AVS Forum banner
Status
Not open for further replies.
1 - 17 of 17 Posts

Registered
Joined
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The official word from Replay (800) 933-5899 on the differences between the 4xxx series and the 5xxx series is that they are identical except that the 4's use version 4.3 software and the 5's use version 5.0 (whatever that means,) the 5's have no front panel nav buttons, (big deal) and the 5's have a light that comes on when the unit is contacting the server. Ok.


Since I find that hard to believe, I wanted to put it to the "experts" here at the forum. I'm trying to decide on either one of the 5xxx "rebate" models or just go over to e-bay and pick up a 4xxx. What about hard drive upgrad-ability, doable on the 5's? Any differences with outputs, reliability, noise, software protection, major functionality?


If this has been discussed elsewhere, kindly point me towards the needle (in the haystack? :)



Thanks.
 

Registered
Joined
1,540 Posts
Well, I'm no expert (Replay owner for about 3 months), but I'll give you my opinion.


I have a 5040 upgraded to a 5160. Hard drive upgrades are easy as pie if you have even basic PC skills. Just be sure you don't use certain drives; IBM comes to mind. Most people here seem to prefer either Maxtor or Western Digital; I prefer Maxtor Diamondmax9 drives. I've been through 3 different software revisions with no major problems. Mine has been stable and relatively trouble free; others will tell you otherwise...so YMMV.


I don't have any experience with the 4xxx series, but from what I've read here they seem pretty stable. The main drawback to going with a 4xxx series (IMO) is software support; both from the manufacturer and outside tools (of which there are MANY) developed by others, some of which frequent this forum.


So the bottom line is my experience with the 5xxx series has been excellent; others aren't so lucky. I really think the vast majority of 5xxx series owners are happy with their machines; a few have had nothing but problems...you may hear from them.


I'd go with a 5xxx series since they're being supported and are more future-proof. Also, there's supposedly a new software release (Alcatraz) that is supposed to address the bugs in the current software (which I haven't experienced myself; fingers crossed.);)
 

Registered
Joined
1,292 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Drummer Geek
The official word from Replay (800) 933-5899 on the differences between the 4xxx series and the 5xxx series is that they are identical except that the 4's use version 4.3 software and the 5's use version 5.0 (whatever that means,) the 5's have no front panel nav buttons, (big deal) and the 5's have a light that comes on when the unit is contacting the server. Ok.


Since I find that hard to believe, I wanted to put it to the "experts" here at the forum. I'm trying to decide on either one of the 5xxx "rebate" models or just go over to e-bay and pick up a 4xxx. What about hard drive upgrad-ability, doable on the 5's? Any differences with outputs, reliability, noise, software protection, major functionality?


If this has been discussed elsewhere, kindly point me towards the needle (in the haystack? :)

Thanks.
Has been done to death, but suffice it to say... The are equal (not identical) as far as the upgrade process goes. They use different HDD images (because they use different hardware), that are readily available on our FAQ (Thanks to Ghoul and his anonymous benefactor... and JLeavens for putting the servers in a conspicuous place!).


5.0 and 4.3 separate the two platforms, this is true. However at the current time the 4k series has the stability award, as a whole. The 5k will continue to receive future updates on the software side, the 4k's are, for the most part, at a software cap. Don't expect newer features in the 4k line... unlike 5k/5.x.


As for current features, they both have commercial advance, and internet video sharing (unlike the soon to be released model 5500)... Outputs are pretty much the same, with the exception of COMPONENT out on the 5k. The 5k has a noisier fan... but there are mods to help tone that down listed in this forum, or on the web. (Some here also say the 5k has better PQ)


If you are itching to get into a great DVR now, go for the 4k (but keep in mind the disclaimers above)... if you are willing to wait out the storm (of instability, likely to be fixed by the next release of the software, code named "Alcatraz: The Rock"), and are interested in the latest features and component out, get the 5k.


Hope that helps... any other Q's?
 

Registered
Joined
427 Posts
I agree with what xystrm said, but would add this:


The internal tuner in the 4000 series is nowhere near the quality of that in the 5000 series. I do have both, and the 4000 is washed out, and has a great deal of trouble keeping up with fast moving sports like basketball and football.


If you use a set top box of any sort, this will be a non-issue.


