Tivo v. ReplayTV...Take 2

January 3, 2005
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After a relatively happy honeymoon, my marriage to the new Tivo is on the rocks.  I’ve been spoiled.  ReplayTV just does what I expect, with less of the intrusive advertising of Tivo.  Here are my sticking points:

  • You can only buffer live TV for 30 minutes.  There was an old hack where you telnet’d into the box to change this, but it doesn’t work any more.  ReplayTV will buffer up to available diskspace.  This means that on Tivo, if you pause live TV and hit hits the 30 minute limit, it starts to play the beginning of the buffer.  If I am out of the room, I miss the show I had paused.  Quite unnerving.
  • Skip forward button moves to the end of the program by default.  I can use a hack to make it go 30 seconds (to make passing ads easier), but it loses the hack everytime it is rebooted.  Thirty seconds is the default on ReplayTV.
  • No way (that I can tell) to have it record a show on a particular channel, at a particular time.  I can tell it to record from 11-11:30 on comedy central, but it records whatever is there, not just “The Daily Show” like I want it to.  If I setup a Season Pass for the Daily show, I get the same show records 3-4 times a day (since they re-air it).  ARG!  This is simple (and the default behavior) on ReplayTV.
  • No way to tell it to record a show on low priority (e.g. if it doesn’t conflict with a guaranteed show).  When you tell it to record another show that conflicts, it will allow you to record instead, but if multiple shows conflict, I can’t decide which are guaranteed, and which are not.  ReplayTV has the notion of Guaranteed and non-Guaranteed shows which simplifies all of this.
  • Taking my bandwidth to download ads for movies, cars, etc.   On ReplayTV, I will get an occasional image ad on the Pause screen, but Tivo goes way beyond that.  They download movie previews, complete car ads and more.  I thought I was paying them ($15/month) for the service.  Stop using my broadband connection to make you more money.

So this leaves me with two options, go back to my ReplayTV (luckily I still have it), or see what a Windows Media Center Edition box with the XBox MCE Extender will do for me.  For now I am probably just going to get the ReplayTV going again, and look at the MCE for the future.