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Top Up TV – Review, Information and Advice

Our look at Top Up TV – the digital TV service that offers extra channels and TV shows in addition to the existing Freeview channels.

Top Up TV: CLOSED IN OCTOBER 2013!

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What is Top Up TV?

Top Up TV LogoTop Up TV launched in March 2004, offering extra channels that were not available on Freeview, on a subscription basis. These channels included UK Style, Eurosport, UKTV Gold, TCM, Discovery, Cartoon Network, UK Food, Bloomberg, Toonami and Boomerang.

At the end of 2006, Top Up TV began scaling down the broadcast of these live channels, moving to a new service called Top Up TV Anytime.

 

What is Top Up TV Anytime?

Top Up TV Anytime is a hard-disk based solution that uses a special Top Up TV Anytime set-top box to bring you a selection of TV programmes and movies. You can also get Sky Sports and ESPN.

The service doesn’t require an Internet connection or a phone line. It uses your TV aerial. Programmes are recorded onto the box’s built-in hard-disk during the off-peak hours, so that you can watch them the next day.

TopUp TV Anytime Box

Extra TV content is available from the following providers: G.O.L.D, Comedy Central, BBC, CBS, TCM, Warner TV, Life & Times, Good Food, Home, Boomerang, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon and the Disney Channel.

The monthly subscription is £12.99 a month, and you can find more details, plus our review, on our Top Up TV Anytime page

How do I get Top Up TV?

To subscribe to Top Up TV, you need to be in a Freeview coverage area – Your Freeview
set-top box or digital TV set must be capable of receiving Freeview Channel 5 (“Five”), which is on the same set of channels as the TopUp TV service – See our Freeview reception advice section for help getting the Freeview channels.

TopUp TV Anytime Box‘Anytime’ subscription: Costs £12.99 a month, by direct debit. With Top UP TV Anytime, you get access to all of the Freeview channels, plus up to 100 hours of TV content downloaded to the special ‘Anytime’ box overnight for viewing on-demand. This service only works with a Top Up TV Anytime box.

The standard Top Up TV+ box can hold up to 180 hours of TV, allows you to pause live Freeview TV and has a 14 day programme guide.

 

What
set-top box do I need?

Until 2007, it was possible to get up to 11 extra TV channels with Top Up TV using a Freeview box with a card slot, or a TV that could accept a subscription card. In 2007, Top Up TV phased out this service, replacing it with “Top Up TV Anytime”.

Top Up TV Anytime offers the Freeview TV and radio channels, a small amount of extra live programming (GOLD and UKTV Style), plus up to 100 hours of extra content that can be viewed on demand. The Top Up TV Anytime box is priced £39.99 to new customers. Top Up TV Anytime

The Top Up TV+ box

The Top Up TV Anytime set-top box is the Thomson DTI 6300 receiver, which has a twin-tuner and either a 160 or 250 gig hard-drive (for up to 180 hours of TV – around 100 hours of which is made up of TopUp content downloaded over a week).

TopUp TV Anytime Box

TopUp TV box – Thomson DTI-6300

As well as being able to receive the Freeview TV and radio channels, this new box downloads TopUp TV content during off-peak hours, and the Top Up TV programmes can be watched the next day. Anytime boxes can be ordered online from www.topuptv.com

See our review of the Thomson DTI-6300 for more on this box, and the Top Up TV Anytime service. Other Top-up TV boxes are available.

 

Top Up TV Anytime TV Library

Top Up TV Anytime Recording library

 

Extra TV Channels

As well as the on-demand content offered by Top Up TV, extra channels are available:

  • Channel 17 – G.O.L.D (11am to 2pm weekdays)
  • Channel 26 – Home (11am – 12pm Fridays only – 1 hour a week!)
  • Channel 34 – ESPN (Requires extra subscription, see below)
  • Channel 41 – Sky Sports 1 (Requires extra subscription, see below)
  • Channel 42 – Sky Sports 2 (Requires extra subscription, see below)

 

Sky Sports on Top Up TV

Sky Sports 1 and 2From August 2010, Top Up TV started to offer Sky Sports. This is the only way to watch Sky Sports without a dish or an Internet connection. Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 are available.

To get this, you need a Top Up TV Anytime set-top box with subscription card.

Price for Sky Sports 1 is £22.99 a month. More details, and to order: Sky Sports on Top Up TV

 

ESPN Sport on Top Up TV?

