ReplayTV vs Tivo... Opinions Wanted

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Neil_S, Feb 8, 2001.

  1. Neil_S

    Neil_S Stunt Coordinator

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    From my initial research it looks like the two players are very similar with the exception of Tivo costs about $10/month (or $200 lifetime) and ReplayTV is free monthly. Both have 'updating' via a phone line and it seems the options are very similar...
    I would really like to get one of these but I'm having trouble justifying the cost (Especially if the Tivo charges you each month).
    For those who own them, how is image quality? What storage size do you have? Do you feel it is sufficient?
    I think I'd pay $200 for one (based on the amount I'd use it).
    How does the recording look compared to a VCR? I record things like Futurama and X-files but I hate the quality of tape (especially as the tapes get older).
    Thanks for your input!
    Neil
     
  2. Conrad

    Conrad Auditioning

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    You seem to be asking the same questions I had. I ultimately went with the TiVo. Yes, you do have to pay $200 for the service, but you will notice that the Replay units sell for about $200 more than the TiVo. It really comes out even. I think the TiVo has the edge on features. Look at the following link:
    ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/elund/ptvclass.htm
    This should answer all the questions you might have.
    A couple of other points to consider. Replay recently laid off a large number of its employees. Not a good sign in terms of company stability. Also, I recently read that Replay was going to stop manufacturing units themselves and just consentrate on the licensing and program guide. Make of that news what you will.
    After you get your unit, if you find you need an S-video switcher I have a great recommendation. I love mine.
    Once you go with a digital recorder, you won't go back. The impovement over VCR is significant. Think about the difference between cassette tapes and CDs.
    Good luck.
    Conrad
     
  3. Scott Dautel

    Scott Dautel Second Unit

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    Neil:
    First -- About a month ago, ReplayTV announced that they would exit the consumer side of the market and focus exclusively on OEM sales. (This means they will sell hard drive recorders only to other companies like Dish, Scientific Atlanta, etc.)
    This leaves TiVo by either Phillips or Sony. Sony recently started selling the DirecTV TiVo receiver (35 hr unit) for $399. If you already have DirecTV, this is the one you want.
    I don't have satellite and ultimately got a great deal on the new Sony 30 hr TiVo ... $440. delivered, including lifetime subscription. (due to $100 TiVo rebate + BestBuy sale & coupon).
    Now that I've had it for a month, I would pay double. This is the most useful home CE device I've ever experienced, bar none. It really changes your thinking about TV viewing. Just imagine sitting down in the evening and saying ... "Of all shows that have been on every channel in the past 2 weeks, what might I want to watch right now ... it's your choice." You're probably paying for 60+ channels x 24 hrs of TV ... but realistically you only have access to about 10% right now.
    Every TiVo question imaginable is answered here -> TiVo FAQ on AVSForum.com
    Scott
     
  4. Neil_S

    Neil_S Stunt Coordinator

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    I simply have broadcast TV. No cable, no satellite.... I don't watch enough to justify the cost of cable or the like. There are a few shows that I do faithfully watch but don't always get to them.... I have a VCR but hate the quality.
    For the time being, I'm thinking that $400 or so is just a bit too much for the amount I'd use it. (That could get me the center speaker I've been eyeing).
    I really like the TiVo and ReplayTV idea. I'll keep watching it and if a deal comes my way I'll most likely jump on it. If not, I'll live with my VCR =(
    (Unless someone has a smaller drive unit and wants to dump it off to upgrade...)
     
  5. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    I went with ReplayTV in December, and I couldn't be happier. I got a sweet deal from Mercata (RIP), a 60 hour unit for $400 after the rebate, with no extra service fee. The last time I checked, Tivo was selling a 60 hour unit for about $799, PLUS the service fee. I simply don't believe what I hear many say about Tivo costing the same.
    I keep seeing Best Buy advertising a 20-hour Tivo unit for $300, plus the service fee. That is what I paid for my 60-hour unit.
    I don't see how anybody could get by with just a 20 hour, or even a 30 hour. I currently have about 12 movies that I taped off of cable that is waiting for me to watch at my leisure, plus all my guaranteed regular shows, plus any theme shows it tapes when on.
    One of the things I like best about it, is I can tape movies off of movie channels and watch them when I have time. I used to hate flipping through the channels and finding a movie I really want to see, only it's halfway over, or I don;t have the time then to watch a whole movie.
    This machine has made it easy to catch up on my unseen AFI movies!
    ------------------
    Jodee/Andy
     
