TIVO versus Replay

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Roberto Carlo, Feb 22, 2003.

  1. Roberto Carlo

    Roberto Carlo Second Unit

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    Okay folks, my TIVO has died on me for the second time in eight months. I've already paid to have it fixed once. Clearly, if I stay in the PVR game, a new one is in order. (My old one was a first-generation 14-hour model.) The question is: stick with TIVO or switch to Replay? I know there have been similar questions asked before, but what has posting this thread are questions about reliability. I like TIVO a lot but twice in eight months has me spooked. OTOH, isn't Replay on financial life-support? (That and the fact that Sonic Blue took my money for a Diamond Rio player and never sent me the product.)

    What do you think? AFAICT their services are similar enough that either would meet my viewing needs nicely.
     
  2. Robert Spalding

    Robert Spalding Second Unit

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    I love my Tivo. try a directivo next time.
     
  3. LDfan

    LDfan Supporting Actor

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    Stay with Tivo. Mine has been running strong for 2 years without any problems. Replay has a couple features I like that Tivo doesn't have but it's not enough to sway my vote.

    Jeff
     
  4. MarcVH

    MarcVH Second Unit

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    My view is that the auto-commercial-skip is enough reason to at least seriously consider the Replay. It seems pretty clear that Tivo will never have it.
     
  5. Patrick Bennett

    Patrick Bennett Stunt Coordinator

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    The ability to stream to/from Replay's as well as have your PC archive Replay shows, or act as another Replay (so you can stream from you PC to your Replay) via DVArchive is a huge ReplayTV bonus as well.
     
  6. Gerard Martin

    Gerard Martin Second Unit

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    Whatever you decide be sure to back it up with a good surge protector that offers protection for AC, coax, and telephone. I have had a couple of Tivo's for years now with never a problem.
     
  7. Roberto Carlo

    Roberto Carlo Second Unit

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  8. MarcVH

    MarcVH Second Unit

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    Tivo doesn't want to anger content providers, but rather to work cooperatively with them for the mutual benefit of both (but not necessarily the consumer.)

    Sonic's ReplayTV, conversely, seems more committed to serving the customer's needs even if it angers content providers.
     
  9. Brian_Crist

    Brian_Crist Auditioning

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    I agree. Tivo's business plan clearly involves placating content providers above all else. (In the interest of full disclosure, I am an intellectual property attorney.) One can tell that by reading all the restrictions they are applying to their upcoming show sharing features. That is also why Tivo has not implemented commercial skipping or even documented 30 second quick skipping of content (I realize that one can program certain Tivo remotes to perform this function, but it is an "undocumented" feature.) In general Tivo pr emphasizes the company's relationship with content providers.

    All that said, Tivo, in my opinion, does have by far the more stable operating system for its equipment. I have had Tivo and Replay. Tivo crashed once in almost two years. Replay crashes about once a week. Tivo also has superior automated recording options. Tivo season passes work better in my opinion than do Replay show based channels at recording each new episode of a show each week. However, the difference is not as dramatic as some people argue. Due to a signficant change in the time or day a show is being broadcast, Replay may not record a show because of the algorithm it uses whereas Tivo is better about tracking new episodes of a show no matter they are being aired. But this only becomes an issue on rare occasions unless you like to regularly watch a show that keeps getting moved all around the programming schedule. Tivo also has better memory management generally. Replay refuses to guarantee recordings at times even though as an actual matter there will probably be enough space on the machine to record the show.

    However, even though this post sounds more pro Tivo, the reality is that I have stopped using Tivo for Replay for a few important reasons. Number one is commercial advance. It is only around 85 percent accurate in real world use. But when it works, it really revolutionizes tv. I know you can fast forward with Tivo. But there is something wonderful about watching a whole show without even seeing a commercial at all even at ff speed. Also, if you have a digital tv, I think Replay (the 5000 series) produces a better picture through its component video outs than Tivo puts out through s-video. No, the output is not hi-def nor is it even dvd like, but despite some complaints to the contrary, I think that the color fidelity is quite good from the component outs and the overall picture is slightly better than on Tivo. The difference is not dramatic but on a 57 inch widescreen tv any difference is very noticeable.

