What are they thinking over there at ReplayTV??? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
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ReplayTV & Showstopper PVRs > What are they thinking over there at ReplayTV???
jptsetme's Avatar jptsetme 10:38 AM 08-11-2003
I'm completely resisting the urge to post lots of sarcastic comments. It's really tempting. I guess I'm a sucker, but I am still a ReplayTV fan...

Richard: I'm pleased to hear that DNNA is addressing quality as a top priority for their platform moving forward. I'm disappointed to hear that the two 4xxx series ReplayTVs that I purchased less than a year ago will not benefit from the exciting features you have planned, but I can understand the business decision. However, as I alluded to in another thread here, if you fix the memory leak in the 5.x software, it should be trivial to make the same change to the 4.x software and at least provide a bit more stability to the 4xxx series Replays. You are bending over backwards to support people with mixed configurations, and it seems to me that simply merging back this bug fix once you've already found it in the 5.x code base would be a very small investment of release engineering resources. It would at least show some amount of goodwill to those of us who doubted that SonicBlue would deliver on their promise of 4xxx/5xxx interop and bought additional 4xxx units for in home streaming. Our doubts were obviously well founded, and many of us have been ReplayTV's most ardent supporters. (I have bought 5 ReplayTVs for myself and family members, and have evangelized the sale of at least 6 others.)

Thanks,
--Joe
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925's Avatar 925 10:39 AM 08-11-2003
Most needed feature for a novice Replay user:

The ability to call ReplayTV customer support and technical support on the phone, have the phone answered within 10 seconds by a human that speaks English as a first language, is friendly, and who loves their Replay at home, and doesn't have a hold button.

Of course this isn't an in-the-store selling feature...
925's Avatar 925 10:43 AM 08-11-2003
The real answer for Mom has to be the ability for kids to upload stills (with wipes and music) and videos of the grandkids to Mom's Replay, where all Mom has to do is push play.

The semi-geeky kids have to be able to do most of the work for non-geeky Mom.
KenL's Avatar KenL 10:44 AM 08-11-2003
Quote:
Originally posted by toots
...Still, as a boat-anchor, I'll bet that it intermittently floats.
Ah... but only during phiddlepharting reboots? http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/images/icons/icon1.gif
JeepGeek's Avatar JeepGeek 11:00 AM 08-11-2003
Ok, have to throw my opinion into the ring here...

I agree with those who say that this has to be something Tivo does not have. I also think it has to do with the core functionality of watching TV -- not mp3, or photo, or home movie related.

Parental controls are a differentiating feature and an easy selling point. But I don't see how it would be "exciting."

It would be exciting if the ReplayTV could use your pc as a network file server for inexpensive capacity increases. Good selling point, yes. But a little too technical given the hints.

Perhaps our expectations are too high. We know what we want to see... we don't know what DNNA *thinks* we want to see :-)

rerun avoidance would probably qualify under the above criteria. I'm not sure it's doable in a marketable fashion though.

How about this one: "ReplayTV network service not required!"
rjpilot's Avatar rjpilot 11:05 AM 08-11-2003
I sure hope the new version of software includes support for the APG Serial Command set. I love my Replay and have to say 5.0 build 75 has been very stable in the configuration I have my box in. My biggest complaint is the fact that I only get about 90% accurate channel changes because unlike the TIVO, Replay does not support APG Serial. Both my satellite receivers have serial connections but are unusable to Replay and hence I must use IR Blaster. I refuse to sell my modern-day satellite receivers to buy old receivers to get serial functionality.

While I would recommend Replay to any of my friends with cable, I'm almost of the thought that TIVO is a better product for satellite subscibers. They support both serial command sets and/or you can buy a satellite receiver with TIVO built in. ReplayRichard, please...please...please tell me APG will be supported by Replay!!!

Well that's my two cents for the day.....:rolleyes:
toots's Avatar toots 11:15 AM 08-11-2003
How about automagic set-up? Just hook the thing up and it figures out what inputs you are using, and via exhaustive fiddling with the IR blaster (and keeping track of whether the video signal flips), figure out what kind of cable box you have (if any).