  6. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    I simply don't believe what I hear many say about Tivo costing the same.
    Well, I don't think that's a particularly fair comparison, when you base the price of one at a local store and the other at an internet operation that had to cut prices so low and give away so much in rebates they ended up going out of business. If you compared a Best Buy priced Replay vs. a Mercata Tivo it wouldn't look too good either. How much does Best Buy advertise Replay for?
    Perhaps more accurate is to say "For most models of equivalent disk space, the MSRP for both Replay & Tivo with lifetime service for both is about the same. However at any given time you may find a combination of merchant and rebates that makes one of them cheaper than the other." Replay does have a pricing edge on the 60 hr models currently.
    How much space you need depends on your viewing habits. I don't need as much as you since I never record movies, preferring to see them on DVD. For any person, at some size, more just isn't really all that helpful, since you don't have time to watch all the shows that have been stored and end up deleting them without watching anyway.
     
  7. Christy R

    Christy R Auditioning

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    Replay tv is the most amazing purchase I have ever made!!! I looked at both replay and tivo, and replay won hands down! First of all, everyone I know who has TIVO complains that the service that TIVO provides, in suggesting shows you might like based on shows you have watched, takes up too much space and prevents shows from recording that you actually want. Since, as far as I can see, that is the only service the TIVO has that the replay doesn't, there really is no reason to get TIVO. Replay tv has no monthly fee. Replay TV has zones which allow you to see movies and tv shows by category to easily find what you want to watch. Replay allows you to find shows by category, by keyword, by actor, by title. It allows for both guaranteed recording (shows that will definitely record) and non-guaranteed recording (shows that will record if you have the space and they don't conflict) Replay allows you to preserve an episode or save it to vcr. Since buying a replay tv 9 months ago, I have watched every single program off of it. If you are looking for it for around $200.00, my advice is e-bay. I bought my 20 hour unit for $220.00 on e-bay. I simply called the company and the warranty was transfered to my name and I have had no problems with the unit! But definitely, go for the replay tv.
     
  8. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    First of all, everyone I know who has TIVO complains that the service that TIVO provides, in suggesting shows you might like based on shows you have watched, takes up too much space and prevents shows from recording that you actually want.
    This statement is just completely, totally, utterly false.
    • Tivo suggestions only record if there is available space, not taken up by any of your explicitly requested shows, even if they are "expired".
    • They are also the first to be automatically deleted if space is needed for your shows.
    • They never prevent shows you explicitly asked for from recording.
    • Even if a suggestion recording is in progress, and you decide to watch or record something else, just changing to that other show will immediately stop and delete the recording, and change to the appropriate channel, all in one step, so it doesn't interfere in anyway.
    • Suggestions can be disabled from recording at all.
    Basically suggestions are a completely unobstrusive way to catch some shows you might like. No, the engine isn't entirely accurate, but all it does is record on what would otherwise be empty space when the machine is idle. It doesn't interfere with normal operation.
    Since, as far as I can see, that is the only service the TIVO has that the replay doesn't, there really is no reason to get TIVO.
    Other stuff that Tivo has that Replay doesn't:
    • A "To-Do list" so you can easily double-check exactly what the machine will record. On Replay, if you setup a lot of recordings, that sometime conflict with each other, this is a difficult task. You have to know exactly when each show is on, and figure out which will record based on this complex rule set of guaranteed vs. non-guaranteed, show-based vs. theme-based, and so-on. If you don't have a lot of shows this is not a big deal but if you do it's quite useful.
    • A simpler, overrideable FIFO space management scheme. Tivo just has a big pool of space, where older programs are normally bumped out for newer ones, but which can also be saved as long as you want. Replay segments the space into sections for each show or theme. So if you aren't aware of extra episodes of a show being on, you can find stuff being auto-deleted even though space is available.
    • Simple way to cancel a single episode of a series from recording, and getting something else instead. Replay forces you to "turn off" the recording, schedule the other, then remember to turn the original recording back on later.
    • Consistently gives conflict warnings when setting up recordings. Replay only warns when setting up guaranteed show-based vs. guaranteed show-based.
    • On version 2.0, available on the DirecTivo combo models, should be on standalones soon, a "season pass prioritizer" to easily manage conflcts between all series and keyword based recordings.
    Replay tv has no monthly fee.
    Neither does Tivo, if the "lifetime" option is selected, which makes the prices usually about equal as has been pointed out above and countless times in the past.
    Replay TV has zones which allow you to see movies and tv shows by category to easily find what you want to watch.
    So does Tivo.
    Replay allows you to find shows by category, by keyword, by actor, by title.
    This is a big advantage of Replay 3.0 vs. Tivo 1.3 on standalones. But DirecTivo combos can also do this, and standalones will soon, plus with a better method to handle priority of these vs. shows & each other.
    It allows for both guaranteed recording (shows that will definitely record) and non-guaranteed recording (shows that will record if you have the space and they don't conflict)
    This is both an advantage & a disadvantage. The problem is that each guaranteed recording sucks up space, so there is only a finite number of shows you can guarantee. The rest have to be non-guaranteed which don't give conflict warnings. The season pass manager on Tivo 2.0 is a better way to handle this. Non-guaranteed is useful as an ultra-low priority recording, but it's not when you really wanted a guaranteed recording and just don't have space for one.
    Replay allows you to preserve an episode or save it to vcr.
    So does Tivo.
    around $200.00, my advice is e-bay. I bought my 20 hour unit for $220.00 on e-bay.
    That is an excellent price. But if one can't find such a good deal, then it's far from clearcut to "definitely get Replay". There are plenty of reasons to choose Tivo if the price is close.
     
