Topfield TRF-2100 PVR set top box

A simple, speedy, bare-bones set top box

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Topfield TRF-2100
  • Topfield TRF-2100
  • Topfield TRF-2100
  • Topfield TRF-2100
  • Expert Rating

    3.25 / 5

Pros

  • Simple operation and interface
  • Fast, trouble-free navigation

Cons

  • Comparatively small hard drive
  • Inferior fast forward/rewind speed
  • No Internet capability

Bottom Line

The Topfield TRF-2100 is a basic set top box, with dual TV tuners that let you record one program while you're watching another. It's simple, easy to operate and quick to respond to commands. We wish it had more hard drive capacity though, and the lack of Internet features (included on a cheaper model) is disappointing.

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The Topfield TRF-2100, new to the company’s set top box range, is a personal video recorder with twin digital TV tuners and an internal 320GB hard drive. It’s small and discreet, quiet and quick to operate, but misses out on some features that we would have liked to see.

Topfield TRF-2100: Design and setup

The TRF-2100 is much smaller than its companion TRF-2470, measuring only 260 x 195 x 50mm. It’s able to be hidden out of the way behind any reasonably-sized TV stand, and will fit in discreetly with any other devices in your home entertainment setup.

The three-digit, single-line liquid crystal display on the front of the TRF-2100 is extremely basic, only showing up the channel number of whatever you’re currently watching. Apart from that, the front of the set top box is almost blank — you’ll find a central power button and channel buttons near the screen, but that’s it.

Around the back, the TRF-2100 has connectors for antenna input and output, component video and composite A/V, optical digital audio output, HDMI output, a USB input, and 12V DC power input. We would have liked to see the USB port on the front of the box, but otherwise we’re happy with the TRF-2100’s range and variety of inputs and outputs.

The remote control bundled with the Topfield TRF-2100 is as simple as the set top box itself. A central five-way navigational pad also handles volume and channel changing, there’s a number pad up top and play/stop/pause/rewind/fast forward buttons down the bottom. The labelling is OK, not great; we would have liked to see better descriptions on some of the buttons to save reading the manual for information.

Topfield TRF-2100: Performance and features

The menu system of the Topfield TRF-2100 is the same as the more expensive TRF-2470 — it’s simple, relies largely on text rather than graphics, and is thankfully quick to respond to commands. It’s also logically laid out, and easy to navigate to both common and less common functions.

The twin digital TV tuners of the TRF-2100 mean that you can record one program while still watching another live TV channel, or record two programs while watching something you’ve previously taped.

What you’ll be using most is the Recording menu and its EPG, which makes adding reminders and scheduling recordings a relatively easy process. The TRF-2100’s 320GB internal hard drive can store around about 80 hours of high definition digital TV recordings, and about double that if you’re only recording in standard definition (or if you’re just recording a standard definition channel). This is a fair amount of hard drive space, but it pales in comparison to competing brands’ 500GB models which only cost slightly more.

In terms of its feature-set, the TRF-2100 lags behind the TRF-2470 it was announced alongside, but also behind the cheaper non-recording TBF-7300. Both of these models include access to YouTube and the ABC iView catch-up TV service, but the TRF-2100 isn’t able to connect to the Internet. You can still use the rear USB port to play back compressed audio and picture files (JPEG picture, MP3 audio), but video isn’t supported.

Similarly, the TRF-2100 isn’t able to deliver the same 128x fast forward/rewind speeds that the TRF-2470 can. The cheaper set top box is limited to only 64x — while this might still seem like a lot, if you’re watching a longer video and want to skip ahead, the extra speed is useful.

Topfield TRF-2100: Conclusion

The Topfield TRF-2100 is a very simple personal video recorder, and while its simplicity isn’t necessarily a bad thing, you can find more fully-featured competitors for similar price tags. We do wonder why the TRF-2100 is lacking the Internet capability and iView access of the cheaper TBF-7300, though.

If you’re just looking for a reasonably cheap PVR that’s easy to understand and easy to operate, the Topfield TRF-2100 ticks all your boxes.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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