I mean, you can figure out if you have raw cable by tuning cable channels and seeing if anything's there - sort of like a TV set's setup. Or, if there's only signal on 2/3/4, it's probably a cable box, and if the signal glitches after sending a particular IR code, you know what kind of cable box and...

Of course, guessing the zip code could be problematic.

Just thinkin' out loud here.
rugby's Avatar rugby 11:19 AM 08-11-2003
How about a brighter blue light? Especially if it turned brighter in the am around 4:30-5 or so. That would stun the crap out of me.
925's Avatar 925 11:25 AM 08-11-2003
Stunning feature #2

A "normal" Windows user can take their Windows laptop to their ReplayTV, hook the two of them together with a USB cable, and easily move whatever shows they want from one to the other. Then later, they can watch shows on their laptop through a Replay-familiar interface while on the go.
moeronn's Avatar moeronn 11:51 AM 08-11-2003
Not-so-stunning, but still a neat and theoretically do-able feature is P-I-P. This would probably only work with two recorded shows or one live and one recorded. Don't think it would get the boxes flying out of the stores, but it's a nice bullet item to slap on the features list.
MethodMachine's Avatar MethodMachine 12:22 PM 08-11-2003
Hey, I think PIP is pretty stunning. I was fiddling with a friend's Dish PVR 501 the other day (just putting it through its paces). Needless to say, I was underwhelmed with the PVR features (or lack thereof), but I did quite enjoy the PIP that you get when perusing the channel guide. Now if RTV could do this while surfing channel guide, replay guide, and Zones...man, that would be stunning!.
bernie_xg's Avatar bernie_xg 12:33 PM 08-11-2003
Download First run movie PPV's via IFS like technology, from a Replay server?
Scyber's Avatar Scyber 12:38 PM 08-11-2003
Quote:
Originally posted by bernie_xg
Download First run movie PPV's via IFS like technology, from a Replay server?
Perhaps they can call it 'iChannels'....
xstrym's Avatar xstrym 12:39 PM 08-11-2003
Quote:
Originally posted by bernie_xg
Download First run movie PPV's via IFS like technology, from a Replay server?
Bandwidth, baby, bandwidth!! We may have to wait for "Internet 2" for that to be feasible. :)
Creech's Avatar Creech 12:44 PM 08-11-2003
I think they are going to send each ReplayTV user a handy dandy expansion unit that you'll snap to the side over the vent. You'll be able to slide slices of bread into the unit for delicious toast.
tluxon's Avatar tluxon 12:55 PM 08-11-2003
Anything that's doable is probably not going to be "stunning". Maybe a good selling prodder, but shouldn't the word "stunning" be reserved for something that would stop you in your tracks? Something like a built-in "nanny/surveillance cam" with monitoring/control via internet? Hardly seems doable, but that would qualify for "stunning" in my book.
icecow's Avatar icecow 04:09 PM 08-11-2003
[quote]Originally posted by FlipFlop


Actually, the coolest feature I could think of which might be possible on existing hardware would be 1.2x, 1.5x, and 2x fast-forward speeds with audio playback, so you can watch shows in less time.

[/QUOTE ]

That actually would be the coolest feature. When running at 1.2x or 1.5x not only could the pitch be adjusted lower, but the formant (the chipmonk effect that voices have when voices are sped up) could be adjusted.

There are many software plugins that can take out the chipmonk and high pitch (formant/pitch) in music editing programs.

