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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Finally got my "personalized" thank you for being a continuing sucker... I mean customer, offer from SonicBlue. Same special offer code as has been posted here: $100 off of anything but a 4040. Sadly, 4040 was where I was hoping to find a discount (as with others).


Constraints:


Not infinite money, but a fair amount that I can spend


Right now 90GB of storage on two machines is enough; I'd eventually like to replace or augment this with networkable boxes


Ultimately, 2 boxes is the goal. To me, one 80 hour box is not the equal of 2 40 hour boxes.


So, what to do? I mean, I am a sucker for special offers:


1) Forget the special offers and just pre-order a pair of 4040s, and live in networked PVR heaven right away?


2) Buy a box now, wait for prices to come down, then buy another? If so, 4080 now?


3) Wait a few months to see if the whole company folds?


4) Get a 4040 and 4080, just so I can get $100 off?


I mean, I am thinking seriously right now of tossing $1.4Kbux over the wall...


Wondering what I'd most like to do.


Advice?
 

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I'm in the same boat. I currently have three Replays, but ideally would love 2 or 3 4000s.


With the rebate, it's either $700 for a 40 hour, or $900 for an 80 hour. $200 is a fair price for a 40 GB drive... well at least it's not a ridiculous price difference. Frankly I think there's more profit built into the price with anything but the 4040, we're not just paying for more HD, we're paying some employees salaries as well :D (not that that's a bad thing)


So for two units, it's either $1400 for (2) 4040 (or $17.50 per hour), or $1600 for a 4040 and a 4080 (or $13.33 per hour). Obviously if you can afford $1400 you can afford $1600, :), and your cost per hour is drastically reduced.


I think for now, the answer for me is to keep my 3000 series boxes for awhile. At least until they start shipping. Maybe I'll just bite the damn bullet and sell my units and buy two 4080s ($1800 or $11.25 per hour). Even if I sell all three units for $400 (a long shot) that's still a cost of $600 which is IMHO still a large amount of money just to upgrade.


How about 3 4040's - $2100 - but still that inefficient $17.50 per hour thing.


I think we need to hack these suckers immediately. Then a few 4040s would be a nice addition to my home.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Well, pretty compelling argument. I just went for the $13.33/hour route, 'cause I just couldn't see clear going for the $11.25/hour.


As far as I'm concerned, I just became one of SonicBlue's best friends.
 

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I went for the 4080 with deferred payment until May.


I'm still contemplating cancelling, however.


I really want to know that these things can be hacked. Who out there will have one that can hack them? Then I'd take the extra 80 gig I put in my HS2000 and put it in the 4000 and give my parents the HS2000.


I also will have satellite and am thinking of getting the DirecTivo for $99 at circuit city. 2 tuners..dolby digital out..30 gigs and hackable to add 2nd drive.


So.. *MY* dilemma is:


1) Buy the directivo, AND the 4080 (use 4080 with a stand-alone Sony receiver), and be able to record *3* shows at once. ;)


2) Buy the directivo, forget the 4080. and use my 110 hr showstopper as 2nd DVR.


3) Just buy the 4080 like originally planned.


*shrug*


I'm leaning towards #1 since I can save up the $ for the 4080 to pay off in may (already have $400 stowed away).


Decisions...decisions...


I just wish there was a Replay with the 4080 features(ethernet & commercial skip) that had the dual tuners/directv dual option that tivo has.
 

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Just don't forget to take into account the Tivo service fee ($249 one time, or $9.95 a month). And if you want to record from your local networks with a DirecTivo, you need to verify that DirecTV offers them as an option, since DirecTivos cannot record from an antenna or cable source.
 

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I was all set to order a 4040 and then my 3030 (unhacked) went in to another stuttering fit, so I sold it for $200 & bought 2 $99 Directivo's at CC. Now I have 4 tuners in exchange for 1 with no out of pocket costs except the monthly fee to tivo on 1 box.


After the 4000's ship and they are proven in the marketplace, I may look in to one again.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by BrettStah
Just don't forget to take into account the Tivo service fee ($249 one time, or $9.95 a month). And if you want to record from your local networks with a DirecTivo, you need to verify that DirecTV offers them as an option, since DirecTivos cannot record from an antenna or cable source.
Yeah the fee is a consideration too.


The locals are no problem, I'm in the NY area.. so I'd get the WB & UPN too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Well, Replay doesn't have DirectTV like the DirecTivo does but:


Dual tuner ReplayTV-4000 is easy. Get a pair of 4040s. Whether they put it in one box or two, that's pretty much what it'd take.


As everyone keeps reminding everyone else: A dual off-air tuner version of a ReplayTV or TiVo would pretty much involve finding all the really expensive bits (other than CPU) and getting an extra one.


Extra tuner

Extra MPEG encoder

Extra RAM

...among other things... like maybe the CPU's running out of steam, or maybe we need another disk drive to keep up with the degraded data rates from all that seeking around as we try to record two things while we watch a third.


At this point, I'd just as well go for the extra MPEG decoder, ethernet card, power supply and box and stick it in another room. My only serious complaint here is that the 4000 boxes are so dang expensive.


It will always be easier to do a dual-stream unit when what you're writing to disk is two streams of something that's already encoded.


