Couple of things:
1) Files for 4000 and 5000 series replays are not compatible out of the box. So files will need to be downloaded from the same replay series to be viewable on your replay.
Poopli already keeps track of this. It's not very difficult to keep track of the RTV version of the user uploading and indicate it on the site. This info can be stored easily by the registered username of the person uploading the 20K torrent file or filled out in a simple submission form. Here is an example of how torrent sites work: http://220.127.116.11/site/upload_torrent
2) To use Torrent would mean that everyone would have to extract all their files from their RTV to a computer. Many of us don't have that kind of computer storage. My 2 4504's contain the largest hard drives in my house. Then, if someone did partake in your plan, they would also have to watch all their shows from their DVArchive server. The inconvenience factor of your plan is way too high.
No not everyone has to extract their files. Only the initial person sharing the torrent has to extract it. Most people using the torrent database would probably never have extracted a program even once. Once they begin downloading they are already sharing and that would be the source of 90% of the downloads that take place (from people that did not extract the file). As far as you not having HD space, there are a lot more people who have purchased home computers with large hard drives than people who have cracked open and upgraded their Replay drives. I bet almost everyone has several GBs free on their computer which would be more than enough space to download several shows. Not saying DVA is the tool to be used, but watching a show served from DVA is not inconvenient in any way. That is how I watch most of my programs and there isn't any discernable difference between watching a show served through DVA or straight from the RTV. The inconvenience factor is extremely low.
3) The universe of Replay users sharing shows is not very large, and most people don't want to keep a P2P system running on their computers all the time. I know I don't. I prefer to be in control of the request. Torrent works because there are millions of people sharing. If you only have a couple of hundred people, it's not as viable.
The Poopli community is relatively new and it's already pretty large considering the archaic file transferring it uses. If you build it, they will come. Any site offering to RTV owners a download of [insert popular tv show] in a few hours is bound to be popular enough. Everyone doesn't need to keep the torrent program running on their computers when they're not downloading, with torrent you are sharing while you are downloading. It is true that the more popular a file is the faster the download will be, but even the least popular file will download as fast as IVS and if even 2 people are sharing, it will download faster than IVS. 2 people sharing would be twice as fast as IVS. Is it that uncommon for more than 1 person to want a show listed on Poopli?
What you are proposing would require all participating users (those who wanted to send shows) to transfer all shows from their Replays via DVA to a computer to be able to be sent via P2P. Those users would then have to label their shows with a 4xxx or 5xxx tag so that receivers know what NOT to download. So to have a dynamic database of shows like poopli has now, basically all 500 users would have to continuously rip from their units and put everything on their computer HDs.
When you register your RTV at the site it asks you what RTV version you are using. Any 20KB torrent file that would be uploaded to the site from that person would already register and make that information clear, the same way your database does now. Only 1 person has to actually extract and upload the torrent, after that everyone is automatically sharing the file just by downloading it. Torrent would be easier than IVS on the part of the person requesting the show and on just about everyone sending the show, the only person it would be slightly more difficult on is the person who has to initially seed the program. The 15 minute extraction (acceptable loss considering the time it takes to transfer over IVS). I'm in the middle of an IVS transfer that is downloading at 1-2K/s. This is an appallingly slow process.
There are already a lot of people who have enormous archives of RTV recorded shows on their computer hard drives. These people could add a lot more to the current database of shows on Poopli whether it be through voluntary submission or at the request of another user which is exactly how the site works now. Less than half of the people using Poopli share their shows in the database yet they still make use of the service.
Poopli's database works because it reads RTV units show listings. Since it's already in a "sendable" format, what is listed on the database is available for sending.
And there's no reason why a database couldn't list torrents available for sending. A simple 20KB upload or email attachment is what gets stored and listed in the database. I'm not saying everyone has to upload their files to the computer with a DVA type extraction tool. A torrent share could augment a Poopli database of IVS shares. If 1 or especially more than 1 person was requesting a show from me I would greatly prefer to send the program via torrent rather than IVS. The speed increase would be dramatic even with a few users.
I get what you are saying in that one for one, P2P smokes IVS in terms speed and timing of transfer. But as a whole structured system, using IVS to send replay shows is much easier than using any other xfer method.
Maybe for the intial sender, but not for all the people downloading or the subsequent senders which is the vast majority of people that would be involved in the xfer process. Assuming their program isn't already archived you're talking about 1 person extracting in 15-30 minutes, uploading the torrent to database in 2 seconds, and then a much larger number of people receiving the file in a couple of hours just by double clicking on the file.
Now the other scenario. A listed database via poopli as is today but only sending what you are being asked for via P2P. I see you have Friends, I request it from you. You now have to DVA it to your computer which even at max DVA speeds takes at least 15 minutes. How long does it take to enter the RTVID?
Or in the more likely scenario that extremely popular episode of Friends has already been torrented more than once so you simply have to click on the torrent, initiate download immediately, and receive the show in a couple of hours. 15 minutes to extract doesn't sound like much of a hardship considering the hours and days you could save by not using IVS.