What are they thinking over there at ReplayTV??? - AVS Forum
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Old 08-10-2003, 04:34 PM - Thread Starter
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I wanted to give you guys, the hardcore Replay fanatics, some sneak peeks as to what we’re working on. While I’d love to actually undo the corporate kimono, I don’t want everyone in the space to know exactly what we’re working on, so I’ll just let you in on the things that are coming soon.

Right now the system software team, the low level engineers who work at the heart of the system, are working on a release we’ve codenamed Alcatraz.

I hope you’re wondering why we would name a software release after a former prison turned state park…

It’s because of Alcatraz’s nickname. The Rock.

You see, we are well aware that we need to make the 5.0 software solid and robust, and we know that we have to do it right away.

Our next release has two goals:
1. To make the product Rock Solid.
2. To introduce two new features which make the product more usable.
(Hell, one of them is flat-out stunning.)

Now, to set expectations correctly, I want to clarify that it is difficult to make a perfect product, but that is our goal. We’ll release our first major step forward in the fall. You’ll get to test the betas if you want. And then after that we’ll probably tighten it even more. Specifically, we are focused on the 5XXX platform. It would be great to bring all our platforms onto the island, but we are a small team, and we are focused.

So, having been on the boards pretty heavily for the last few days, I know that this post may cause more angry responses than good, but I am giving the information straight.

Oh, and you’re probably wondering about item #2, the two new features. Heh, I got your attention didn’t I! ;)

-RB
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Old 08-10-2003, 05:09 PM
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Let me guess. The new features will be commercial advance (flat-out stunning) and internet video sharing! Commercial advance is the one feature that would keep me from ever purchasing a TiVo (because it lacks that function). Now that I have become accustomed to it, I ain't going back!

Owning a pair of 4XXX series, I guess I'll have to sit back and observe. (Not trying to be vitriolic, just overly dramatic ;-).
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Old 08-10-2003, 05:13 PM - Thread Starter
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Hell, you get points from me just for making me go to meriam-webster.com.

BTW... my favorite feature of meriam-webster.com... you can mispell the name mariam-webster several different ways and you still get the site. I wonder how many domains they own?

-RB
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Old 08-10-2003, 05:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally posted by richierich
Commercial advance is the one feature that would keep me from ever purchasing a TiVo (because it lacks that function). Now that I have become accustomed to it, I ain't going back!
You mean, it's the only feature you've seen on a DVR so far that would make you buy a Replay over a TiVo... hmm.

Did you think we were going to sit back and watch them win? ;)

-RB
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Old 08-10-2003, 05:36 PM
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Richard, thanks, sincerely, for showing up here, where Lyndon, great as he was, wasn't an official DNNA presense.

Having said *that* <sarcarm> thanks for actually *telling* us what was in 5.1/5.5 and for 5000/5500! :) </sarcasm>

We *really* hope the locking, modem, closed captioned (to mention a few) problems are resolved. Can you violate a possible NDA and tell us what's in the new release?!

Serously, if you need alpha/beta testers, you will have serial numbers so fast your email/PM will blow up. I mean that, and from both both technical and J6P types.

We *want* DNNA/RTV to success and nuke Tivo, and *anything* we can do to help will be done.

(Gee, Lee, tell, Richard how you *really* feel! :D )

-Lee (See my profile for equipment.)
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Old 08-10-2003, 05:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReplayRichard
Hell, you get points from me just for making me go to meriam-webster.com.

BTW... my favorite feature of meriam-webster.com... you can mispell the name mariam-webster several different ways and you still get the site. I wonder how many domains they own?

-RB
oh, I just type 'm-w' and hit cntl-return to get there.

After I started doing that I've looked up a lot of words since.

cow
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Old 08-10-2003, 05:46 PM
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Yeah, I use m-w all the time.... great for being sure to stomp Heatherl (j/k)!

-Lee (See my profile for equipment.)
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Old 08-10-2003, 05:50 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReplayRichard
You mean, it's the only feature you've seen on a DVR so far that would make you buy a Replay over a TiVo... hmm.

Did you think we were going to sit back and watch them win? ;)

-RB
With all due respect, it seems to me that if ReplayTV truly doesn't want to "sit back and watch them win" then before advancing with new "stunning" features (that I am now clamoring for BTW), it needs to first keep up with Tivo in basic functionality. In particular, there are two key features that people here *often* request for ReplayTV that Tivo already has: 1) Season Pass functionality and 2) To-Do/Priority List functionality. IMO, implementing these should be very high priority as they are among the top knocks against ReplayTV you hear from Tivo users.

Moreover, from my view as a some-time programmer, they also seem to be fairly easy to implement, at least perhaps in a basic form with an eye towards expanded functionality later. I know from the other thread that Season Pass is not part of Alcatraz. I can only hope some sort of user configurable priority list is. It is sorely needed, and it is something many people have requested for a long time now.

I guess what I am saying is that, while I welcome the innovation, there are many basics that need to be taken care of first IMO. I don't think I'm alone in thinking that either. I just hope ReplayTV keeps in mind that all the innovation in the world cannot overcome basic shortcomings, which for many often serve as barriers to them ever realizing the potential of those innovations.