ESPN LogoTo get the sports channel ESPN, you need a Top Up TV Anytime set-top box with subscription card, or a suitable digital TV. Price for ESPN is £10.99 a month

More details and to order: See ESPN on Top Up TV

ESPN with no box: Unlike the other services on Top Up TV, you can also get ESPN without needing a Top Up TV set-top box. Many digital TV sets have a card slot, and with a subscription card from Top Up TV, and an adapter called a CAM, you may be able to watch ESPN without a set-top box. How to get ESPN on Freeview

OFFER: Free set-top box worth £49.99, plus your first month free when you subscribe to Sky Sports 1 and ESPN for 12 months. Top Up TV Offer

Movies on Top Up TV?

A film service called Picturebox is available – This offers 7 new movies a week available to view from the Top Up TV Anytime set-top box library. This service costs an additional £7 a month

More details, and to order: Picturebox on Top Up TV

 

Adult content on Top Up TV?

For £9.99 a month, you can watch Television X from 11pm to 3am

 

The Alternatives?

Top Up TV may not be right for you – see our Digital TV Services Compared table to see how the other providers compare, and what’s right for you…

Freeview Logo
Sky Digital Logo
BT Vision Logo
Virgin Media Logo
YouView Logo Freesat Logo

Top Up TV: CLOSED IN OCTOBER 2013!

YouView LogoTop Up TV closed down at the end of October 2013 – We recommend YouView as an alternative – On-demand TV, hundreds of hours of content, plus catch-up TV. Available with or without contract!

Free YouView box with Sky Sports & Sky Movies?

Get YouView from TalkTalk

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Sky Sports Logo

Get a free BT YouView box with your BT Broadband

Get YouView from BT

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Want to get YouView without subscription?

Buy YouView on Amazon

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Common Questions

What is Top Up TV? In February 2004, the head of Freeview, Matthew Seaman, left to form a new enterprise, Top Up TV. The aim of this company was to add new channels to the existing free channels available on Freeview. A number of extra channels became available on a subscription-basis, on the 31st of March 2004. The TUTV service relaunched as TopUp TV Anytime in September 2006.
What is Top Up TV Anytime? From December 2006, TopUp TV started offering something called Top Up TV Anytime – This service involves buying a special box that records TopUp TV channels overnight to be watched on the next day. The box costs from £39.99 including connection and one months viewing, and the subscription is £12.99 a month. See our Top Up TV Anytime page.
How do I subscribe? To sign up to Top Up TV, and to get a subscription card, you need to pay for a Top Up TV subscription on a monthly basis in advance with a Visa or Mastercard credit card, or by Direct Debit.

The price for the Top Up TV Anytime service is £12.99 a month. You’ll need the ‘Anytime’ set-top box , which became available in December 2006. These are available from www.topuptv.com, Argos and Amazon.Getting a cardTop Up Tv viewing cardThis question looks at what to do if you have a Freeview box that has a card slot, and you’re looking for a Top Up TV subscription card to get extra channels.

In January 2007, Top Up TV decided to stop selling their subscription cards, mainly because the amount of live content offered by Top Up TV had been drastically reduced from 11 channels to just three. Instead, Top Up TV are now selling their Top Up TV Anytime service.

So – you can’t buy new subscription cards, and if you’re looking to get Top Up TV, you’ll need to go for Top Up TV Anytime. Alternatively – you could consider one of the other digital TV services offering extra channels, such as BT Vision, Sky, or Virgin.How do I contact Top-up TV?If you’re looking to get in touch with Top Up TV, here are the contact details we have:

Top Up TV Website: www.topuptv.com

Top Up TV Customer Services Phone Numbers:

  • 08444 159159 (approx 5p a minute) – Open 9am to 8pm, 7 days a week.
  • You can also try 0871 271 32712 or 08444 152 020
  • Say no to 0870 reports that you may be able to get through by calling 01592 587200 and asking to be transferred to Top Up TV Customer Services.

Top Up TV Sales / Subscription enquiries:

  • 08444 152 030
  • You can also try 08444 152020 , 08444 158158 or 08700 543210

Contact Top Up TV by Email or Post

Top Up TV’s email address is: enquiries@topuptv.com

Top Up TV’s postal address is: Top Up TV, P O Box 801, Kirkcaldy, Fife, KY2 6WW

Complaining to Top Up TV:

If you wish to make a formal complaint, it seems the advice is to contact Top Up TV’s registered Head Office:

  • Address: Top Up TV Ltd, Riverview House, 20 Old Bridge Road, Hampton Wick, Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, KT1 4BU
    The Head Office phone number is 0208 977 6097 – note that customer services queries cannot be handled on this number, and you are advised to use the number listed above.