  9. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    Tivo or Replay? Coke or Pepsi? Boxers or briefs? Ah, the classic debates. And certainly a partisan one.
    I own both units although my Tivo came first. Has the Replay been a bust? No way – I love my Replay. But if I had pick just one, I’d give the nod to Tivo. In a heartbeat.
    The biggest plus in Tivo’s favor is the To Do list. With Tivo, you can preview everything that's coming up to record, including all manually recorded programs. With Replay, the only way to know what's coming up to record is to scroll through the entire program guide to see if anything is tagged for recording. But no manually recorded programs show up on the grid, so you have to know instinctively what you've set up to record. Hand is hand is Tivo's excellent conflict resolution system. If you happen to set up a recording at a time when another show is already set, Tivo will tell you. With Replay, you could set multiple programs to record at the same time without knowing it. Let’s put it this way – Tivo has always recorded what I wanted. Replay has wigged on me a few times before I got the hang of it, but I have lost a couple of things since because I didn’t take into account all the variables. In essence, it was my fault, but it just shouldn’t be that difficult.
    Another huge factor is the Program guide. I know many people disagree, but I find the Tivo guide to be superior over the Replay version. Yes, the grid does have familiarity on its side. But it is clunky, requiring you to scroll multiple times both horizontally and vertically depending on time and channel. This is especially tedious, as the screen only shows a two hour block at a time and only scrolls at 1/2 hour and 12 hour increments, while the list of channels only shows seven channels at once. Tivo has a split screen set up -- the channel and program are listed on the left, while the entire highlighted channel's upcoming lineup is listed on the right. This allows you to quickly scroll to find out what's on, and highlighting a channel will show you a list of the next programs. I find this method so effective, that I cancelled my TV Guide subscription immediately.
    A few more advantages: Tivo records closed captioning. Replay does not. I’m not hearing impaired, but there are times when an actor says something I just can’t quite make out, forcing me to rely on CC. And sometimes I like to FF through boring parts and just read the captions. Replay doesn’t allow that option. The extra recording speed (20 hours on a 30 hour unit) is also nice – not nearly as many compression errors as the 30 hour mode, but not as space consuming as the 15 hour mode. And the Basic 30 hour mode has much better sound than Replay’s, which sounds like mono (I am informed that it is merely poorly reproduced -- very poorly). Which is another thing – if sound is important to you as is maximum disc utilization, get a Tivo. I never record in 30 hour mode on the Replay because it sounds terrible. And while this may or may no be big, Tivo is much, much quieter than Replay. You only hear Tivo when scanning – Replay will start grinding at any time and on a frequent basis. You sort of get used to it, but it is bothersome.
    But Replay has some nifty keen features Tivo doesn’t have. The 30 second quickskip button is awesome. Beats the pants off of Tivo’s commercial skip system. Replay also lets you skip ahead or jump back a specified number of minutes. Tivo has a 60X FF which is great, but jumping an hour into a 2 hour block takes a minute. Replay can accomplish this in a second. And Replay’s search functionality is greater than Tivo’s (which is practically useless). And the recording padding is a great feature, although I wish I could negative pad – cut off the last minute of one show and add it to the beginning of the next show. Tivo will have some of these features, but from what I hear, 3.0 won’t rollout fully until November. But there will never be a quickskip.
    All in all, they are both amazing products and deliver on all of their promises – but in the end, I feel Tivo is the superior unit. But I’d rather have both than two Tivos.
     