1.2x and 1.5x sounds about right for a sane playback speed too.

cow
docmcse's Avatar docmcse 04:19 PM 08-11-2003
It now makes sense that ReplayTV site is taking advance orders for refurbished 4k units that have the anticipated ship dates of this week. They were counting on most users of the mixed 4k and 5k systems to return their 4k boxes for upgrades to 5k. What I cannot fully understand is how/why would DNNA be selling these old 4k units to new "unsuspecting" customers just to get them into the same troubles that they are now offering to get the current user's out of. At the very least they should be telling those customer's that the units they are buying (at not all that much of a discount) are not now nor will they ever be compatible with the 5k units, and that no new features will be targeted for these 4k units.
Loren Kruse.'s Avatar Loren Kruse. 09:12 PM 08-11-2003
Well here is my 2 cents -

1. New software will most likely have a Status Bar if ReplayRichard's mother wants it :) but I would not consider the status bar a marketing feature...and hardly constitutes a feature in a buyer's eyes.

2. What if DNNA found a way to update the MPEG recording and implement MPEG-4 DIVX recording? Now that would be a marketing feature. More recording capacity while improving the video quality! DNNA then and could put smaller hard drives in the unit while still retaining the same hard drive recording capacity...units then would cost less...now that would be a deciding aspect....ReplayTV much cheaper than the TIVO!

3. I heard about this technology several years ago...a company found a way to cut down a show's length by cutting out the dead spots of the show. When nobody was talking it would advance to the next talking segment. This theoretically could be done by using the technology used to skip commercials.

4. Sending photographs to another family member that would be great! CEIVA like feature.

5. Enable line double output for the component video - improved video quality.

6. Software enabled PC's to view ReplayTV shows. That would be extremely marketable! Wrap the video around a media center like the myHTPC

7. Would love to see MP3 playback! A good feature nonetheless.
tommyb55's Avatar tommyb55 10:51 PM 08-11-2003
I'm pretty sure that the 5xx can't do this from a software upgrade but here goes:

Webtv technology (surf the net using your ReplayTV)

I used a Webtv Plus about 2 1/2 years ago. Still have it but it collects dust in a closet. The IR blaster from it I use on my living room Replaytv. Works better than a Replaytv IR blaster and stays put better too (don't need to tape it down).
jleavens's Avatar jleavens 11:52 PM 08-11-2003
Quote:
Originally posted by docmcse
They were counting on most users of the mixed 4k and 5k systems to return their 4k boxes for upgrades to 5k. What I cannot fully understand is how/why would DNNA be selling these old 4k units to new "unsuspecting" customers just to get them into the same troubles that they are now offering to get the current user's out of.
Uhm, I'm pretty sure this is not the case...
j.m.'s Avatar j.m. 01:15 AM 08-12-2003
Quote:
Originally posted by Loren Kruse

2. What if DNNA found a way to update the MPEG recording and implement MPEG-4 DIVX recording? Now that would be a marketing feature. More recording capacity while improving the video quality! DNNA then and could put smaller hard drives in the unit while still retaining the same hard drive recording capacity...units then would cost less...now that would be a deciding aspect....ReplayTV much cheaper than the TIVO!
Every time this comes up I have to post why this is IMO not a good move (yet anyway).

1) Switching to MPEG-4 would not, in and of itself, increase video quality. From what I understand, the advantage of MPEG-4 is that it produces much better quality video than MPEG-2 at the lower end of the bitrate scale. At higher bitrates, which probably includes all 3 ReplayTV recording modes (and certainly medium and high), MPEG-4 quality will not be any better than MPEG-2.

2) MPEG-4 is not yet very standardized. Very few standalone DVD players play it (and the ones that do have problems with the myriad variants of Divx/Mpeg-4). Also, it is not easily reencoded to MPEG-2 without substantial loss of quality and long reencoding times. Thus, the ability to archive ReplayTV recordings on (S)VCD or DVD+/-R would be severely impaired. Finally, the HDTV standard, DVD, DirecTV, etc. are all built around the MPEG-2 standard. This isn't to say MPEG-4 shouldn't be an option at some point in the relatively near future. However, it should not be *mandatory* now. Maybe if and when MPEG-4 becomes more accepted and is made part of the next-gen DVD specs, it should be the recording format of choice.

