Since SonicRichard didn't really say too much, other than what he'd like to do and that some nifty things were coming Q1 03, and doesn't seem to be coming back, why not just dump the thread and if he in fact does return to the forum start a new thread?
SB seems to be a classic case of great technology being marketed on the thinnest of shoestrings. Now shifting to marketing a service (the RPTV service) enabled by some hardware they apparently are selling below cost, following the lead of DirecTV et al (I paid $700 for my first dual-LNB DTV dish, just replaced by a triple LNB system for which I forked over exactly $50).
The $250 upfront works out to a month more than 2 years at the monthly rate; any beancounter would then assume the SB planned lifetime for a 5xxx (or SonicBlue) is two years or so. Either new functionality, new hardware, or new owner will make the current units functionally obsolete by then; they may still work, but the ReplayTV service will be either radically different or gone. They can't continue selling hardware below cost unless lots of people sign up for the monthly deal, and if Tivo thinks they're losing share due to feature gap they can surely build essentially the same box in almost no time. If SonicBlue continues to ignore customer support their rep will spread and ... bye bye. Though I'd really like to have 2 units, I think charging the same amount twice (instead of a small second-unit fee) within one household is greedy, and with nearly no after sale support I can't send any more money their way. Too bad it's working out this way, you can bet some inept management is behind this scene and will probably bring the company down, if Hollywood doesn't first.