Subject: Re: mythtv and netbsd?
To: Steven M. Bellovin <>
From: Malcolm Herbert <>
List: netbsd-users
Date: 02/15/2006 09:05:49
I got fed up creating an mp3 playing PC which was quiet and was friendly
enough for others beside myself to use and eventually bought a slimp3
device. When it came time to doing a similar thing for video I jumped
straight to the bit where I handed over some money to make the problem
go away and bought a Topfield 5000PVRt, since there is no official TiVo
sold in Australia[1].

The Topfield has dual DVBT tuners and when I bought mine it had an 80G
hard drive. It now has a 250G hard drive after I swapped it out when the
warranty expired - I didn't need to do anything to the device other than
install the drive either.

It has a USB2 port to download recordings if needed. Unfortunately
the record format is simply the AU DVBT MPEG stream so won't play
directly in most video playing programs, nor will go to DVD without
being transcoded[2], but plays fine in mplayer without modification.

Usually we'll watch programs from the device itself, but we recently
went on holiday with my Mac and filled an 80G portable drive without

More importantly from my point of view, is that the Topfield includes
a serial port at the back for firmware upgrades (although you would
usually do that by uploading through the USB port) and there is a
healthy community of programmers writing modules for it as the API has
been published.

Some modules allow you to upload program guides to the Topfield from a
PC on a scheduled basis, but as that doesn't interest me much I haven't
tried it. Others provide better user interfaces as the Topfield does
have some quirks in that area.

There are a few annoying firmware bugs, however most of these have been
worked around or fixed as firmware updates have progressed or modules
pick up the pieces afterwards[3].

All in all I'm pretty happy with it. Cost me about AU$900 when I bought
it and I think current models are still about the same price. I have had
it about two years now ...


[1] Andrew Tridgell is probably the most well-known AU TiVo owner,
having hacked a US version to do PAL. You can apparently also get a UK
version which will work here, but won't be brand new.

[2] Which I'm still working out how to do - there is doco around I just
don't have all of the programs mentioned in it yet ...

[3] probably the most annoying is a corrupted DVBT time signal resetting
the clock to some point in the distant future then back again ... this
automatically expires all your once-off record events and pushes out
the periodical ones so that nothing will be recorded until you fix them
all again ... this happens often enough that there is a module to work
around it. The alternative is to not allow the Topfield to set its time
from the DVBT signal ... the internal clock does drift a little, which
we're manually fixing about once a week.

Malcolm Herbert                                This brain intentionally                                                left blank