How do I cancel?You can cancel your Top Up TV subscription at any time if you wish to stop receiving the TopUp TV channels. To do this, phone TopUp TV

As an alternative to TopUp TV, you may want to consider some of the other digital TV options:

  • BT Vision – BT Vision offers the main Freeview channels plus thousands of hours of movies, TV shows, movies and sporting events downloaded over BT Broadband.
  • Sky Digital – Delivered by satellite, this offers the widest choice of channels – you have to subscribe to get the more popular channels. There’s also a free-to-view satellite service.
  • Cable TV – Decent choice of channels on subscription if you’re in a cable area. Virgin Media‘s offering free digital TV if you use them for home phone)

My set-top box or TV doesn’t have a card slotTop Up TV no longer sell basic subscription cards for set-top boxes or IDTV sets. Instead, they’re now only selling their Top Up TV Anytime boxes, which support all of the TUTV services.Top-up TV on an IDTV?For those people with an IDTV (a TV set with a built-in Digital TV receiver), it used to be possible to receive the TopUp TV channels. To do this, you needed to plug a CAM (Card reader), into a CI slot in your telly.

As we outline elsewhere on this page, Top Up TV no longer sell subscription cards, as they’re now selling Top Up TV Anytime, which makes use of a special set-top box. To get the Top Up TV service, you need to buy a Top Up TV Anytime box, which can be plugged into your TV set using a SCART lead.

What is a CAM?Top Up TV CAMCAM stands for Conditional Access Module. Some set-top boxes have a CAM slot, which means that you can plug a CAM adapter into this slot, and plug a TopUp TV subscription card into the CAM adapter slot.

Note that as of January 2007, Top Up TV has stopped selling their non-Anytime service, so even if you get a CAM, you can’t buy a Top UP TV subscription card.

For more information on getting or using a CAM with your digital TV, see our CAM UK Help page

Pay-per-event / movies?Will Top Up TV offer access to movies, or pay-per-event sporting events?

TopUp TV are promoting a service called ‘PictureBox’, which is a movie service available for an extra £5 a month. At any one time, seven movies are available to watch as part of this extra subscription. You need to be a Top Up TV Anytime subscriber.

Top-Up on Sky?A common area of confusion – TopUp TV is transmitted over the air and received by your TV aerial (on the same broadcast system as Freeview)… you can’t receive the TopUp service on a Sky box or via a satellite dish, and you can’t use a TopUp TV card to get any extra TV channels on a Sky digibox. If you want to get the extra content on offer to Top Up TV customers, your options are:

  1. TV aerial – Buy a Top Up TV Anytime Set-top box and sign up to Top-Up TV Anytime.
  2. Satellite – The channels that provide a selection of TV shows to TopUp TV, are also available on Sky. Sky broadcasts the full channel, and not the restricted hours or limited content that you’ll get with TopUp TV. With Sky, you’ll need a Sky digibox and dish, which are supplied and installed for free when you subscribe to Sky. Go to www.sky.com to subscribe to a package that offers the channels that you’re after.
  3. Cable TV – Channels available from Virgin Media provided you’re in a cable area

Dolby Surround SoundA question from site visitor Tim Pearson: “I am pretty sure that Dolby Digital is not transmitted within Freeview but is this the same with the Topuptv film channels? As myself & many others have thousands of pounds worth of A/V sound systems, you would have thought if paying for a service DD would be encoded in at least channels that would benefit from Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound.”

Our understanding is that Dolby Digital surround sound isn’t transmitted on TopUp TV. If you have anything to add on this topic, please comment in our forum’s Surround Sound thread.

Top Up TV on your PC Please see the FAQ on our On Your PC pageTop Up TV CANWe’ve been asked where to find the Top Up TV CAN number, by a site visitor that’s looking to get Top Up TV. From our understanding, the CAN is a number found on the Top Up TV Anytime box that gets associated with a Top Up TV subscription card.

It should be noted that to get Top Up TV Anytime, you need a special Anytime set-top box – the Thomson DTI-6300. Other boxes, even those with a card slot, can’t be used to get Top Up TV Anytime. To get an Anytime box, order online from Argos
and Amazon.

If you have a Top Up TV Anytime set-top box, you can retrieve your CAN, which is a 12 digit number, by pressing the ‘Menu’ button, then selecting ‘Setup’ (Option 4), followed by ‘Help’ (Option 6). The Top Up TV CAN is shown on the next screen.

Setanta SportSetanta Sports terminated its UK sporting service in June 2009. Prior to this point, it was possible to sign up to Setanta via Top Up TV and watch live Barclays Premier League football matches, US PGA TOUR Golf, Scottish Premier League matches per season, and live European football. Top Up TV now offers ESPN sports and Sky Sports.More questions?For general help on Freeview, see our Freeview help page

Got a general question, or need advice on Top Up TV? Ask in our forum. Note that we’re not connected to Top Up TV and can’t help with questions about your account, or Top Up TV Anytime order.

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