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Discussion Starter #1
First let me apologize if this has been gone over before. I haven't followed closely threads on the 4000 series because it isn't realistic for me to think about getting one.


After the initial head rush of hearing about the 4000 series machines, I have a lot of questions about why one wants to get one.


The way I see it, they AREN'T anything more than extensions of the 3000 series machines -- for reasons I'll expound on below. If you consider that, then the prices make even less sense than they did before.


First, what do they do that is different than the 3000 series?


What good are these differences to me?


1)Ethernet (but no dialup) connection. I have a broadband (cable modem) connection, but it is in a different room. Apparently I would have to purchase other hardware (a router?) to set up a home network, and then run wire along the perimeter of the house (vaulted ceilings/no attic access) to the living room. While I would prefer broadband, I think modem works better for me -- no extra wiring -- I use one of those electronic thingydos to run the modem over the electric lines to a room with a phone jack. Plus, no additional hardware purchases. Have to add that to the cost of the 4000 series machine.


2)File sharing over the internet. Not sure how realistic this is. I know the broadband providers have rules against setting up servers, and against services which have heavy duty upload usage (like Napster), they may outlaw this in the end -- easy to monitor and enforce; think how heavy upstream traffic will be when you try to upload a 3 hour movie at "high" resolution.


3)Commercial Skip. This is the big one -- I would love to have no-button commercial advance.


4)Size. It is nice they start at 40 and go up, and they must be able to support large drives better than the 3000 series (means more RAM, I guess)... Well, I have an upgraded 3020 (upgraded from 20 to 80 hours), and I bought my sister a PV-HS2000 (30 hour) Panasonic; I got the bunch for something like $750 + $240 for the 80 gig drive. I would have to pay SIGNIFICANTLY more for the same space, let alone two tuners.


5)Other outputs. VGA, progressive video (?), digital audio. Well, I don't have anything with these inputs except for my computer monitor (VGA, and my dolby digital receiver. Dolby digital 2.0 output doesn't excite me -- I don't see the advantage of a short (few feet) cable run for digital audio versus compoosite audio. I've gone into discussions of this on digital cable threads -- for short runs your ears can't tell the difference. Now, if it STORED it, well, that would be a different story and a large improvement.


OK, as far as I can tell those are the differences.


As far as what is the same:


No direct feeds. This is NOT a digital tuner. You can't send in and store the raw digital audio/video from a sat/cable receiver. You can't store raw HDTV signals. This does the same thing as the 3000 series machines: it takes an analog A/V signal, digitizes it, stores it, pulls it back out, converts the video back to analog, and the audio to analog and dolby digital. As far as I know, it does not convert the analog audio directly to dolby digital; it stores it in some MPEG audio format and converts that. Likewise, none of the video formats it outputs is "conversionless". Anyone know more about this?


So this isn't really a quantum leap in technology. If it acted as a universal receiver and stored the raw feed from digital cable and satellite transmissions, I would sit up and take notice.


The way I see it there are going to be two large steps coming.


1) Direct integration of PVR technology into digital cable receivers. This has already occured for satellite TV; the three digital cable box manufacturers are all working on the problem with various partnerships; Motorola has announced its model although it has not seemed to follow up on it.


2) Moving to digital TV. Someday we will be switching to HDTV. At this point you will need set-top converters to convert HDTV signals from digital to analog to view on today's sets. This down the line, 5 years? 10? Is it far enough away to justify such a LARGE investment in a product with a limited lifetime? Especially for a product which isn't a quantum leap forward?



As far as I can tell, for me, the only advantage for 4000 series over 3000 series is the commercial advance -- and there are several disadvantages.


