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I'm looking to possibly get a ReplayTV unit of some kind. I have some home video footage I want to be able to input into my PVR so do any of the Replay units allow you to dump footage into them for playback?
 

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Absolutely. The RTV has both S-video and composite inputs, so you'd just connect it like any other A/V equipment, and do a manual record from that input.
 

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If you were going to get a ReplayTV unit anyway, this would be a good excuse to justify one. But just to digitize VHS video, it would be overkill. The resolution that the ReplayTV records at is on the order of two to four times the effective resolution of the VHS recording. You would be paying for resolution that you can't possibly gain from the source.


I prefer to digitize VHS video to VCD. The resolution is much closer. In fact, I have a Terrapin VCD recorder that I use specifically for that purpose.
 

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Be warned of the VCR TBC stuff. Search of Time Base Correction for more info if you are planning on moving stuff from a VCR/VHS tapes.
 

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Please allow me to jump onto this thread, I think it is similar to my question.


I own a small retail business and am trying to avoid buying an expensive closed circuit security system for my shop. I have not purchased any components yet but would like some input as to if my idea will work.


I plan to only have two cameras that would have RCA outputs. I would like to use either a ReplayTV or TIVO to record the two video sources when I am not actually working at the shop. Can either the TIVO or ReplayTV act like a double DVR and record for shorter periods of time?


I know that I could try using VCRs and tapes or a DVD recorder but I would like to get more than 8 or 10 hours of record time. I know there are hard drive recorders that are made for the security industry but they cost is the $1k range. I like the idea of spending a couple hundred bucks for the recording capability.


Would I have to buy two TIVOs or ReplayTV units to accomplish my goal? If I do buy the units, do they work in a manual record mode even if you don't sign up for the service?


Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
 

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You'll need to buy service for either Replay or Tivo. I know the Replay becomes useless after a few weeks, not sure what Tivo does.


Anyhow, you'll also need two units as each are stand alone recorders capable of only recording one signal at a time. Unless you can find some device that will mix the two camera signals so the Replay (or whatever you get) only sees one source.


As far as what need, perhaps giving an idea of how good you want the quality and how many hours you want to keep on hand may give the folks here a better picture so they can point you in the right direction.


BTW, I believe you could setup recordings for one minute at a time for each input. It would be a pain to do, but it is possible. You'll run into problems (at least with a Replay) as you'll have 60 shows per hour resulting in 1440 shows per day. Probably not a good idea, besides, you'll miss the whatever's coming in the camera that isn't being recorded.
 

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If you buy an early model ReplayTV (a Panasonic Showstopper, or ReplayTV 3000), it will not need to connect daily.


I have my setup where I have two cameras that switch between them every 15 seconds sending a signal (so that only one is sending at a time). The two signals are combined into one input on my ReplayTV 3000, which is not set to "record", but just uses the live TV buffer. If there is something that I need to go back and view, I record it to video tape (VCR uses as input the ReplayTV Output).

Works for me.


If you don't have cameras that can switch between them, you would probably rather have two Showstoppers. I don't know for sure what you might think is best.
 

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Ace, thank you for your response.


I was told by a neighbor (that does not have ReplayTV) that ReplayTV could record two television/cable shows at the same time. That is why I thought that I could use the unit for my purpose. I also understood that it can be set up for a manual record. I would be able to set it to record at 8:00am on Tuesday for 12 hours and then set it for Thursday again for 12 hours.


Is there a way to fake it into thinking it has two broadcast TV signals that it needs to record? I guess if necessary I could buy two units since it would still be less expensive than one of the survellence models.


I would like to be able to record two 12 hour days for two cameras at a minimum. Total of 48 or more hours would be great. I expecially liked the idea of higher quality picture than VHS so that I could zoom in with the picture if necessary to see if someone pocketed something.
 

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The early ReplayTV models (Showstoppers, 2000, 3000, ect) came with service bundled. Two years ago, I'd say if you picked one up it would automatically be a lifetime unit. At some point (I'm guessing about a year or two ago), Replay allowed the owners of the older models to transfer their service to a newer model, for instance taking the Showstopper service and transferring it to a 5000.


I'm not really sure if the older units are really deactivated though. I have read (long, long ago) that an older unit can be deactivated once it connects to the mothership for it's daily update. However, if you never connect the unit, it will keep working (without a guide of course). With the setup you want, the manual record option will work fine, so you don't need to worry (much) about picking up something on eBay, as long as it's working already.


As far as being able to zoom in on a person or object, the Replay itself won't allow that. You'll need to transfer the video to something else. The older Replays don't have an ethernet port, so getting the video onto a computer will be a little trickier and may cause degregation of the video depending on how you transferred it over to the computer. A 4xxx or 5xxx series Replay has an ethernet port, so it's much easier to transfer over to a computer and do whatever you want.


As far as the amount of space needed, here's the rule of thumb:


1GB per hour @ standard/extended quality

2GB per hour @ medium quality

3GB per hour @ high quality


All Replay models are based off the standard/extended quality mode, so a 30 hour unit would have a 30GB drive in it giving you only 15 hours at medium and 10 hours at high quality. You can put larger (and multiple) drives in a Replay allowing you to hold many hours.


