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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear D&M Holdings viewer:

With the recent purchase of ReplayTV from SonicBlue one of your spokeswomen (as it was reported) stated that the ability to "skip commercials while recording" (known here as CA) might be removed in the future. First please make sure your people understand the technology before making public statements. The fact is with CA turned on (or off for that matter), no commercial is removed from the video stream being recorded, this technology only "fast forwards" through those commercials during playback just like the CA on other VCR type devices (and even that is not 100%, some of the time we still need to manually fast forward by ourselves over commercials that do not get skipped). If a recorded show is later sent to some other user all of the original commercial content is also sent to the receiving unit (that information should make the commercial owner feel even better, since now not only did they get the original broadcasting of their commercial that they paid for, but also get a free shot at those customers who did not get to see the original broadcast who were send the recorded show), and that user can either view the commercials or not (their choice controlled by the CA on/off switch of by using the fast forward button, like others do on their VCRs).

Second, I think each and every current owner (and future owner for that matter) of ReplayTV would agree that while the Internet Video Sharing (IVS) is a wonderful feature, we would be willing to give up the feature as long as the local (room to room) video sharing feature was saved. If this feature were to also go away, none of the ReplayTV'ites (I just coined that one) who I personally know (and quite a few others that I only know from their posts on the Internet) would be willing to support ReplayTV any longer.

Consider this, the original ReplayTV company almost completely went under when the older units did not have these features. SonicBlue did pick up that business and they directly marketed the newer units based upon the features not currently available to it's competitor (the dreaded TIVO) to those of us who are now your customers. CA, room to room sharing and IVS where the most attractive features to most of us, and if too many of those features go away, we will be left with simply a TIVO named ReplayTV. There would be no reason for any of us to think about buying any additional units from D&M if those units did not allow room to room sharing. Most would simply go to your competitor simply because that company has a better overall customer recognition in the industry for personal video recorders.

Thank you for your attention, and your support of our favorite video "toy", and we hope you can finally do something great with the technology in our near future.
 

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I still cannot believe anyone thinks this is so. Look at the website, use the product, ask the engineers:


Commercial Advance®* You can now choose to playback your recorded shows without the commercials using Commercial Advance. Don't worry, you can still watch recorded shows with the commercials, if you really want to, and you can still use QuickSkip™ to manually jump over them in 30-second increments.


I will even invite anyone who wants to verify this to come over to my house and check it out--just PM me first.


Cheers
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by docmcse
Second, I think each and every current owner (and future owner for that matter) of ReplayTV would agree that while the Internet Video Sharing (IVS) is a wonderful feature, we would be willing to give up the feature
...um, no, "we" wouldn't. If you choose to have it disabled on your own Replay, knock yourself out. But please, don't assume the rest of us are willing to give it up. Thanks.
 

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Quote:
if too many of those features go away, we will be left with simply a TIVO named ReplayTV.
Um, no.


It still wouldn't have a status bar.


Or to-do lists.
 

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I want both CA and Internet Show Sharing.


Last night, I forgot to record Survivor. So I got on PlanetReplay and asked if anyone had it. Within an hour, someone sent it to me and it's almost half done downloading. This is why I bought a ReplayTV 4xxx model. I was tired of missing shows and mailing videotapes back and forth to friends. Internet Show Sharing is legal and a must-have feature.


I feel the same way about CA. When CA works (which is most of the time for me), it's nirvana. I would hate to see it go.
 

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Clearly there are some differences, I don't have a static IP so I have never used the Internet File Sharing. However, I use CA on a daily basis and find that it works amazingly well for most shows (notable exception--it is abyssmal on Alias--a fact that SonicBlue acknowledged and promised an improved algorhythm in the next sofware update to improve CA performance in shows like Alias that use fade-to-blacks all over the place).


I would recommend one major modification to the original post. It says CA allows user to "fast forward" through commercials. That is no more accurate than the original statement that CA allows users to skip commercials while recording. As we know, CA allows users to opt to skip commercials during playback (rather than fast forward through them during playback). I think the difference is significant--fast forwarding implies that the viewers are subjected to the commercials, simply at a faster rate and sans audio. Skipping, as is done, takes less time (once it detects the commercial start, it immediately jumps to the detected commercial end) and completely removes any images in the commercial from viewers. I prefer skipping, advertisers prefer fast forwarding (because it is still exposure to their advertisements).