    I do have my doubts about Replay--mainly I hope the OS becomes more stable and I do worry that CA may disappear if the litigation continues. But for now, Replay is my choice!

    Brian
     
  10. Brian DL

    Brian DL Auditioning

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    I also am in the tivo/replay debate. I purchased a tivo last week and love the functionality but am unhappy w/ the picture quality.

    I plan to pick up a replay tomorrow and do a comparison between the two. Unfortunately I have only 1 week to make this comparision as tivo raises their lifetime rate on march 3. anyway, i'm interested to hear what other people think as i am stuck in this debate. my setup:

    50" Mitsu HDTV
    Basic AT&T (now comcast?) cable in SJ
    Yamaha rx-v 995
    1 wife who already is in love w/ Tivo
    1 wife

    Basically, channel 3 (NBC) is horrible here in SJ. Anyone else w/ similar problems?
     
  11. Brian Fitterman

    Brian Fitterman Stunt Coordinator

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    I cannot comment of picture quality of Replay, but I know that I would not own a Tivo with cable. EVER. I tried that and almost tossed it out the window beceause of all the artifacts and over all poor picture qualtiy. Thank god I did some research and found out that the DirecTivos are much better. Direct recording of digital stream. You can fit a ton on the standard machine without having to expand the drives (30 real hours of best quality) and when I bought them Tweeter was blowing them out for $90 each!!!! With that and the fact that the mirror charge covers multiple ones, I ened up replacing all my recievers with DirecTivos.

    Brian, I would really be interested in know if you see a difference with the Replay and Tivo via cable.
     
  12. Michael St. Clair

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    I have a friend with DirecTivo and on most channels my regular Tivo looks better.

    It really depends on your cable quality, which varies greatly from location to location (and provider to provider). A good cable provider has better picture quality than overcompressed satellite.

    I own 2 Tivos and once owned a Replay. I find their picture quality very similar. However, my Tivos are Series 1, and my Replay was the original design, and I'm not familiar with the new models.
     
  13. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    I compared the video quality of the newer Replay 5xxx and the older Showstopper 2000, and I found that I liked the Showstopper video quality better than the newer 5xxx series. I'm using a so-so cable feed.

    With the fan noise of the 5xxx series, I returned it, and bought 2 of the Showstoppers, which are much quieter.
     
  14. Brian Crist

    Brian Crist Auditioning

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    First off, some of the ReplayTv units must just have bad fans because my unit is dead silent. Or some people have super sensitive hearing. (I had a hearing test recently and my hearing is quite good actually.) With no noise in my living room whatsoever, I can't hear the Replay unit at all but I can definitely hear the fan in my IBM Thinkpad laptop.

    I definitely think the Replay 5000 series has better picture quality than Tivo series 1 or 2 when one uses the highest quality recording level on each device. I have done blind comparison testing with a number of friends who know nothing about DVRs. However, I think this only applies when you use the highest quality recording level for all the units. It is well documented that the newer (don't know about older) Replay units have relatively poor recording quality compared to Tivo when one is using the lower recording levels. So Tivo may be a better choice if you plan to use a lower recording level a lot.

    Yes, DirecTivo does generally produce a better picture from what I have seen at a friend's home. But it is only an option if you live somewhere you can get good sat service and the UWS of Manhattan is not really such a place.
     
  15. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  16. Chris Gerhard

    Chris Gerhard Screenwriter

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    I use a Panasonic Showstopper ReplayTV PV-HS2000 for local OTA channels and DirecTiVo for DirecTV channels. The ReplayTV at best quality is better than SVHS in my opinion and therefore very good for recording standard definition. I have never owned a standalone TiVo but understand that picture quality is indistinguishable at best quality when compared to ReplayTV. I have never used any of the lower video quality settings on my ReplayTV. I would only use a combination satellite receiver/PVR with a satellite service and not one of the standalones. The standalones are very good for cable or OTA and depending on source quality can produce very good results.

