Current Version: Alpha 2

1                     INTRODUCTION


This TAP is intended to provide an improved facility for scanning and managing UK TV channels on the Topfield TF5800 (“Toppy”), and in particular it includes options for:


·         Running a complete scan without further intervention, carrying forward timers to the new channel layout even though LCNs and internal Toppy numbers may have changed.


·         Automatically deleting pay TV channels, for those without TUTV subscriptions


·         Intelligent duplicate channel handing so as to retain only the one with the strongest signal, but with the option to renumber the strongest of any of the remainder which has a different regional identity.


·         Automatically deleting channels by (partial) name, LCN or Service ID, or selecting channels to be retained by (partial) name or LCN No, in the associated “.ini” file.


·         User review & override of the automatic deletion logic.


Selections of options can either be by an options screen, or by ".ini" file so that the whole process of scanning & deleting/renumbering can be done unattended. However many will find the default settings OK.


It does not handle radio channels.


2                    BASIC USE

2.1               Installation & Loading


1.      Make sure you have read all these notes. This TAP is potentially hazardous to family viewing (e.g. by deleting key channels, favourites, and/or timers), so until you have confidence that it works OK for you, use it when you have time to recover. Saving all key data beforehand using the PC application “Top Set” (or equivalent) is recommended (particularly if using the advanced features below).


2.      Download the “.zip” file from Channel Manager Download. This contains:


·         A “readme.txt” file which is an abbreviated version of this document and can be ignored if you have read this.


·         “ChannelManager.tap” – use Altair or equivalent to copy this into (a subdirectory of) “/ProgramFiles” on your Toppy.


·         A series of sample “.ini” files as detailed below. These are not necessary for basic operation, and so can be ignored at this stage.


3.      It is advisable to close down any other TAPs, particularly those which use the Radio/TV, Recall, Up/Down, OK, <<, >>, Exit, & White  keys as activation keys. TAP Commander & Remote Extender appear to be OK. MyStuff & Improbox seem OK if you do not want to use the White key for amending the recommended deletions. Media Manager (when set up to provide images in Radio mode) is incompatible with a full scan after deleting the previous line up as the Toppy temporarily moves to radio mode when all channels have been deleted.


4.      The TAP is inconsistent with recording & copying and should exit if any are in progress when it starts. It takes up to 10 minutes (plus your thinking editing time if reviewing the recommendations) to run when doing a full scan, so make sure no recording is imminent.


5.      Load Signal Monitor by pressing Archive, navigating to where “SignalMonitor.tap” was copied, and pressing "OK". You will then be taken to the initial menu.


2.2               Initial Menu


The initial menu allows choice of scanning methods, types of deletion to apply, method of handling duplicates, and whether the manual review is wanted. Use the up/down keys to move to the next item, and left/right to change setting for the current selection. More information is given on the current selection at the bottom of the screen. The following screenshot was taken while using the “ChannelManager1.ini” file delete facilities described in the “Advanced Features” section below.




More details of the options available without the “.ini” file are given below. When you are satisfied with the selections, select the bottom entry & press ”OK”.


2.3               Changing Your Mind!


“Recall” at any time up to the start of the deletions takes you back to reading the initial menu. HOWEVER DO NOT USE THIS TO DO MULTIPLE SCANS, AS CHAOS MIGHT ENSUE. It can be used safely to change the selections when viewing the recommended results.


“Exit” closes the TAP at any time other than while scanning menus are displayed or deletions are in progress. If a scan has been performed the timers will be updated as necessary, but no deletions will occur.


2.4               Scanning Options


Initially there are two options for the basic user:


0.      No scan, so the TAP deletes, renumbers and/or renames previously scanned channels. In this mode, operation is analogous to that of the Channel Remover TAP except that the deletions can be reviewed and added to or reversed – see para 2.8 below.


1.      Automatic, after deleting all existing channels, taking around 8-10 minutes. Note this will delete your Toppy favourites list if you have one, but timers should be reset to your new channel line-up.


but two more are available for advanced users via the “.ini” file –see 3.3 below.


The automatic scan uses the standard Toppy menus plus simulated keypresses to do both the deletion and the manual scan. During the deletion you will be able to see it switch rapidly through the delete menus, with a count of the number of channels appearing in the bottom right hand corner of the display. During the subsequent scan, a banner appears across the lower part of the standard Toppy “Searching” display to indicate that it is being run by Channel Manager. Recognition of completion of the scan is automatic.


If a scan finds more than 200 channels (including duplicates), only the first 200 will be processed. Having reduced the number, the TAP can then be run a second time using scan mode 0 to process the rest.



2.5               Deletion Of Pay Channels


You can choose to automatically delete all pay channels at the initial menu stage. However please note that if the channel was inactive at the time of the last scan, the Toppy will not have recognised it as a pay channel, and it will not be deleted. This may therefore be of limited use.


2.6               Duplicate LCN Handling


Two active modes (plus ignore) are available, which can be selected at the initial menu stage.  Mode 0 leaves duplicates, and Mode 1 simply retains the one with the best signal and deletes the rest. For most people Mode 1 will be appropriate, and this is the menu default.