An aside:


Since ReplayTV announced the 4000 series, and removed links to 3000 series products from their websites, coupled by the disappearance of Panasonic Showstoppers from several major stores, has there been a decrease in the number of new users (as seen on traffic on this site)? My point is, is ReplayTV rapidly losing market share to TiVo as we wait for the 4000 series to appear? At these prices, can they get it back? It seems to me that the 4000 series is aimed at a totally different market than Showstoppers, ReplayTV 3000 series, TiVo, and the various satellite PVR's are marketed to. These seem to be marketed to the general (if slightly high end) consumer. I consider myself to be well off -- high tech upper middle class -- but not Lexus rich. This seems to be aimed at the Lexus crowd. Are we going to be left out of ReplayTV's future plans?



Ciao


Joe
 

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I don't think that because they are coming out with the 4000's which are higher priced that this is the only product in the pipe. I thought they had licensed out their technology to a few big names.


Hey, if the 4000 isn't for you, you don't need to justify it to anyone. But I do like the ethernet ability. I like the commercial advance. I like having the option of sending/receiving a show. This isnt' like napster. You cant just look up a show and find someone's replay with it and download it. I think you have to know the person and enter their info in your replay "address book".


I like the ability to d/l from your replay to your pc. If this is true, then I can make VCD's of some shows I want to keep instead of wasting VHS tape space.
 

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I'd love to buy two, but really can't afford it right now. One of the main bennies I see is recording a show on one replay, say in the bedroom, and watching it on another, say in the family room.


Matthew in CO
 

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Maybe I have more money than is good for me, but based on the discussion of PC access to the 4000, I just ordered a 4080. I figure even if it doesn't let me play the mpeg files on the PC right off the bat, it will be hacked to do it fairly quickly.


My intent is to hook it up to my normal television, but use my htpc to playback some shows directly on my projector via the network - thus avoiding at least one extra digital->analog->digital conversion. Kind of like a poor-man's SDI connection.


What I would really like to see is an Echostar tuner with the same 4000 functionality built in - including HDTV too.
 

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Well, having recently being put into the pleasant position of having more dollars than sense, I guess I can "afford" an RTV 4000 (or two).


No, they're not quantum improvements over the 3000 boxes, and yeah, they are a bit pricey. I'll always be first in line to gripe about someone trying to make excessive profits off someone else's hard drive, and that's pretty much the only explanation I can come up with for the price difference between a 4040 and 4320.


I've got no problems paying RTV or SB for their technology, their software, their ideas, etc, but when they resort to crass profiteering off someone else's disk drives, I just get cranky.


Having said that, I'm still in the market. Were the RTV-4000 boxes their only near-future products, yeah dumb marketing. But, as others have said, it seems like the real plan is licensing the technology to others, so maybe you will see the RTV with built in digital cable or satellite tuner - only thing is that it'll be called a high end decoder box or sat receiver, and it probably won't have the ReplayTV brand name taking center logo.


The 4000s are being marketed to idiots like me, and I'm perfectly happy to belly up to the line, because they've addressed two of my biggest gripes with the 2000s and 3000s:


1) I absolutely hate it that for all the money I pay for cable, my stupid boxes update over a slow, unreliable modem connection. To me, there's no excuse for this, and it constitutes the biggest black eye they seem to be getting in this group.


Then again, I already have a cablemodem router, a 10/100 switch, a wireless access point, CAT-5 running everywhere, and a couple of spare hubs, just in case. The broadband issue totally fails to be a problem for me, although there is a lot of room for potentially broken TCP/IP implementation - that's yet to be seen.


2) That there is currently absolutely no level of coordination between multiple RTV boxes. Here, they haven't solved it, but they've at least addressed some of it.


I'd like a central scheduler - I tell the SYSTEM what I want to record, and it works out the details of which machine will do it when. They aren't giving me this (yet?), but they are allowing more centralized control of multiple machines via a single net interface. I hope.


After that, they already have my attention. The commercial skip, ability to "see" the machine from my PeeCee, the internet 'sharing" are all frosting on the cake, and of secondary importance to me.
 

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I currently have a hacked 3060, which has 120GB. There are a few features of the new 4000 that fit me. ReplayTV must had looked at my current home setup and then when back and made the 4000.