Anyhow, if the Replay loses room-to-room sharing and CA, I will probably migrate to the Dish 921 when it comes out (judging from past Dish offerings, it will feature crappy PVR software but allow HD recording and recording of two feeds simultaneously). My dream, of course, has always been for Echostar to admit that they put out a crappy PVR and simply license ReplayTV technology for their Dish 921.


Finally, my dream PVR (since this is an open letter to D&M ;-). HD PVR with stand-alone AND integrated satellite system capabilities. It should be able to tune OTA digital broadcasts and record the digital signal, OTA analog broadcasts and encode into digitial signal for recording, and be licensed by Dish and DirecTV to record their datastreams for playback (could be accomplished using the plug-ins on the back of a Dish receiver I hope--making the Dish receiver a slave to the PVR and utilizing the connection to make channel changes without the IR blaster). It should have ReplayTV's unique functionality (IFS, CA, room-to-room sharing) along with a recording schedule, adjustable recording priorities, and better search functions than either ReplayTV or TiVo have.


So, D&M, make that machine and you will go down in my personal all-time hall of fame!
 

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Quote:
I don't have a static IP so I have never used the Internet File Sharing.
You don't need a static IP to do internet sharing. Your replay tells SB's servers its IP address.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
So very sorry to "Ass-U-Me" that anyone other than myself would be "willing to give up ISV" if that was the only way D&M could possible save the room to room sharing feature (which is the intended rational to my earlier statement). My current usage has never put me into the position that I have needed to share video with someone outside of my house (except to folks who do not own a ReplayTV to receive it on as least). Even so I do like the availability of the feature if for instance I were ever to need it either to get something I did not get to record, or help out someone else with ReplayTV who needed something I had recorded. My comment was simply stating that if D&M does have to remove video sharing, that if they did not leave us with the room to room ability, that would be the final straw for me (and potentially others as well). In my opinion, at least with room to room sharing I could still use DVArchive (or the like) to offload video from my ReplayTV, and/or import back into my network via postings of similarly exported videos from others (like a poor man's IVS feature).

I agree, with the posts related to CA that if the CA feature went away itself, that single change would never drive me away from my ReplayTV (even though I personally like it and it works great most of the time on my 4040). If however all video sharing (including room to room) and CA were to go away, then the rest of my post still stands for this current supporter of ReplayTV. As for status bars, I personally have never seen nor do I even know anyone who as owned a TIVO system, so that subtle difference is completely unknown to me as are (I suspect) a number of other things since I stopped looking at TIVO's features shortly after I first learned of the features in my ReplayTV.
 

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I think that the fact that CA doesn't cut out the commercials is besides the point. Even if the Replay had a "chop commercials" button I don't think that should be illegal either. It's a recording for my personal use I can choose to keep and watch whatever portions of it that I want. I can not choose to rebroadcast this however with or without the commercials for that matter. This includes say playing a show back in a bar I may own/run for instance. I can see how the internet sharing is a bit hairier with all the internet sharing schemes going on.


Also, while the opinions in this thread seem evenly split I would guess that a vast majority of Replay users get far more use out of the CA and 30 sec skip button than internet sharing. Just my 2 cents on that issue.
 

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Personally I use commercial skip most and without it my Replay would not be the same. It saves me a ton of time when cooking or eating or other things where touching the remote is a problem. Sharing shows between Replays in the house I don't use at all but I do like having the option to copy shows to my computer if I want. Sharing shows with people who have missed episodes, and being able to get copies of shows I miss is a great feature and makes me feel more comfortable about trusting the Replay to record things for me. Of all the features though, IVS is the most difficult to defend in court, so if they had to take that out, I'd be disappointed but I'd live with it. We could still use DVArchive probably to exchange shows. I told a friend about IVS and he says he just uses Kazaa if he ever misses a show, but I much prefer using my Replay.


That being said, I think IVS should be legal as long as there are safeguards in place that the networks can take advantage of, and Replay did do their best to provide those. The networks should really work with Replay to make those safeguards more acceptable to them instead of just trying to sue the feature into oblivion. But the networks are so scared about what a future of high bandwidth will bring that they're running scared and doing their damndest to prevent the future instead of trying to work it so the future fits into their business.