For those on the regional borders, who can receive signals from both regions, and who wish to be able to watch either regional variants of BBC1 or ITV1, Mode 2 should be used. The Service ID is used to determine whether a signal is a different regional variant. For channels with no regional variants, the same ID is used nationwide, but for BBC1/2 & ITV1 (and perhaps a few others) the ID is transmitter dependent. Among the channels with the same LCN, but different ID, that with the second best signal is renumbered so it no longer appears to be a duplicate and thus one can choose which regional variant to watch or record. Any further duplicates are deleted. By default, 200 is added to the original LCN to give the LCN of the regional variant. Initially the new regional variant will appear in its original position in the Toppy channel list so you might get:


1                    BBC1

201            BBC1 second region

2                    BBC2

3                    ITV

203      ITV second region

4          Ch4


but if you do another scan without deleting the old channels it will move to its “correct” position in numeric order.


2.7               Signal Strength Measurements


After any scan and before any deletion etc recommendations, the signal strength & quality is measured on each RF channel for about 5 seconds. The details of the current channel being monitored is displayed.


2.8               Review Screen


If it has been selected in the initial menu, the review screen lists the following data for each TV channel which has been found:


·         Toppy Service No (0,1,2 etc), LCN (as amended where relevant), & Service Name (using smaller font for long names, and even then may be cut off), as amended where relevant.



·         RF channel number



·         0-3 star signal rating.



·         Audio & Video PIDs



·         Service ID



·         Pay channel indication



·         Notes giving reason for proposed deletion/renumbering.




The background colour indicates which are recommended for deletion. This can be changed by selecting that line with the Up/Down & <</>> keys and pressing the white key. A deleted channel will then no longer be deleted and an ordinary channel will be deleted. Renumbered/renamed channels can be deleted, but not changed back to the original values/names. The screenshot was obtained using the “ChannelManager1.ini” file – see 3.2 below.


Pressing “OK” with the this screen in view implements the displayed changes. When the changes have been implemented, your Toppy will go to standby. If you are not satisfied with the results, use either “Exit” or “Recall” as above.




3.1               General


Additional functions and customisation are available via a “ChannelManager.ini” file, which must be in the same directory on the Toppy as “ChannelManager.tap”. Sample files are provided as part of the download and should be edited/merged/renamed to meet your particular requirements. Comments after “#” are ignored. “Recall” reloads the “.ini” file, so can be used to try an amended version. A warning message is displayed if an invalid command is found. This message includes the offending text.


Given the wide range of combinations of these features, I have not been able to test every combination. Proceed with care, especially just before crucial programmes are due to be transmitted!


3.2               Removal of Unwanted Channels


Many users never want to watch some channels, and therefore for convenience want them removed from their Toppy channel list. It can be done via the Review Screen, but more conveniently it can also be done using commands in the “.ini” file. There are two types of relevant commands in the “.ini” file – the user can either define the channels to be deleted or the channels to be kept using “Delxxx” and “Keepxxx” commands respectively. In the former case only the channels listed are deleted, and in the latter case all but the channels listed are deleted. However absence of any “Keep” command is interpreted as an instruction to keep all channels.


Examples of the commands are:


·         DelLcn=70                              # Allows indicated LCN to be deleted even if other deletion criteria are not met.

·         DelLcnR=071:099                   # Deletes indicated range of LCNs (71-99 inclusive in this case). Must be 3 digit numbers.

·         DelName=top                          # Deletes those channels whose name begins with “top”. Note this is not case sensitive so “top” is the same as “TOP”, “Top”, etc. Only first 10 characters will be used. Any spaces at the end of the name will be ignored.

·         DelSvID=14208                       # Allows channels with indicated Service ID to be deleted even if other deletion criteria are not met.


·         KeepLcn<=4                           # Keeps channels with LCN of 4 or less.


·         KeepLcn>=300                      # Keeps channels with LCN of 300 or more.

·         KeepLcn=35                           # Keeps channel with LCN of 35.

·         KeepLcnR=300:305                # Keeps channels in the specified range (300 to 305 inclusive in this case).

·         KeepName=BBC                    # Keeps those channels whose name begins with BBC. Note this is not case sensitive so “bbc” is the same as “BBC”, “Bbc”, etc. Only first 10 characters will be used. Any spaces at the end of the name will be ignored.



The sample “ChannelManager1.ini” & “ChannelManager2.ini” files give more details of the delete & keep commands, and each is intended to be a plausible set of commands (depending on your interests!) and they should result in the being left with the same set of channels (with the line-up as of December 2006)..


It is anticipated that most people will use either all delete or all keep commands, but both can be used in the same “ChannelManager.ini” file. However note that only the files that satisfy the “keep” criteria and do not satisfy the “delete” criteria will be retained. Thus KeepLcnR=300:305 & DelLcnR=302:304 would leave you with 300, 301, & 305.


See for details of the Service IDs on the transmitters near you.