I have a home network with network connections near my equipment rack that holds my HT equipment. So a faster ethernet connection would be great for me. I also have an LCD television monitor with a VGA connection. Currently I have a HTPC and a HDTV cable box connected to it.


However, there are three issues that are keeping me from purchasing a 4000.


I have a working hacked 3060 and although the new features would fit my setup, I currently can't justify buy another box to replace it. The telephone connection is ok for now. A local call late at night doesn't really bother me for updating the guide. However, if I can talk my friend in Seattle to purchase one or have a list of others here who I can trade shows that I didn't record, things would be different. Also if I could definitely view recorded shows on my PC, would make me rethink a purchase.


This is why I think a lot of the people see the current Return Customer incentives as inadequate. We all have as many working ReplayTV models as we need. And although the new features are kewl. They aren't enough to persuade a lot of people to replace their current model. My 3060 isn't a year only. Even when I thought I needed the latest and greatest computer. I never replaced an entire computer that was only a year old.


And finally the price is too high for right now. In a few months, when the 4000 has been out and I see that I can or can't view recordings on my PC, share shows with other users and can justify buying another ReplayTV box I will rethink buying one.


If this would had been my first ReplayTV purchase I probably would jump at it. But like many others I too will have to wait. It does seem that the new 4000 models are geared to a small group of buyers right now. But I hope they sell, but I will most likely want one later.
 

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I definately see this forum as a good place to set up show trades. I view that feature as excellent. Sure it may take all day, but who really cares? That's why we have broadband. It's not like it is taking up a phone line or anything.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by dkan24
I definately see this forum as a good place to set up show trades. I view that feature as excellent. Sure it may take all day, but who really cares? That's why we have broadband. It's not like it is taking up a phone line or anything.
My broadband provider doesn't want me running a server although I'm guessing that they turn a blind eye to most peer to peer situations. Technically I'm only supposed to have one computer per IP address as well although my router/switch will handle multiple machines without any problem. Again, as long as I don't rock the boat I'm guessing they probably don't care.


They also reserve the right to shut anyone down that uses "too much of the network's resources". SO, I'm guessing if I were to routinely start transfering 3 gig files I might just find my service severed.


I doubt I would ever use the "share a show" feature.
 

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Shay, I think Dr. Joe is simply, (in a rather whimsical way that is) refering to a wireless phone jack unit which are very common and have been available in many places for a long time now.
 

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While the techonerd in me really wants to have a 4000, the practical (evil) side tells me to wait.

I see the 4000 as a bridge to better things.


Broadband? Absolutely a must-have for the future. In fact, the possibility of getting a 4000 is what finally motivated me to replace phoneline networking that got displaced by DSL with a real network.


Commercial skip? Well, I must say that the random-access quickskip is far superior to the commercial skip I have in my VCR. I fully expect the commercial skip in the 4000 units to be just as buggy. Skipping early, skipping late, returning early, returning late and not skipping commercials altogether are going to be all-too-frequent complaints on this forum in the not-so-distant future. I mean I have the "real deal" as far as Commercial Advance® goes, but it's not completely reliable. I also look for the networks to do whatever it takes to confuse the thing. Without the commercials, they don't make money.


Send shows to a friend? While this is a cool, cool feature, it's going to raise a big stink. It won't be long that everyone BUT the networks are coding the shows to prevent forwarding. If the show doesn't have commercials, they'll want no proliferation. After a while, the networks will catch on to the fact that no one is seeing the commercials in the forwarded shows and code their programming also. This feature will die a quiet death.


Room-to-room sharing? This is the biggest plus for 4000 units. This is far and away better than any dual-tuner idea. While I expect the units to not "talk" to each other very well in the beginning, software updates will have the little buggers working like a "collective," sharing Zones, resolving conflicts and streaming channel guide data from one to the other. (Only one connects, then passes the data to the other after "tagging" which shows it will record.) Once a "hive mind," this feature will give Replay an undisputed upper hand on TiVo, since the dual tuner concept is currently available only with DTV. (OTA and cable folks only option being SA TiVo units with the apparent disappearance of SS units.)