One could reasonably ask the question: Why doesn't ReplayTV have a "DirectTivo" or "UltimateTV" like box. Seems like a ripe market niche, and one in which they could get relatively inexpensive credit for being able to record two at once.


But, when comparing one of those satellite recorders to a NTSC recorder, one shouldn't ask why the Replay can't record two at once - it's pretty obvious. The real question is why those satellite boxes ONLY record two at once.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by RandyL712
It's impossible to compare the 4000 to anything else. It's different, newer, and more expensive than anything we'd consider competitors.
If two things are the same, what's the point in comparing them?

:D

A main point in comparing two things is to note what's different, right?
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by BrettStah


If two things are the same, what's the point in comparing them?

:D

A main point in comparing two things is to note what's different, right?
Gol' durn smart-alecky kids! :D
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by toots
Well, Replay doesn't have DirectTV like the DirecTivo does but:


Dual tuner ReplayTV-4000 is easy. Get a pair of 4040s. Whether they put it in one box or two, that's pretty much what it'd take.


But, when comparing one of those satellite recorders to a NTSC recorder, one shouldn't ask why the Replay can't record two at once - it's pretty obvious. The real question is why those satellite boxes ONLY record two at once.
2 points I want to bring up:


1) No double encoding of the picture, thus.. less picture degredation. You *DO* lose something when an already encoded video is decoded, then re-encoded. The Directivo's only decode. You just cannot do that with the replay.


2) They cannot do more than 2 at once unless they have more inputs (and I don't know how many different writes a hard drive can handle before it starts to chug). And I think DirecTV would lose some revenue by allowing unlimited recording of their signal. Why would a consumer need another receiver? No reason in that scenario.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
And about hacking 4000 boxes.


Someone in here said they were talking to a rep at SB, who said that they're trying to make the 4000 units "a little more hack proof."


One can question the wisdom in a business plan that has annoying people as one of its goals, but I do have to say that SB seems a bit more responsive to the disk space issue, even if they have a rather (outrageously?) steep $/gigabye.


But, I s'pose if I wanted to make a box harder to hack, I could take a page from XP's WPA:


On initial box registration upload the serial numbers from the hard drives, and keep them logged at ReplayTV central. Each night, upload the serial numbers again. If they mismatch, RTV could decide to refuse to supply program guide data, or even go far as to send the box a "break thyself" request.


That'd be a pretty effective measure. Circumventing it would go far beyond writing disk drive format utilities, which is essentially what the hacks to date have been. It'd mean getting into the way the code itself works, either finding a way to modify what serial numbers it's sending, and/or subverting any negative response from Replay central. Or, implementing an external network go-between to achieve the same effect.


And that's just one way to hack-proof the box. Not that any such approach would be completely hack-proof; it's just that an approach like that would be an order of magnitude more difficult to diagnose and tweak than what we went through to get the current drive format utilities.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by NJChris


1) No double encoding of the picture, thus.. less picture degredation. You *DO* lose something when an already encoded video is decoded, then re-encoded. The Directivo's only decode. You just cannot do that with the replay.
Yah, I know that, and didn't think I had to say so.


For recording satellites, as far as I'm concerned, it is pretty much a no-brainer, and Replay doesn't have a solution here.


On the other hand, I don't have satellite, don't want satellite, therefore being able to encode MPEG has immediate relevance to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
And let me say one more thing about Replay hacking:


You've got no idea how easy ReplayTV made it for us to hack 2000 and 3000 boxes. Yeah, it was slow in coming, but trust me on this - it could have really been a lot worse.


I don't think they set out to make it intentionally easy, but they did.


1) Very easy to reverse-engineer the file system layout, or at least enough for our purposes


2) The file system doesn't have any on-disk storage allocation tables, which meant that resizing a partition is simply a matter of fiddling the super blocks and partition table. Try this with any other file system you're likely to come across


3) Multi-drive was implemented equally easy.


If the ReplayTV's on-disk file structure was as complex as even something as trivial as FAT, the amount of code needed to reformat the partition would be exponentially larger.


Of course, if it were that difficult, some of the others did figure out how to do the whole job (one or two drive) using software already resident in the Replay, but the "reformat utility" option ultimately turned out to be a lot easier.
 

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My situation is a bit easier. I live alone and have only one tv to worry about. I subscribe to Dish networks but because I don't live in a large enough market, I get my locals from life-line cable. Currently I have two receivers. One is a 501 and does some very basic recording. I use it mostly for conflict resolution because it is so unreliable. My primary recording device is my 3060.


I like the idea of getting a RPTV4k box, stop all recording with my 501 and hook my 3060 up to it. That gives me two "tuners" of reliable recording and commercial skip on my primary box.


Ideally, I'd like to do this with one box, but a directivo wont do it for me because it wont record locals. I suppose at some point, when my DISH obligation ends, I can switch to a directivo, and use my replaytv for recording the locals from cable. But call me biased but I'd rather not buy a tivo...I prefer the replaytv software and UI.


So maybe my situation isn't a bit easier. I suppose I can get rid of my 3060 and replace it with a RPTV4k Continue to use the 501 (hoping upgrades will improve its reliability) for conflicts. Then I can get rid of my phone line. Ugh.


I think for now, I'll wait for the 4K to come out...then read very carefully what the early adopters have to say about it here in this forum. (am I any closer to 1000? -- I guess I'm still a lightweight)
 
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