guide only updates every 30-60 minutes, longer if the server is busy. So what had I learnt so far? Forget trying to spontaneously schedule upcoming shows to record via the internet. You'll miss them.

The next issues proved to be even more frustating. Using the interactive guide to schedule shows turns out to be hit and miss at best. Show's I hadn't selected started appearing on my Upcoming Shows list. Shows I'd scheduled to record disappeared from the list the next day. I was becoming distressed trying to delete unwanted shows and re-schedule the ones I wanted. In one case, an unwanted show that was scheduled to begin recording the following day would not delete because it insisted it had already been recorded! While that may prove useful recording the horse racing in order to make a killing at the TAB with knowledge from the future, it was proving nothing but a frustration, here in the present.

My overall experience with all of this has obviously been disappointing, and I'm sure I will get flamed from forum users that have not the same experiences I've had. But the simple truth is, well... simple. In my business I'm constantly troubleshooting complex technical issues, and developing, testing and evaluating software. Had I released software to our users that was so frustrating even for an advanced user to navigate, and full of as many bugs, glitches and performance issues as IceTV contains, AND had the nerve to charge a fee for it - my boss would have sacked me.

I barely use the thing now. I'm back to using Foxtel and IQ until I can be sure that IceTV's software and service has progressed beyond the crawling stage and has learnt to stand on its own feet, on its own terms.

Offline Matt at IceTV

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Re: IceTV and Topfield. A review.
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2008, 01:59:37 PM »
Hi Coolguns,

It is widely known that the TF7100HDPVRt from Topfield does not yet support IceTV reliably and we have numerous messages on our website to warn customers not to redeem their Free IceTV Gift Subscription or to try to run IceTV on the existing TF7100 firmware as it they will not get the IceTV experience they deserve.

Examples include;

You have obviously ignored all these warnings and it is no wonder that your experience trying to run our service on the TF7100 without a reliable and stable firmware from Topfield was not as enjoyable as it should have been. Our IceTV Interactive and EPG services have been a huge success for customers using other devices such as Microsoft based media centres and Elgato EyeTV solutions for Mac for some time now and continue to be so.

Perhaps in the future you could take notice of our warnings that the current firmware does not yet support IceTV and wait patiently like all of us have been for Topfield to finish the necessary development work before reviewing the IceTV service.

We are currently testing yet another firmware update from Topfield (v1.11.21) and so far it is looking OK but we are still not in a position to give it the green light as we only received this late last week.

If you want access to the latest firmware you will need to contact Topfield directly on 1300 766 440 and request it.

There are some minor issues needed to be resolved by their engineers before the software is stable enough for consumers to reliably utilise all of IceTV's features and get the experience they deserve.

From correspondence with Topfield we expect this development to be completed in the near future and as soon as we have had adequate time to test their latest software we will notify all those that have registered their contact details with us (via our contact us page) as suggested on our website, so they can begin their free gift subscription and start enjoying IceTV straight away. We want to ensure that you get the best experience from IceTV and from your free subscription.

If you have further questions regarding the progress we suggest you call Topfield directly on 1300 766 440 as unfortunately we have absolutely no control or influence over the development time needed to complete this work.

We apologise for any inconvenience this delay from Topfield may cause and we will notify you of the good news as soon as we can.

We have made numerous attempts to notify all those involved. See above examples as well as several posts on this forum.

At no stage have we (IceTV) suggested that TF7100 customers try to run or use IceTV with their PVR and we are as dissapointed as consumers are that there is still not a suitable firmware available.

Once again, I completely understand your frustrations and perhaps judging on my lengthy response to your post you can appreciate how frustrated we are by this also. Any attempts to run IceTV on the TF7100 at present does not accurately reflect the service we provide.

It is hoped that a new firmware that reliably supports the IceTV EPG and IceTV Interactive features will be released by Topfield shortly. In the meantime we suggest that you register your contact details with our team if you havent already done so via our website (


« Last Edit: October 13, 2008, 02:09:18 PM by mattk »
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Offline AMLagonda

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Re: IceTV and Topfield. A review.
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2009, 01:00:33 PM »
It should be pointed out that this review is old and outdated, now that we have the new firmware.

The only problem we still have is that the 7100 doesn't wake to receive EPG timings, thats ok for me as I have series set on all the shows I want to record and we use the PVR daily.

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