Thomson DTI 6300-16 - Top Up TV Anytime - Thomson DTI 6300-16

By Jonathan Bray



Our Score:


It's certainly a good idea, and it works well enough – if what you want to watch is lots of lifestyle TV, cartoons, documentaries and comedy repeats that is – but it's not perfect. The main issue is with the division of hard disk space, which is heavily weighted towards Anytime content. Select every single channel available, which you'll need to do if you want a decent selection of content to watch, and the box divides things up on a ratio of roughly 6:1 Anytime to personal storage space, which means you only get around 18 hours of recording space for normal TV to play with. The only way you can change this is to reduce the number of Anytime channels you have set to 'active' and, thus, potentially miss out on content that would otherwise have been recorded.

The box itself is bit on the noisy side too, and even in standby the fans make an audible whooshing noise. It's not something you'd want to have sitting in your bedroom, put it that way.


I think that Top Up TV is going to have its work cut out convincing the TV-watching public to take a serious look at its new product. The main issue isn't one of impracticality, or any particular hardware failing (though the hard disk issue and noise problems don't help), but simply that the selection of channels can't match Sky's for sheer quantity, range and flexibility. Only those who regularly watch channels like Discovery Lifestyle, Living TV, Hallmark and MTV may be swayed.

Fortunately, the Top Up TV package does have some advantages. At £139.99 for the package it undercuts the price of a Sky+ setup (from scratch) by £20 and has more hard disk capacity for recording. Even if you're only in the market for a Freeview PVR, a 160GB box like this for £139.99 is pretty reasonable anyway.

At £9.99, the monthly subscription is also cheaper than Sky's lowest priced package by £5. Next season you'll be able to watch Premiership football too for a reasonable £10.99 a month and for another fiver you can add a movie channel – PictureBox – into the mix as well.

For these reasons, Top Up TV anytime may be worth a look. It's well-priced and the hardware is capable – but only if you're interested in the channel mix.

Overall Score


Scores In Detail

  • Performance 7
  • Value 7
  • Features 7

Steve Barlow

July 21, 2008, 2:21 pm

I have had one of these for six months, they are nothing but trouble. The software is unstable which causes the unit to frequently freeze. To reset it requires switching the power off and back on at the plug; sometimes more than once. When it isn't frozen, it will randomly decide to either not record at all, or only record a few minutes of a programme. The amount of displayed recording time left, never equates; you can have 58 hours recording time left, record an hour long programme and find after it has recorded you then only have say 25 hours left!

Most other reviewers of this unit that I have seen elsewhere all say don't buy one, spend a little extra and purchase something that actually is 'fit for the purpose intended.

D McDonald

October 9, 2008, 1:09 pm

Given as a present, the 250gig version was easy to set up, use and it looks good. Recording 2 seperate channels, useful and simple. If only the unit would stop hanging up. Had to remove the power lead to reset at least 3 or 4 times a week. Sent it back, new one was just as easy to get started with, but occassionally hung up. Then the signal started breaking up, making watching, or recording impossible. The same signal is fed to the TV tuner and is perfect so it is not signal strength, unless this box take a stronger than usual signal. In the end, took it out and am now using a complicated HDD recorder, but at least it works. Very disappointed with the Thompson free-view recorder. A great idea and superb when it works, but it dont.

tony 8

October 17, 2008, 10:26 pm

Have the same problem as Mr McDonald, frequently picture breaking up/ freezing for a split second in a very short space of time which is frustrating when it is something you have recorded. Taking it back to Tesco's on Monday. Did like the dual recording though.

The Floyd

January 13, 2009, 9:12 pm

I have had one of these for over a month and it worked perfectly at first which meant I had recorded lots of things to watch. Then it started to freeze and I had to reboot by unpluging serveral times a day. I tried all sorts of settings to avoid sending it back and loosing the recordings and found that after turning the recoding buffer to zero, it has so far been working OK. If it works I will probably keep it as its a great piece of kit shame about the software.

John Curran

May 4, 2009, 5:13 pm

I have three of thes recorders 2 at my caravan and 1 at home and I am now on my sixth replacement from Argos as the keep stopping and won`t switch on last night I went to bed to watch the program I had recorded and the recorder would not switch on no matter what I tried so that another trip to Argos, later my wife was watching t.v. in the lounge and called to me saying that the thomsons recorder had switched of so thats two I`ll be taking back to argos today,and as these are both replacements and only six and seven months old respectively I just hope they will exchange them for another make as I`ve completely lost all faith in thomsons products. Am I just unlucky or are there other boxes out there with the same problem?

Serena Douce

May 9, 2009, 4:33 pm

I have had this system since August 08, have had nothing but problems with it, pictures freezing, no downloads coming though have tried to return the box several times and have been threatened with legal action from Top up tv so I am basically paying 9.99 a month and not receiving anything for my money, my advice to anyone looking at getting one of these is to pay a little more and get sky at least you will be receiving what you are paying for

John Smith

July 25, 2009, 2:47 pm

Another one for the list. Continuous problems with this piece of hardware when used as part of the topuptv service. Frequent failures to record caused by corrupted software downloads. Topuptv needs to solve this problem once and for all time.

Greg Denwood

August 17, 2009, 10:59 pm

I bought two of these boxes in July of this year in preparation for digital switchover in Cumbria. I have experienced problems with both, freezing, dropping channels and programme information, problems caused by recording and so on. The worst thing is that Thomson appear to have abandoned their help line. I've been ringing over the last month to get the message that due to unforseen circumstances they are unable to take my call and to try again later. I think this lack of after sales service is inexcusable.I will be returning the boxes.

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