My $.02.
 

Registered
Joined
2,584 Posts
It's not just the tuner...the 5k uses a better quality mpeg chip, so many people find its PQ noticeably better, especially at medium or low quality speed settings. The difference was quite noticeable for me (use my replay's composite output for a 50" plasma monitor).


The difference between 4.3 and 5.0 is not a big deal for solo replays (although some people really cared about the ability gained in 5.0 to skip recordings of repeats); if you have more than one replay in your house the 5.0 software is much better (since it allows you to conflict manage from one replay by accessing the other -- if you've got a conflict trying to set up a recording on the replay you are in front of, 5.0 will automatically ask you whether you want to record on the other replay).


I've never been bothered by the stability issue on either of my 5k replays...they both work fine. And only the 5k will have the cool new feature that is hidden up ReplayRichard's skirt, whatever that is ;)
 

Registered
Joined
912 Posts
The 5xxx series has a better MPEG encoder.


The 4xxx series has a better MPEG decoder.


What this means to you is the quality of the actual recording is better on the 5xxx, but on the 4xxx the playback is smoother, more consistent, and requires a lower amount of CPU time.


The 4xxx quality is OK for normal TV viewing, but it gets pixellated and annoying (to me) in a hurry when watching sports. The 5xxx image quality is good, but you have to put up with occasional playback stutters, and jumpy fast-forward speeds.


The 5xxx units have much more memory, and will continue to get software updates (more stability and a couple new features) at least for the near future.
 

Registered
Joined
126 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·
hehe, you guys are great! I figured the subject had been beat to death, but I sometimes struggle dredging out the info (dial-up.)


Thank you so much, you've provided just the kind of info I was after. This quick synopsis helps me. I lean towards the 5's based on my needs and what you've said here, and I put one on order at buy.com today. I'm currently fairly pleased with my 3xxx that I upgraded to 120 hrs. It siezes up now and then for no apparent reason (yes the ezbake is off, even the cover is off all the time), but I wouldn't trade the functionality of a DVR for anything in the world.


Thanks.
 

Registered
Joined
1,023 Posts
I've done some work with both the 5K and 4K raw Mpegs. Given that both machines are fed the exact same source, the 5K has slightly better Picture Quality. Also the encoded mpeg files of the 5Ks are smaller than the 4K.


It makes you wonder how producing smaller files yet increasing quality is possible? Two things. The 5K encoder is a little better over-all AND it's Variable Bit Rate Video encoding is more aggressive. The swings from a low motion static scene to a high motion action scene are faster and wider. So the 5K lows, are lower and it's highs are only slightly higher (video bit rates)


The result is it spends more time in the low motion scenes at a lower bit rate which saves on average 200 to 400 MB per one hour HQ encoding.


The 5K mpegs are however more prone to header problems which only shows up if you are using them for source material when making home made DVDs. They also tend to show the effects of a poor feed more than the 4Ks. The slower and less effecient 4K encoder can tolerate slightly out of sorts video better than the 5K.


In short the 5K encoder is more efficient, and slightly better quality than the 4K in regard to mpeg encoding. That is of course, considering both are tested with the same source.


I haven't examined the DE-coder in either ReplayTV, so can't comment there.
 

Registered
Joined
1,540 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by Rich A



They also tend to show the effects of a poor feed more than the 4Ks. The slower and less effecient 4K encoder can tolerate slightly out of sorts video better than the 5K.



That's my biggest complaint with the 5K tuner, without a strong video input signal the quality REALLY degrades. With a good clean, strong signal it's close to perfect.


I'm even considering using some kind of external tuner to remedy this. Right now I have cable ran directly into the Replay.


Any advice on using an external tuner; I don't have a cable box ($5/month). I suppose I could use a VCR? But then I have to deal with the IR blaster; how reliable are these?


Oh, and I have to add I have the 'audio hiss' issue also. I assume an external tuner would also remedy that?
 

Registered
Joined
6,490 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by chain777
I suppose I could use a VCR? But then I have to deal with the IR blaster; how reliable are these?
Reliability is the least of your problems. With a VCR as input, just what cable/satellite code set are you going to use to control it?
 