    Chris
     
  17. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    BTW, my tests on the video quality between the Replay 5xxx and Showstopper 2000 was done on the lowest quality, and on that setting the Showstopper was a bit better to my eyes than the 5xxx series. I choose the lowest quality setting because I'd be using that setting the most, so that's where I focused my comparison efforts.

    I did take a cursory look at the highest quality level, and found little difference between the 5xxx and the SS2000. So, I opted to get the cheaper Showstoppers with no subscription fees (since they were built into the original price of the unit).

    The main reason to get a 4xxx or 5xxx ReplayTV is for the ethernet capabilities and to archive the recorded shows using DVArchive. I simply needed something to timeshift shows to my viewing schedule, so the Showstopper suits my needs and pocketbook constraints.

    What I heard on the 5xxx unit I tested was this low rumble that just permeated my room, I was constantly aware of it when the unit was on. I'm much happier without that rumble in my room. YMMV.
     
  18. Brian DL

    Brian DL Auditioning

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    Hi everyone:

    Quick update:
    I have to get one or the other, my wife won't let me return both (hehehe, it worked!)

    Yes, I picked up a replay as well and decided to do a comparison...so here's a synopsis thus far:
    ReplayTV 5080 vs. Tivo Series 2 80 hour

    Hardware:
    Mitsubishi 50" HDTV
    Yamaha RX-V 995
    Basic cable
    -Tivo Series 2 connected via S-video to A/V receiver, then to TV, connected via phone line.
    -ReplayTV connected via component video and optical, connected via broadband.

    Setup:
    Replay by far was much quicker. Up and running w/i 10 minutes. Tivo took about 45 minutes.
    Advantage: Replay

    Channel surfing:
    Replay was extremely slow, I could nearly count 5 seconds between channels. Tivo was not bad, 1/2 to 1 second delay if even.
    Advantage: Tivo

    Guides:
    Replay has standard grid, Tivo has it's own where you launch it and can surf times w/i a particular channel. I'm kinda partial to Tivo's now that I'm used to it. I think it's personal preference.
    Advantage: Tivo

    Picture:
    Warning: What you are about to read maybe disturbing to some. Tivo picture on S-Video was superior to that of Replay on component. It could be because I am magnifying a bad signal, but even on channels I receive clearly in my area such as WB and CBS, there was a distinct noticable difference between the two, Tivo w/ the upper hand. The difference was noticable enough that my wife could tell. Component picture was saturated and 'fuzzy'. I'm still playing around with it and plan to try other things this evening.
    Advantage: Tivo

    Sound:
    Yes, I noticed a difference in sound quality. Replay has a low level hiss coming from it's output, even w/ optical. I may try RCA and see if that makes any difference, however I didn't quite understand why... Tivo was fine.
    Advantage: Tivo

    On paper, the Replay really sold me. Component video out, broadband connectivity out of the box, etc etc. However I am heavily leaning towards Tivo.

    This is day 1 of my PVR boot camp. I will report back w/ more detailed tests in the coming days.
     
  19. Michael St. Clair

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    Brian,

    How about trying s-vid from the Replay to make sure that the problem isn't in the actual recording/encoding/decoding. Maybe they have a design flaw in the component out, or maybe you picked up a bad one.
     
  20. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Have you compared the S-video quality from the Replay to the S-Video quality of the Tivo?

    Oh, yeah, I hated the delay when changing channels on a 5xxx Replay, I also counted 4-5 seconds each time I changed the channel. But most people would say that you should be using a PVR to channel surf in the first place (and for the most part, I don't use my PVRs to channel surf, I use my VCR to channel surf since it's much faster - due to the PVR buffering for that Instant Replay feature when watching shows "live").

    The Showstopper channel change times are much less than the 5xxx series, and I don't mind channel surfing with the Showstopper series.
     

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