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Old 08-10-2003, 05:53 PM
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I'm guessing one of the new features is MP3 Streaming

and hoping the other one is the ability to record live buffering retroactively.

If not, that would be an easy Third feature to throw in!!

cow
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:06 PM
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oh, and I wish, instead of 'catagories' (or with), each person in the house had their own list of shows..kinda like a mailbox system. Lets say there was 4 people in the house: mom, pop, daughter, and son.

Each one has there own 'mailbox' or catagory tab, so each doesnt have to weed through the others' listings. (perhaps, though more complex) Each one has a seperate quoata of space that 'delete when need space' would roll back upon when needed. If Dad and Mom both like Cheers, a certain cheers episode would only be deleted when both deleted it from their own boxes. If son sees a show that he thinks mom would like, he sends the show to her 'incomming box'. Perhaps some shows can be password protected so dad can keep his porn from Mom, and daughter, especially daughter/maybe son.

Of course, the sneaky son would end up being the Administrator and rule the Replaytv. Wasn't it meant to be that way? I was a son once.

cow
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:23 PM
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[tongue in cheek]

Two new features?

let's see:

1) Status bar
2) Dancing clown

[/tongue in cheek]

Seriously, I believe that they'll be totally cool features. It's just that I have this reputation, and I'm sure someone was expecting me to make the above comment.

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Old 08-10-2003, 06:25 PM
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Once, i saw a thing by ReplayLyndons name.. a little message. it said something like "Replay for FM?" or something like that.

It would be cool of that was a feature of a replay.. to just go ahead and record radio shows too.

I imagined a product that was an FM version of a replay with 5 FM tuners... could skip through songs..commercials... and when you ran out, you could just go to a different channel that was prebuffering, or recorded.

Get some 5 o clock funnies here in LA and "thinks to consider" ..a quality news source.

IF a TV tuner is capable of FM signals (I have no idea)... that would be a great feature with the one tuner..

cow
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Old 08-10-2003, 06:32 PM
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1) Status bar
2) To-do list
:eek:

-Gary
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Old 08-10-2003, 07:14 PM
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ReplayRichard:

I think making 5.0 as solid as a rock is definitely the right thing to do in order to increase the appeal of the product to the consuming public. I was very impressed with my first ReplayTV (a Panasonic Showstopper) which I would describe as "rock solid". I thought what I would be getting when I bought a 5040 was a "Showstopper-Plus"--A machine as solid and reliable as the Showstopper with all the cool extras (CA, IVS, progressive out, etc.). Needless to say, this is not what I got. While I am pleased with the 5040, I recognize it is lacking in several usability areas (speed and stabilitity, namely) and this keeps me from recommending it to any but my bleeding-edge geek friends. There is no way my parents could ever put up with the idiosyncracies of a 5xxx.

Anyway, I am still pulling for the RTV line. I was quite disappointed to hear that CA and IVS would be pulled from the 55xx series, but hopefully you guys are racking your brains to come up with suitable replacments that will add back some of the wow factor to the RTV.

One final note: Whatever you guys can do to improve stability of 5.0 with respect to the photo viewer would be greatly appreciated. I was very impressed with this feature when I first got the 5040, but since the update to 5.0, my photo partition seems to have become corrupted. I even tried a factory reset to no avail. I really miss it.

If Necessity is the mother of invention, then Laziness is surely the father.

5040(1): 00004-54831-55585
5040(2): 00004-54831-83297
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Old 08-10-2003, 07:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by icecow
I'm guessing one of the new features is MP3 Streaming and hoping the other one is the ability to record live buffering retroactively.

If not, that would be an easy Third feature to throw in!!

cow
<sigh...> Assuming that increased stability comes "for free", those would definitely be at the top of my wishlist!

I ripped all of my hundreds of CDs to hard disk and boxed them up into storage about 18 months ago when I bought a Rio Receiver. In a further act of compact disc bridge-burning, I gave my CD changer to my parents. What a fool I was! It's just not possible to navigate thousands of songs with a 2-line LCD that can't be read beyond 3 feet. :D

If DNNA adds this capability, I would probably add another 1-2 units to my stable.

The thing I love most about deadlines is the wonderful WHOOSHing sound they make as they go past.
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Hint:

It is my opinion that MP3 Streaming or local storage, To Do Lists, buffer capture, and photos are all "cool", but none of them helps the customer decide at retail to buy a product from the underdog

The feature I'm teasing with, and I know that is cruel, will help customers make just that decision. At least, that is my opinion.

I'm not just teasing because I can. I'm trying to instill hope again for a group of people I believe will help users make that decision for years to come.

-RB
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:07 PM
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What is that? HD and dolby digitial recording? Those are 2 things I see many people ask about Tivo and the new units for Dish...
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:07 PM
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1) conflict-resolution for shows that move into conflict after being set-up

2) more power to the blue light
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:15 PM
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I'm just a'hopin' that Alcatraz isn't an indication of what'll happen to the customers.

I mean, stuff that happened there isn't entirely unlike what ReplayTV has been doing to customers for years.