Registered
Joined
1,023 Posts
If the feed is bad another tuner box may or may NOT help. I would first look at the signal and see if I could inprove that. When you go to a separate cable box you are going to open up another can of worms. That being the need to control it by the ReplayTV.


I would try to fix the signal by possibly amplifiing it slightly at the other end of the distribution. Not at the replaytv input. If you amplify it there and there is a problem like noise on the line, you will just be amplifying the noise and make things worse. Better to go back to the source before any splitters etc and provide the cleanest quality signal there.


Any distribution of the cable feed should be what they call a "home run" system. Each device being fed should have it's own feed line all the way back to the distribution point. You DON'T want one line running say 50 feet to your TV area and then have a 2,3 or 4 way spitter there. For example, if you viewing spot has need for three antenna/cable hook ups .. ie a TV, a tape deck and a ReplayTV, then back where the amp is, after the distribution (ie a 4 way splitter) you should run one separate cable for each device. Yes it's expensive and some work, but it's the way most professional installers do it. (or should be doing it heh heh) Each line coming off the splitter should be balanced so at the end of each line, the devices being fed all have the same level source.


Argghhh .. I'm running off a the mouth again... sorry. basically you should look at your signal and try to improve that so the 5k turner can work at it's best.


Imagine this. You have a car that only runs on the highest octane gas. You are trying to get to the store but it chokes and misses cuz all you have is low-grade gas. So to fix the problem you buy another car that DOES work with low grade gas and use that to tow the first car to the store. All you needed to do in the first place was get a better gas. heh heh .. I'm chuckling over that analogy. :D
 

Registered
Joined
1,540 Posts
@BasideBas


DOH!!! Forgive me for my ignorance; I'm relatively new to Replay.


Guess that's out of the question.:rolleyes:


@Rich A


I hear you on the cable issue. I have an amp/4-way splitter on the main line feeding 3 dedicated devices (the 4th is capped off); no splitters. It's just a cheap rat shack unit, has gain control and an FM trap. It seems to work best on the lowest setting; over-boosts the signal if I go any higher. It's better than not having it at all, but my cable company (Comscast) has some pretty crappy signals of certain stations; nothing much I can do about that...other than go to satellite; but then I'd want a DirectTivo..going off topic.


I don't know anything about 'balancing' the video signal; any info?


Just for the hell of it I hooked up my VCR to line 1 on the Replay to see if I noticed a difference in video quality. I have to say the main difference I noticed was the Replay tuner seems to be more washed out and dot crawl was a little more noticeable. I haven't been able to check the audio yet, but I'm guessing the hiss is being caused by the Replay tuner.


I really wish they would have spent a couple extra $$$ on the tuner. I can't do anything to improve it, so I guess I'm stuck with it unless I go to satellite, and well you know were that's going.


Has anyone ever tried a different (better) internal tuner? I know it would probably be complicated and risky to do, but I'd be willing to give it try if it's possible. I have a friend who's an electronics tech with a full set of test equipment and the skills to do it. (He's been repairing video equipment for years; mainly commercial CCTV).
 

Registered
Joined
2,584 Posts
Chain, if you haven't already tried it, try using composite in and out of the replay...this will probably fix your dot crawl problem if your tv or monitor has a decent comb filter, and I find the composite out is less washed out anyway.
 

Registered
Joined
1,540 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by asinshesq
Chain, if you haven't already tried it, try using composite in and out of the replay...this will probably fix your dot crawl problem if your tv or monitor has a decent comb filter, and I find the composite out is less washed out anyway.


How can I use composite IN with no external tuner to control?


I've tried both composite and S-Video OUT. I didn't really see much of difference, so I'm using S-Video now. It's an older Sony trinitron, but has a decent comb filter.


My point was I DID notice a difference in the picture quality between the Replay tuner and the one in my cheapo sharp VCR running though the same out to TV (S-video). Makes it even worse to see my VCR's tuner is even better than the one in the Replay.:(
 

Registered
Joined
1,023 Posts
Maybe we all are missing something obvious. Are you sure when using the ReplayTV's tuner that you ARE seeing just the tuner? Remember the RPTV is always encoding. Although I've never used it, I believe there is a "bypass" mode. Try switching back and forth between bypass and encoding. You can tell that you are watching the output from the encoding process if you run a TV next to the replaytv that is not hooked up to the ReplyTV. Watch the same channel on both and you'll see the ReplayTV signal is about a 1/2 second lagging the real time video. That's because the ReplayTV is always encoding.