I hope D&M continues to stand up for consumer rights through Replay, but I know that's asking a lot. Does anyone know what their history is regarding this sort of thing?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Dallben
You don't need a static IP to do internet sharing. Your replay tells SB's servers its IP address.


Then you're not using port forwarding ... which I think is a mistake. I don't use static IPs either but rarely use internet sharing, so before I do, I make sure I redirect the port to the correct IP, if it has changed.
 

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Removing any features at this point would be devastating. It would be a huge blow for me to lose any feature from a device I use for several hours each day. It is a strange feeling to even worry about this. I have never bought anything before where the main reasons for owning it are taken away. It certainly wouldn't be worth the money I paid to upgrade my two showstoppers to 4000's to have the same feature set plus categories.


I don't think I would go over to TIVO, however. They could have the same set of issues with any cool feature they develop. So, if D&M start plundering my Replay, I think the only way to go would be some type of open source build-it-yourself product. I see a lot of these efforts starting to take off anyway.


For me, replay's current advantage is that a box that can stream content is at my tv. I could shift recording shows to a couple of capture cards to the machine that is running DVArchive, and replace the replays with dumb streaming devices. But, hopefully, it won't come to that.


Since we don't know anything, no point in worrying yet. But, it would be useful to try to come up how to create a viable replacement system just in case.


But, I am really bummed about losing anything I have now. :(
 

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I'm glad to see everyone has stopped inventing "doorstopper" scenarios based on zero knowledge of the situation and has now starting inventing "gut the machine" scenarios.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Hankcampbell
Then you're not using port forwarding ... which I think is a mistake. I don't use static IPs either but rarely use internet sharing, so before I do, I make sure I redirect the port to the correct IP, if it has changed.
Did richierich mean he didn' t have a static IP internally or externally? I thought he was talking about externally.


I do use port forwarding. and before the port forwarding, my cisco's got ACL's. :D
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Quote:
Originally posted by richierich
I would recommend one major modification to the original post. It says CA allows user to "fast forward" through commercials. That is no more accurate than the original statement that CA allows users to skip commercials while recording. As we know, CA allows users to opt to skip commercials during playback (rather than fast forward through them during playback). I think the difference is significant--fast forwarding implies that the viewers are subjected to the commercials, simply at a faster rate and sans audio. Skipping, as is done, takes less time (once it detects the commercial start, it immediately jumps to the detected commercial end) and completely removes any images in the commercial from viewers. I prefer skipping, advertisers prefer fast forwarding (because it is still exposure to their advertisements).
I agree, my comment stating CA allows user to "fast forward" was as misleading as the other statement, however it is still more accurate than saying commercials are skipped during record. If an advertising executive thinks the feature works the way D&M's spokesperson stated it, they might get upset. If that same executive read either mine or your more correct way the feature works, they might be able to live with it and not fight it. After all my $150 RCA VCR performs this same CA function (not quite as well, but when it works you do not see anything during the "fast forwarding" process there either), plus if I put in one of those rented tapes with all the commercials at their beginning, it can skip right up to the beginning of the movie. The AD executive might actually see that their commercial content potentially would now be seen by even more viewers than he paid for during the live broadcasting of the show. Each and every person I send the show to is one more potential viewer/customer of their product. The user who either did not or could not see the original broadcast was one lost customer without this feature, and even if that customer had taped the show (VCR), a large percentage of them will manually "fast forward" through the commercials anyway.
 

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I would be disappointed if they were to remove features from future Replays. I could be greatly irritated if they were to remove features from the Replays already in our homes, specifically CA for me.


I would think removing the features from future models would be enough to get the lawyers off their backs.
 

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There are no lawyers "on their backs" about CA. And the suit about sharing will probably require more bux invested to change it around since it now would be against D & M. Plus D & M has much bigger pockets and much more reason to be involved because the outcome could create a precedent that applies to their future audio technologies.
 

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I think the key thing is not that each (or most) of us would be willing to give up IVS to save home networking. Each of us has different needs and wants for our machines. Of the three "key" features, my feelings are:
  • IVS - I neither use nor plan to use. This is not because I find it useless. It is only that I do not see much value in spending that many hours and that much bandwidth on missed TV shows
  • CA - This is a nice to have. But, considering that the 30 second skip works well and the CA works poorly with some shows, I either turn it off or do not get results 10-20% of the time.
  • Home networking - If this disappears, I would move to another product ASAP. This is (pardon the pun) the real showstopper for me.
 
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