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Old 08-10-2003, 08:21 PM
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How about the ability to select & buy Pay-Per-Views from the channel guide? That sure would be nice!
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReplayRichard
Hint:
The feature I'm teasing with, and I know that is cruel, will help customers make just that decision. At least, that is my opinion.

-RB
DVD Burning? Are any of us gettin' warm?!? C'mon Richard!! We won't tell anybody! When will the teasing end?!? :confused:

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Old 08-10-2003, 08:26 PM
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Since you have us guessing....

My guess for #2 is an officially sanctioned/supported PC application which does what DVArchive does. Maybe even RTV-->ready to burn DVD/(S)VCD image. That *would* be flat-out stunning to me.

Quote:
The feature I'm teasing with, and I know that is cruel, will help customers make just that decision. At least, that is my opinion.
Seriously, the availability of DVArchive & friends was the main thing which made me buy an RTV over Tivo. Well, that and the 5040 refurb deal. Of course, a supported PC app will probably get you sued.
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:38 PM
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A few things that would sway me to make another RTV purchase:

1) Cheaper!!!! I can't think of another reason the people give for not purchasing one of these.
2) MPEG4; as a feature this means nothing, but in terms of storage space this one is huge.
3) DVD burner included; it would be cool to record stuff on the HD and then be able to archive the keepers.
4) A display: I hate always having to grab the remote to find out what the name of a move is or what channel I'm on and etc.
5) PC controlled; although the average user might be afraid of this, I think a PC has much more memory and horsepower than the RTV does. Let the PC think for the RTV.
6) Video-on-demand; basically some company pushes media to the box and makes it available once it is completely downloaded (I-channels?). And have it included in the so-called subscription price.
7) Plug-in card for Dish Network or DirecTV; I'd go for this, basically it could have all the advantages of the DirecTivo plus you are not locked into either service.
8) Get more for a subscription; what do you really get for your $10/month with RTV or Tivo? Not much... not even software upgrades. If I owned a 4k and paid $10/month without any hope of a software upgrade, I'd be scratching my head wondering why. At least with AOL or MSN subscriptions (AOL or MSN through broadband) they offer you the base service plus they give you software updates.
9) Offline storage; it would be cool to be able to archive stuff on an external server and then stream it back across the web.
10) Record live buffer (and the rest of the show); this has been asked for many times, and I cannot understand why the box doesn't do it.
11) DVArchive-like program supported by RTV; PC based burning allowed and performed by the RTV software.

Hmm... I'm sure I could go on and on, but I'll let the flaming begin.

Cheers

Except, of course, in paranoid delusions for those that believe.
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReplayRichard
...Right now the system software team, the low level engineers who work at the heart of the system, are working on a release we’ve codenamed Alcatraz.
Would it be reading too much into a codename to presume that Alcatraz is not constructed upon a liquefactitious foundation of scheduled maintenance reboots?
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Old 08-10-2003, 08:47 PM
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No entry found for liquefactitious.
No suggestions were found.

X

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Old 08-10-2003, 09:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by toots
[tongue in cheek]

Two new features?

let's see:

1) Status bar
2) Dancing clown

[/tongue in cheek]
I was taking a swig of soda when this scrolled up. I nearly sprayed it across my laptop's screen.
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Old 08-10-2003, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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I wish I understood the hatred you guys have for status bars -- my mother really wants a status bar.

Oh, there's a hint... my mother would use the more exciting of the two features. My mother, just for clarification, isn't a geek.

-RB
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Old 08-10-2003, 09:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by wamj
What is that? HD and dolby digitial recording? Those are 2 things I see many people ask about Tivo and the new units for Dish...
Come on, how many J6Ps have either an HDTV or dolby digital? Not very many I would wager. While those features might sell more to people like us, J6P isn't going to care right now--in a few years maybe. Make no mistake, the J6P market is what has to be won by ReplayTV because they obviously already have us (though we would like both of these features soon ReplayRichard ;) ).

Also, based on ReplayRichard's hints, it appears that these new features are coming via new software for current ReplayTVs. Many of the guesses people have made (including yours) would obviously require new hardware and, thus, are likely off the mark.

I don't have any idea what the features are, but they certainly sound intriguing. Let's just hope they actually materialize unlike Firewire/USB/interop support and that when they do we aren't underwhelmed. I've found that sometimes new features that seem awesome to developers are met with middling enthusiasm from end users. That is why ReplayTV should select some of those users from here soon and run the new features by them... Hint, hint ReplayRichard ;)

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Old 08-10-2003, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReplayRichard
I wish I understood the hatred you guys have for status bars -- my mother really wants a status bar.
FWIW, I don't understand the animosity towards status bars either. I think that as long as they are designed to be as unobstrusive as possible and are not overly garish or cutesy, they can be helpful. The problem lies in coming up with such a design. :)

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Old 08-10-2003, 09:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally posted by ReplayRichard
I wish I understood the hatred you guys have for status bars -- my mother really wants a status bar. -RB
I wouldn't care if there was a status bar, I like trendy places where I can get drunk! :D

Seriously, I don't care either way, but I know that having one *does* appeal to the "less-than-geeky" set... so, sure... bring it on.

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