Before you go crazy make sure you aren't seeing the effect of the signal feeding the tuner which is then being encoded and shown on it's output.


I know my 4080 has a bypass button that when pressed feeds the turner's signal directly to the output, bypassing the encoding.


Hmmm, I may be confusing myself. Now I wonder just what that WOULD prove ??


Let's see. If on bypass the picture looks good then maybe it's along the lines of what I said earlier .. that the 5K systems seem more sensitive to a poor signal. Maybe it's not the tuner but the encoder ?? Try viewing by switching in and out of bypass. If the signal is lousy both ways then it must be the tuner. If it's fine when bypassed, then it must be the encoder.


By the way. Way back long ago in another far away capturing Galaxy, we had a similar situation with a lot of the pc based TV tuner cards. The tuners on many were just so-so. Many times we would use the composite or S-Video input to the card, feeding it with the signal from a VCR, thus bypassing the pc card tuner. Almost all the VCR tuners produced better results. Some guys actually looked for bargain broken VCRs with good tuners, just to be used for a channel tuning device. I even used to use a stand alone TV tuner that had both RF and Composite outputs. It's video was superior to any of the tv tuner cards I was playing with. But along with any external tuner (be it VCR or dedicated tuner) comes the problems of controlling it.


FWIW, I have replaced a tuner in my older 3000 ReplayTV recently. The original had been zapped by a surge. (was the only device in the house not on a surge protector .. that'll teach me) But after replacing the tuner I found the video to be better than with the original turner before it blew.


It wasn't that easy. I gave it to one of the techs at the shop (I used to own a PC repair shop) and they soldered it up for me. They have a lot of fancy stuff like for SMT and such. I believe the tech told me it was not hard but had to be done carefully as it was a multi-layer circuit board. (Something like that)


Before condemning the tuner see if it is that or a post tuning (encoding) problem.


I think "Mikey-Boy" here on this forum can help you with replacement parts.
 

Registered
Joined
1,540 Posts
Thanks a lot for the reply Rich. I hear what your saying and will try the methods you suggested.


I'm pretty convinced it's the tuner that's causing the problems, so hopefully someone (maybe Mikeyboy:D ) might chime in with a possible replacement for the tuner that would be superior to the stock Replay tuner. My friend has the equipment and skill to do what your talking about (de-soldering and re-soldering the tuner onto the PCB).


BTW, I read your post on your HTPC and was really intrigued. I've been messing around with that for a while using an ATI AIW Radeon card, with so-so results. Your solution seems just about perfect for what I'm looking for. The ability to record in HIGH quality, have a guide for free, and burn to DVD without any of the Replay file hassles sounds great.


You better watch out, or you might chase some Replay owners away.;)
 

Registered
Joined
1,023 Posts
Quote:
Originally posted by chain777
Thanks a lot for the reply Rich. I hear what your saying and will try the methods you suggested.


I'm pretty convinced it's the tuner that's causing the problems, so hopefully someone (maybe Mikeyboy:D ) might chime in with a possible replacement for the tuner that would be superior to the stock Replay tuner. My friend has the equipment and skill to do what your talking about (de-soldering and re-soldering the tuner onto the PCB).


BTW, I read your post on your HTPC and was really intrigued. I've been messing around with that for a while using an ATI AIW Radeon card, with so-so results. Your solution seems just about perfect for what I'm looking for. The ability to record in HIGH quality, have a guide for free, and burn to DVD without any of the Replay file hassles sounds great.


You better watch out, or you might chase some Replay owners away.;)
Well I still use my ReplayTV but lately it's been downgraded to just time-shifting and viewing commercial-less stuff. There will always be a place for my replaytv, but time marches on and there ARE now alternatives.


I'm also very big into the ATI capture arena. I have a 9000 Pro that works very well with the SnapStream thing. But being a software encoder it has it's limitations. One of which is the CPU use. But it can make VERY sweet mpeg if that's all you need to do.


So many toys .. So many shows to watch, So little time.


- Rich
 
1 - 17 of 17 Posts
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top