  10. Mike_Meer

    Mike_Meer Auditioning

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    I bought a Replay unit in December and could not be happier. I agree with the statements that having a to-do list would be great (TiVo) but the 30 second skip is worth it. My wife and I can watch a 1 hour football game in 1:10 because almost every play is 30 seconds apart.
    Either way, TV the digital way is great.
    Good luck,
    Mike
     
  11. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    Tivo records closed captioning. Replay does not
    Actually, Replay models 3xxx and the Panasonic Showstoppers support CC. Just their older 2xxx models didn't.
     
  12. LarryH

    LarryH Supporting Actor

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    I may be misunderstanding the term "to do list", but the Replay does show all upcoming programmed shows (even manually set) at the bottom of the "Replay Guide" list (topmost blue oval remote button).
    I can't really judge the Tivo operationally, not having one, but I can say the Replay logic works perfectly for me. I have no interest in any channels or other geegaws. I just set mine to record programs on a one-by-one basis (almost always at highest quality), and it works great. I'm not interested in having the recorder save programs I haven't specified - even if low priority. The manual record feature and the begin/end adjustment feature of version 3.0 are real lifesavers (although I agree that a negative adjustment would be useful because of goofy network and station scheduling).
    I did purchase a Tivo once on sale, but an examination of the instruction manual proved it to be so different from what I wanted and expected (and was used to) that I returned it.
    Actually I just bought a second Replay unit (15 hr (60 hr at std)) and am trying to figure the best way to have them share control of my satellite receiver.
     
  13. Hanson

    Hanson Producer

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    While Replay does list what shows are set for record, it is only in alphabetical order and you cannot see when the show is set for record without highlighting each item. Tivo actually lists time, date, and program on chronological order. It also shows all manual recordings as well.
     
  14. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    The difference is Replay gives you a list of what you asked it to record, while Tivo gives you a list of what will record. The Replay list doesn't take into account any conflicts that may have arisen due to show movement, specials, or matches with one of your themes; you have to cross-check recordings against every other to be absolutely sure what will happen, while with Tivo you just look at the list and it's obvious.
     
  15. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    I have to disagree about ReplayTv not catching conflicts. If I tell it to record a show and it conflicts with another show it tells me right then & there. I have never had it not catch a conflict.
    My only complaint is you must first go back to the original show to turn it off and then go and record show #2 again. I wish it offered you the option when it notifies you of the conflict to override the first show and/or replace the second show's recording.
    Other than that, it's just an extra step which doesn't happen very often since I usually don't have conflicts.
    What I like to do with my Replay is every few days look through my "theme" channels. I love the "Find All Episodes" feature. If I see a particular show that I definitely want, I set it to record with the touch of a button so it's guaranteed.
    Otherwise, I don't really care about what non-guaranteed shows it ends up recording as I look through those daily and zap what I don't want (and what it didn't reocrd I really couldn't care less.) Ifit's important for me to get a show all the time I set it as guaranteed so it automatically takes precedence. For instance, I am addicted to LA Law reruns on A&E, so it records them every day at 9pm. I sometimes enjoy Charlie's Angel's reruns, so it is set up to record them as long as they aren't up against a guaranteed show. Same thing with X-Files and Star Trek re-runs.
    I think with Tivo it might be more of a necessity to have a To Do list since most Tivo's are usually only 20 hours, and it would be difficult to maintain what you want to record with such little space. I love having a 60-hour Replay unit as I always have plenty of recording room and I don't have to worry about it taping over things I want.
    Even when I went out of town for 4 days I came home with bunches of shows to watch (I had changed my settings to keep 2-3 episodes of shows.) It worked out great.
    ------------------
    Jodee/Andy
     