3) Regardless, MPEG-4 is almost certainly not possible with the current hardware. ReplayTV uses a hardware MPEG-2 encoder/decoder. This could not magically encode MPEG-4 by a software upgrade. Additionally, the main CPU in ReplayTVs is nowhere near powerful enough to do the necessary realtime MPEG-4 encoding/decoding either. Also, as far as lowered costs go, hardware MPEG-4 encoder/decoders are just now coming out; therefore, I expect they would cost ReplayTV much more than the current MPEG-2 ones. Similarly, including a process powerful enough to do simultaneous MPEG-4 encoding/decoding would also cost ReplayTV much more than the current hardware.

In short, I don't think the time is right for MPEG-4 in ReplayTVs yet. Maybe in a few years. Of course, by that time, we will have HDTV PVRs that will just save the HDTV MPEG-2 stream straight to the HD...
icecow's Avatar icecow 02:36 AM 08-12-2003
encoding to mpeg4 takes alot of processing power and would be best implemented on a hardware level (if you wanted to do it in real time). I dont think the replay has enough power to do it with software...unless it did it ackwardly by recording a high quality mpeg2, then schedule conversion to mpg4 in the middle of the night.

that's my understanding of the situation

cow
toots's Avatar toots 09:16 AM 08-12-2003
Actually, now that I think of it (yeah, I'm still back on the totally automatic configuration),

They could get a pretty good estimate of your zip code if you're using the modem to connect... Then, they could hook the ANI data from the phone system to their 800 number for the initial dial-in, and translate area code/prefix to a range of zip codes. And, with LAN connected boxes, they could also make some good guesses based on your ISP, but that'd be a lot more complicated.
pdellera's Avatar pdellera 11:13 AM 08-12-2003
Congratulations to ReplayRichard. Mission accomplished: divert your toughest crowd of critics with some inane "clues" about future features.

Yet this fact still remains: Many if not most ReplayTV 5000 owners are saddled with very unreliable, expensive, and nearly unusable products since the forced release of 5.0 software.

While DNNA quiets the mob with this blatant marketing ploy (Microsoft has used the same tactic for years), I only hope they are working overtime to resolve the real issues, not adding more 'features' to an already unstable platform.
jjp140's Avatar jjp140 11:20 AM 08-12-2003
Would it be too much to ask for the hissing sound to be fixed in the update? I know my brand loyalty was cemented when I hooked up my brand new 5060 and got hiss through my speakers (sarcasm).......
Slack's Avatar Slack 11:38 AM 08-12-2003
Enter the url of a jpg web cam or any other graphic (animated or static), and replay uses it for pause & screen saver.

I'm thinking the local satellite whether loop.
Creech's Avatar Creech 11:43 AM 08-12-2003
Quote:
Originally posted by pdellera

Yet this fact still remains: Many if not most ReplayTV 5000 owners are saddled with very unreliable, expensive, and nearly unusable products since the forced release of 5.0 software.
Really? Where do you get the idea that "many if not most" have unusable products since 5.0? If you are relying on the venting you read on this board to determine that "many if not most" are having troubles, then you are working with a faulty data-set. Mostly you will hear from people here who are having troubles rather than a true sample across the whole user base.

For example, I have two 5Ks with 5.0 and have no major problems. I have had perhaps two lockups in as many months, but other than that they seem to work as advertised for the most part. The certainly aren't "unreliable" and "nearly unusable".
asinshesq's Avatar asinshesq 11:53 AM 08-12-2003
I'm with Creech - I've got two 5040s (well, now 5200s) networked together and connected to a server, and neither of them have given me any trouble at all. They are highly dependible.
BaysideBas's Avatar BaysideBas 12:01 PM 08-12-2003
Add me to the positive experience list. Two 5040s with aggregate of 6 month-units of operation with no problems. Just one lock up which was caused by impatience in exiting screen saver screen. None since. No noticeable clock drift on either unit while only connecting to mothership every 10 days or so. PQ more than acceptable. CA mostly works, when it doesn't there's usually a very good reason for it not to. Audio just fine. And the blue leds keeps the ships at sea and away from my home.
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