Hopefully this helped you out a bit...
 

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Your best bet would be to use a quad processor like this .


That way you don't have to worry about using multiple recorders and it allows you to zoom. It's also better than a switcher because you don't have the lag. It's usually those few seconds when the camera is switching that an incident takes place - then the camera's are useless.
 

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Thank you ACE and CHAIN,


You both have given me plenty to think about. A couple of extra questions.


CHAIN - When I record the image using the ClearVu, am I then able to extract a full screen image and transfer it to a video tape or other media. For example, say I catch someone doing something bad, can I convert it to a VHS tape in full screen so that I could play the incident for the culprit? Do I lose any quality? Does the zoom go beyond full screen, how far 2x, 4x, 8x?


ACE or others - If I stick with the two Showstoppers, how hard and how costly is it to either add on a second hard drive or replace it with a larger one. It sounds like I need to get at least a 60gig. Do I just go to Best Buy and purchase one? Can someone with average skills install the replacement drive?
 

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I used that link as an example of a quad, but I'm not familiar with that model. A quad would be your least expensive solution, but not the best for quality. You will lose video quality, both from full screen and zoom. The digitized zooms in these things tend to be poor.


A multiplexer is the best piece of equipment for this application, but it's considerably more expensive. At that point, you're better off using an integrated multiplexer with a DVR . I'm not recommending any of these products, only pointing out examples of the least expensive equipment I ran across. I work in the CCTV industry, but only use high end commercial equipment that probably costs more money than you want to spend.


I don't know what kind of business you're trying to protect, but cutting costs on loss prevention is a bad idea in the long run. Remember, what your paying for in these commercial DVR's is the proprietary hardware. These things are designed for their purpose, like Replay's are designed for home use.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by treehouse
ACE or others - If I stick with the two Showstoppers, how hard and how costly is it to either add on a second hard drive or replace it with a larger one. It sounds like I need to get at least a 60gig. Do I just go to Best Buy and purchase one? Can someone with average skills install the replacement drive?
As far as replacement drives are concerned, there are hundreds of threads around here that can help.


As a brief overview, almost any ATA computer drive will work. Pre-4K Replays (including Showstoppers) will only recognize up to 137GBs of a drive, so the biggest drive you really want to get is a 160 GB. You'll still waste some space, but it's not too bad. I've seen 160GB drives for $40 after rebate recently, so the cost to upgrade isn't too bad.


As far as expertise is concerned, if you have no problem opening up your computer and replacing a drive there, you shouldn't have a problem. Again, there are dozens of threads and several FAQs around here to help you with that, or at least give you an idea.
 

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Correction to my early post:


I had claimed that, even if you don't connect an old Showstopper (or ReplayTV 3000), you could still do Manual Recordings. I believe that was the case at one time anyways, when I had one.


My brother currently possesses my old Showstopper, and he has to manually connect it to the internet (due to his own telephone company problems), and he tells me that it won't even do manual recordings without Guide Data.


This is only a problem in the first place if you can not run a phone line to your Showstoppers. It's not a problem with the "Service", since (as said before), the "Service Fee" is not separate from the cost of the ReplayTV (applicable to older units).


At any rate, I didn't ask him about the Live Buffer as well, but I would REALLY expect THAT to work without Guide Data...
 

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For surveillance video, I've been looking at some of the products offered at x10.com. They have a device that can be set up in conjunction with an x10 capable motion sensor and some of their other devices to turn on/off a vcr to record motion only. X10.com also has some programs on the PC so that it will time-stamp the video, send you an email if you have the right sort of setup at your workplace when motion is detected, etc. I'm not sure how good it all is, but is sounds great, and is reasonably priced. One of the guys at work orders mail-order all the tiem. He has cameras set up to his always-on website. When he is expecting a package, he watches for the ups notices; they are very accurate. UPS updates when the package arrives within 20 minutes or less of the drop-off. He then looks online to see if the package is really there, and then calls a neighbor that helps him out, and she picks up the package fo rhim until he gets home. (He could have it delivered to her, but what's the fun in that?)
 

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Let's not forget that absent an occasional connection to the Mothership, the Replay's clock will drift.


There's a hack around here somewhere to set the unit's clock manually.


Regards,

Warren
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by rayliner
For surveillance video, I've been looking at some of the products offered at x10.com. They have a device that can be set up in conjunction with an x10 capable motion sensor and some of their other devices to turn on/off a vcr to record motion only. X10.com also has some programs on the PC so that it will time-stamp the video, send you an email if you have the right sort of setup at your workplace when motion is detected, etc. I'm not sure how good it all is, but is sounds great, and is reasonably priced.
Oh, yeah, duh! Check out prices on video-input cards for a computer, and get two of them. Should be able to find software that would do what you'd want it to (or tell it to) better than trying to wrap your idea around a ReplayTV or two...
 
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