VGA video? Okay, I don't have HDTV and don't plan on getting it until I'm forced to, but having this ability in the 4000 units shows they're at least looking to the future.


Do I think the 4000 units will be a commercial success? Absolutely not. At least SonicBlue won't incure negative cash flow for each unit sold; That's the BIG thing. There will be a few sold to people like toots with "more dollars than sense" and technogeeks. The 4000 units will have much more headroom in which to resolve bugs and add features. Once the feature set has maxed out the hardware, we'll see 5000 units that record HDTV, work as a collective, communicate real-time with myreplaytv and still record OTA, cable and satellite. 5000 units will then be the trumpcard that gives Replay the PVR mass market. Microsoft will have given up and TiVo will have stagnated without a competitor to leapfrog.


Oop! Looks like I need to attend to my camouflage-induced appointment with Bambi. I'll edit later.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by sixt7gt350
While the techonerd in me really wants to have a 4000, the practical (evil) side tells me to wait.

I see the 4000 as a bridge to better things.
Agreed. But as were the 20XX models to the 30X0 models, and the 30X0 models to the 4XXX models.


The question is how long you're going to wait before jumping :)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Quote:
Originally posted by HoTat2
Shay, I think Dr. Joe is simply, (in a rather whimsical way that is) refering to a wireless phone jack unit which are very common and have been available in many places for a long time now.
Yeah -- I had brain fart and couldn't pull the words "wireless phone jack" out of my head...


of course it is a misnomer -- you use your house wiring instead of a phone line...


plug the phone line into the base unit and the base unit into the electrical outlet in one room; then the jack unit into the wall near the place you want an outlet, and then connect to it. I have two units hooked up; base unit in my bedroom, and a jack in the living room for the replayTV, and in the spare room for the computer. Use the computer one also for voice. They claim to support 56 kB data transfer, but I suspect it is less than optimal.



Joe
 

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I have already got a wireless phone jack, but phone through the powerlines sounded interesting. Thanks anyway.
 

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Shay, I believe their is a "network through house electrical wiring" system. Can't remember the name.


It's slow and, if I'm not mistaken, subjects other electrical devices to interference. Effctively we're talking about unsteady electrical current (micro brown-outs and spikes) that could cause sensitive electronics to fail more rapidly. Keep in mind that the Fridge, Microwave, TV, Lamp, etc are all getting this "network signal".


Lastly, in apartment buildings, you're likely to give neighbors access to your computer if they've got the same system.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Same thing with the REAL wireless ethernet systems they have on some college campuses, some airports, and at places like the Dell facilitites up in Round Rock.


Apparently, they are totally open -- all you have to do is be in the area and have the proper wireless modem and your machine automatically negotiates a connection, with no logon or security.


I don't know much about them -- just that a friend of mine at dell reads email during business meetings and out on the front lawn during cigarette brteaks... cool...


Joe
 

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The 802.11b stuff doesn't have to be open. They allow you to set up a lockword on the hub that every client must also have in order to log on. This creates encryption with the length of the lockword as the strength of the encryption (so if you set up an 8-letter word, it encrypts the traffic with a 64-bit encryption).


As long as you pick something the least bit hard to guess it would take someone an eternity to try to hack into your network.
 

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actually, I have a lot of experience with 802.11b. The encryption that is used is called WEP. It was cracked very easily by a professor from Berkeley. I saw a live demonstartion of a cracking. If you use the weak WEP- 64 bit, it can take about 3 minutes to crack. With the strong 128 but, it can take about a week- constantly sniffing the packets.


Also, you have to know the domain to use an open network. That may not be hard, but you cant just log on so so easily.


80211.b is a great technology. It works as well as advertised- although maybe not as fast (11 mb/sec). 80211.a just started shipping. It is supposed to be 54mb/sec with less range.


I recall hearing someone from SB say that they would not reccomend using a wireless netork with the 4000. It is not fast enough to be reliable. It does have to stream mpeg2 which is pretty large.
 
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