ReplayTV and DVRs in general

ReplayTV and DVRs in general

Time shifting by keyword makes TV watchable, but why are they failing?

Most recently the company that I got my DVR from has gone chapter 11:

SonicBlue files chapter 11

I haven’t heard what is going to happen to the ReplayTV service that provides me my channel guide but I hope that it stays up until my ReplayTV unit dies. In any case I am going to be in the market for a new DVR at some point. I really cannot figure out why everyone doesn’t have one of these things. They improve TV to such an extent that it almost becomes a video-on-demand service with only the normal cable charges.

So now the question becomes, “Can I put my faith in TiVo?”. Who knows. What I do know is that they have the only unit that I think is worth a damn and it doesn’t work with cable. So that means getting sattelite and a TiVo-enabled satellite tuner. Unfortunately with that setup I do lose the ability to archive video which is one of the reasons I bought a ReplayTV over TiVo in the first place. I could always go with the non-satellite version but then I don’t get the dual-tuners.

You might wonder why people don’t use their computers with a capture card to do this same thing. It all revolves around the channel guide. Without the channel guide you can’t record by keyword and your whole system becomes a glorified VCR. The channel guide and the search capabilities of the DVRs are really at the center of the value proposition, recording digitally isn’t. There are at least two open source projects that I think have a chance at being interesting:


Both of these projects use channel guide information from the same source, xmltv. Now all I need is for someone to take the XML data and feed it to my ReplayTV box when it needs to update.

My wife Lucy (the Korean secretary) on The West Wing captured from my ReplayTV (please ignore the ridiculous speech by the “president”):

 *removed to save space*