3.3               Automated Operation


For those who wish to do a rescan on a frequent (or even unattended basis using the XStart TAP), the “.ini” file can be used to amend the initial menu default settings, and bypass the display of the menu  & review screens altogether, using the following commands:


·         MenuMode=0              # 0 (zero) skips the initial menu (using default settings as amended by other “.ini” file entries), 1 displays menu for selection of options. Default = 1.


·         ScanType=1               # 0 (zero) to 3 for the four scan options listed in paras 2.4 & 3.3 above.  Default = 0, i.e. no scan. If a value of greater than 1 is chosen without  selecting the additional scan options, the new value will become the default, but any user changes will be limited to options 1 or 2.


·         DelPayChan=1           # 1 to delete all pay channels, 0 (zero) to leave pay channels. Default = 1.


·         DuplMode=2                # 0 (zero) to 2 for the three duplicate handling options listed in para 5 above. Default = 1, i.e. remove all duplicates.


·         ManualEdit=0              # 0 to skip the user review process, 1 to perform the user review described in para 2.8. Default is 1.


The defaults for the Delete & Keep selections in the initial menu are set by the presence of the relevant entries in the “.ini” file, so all are used if MenuMode is set to zero.


An example set are given in ChannelManager3.ini. Fully automated operation should work with most other TAPs except using Scan type 1 together with any TAPs triggered by entering Radio mode (.e.g. Media Manager).


3.4               Additional Scanning Options


A “MoreScanOptions” command in the “.ini” file leads to two more options being available at the initial menu, as follows:


2.      Manual Scan – in this mode the user is taken to the Toppy’s scan menu, allowing any form of manual scan (or even normal full scan) to  be performed. Several scans can be performed. The user must indicate completion by pressing “Archive”.


3.      An automatic scan adding to the existing channel line-up. As with Scan option1 described in para 2.4 above, completion of the scan is automatically detected and the signal level measurement proceeds without user intervention.


These should be used with caution as they have not been tested to the same extent as Modes 0 & 1.


3.5               Additional Regional Service Features


A different Service ID does not appear to always indicate a different regional programme, so the duplicate handling logic is preceded by a facility to amend the Service ID using an “.ini“ command of the form “AmendID=4167:4162” where 4617 is the transmitted ID and 4162 is the new value. 4167 & 4162 will then be treated as the same service, and no regional variant generated even in Mode 2.


The operation of the regional renumbering can be tuned with the following “.ini” file commands:


§         ReName=4162:BBC1 (E)       # Renames all channels with Service ID of 4162 DOES NOT CURRENTLY WORK!!!!


§         RegOffset=150                       # Number to be added to original LCN for the regional variants (Default = 200)


§         MaxRenLcn=4                         # Limits regional variants to those with LCNs of 4 or less.


An example set are given in ChannelManager4.ini.



3.6               Test Features


The following test features are available in the “.ini” file:


·         RenTestNo=3                         # Test feature  duplicates of LCNs 1-3 are treated as regional variants even if they have the same Service ID.


·         MinSamples= 1000                 # Allows the duration of the signal level monitoring to be changed to speed the process or lengthen it to get better results. In units of 10 ms. Default = 500, minimum 100.


An example set are given in ChannelManager5.ini.


4                    Timers


These are saved before a scan, and re-allocated to the same Service ID after scanning. Warning messages are displayed if the relevant channel has disappeared or is recommended for deletion. The actual deletion process takes account of the fact that the native Toppy stores timers by its internal Service No rather than LCN or Service ID.


5                    (NATIVE) TOppy favourites


May be OK except when doing a full rescan after deleting old channels – I never use them.



6                    VERSION HISTORY


14/12/2006: Alpha1: released for very limited testing


22/12/2006: Alpha 2:


·         Simplification of initial menu & clarification/expansion of explanations

·         Re-arrangements of internal code.

·         Suppression of MHEG loading messages

·         Change to Delete/Keep by name functions to ignore trailing spaces

·         Progress screens added to timer updates & channel deletions .

·         Overlay added to full scan screen to indicate Channel Manager is running.

·         Minor cosmetic improvements

·         Rewrite of this document to put more emphasis on basic operation, with the advanced features mentioned later.


7                    ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS


Particularly to Firebird for help with the flash memory aspects, dwright for logic to disable MHEG loading messages, and for feedback on Alpha 1 from Chunkywizard.




The following (in no particular order!) may be considered:


1.      Getting re-name to work!


2.      Support for Radio channels.


3.      Inclusion of Factory Reset + full scan as a fifth scan option retaining settings such as TV type (or does Factory Reset close down TAPs???) This might be of particular interest to TAP developers/testers who frequently need to do a Factory Reset.


4.      Better info on reasons for deletion in the review screen.


5.      Automatic generation of MyStuff favourites file (although is there any point in having a favourites list which is equal to the full list?).


6.      Support for Toppy favourites.


7.      More complex editing facilities in review screen.


8.      Support for non-UK models


9.      Warning when channels have changed LCN or new channels have appeared.


Which features particularly interest you?


9                    FEEDBack


Via the relevant forum please.