ReplayTV and High Def

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Joel_Marcus, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. Joel_Marcus

    Joel_Marcus Auditioning

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    I just purchased a Replay TV 5160. Was impressed with the component video out, optical audio out, and the size of the hard drive. However, ran into a problem. I have a hi-def satellite receiver (Sony SAT HD-100). I knew that the RTV would not record HD programming, and that was okay. The problem is that the RTV won't pass through any signals from the sat receiver unless I change the output mode of the sat receiver to the lowest level. Since I run my cable TV and OTA signals through the sat receiver, this impacts all programming. So if I want to watch ESPN off satellite, through the RTV (so that I can pause, etc...), the sat receiver needs to output at 480i (I believe that's the setting)which means I have to watch a lower quality picture. Further, I have the component video outs from the sat receiver going directly to an Audio Authority 1155 A/V switching box, so if I want to watch hi-def stations I switch outputs on the A/V box (no problem), but I have to also switch the output mode on the sat receiver back to variable (or 1080i). Not very convenient. Perhaps most problematic is that I will need to change the sat output mode to the lowest setting whenever I'm not home if I have anything targeted to record onto the RTV, otherwise it will not detect a signal!!!! Big problem. [​IMG]

    I have heard that there are sat receivers that can simultaneously output different modes (1080i and 480i for example). That would solve the problem.

    I spoke to RTV tech support today (very pleasant, and had no hold time [​IMG] ). He informed me that by the end of first quarter 2003, RTV will be pushing down a new software release that will allow my RTV5160 to pass-through HD signals, and to record them. Has anyone heard the same thing?? I was ready to return the RTV, but if this firmware upgrade will fix things for me, I am inclined to hold onto it.
     
  2. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    That tech support guy is an idiot. There's no possible way a software upgrade can get current replay TVs to record in high-def off the analog output of a STB. You'd need an expensive HD-encoder chip and component inputs, neither of which your box has. I doubt such a product will ever exist; it's not logical to build one. If Replay builds a HD-PVR surely it will be like the announced LG Electronics (Zenith) model, having a built-in OTA ATSC tuner and recording the digital already-encoded data to disk.

    My suggestions:
    1. If you can get locals via DirecTV, return the Replay and get a DirecTivo combo sat/PVR. This has lots of advantages, mainly recording of 2 channels at once, no picture quality degradation (since it just captures from the satellite directly, rather than reencoding from a separate box's analog output), more efficient space usage, and Dolby Digital recording.

    2. If you can't, get a cheap RCA non-HD receiver to use as the PVR's slave device.

    You could upgrade to something like the Samsung T-160 HD model, which has simultaneous HD/SD output, but I wouldn't. If you only have one receiver, if you are watching HD you can't be recording anything else on at the same time in SD. Go with DirecTivo, or get a cheap 2nd non-HD receiver, planning on upgrading to HD-capable PVR next year. (HD DirecTivo slated for end of this year release).
     
  3. Joel_Marcus

    Joel_Marcus Auditioning

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    Stephen -
    thanks for the comments. Could it be that a software upgrade will allow the RTV to simply handle the signals from the sat receiver, but not record them in hi-def? In other words, that would allow me to avoid changing the output mode on my sat receiver. The RTV would then be converting the signal to something it could interpret, for both pass-through and for recording???

    Even if that's the case, I think you make some excellent points. I really would like the ability to record in HD. I'm inclined to return the RTV and wait.

    BTW, does the DirecTivo handle HD signals (not to record them, but to send them directly to my TV)?? I can't give up my HD.
     
  4. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    No. The ReplayTV has no component input; you can't even get the HD signal into the box to downconvert it (and it can't downconvert anyway.) The tech is confused, perhaps he meant something about enabling 480p output, which I read somewhere was broken (I'm not sure on this, sure about everything else). No way no how will that box ever accept 1080i input.

    The current DirecTivo does not handle HD signals at all. The idea is to keep your Sony receiver for HD, and have a completely separate SD view/recording path (which I recommend regardless of what you eventually choose to do). When you watch HD, you'd switch to your TV's HD input and use the Sony. When you watch SD, you'd switch to an SD input and use the DirecTivo.

    Downside: cost, monthly $5 extra receiver fee, $6 local channel fee, $5 Tivo fee (unless you have the Premier package, then Tivo is free). But the fee is smaller than the $250 Replay service fee, over the probable life of the machine. I'd assume you'd drop your cable service; that would take care of the local channel increase. Maybe a bit of additional installation hassle, you'd need 3 lines running from the dish multiswitch to your setup, 1 for the Sony, 2 for the DirecTivo.

    Upside: you can record 2 other channels in SD, while you simultaneously watch a 3rd in HD. Now if you are watching HD the only thing you can record is analog cable on the Replay.

    I strongly recommend the separate record path. PVRs gain their full power when you set them to record basically everything you might want to watch (except the unrecordable HD), and can then watch whenever you want. Pseudo video-on-demand. If you are limited to recording what you are currently viewing on the Sony, you don't get the full effect.
     

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