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TF5800 manual: TAPs

TAPs - Additional software for your PVR

One of the most exciting things about the Topfield TF5800, compared to other PVRs, is that it’s possible to add additional software to it, as well as simply updating the firmware.

The TF5800 includes a facility to load and run small additional programs, called TAPs – Topfield Applications. These can provide additional features, change the way in which existing features work, or change the look of menus and other displays. Although some of them have many features, they still rely on the PVR’s own software – just as you could add a new program to your computer to browse through your files in a different way, but the original Windows Explorer would still be available.

Most TAPs are written by independent authors; many are free, some have to be paid for, and some ask for donations if you like them. There’s a wide range, including programs for viewing photographs, searching for particular types of programmes to record, ways to create shortcut keys to menus you use a lot, and even extra games.

Since TAPs are created by independent authors, Topfield cannot be responsible for how well they behave, or for any problems that a TAP may cause with operation of your PVR. If you experience problems, you should disable any TAPs before calling the technical support line, and remember that help with individual TAPs cannot be offered by Topfield.

Installing TAPs

TAPs can be copied to your PVR just like MP3 files, using Altair.

Most TAPs are small, and they are usually supplied in a zip file together with documentation and any other files that are required. A TAP itself is a small file with a name ending in .tap. TAPs should always be copied into the ProgramFiles folder on your PVR.

Remember to check the documentation that accompanies each TAP to see if there are any other files that need to be copied to the PVR with it. Some TAPs, for example, require a configuration file or folder to be copied into the ProgramFiles folder with them.

Starting TAPs

When TAPs have been copied to your PVR, you can view them by pressing the Archive buttonArchiveon the remote control and using the Fast ForwardFast Forwardor RewindRewindbuttons to select Program Files.

You’ll see a list of the TAPs that you have copied to the PVR , similar to the normal list of recorded programmes, and you can create additional folders to organise them if you wish; the names of TAPs may not match exactly the names of the files you copied from your PC, since the PVR displays the names stored within the TAPs themselves, rather than just the names of the .tap files.

Additional files, such as configuration information, that you transferred will not be shown, only the TAPs themselves.

As you move up and down the list, you will see additional information about TAPs in the bottom section of the archive list, which may include details about which buttons a TAP uses, or the name of the author.

To start a TAP, simply highlight it on the screen and press the OK button OK/Liston the remote control.

Don’t be alarmed if nothing appears to happen when you start a TAP. Many of them simply wait for you to press a particular key on the remote control before doing anything further. Since each TAP behaves differently, you should always read the documentation supplied with it to check which keys it uses.

Starting TAPs automatically

You may find that there are some TAPs that you particularly like using, and you’d like to start them each time you turn your PVR on. That’s very easy to do; after you’ve first run TAPs, you’ll see that an additional folder is created within the ProgramFiles folder, called Auto Start.

Any TAPs that you place in this folder will be started automatically each time your PVR is turned on. You can move TAPs in just the same way as you organise recorded programmes; highlight the TAP that you would like to start automatically, and then press the Yellow button on the remote control to move it.

You’ll see a list of folders appear on the screen, and you should select Auto Start. If you decide that you no longer want a TAP to start automatically when the PVR is turned on, simply stop it – most TAPs provide an option to stop them running, just like choosing Exit in a computer program – and then move it from the Auto Start folder back to the main ProgramFiles folder.

Troubleshooting TAPs

Although we can’t provide advice for individual TAPs, there are some general tips that you may find useful if you have difficulty with your PVR after installing them.

You can prevent TAPs that are in the Auto Start folder from running when you turn your PVR on by holding down the 0 button on the remote control. Hold the button down immediately after turning the PVR on, and continue to hold it down until you see the screen ratio start to change. Then, press 0 to return the screen to your preferred settings. Your PVR will now be running without any TAPs loaded.

TAPs are able to tell whether or not the PVR is playing a recording, making a new recording, showing live TV or in the system menus. Not all TAPs are designed to work at all times, so check the documentation for a TAP if it doesn’t do what you expect – it may be designed only to work when the PVR is doing certain tasks.

The Exit keyExitis often used by TAPs to provide access to a menu which may allow you to change options or stop the TAP, so you should try it and see if it provides extra information.

Sometimes, you may find that two TAPs interfere with each other, just as can happen on your computer. You should try TAPs individually, rather than running several at a time, until you are sure which combinations provide the features that you like; if you experience problems, the authors of the TAPs involved are the people who can help you.

Although the Topfield TF5800 can run many of the TAPs created for other similar models in the TF5000 range, some TAPs are designed for specific models, or to take advantage of features of the digital TV system in certain countries, and there are a few differences between the remote control on the TF5800 and that on other models. Always check to ensure that a TAP is designed or suitable for use on the TF5800.

You will not be able to damage your PVR by installing TAPs, but it is possible for a TAP to cause the PVR to restart itself, just as a badly written program can make your computer crash. When this happens, any recordings that are in progress will be terminated and may be unplayable.

Remember that Topfield is not responsible for TAPs, and cannot offer any support on using them, beyond the information in this manual. If you experience problems with your PVR, you should always try running it without TAPs before calling for technical support.

Next: Troubleshooting