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Thomson DTI 6300-16 TopUp TV Anytime DVR

DVR meets VoD

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Review Bit of an odd turbot this new TopUP TV service - not a selection of extra Freeview channels like the original TopUp TV offering, nor a full video on-demand system either. Bit of an odd review too, as it's difficult to come to a final conclusion on the hardware without some reference to the associated broadcast service, and that's highly subjective.

Thomson DTI 6300-16 TopUp TV Anytime +
Thomson's DTI 6300-16 TopUp TV Anytime DVR: styling straight out of the 1990s

The short and tall of it is that TopUp TV Anytime is all you get if you're a new TopUp TV customer. In any case, the old version is now reduced to providing access to just UKTV Gold, UKTV Style and British Eurosport over and above the usual Freeview channels.

The new service brings you a set of channels from which TopUp TV will 'send' you a maximum of about 14 hours of selected programmes overnight. You have no control over the programmes being sent, beyond selecting the channels they are pulled from. Whether those channels represent value is up to you. Full details of the nightly downloads can be found on TopUp TV's website, here.

This basic service costs £10 a month. If you want Picture Box, which gives you a selection of films from Universal Pictures, you'll need to fork out another £5 a month, while sports fans can get 46 Premiership football games and other stuff on Setanta for a further £11 a month. If you are new to TopUp TV, you'll also need to shell out £140 for the Thomson DTI 6300-16 DVR TopUp TV box, which is the linchpin of the whole system and is now the only set-top box available from TopUp. Existing TopUp customers can access various lower priced options if they wish to upgrade to the new service.

The DTI 6300-16 is a decent enough bit of kit in terms of specification coming as it does with two digital tuners and a 160GB hard drive. According to the on-screen stats, the drive is good for 145-odd hours, which seems a lot for only 160GB, but as we shall see in this case that still isn't enough.

Connectivity is pretty comprehensive, with two Scart sockets; a digital audio output via a co-axial socket; two RCA analogue audio outputs and an s-video socket. There's no HDMI output. Lurking by the Top Up TV Anytime card slot under a drop-down panel at the front of the box is a USB port, but you'll search in vain in the manual for any clue as to what this is for.

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