  16. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    I have to disagree about ReplayTv not catching conflicts.
    With which specific statement of mine are you disagreeing? With your usage pattern you don't run into this problem, but others do, so you shouldn't make blanket statements that imply "Replay always catches conflicts". I don't make false statements like "Replay never catches conflicts" or that all users would find this to be a problem.
    If I tell it to record a show and it conflicts with another show it tells me right then & there.
    If and only if it is guaranteed show-based vs. guaranteed show-based, at time of setup. Enter a conflicting non-guaranteed record -- no message. Enter a conflicting guaranteed theme record -- no message. Time slot changes or an extra showing on another night creates conflict - no message, no list to check, you just have to happen to notice it yourself.
    Oh wait -- you don't care about non-guaranteed stuff, and you periodically search through the themes and set up guaranteed single-records for everything you really want. But other people may not want to take the time to do this. Or they simply may not have enough space to guarantee everything they want at the quality they want.
    I think with Tivo it might be more of a necessity to have a To Do list since most Tivo's are usually only 20 hours, and it would be difficult to maintain what you want to record with such little space. I love having a 60-hour
    There are a lot more 30 hr Tivos out there than 20 hr. There are a lot more 30 hr Replays out there than 60 hrs. The 60-hr models are a recent introduction from both companies. Also there are quite a few Tivos out there that have been hacked to huge capacities, like 100 hrs+. But really, space has little to do with the usefulness of a To-Do list. To-Do list helps determining shows which conflict in time, not problems with space. Now, having more space does help alleviate this limitation on Replay, since you can guarantee more stuff, but there's still the issue of themes and time slot changes. For some people with a certain mix of programs, like yourself, it's not going to be an issue. But for others it might be.
     
  17. Jodee

    Jodee Screenwriter

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    I guess I thought the whole point of non-guaranteed shows was just "record them if nothing else more important is scheduled to record."
    If you tell ReplayTV that a certain show is important to you and you do not want to miss it (by guaranteeing it) then it is great catching conflicts.
    For instance, I have a "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" theme channel set up--non-guaranteed. This is an ok show to watch sometimes. However, most of the episodes conflict with shows that are on my "Guaranteed" list. So usually, it only records Millionaire on Friday night, which is fine by me. If I couldn't miss Millionaire, Replay would tell me I have a recurring conflict, which would mean I would either need to decide which show to tape OR buy another another Replay! [​IMG]
    So I guess I am just a little confused at why Replay should catch conflicts for shows that aren't deemed important by the user.
    ------------------
    Jodee/Andy
     
  18. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Screenwriter

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    There are several issues there ...
    Some users who have smaller Replays, or want to stockpile more episodes of certain shows, just watch a lot of shows, or use higher quality settings, don't have enough space to guarantee everything that's important to them. So they are forced to use non-guaranteed for some shows that are deemed important to them.
    Also, it's a feedback issue. Even though you may not care as much about show X vs. other shows, it would be nice to know which days it will record. On a Tivo you just look at the To Do and it's obvious. On Replay you need to do a find all, then cross-check yourself vs. all your other recordings.
    The feedback is also a plus even when you are dealing with guaranteed shows. E.g. you guarantee both "Everybody Loves Raymond", and "Will & Grace". This Monday, on Replay you may get surprised by a W&G rerun instead of Raymond. If you notice on the grid that there is a conflict, both have the solid red dots and it's still not obvious which one actually records (the one entered first will win, but can you remember?) To be absolutely sure you have to unguarantee one or turn it off, then change it back later. With Tivo it's obvious which one is recorded, and it's easy to do the one-time override. Granted with most shows this type of thing is pretty rare, but with some shows it isn't, and it's still nice to have the feedback mechanism for when it does happen.
    This is an issue that mainly concerns people who record a lot of shows, or shows that move around a lot. If you don't have a lot of shows, and they stay in place and don't conflict with each other, then Replay works perfectly fine.
     
  19. Eric-S

    Eric-S Stunt Coordinator

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    I just upgraded my Tivo from a 14 hour unit to a 91 hour unit using a 60 gig hard drive. Very easy to do! Once I tested it and found it was working well, I converted the unit to a lifetime subscription. Couldn't be happier.
    Eric
     

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