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ReplayTV May Drop "Commercial Advance" 366

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the not-such-a-surprise dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Wired News is reporting that the new owners of ReplayTV are considering dropping the Commercial Advance and Send Show options features." I had bad luck with that function chopping out bits of show anyway. Between that and the 30 second skip function, I'm surprised ReplayTV has lasted this long!
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ReplayTV May Drop "Commercial Advance"

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  • by AtariAmarok (451306) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:39AM (#6024796)
    I've thought of Tivo and Replay TV in the past, but as time goes on the companies degrade their products by getting rid of useful features like this.

    How feasable is it to do something as good, but without the crippling, on a computer with a large hard disk and good video card?
    • by TrueBuckeye (675537) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:42AM (#6024837) Journal
      I love my RTV, and I'd still buy another even if they stripped out CA. As long as I can still pull the shows off to my pc and burn them to DVD, I'll use it. BUT, if they keep taking out these features, then they are removing the exact thing which makes them different (superior?) to Tivo. I hope D&M know what they are doing...other than avoiding lawsuits.
      • As long as I can still pull the shows off to my pc and burn them to DVD, I'll use it. BUT, if they keep taking out these features, then they are removing the exact thing which makes them different (superior?) to Tivo.

        That's funny...I'd swear I've been ripping TiVo video [alfter.us] for the past couple of years. It took a hack to do that, but ReplayTV's ability to send video to another TV isn't that much different than TiVo's Home Media Option. You can rip video because someone made some software that makes a comp

    • I have both soln's a Tivo and a linux box running Freevo. They are really different and have their own lackings. I mainly watch movies and listen to audio on freevo and use Tivo are archived TV. It brings more to the table with its season pass manager stuff and it suggestions and whatnot. Plus, it ia a cleaner solution. However, I think when my Tivo 1 dies I am hoping that Freevo and projects like it (xbox PVR for example) will be ready for primetime and have better predictive recording.
    • by wherley (42799) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:49AM (#6024917)
      you mean like this [mythtv.org]?
    • by mac123 (25118) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:50AM (#6024924)
      I must be a bit confused. Which features has Tivo removed from my system?

      I can't think of one.
      • "I must be a bit confused. Which features has Tivo removed from my system?"

        I read on Slashdot a few months about about a feature, perhaps a hardware jack, that made it easy to copy TV shows to your hard disk....and that whatever feature it was, Tivo took it away or was going to take it away. Or maybe it was an encryption that was added?
      • None. But as a longtime TiVo subscriber, I'm perturbed more by the total absence of anything new for years now. TiVo Series 2? they can cram it. I can think of dozens of new features I'd like to see in terms of search and playback, which they could implement in their Series 1 and 2 receivers. What the hell? This product seems dead in the water.
        • by mac123 (25118) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:56AM (#6024984)
          If you are a longtime serier 1 owner, you also would know that the memory/cpu have really been stretched to the limit.

          They've already thrown VBR, and additional wishlist capabilities (as well as others).

          Unfortunately, they haven't found a way to upgrade the 33Mhz Series 1 chip or the 32MB or Series 1 RAM over a phoneline :-)
        • by tgibbs (83782) on Friday May 23, 2003 @01:16PM (#6025703)
          Its unfortunate that some owners of the Tivo series 1 product, despite having seen it enhanced by numerous feature that it did not have when they bought it, are upset that TiVo is now focused on enhancements to the new Series II platform. TiVo even offered to let people who moved up to series II transfer their lifetime service contracts to the new machine (service contracts normally are asscociated with the particular unit). But some apparently chose to hold onto their old systems, and now are griping that they aren't receiving some of the cool new features like streaming of music and photos from PCs. My suspicion is some Series I owners chose not to upgrade because the old units are far more easily "hackable." That's fine, but they shouldn't complain when the new system starts to get enhancements that aren't shared with the old one.
      • Sort by Expiration Date! That went away with version 4.0.
    • MythTV and Freevo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by jared_hanson (514797) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:51AM (#6024932) Homepage Journal
      Software solutions such as MythTV and Freevo (both run on Linux) require fairly hefty hardware to do the encoding of TV to MPEG-2, MPEG-4, etc. Then they need to decode it to play it to the screen. Both encoding and decoding is necessary in order to do the time shift.

      However, MythTV is leading the charge to offload this processing to the WinTV PVR cards, freeing up the system CPU for other stuff, or just allowing the user to scrape by with minimum requirements. So the feasability is improving quite rapidly right now.

      MythTV has also been doing some impressive work on their GUI (check out the screenshots). This was one area I previously thought Freevo had a leg up on, but that advantage is going away.

      Links:
      MythTV [mythtv.org]
      Freevo [sourceforge.net]
    • I just finished my Toolbox PC. It's a mini-itx m10000 MB, HDD, DVD and little emachine PS built into a plastic toolbox. An ATI TV Wonder VE card makes it into a portable PVR, among other things (DVD player, MP3 player, DVD ripper, mame box, etc.).

      So far, it works great. I am still trying out all the features on the ATI card. I used it to record Enterprise the other night and it came out very nice.

    • by Ezmate (641054)
      The real power of TiVo can be found here: -A list of all your recorded programs (just browse through to see what you want to watch) -Program once, record forever (even if the show changes time slots) -Pausing live TV (great for potty breaks & getting a snack - you don't have to wait for a commercial) -Rewinding live TV (Whoa! Was that a boob I just saw?!) -Beautiful & instant Pause -Insanely speedy fast-forward & rewind (60x play speed by default - can be "hacked" to be faster) -Recommen
    • How feasable is it to do something as good, but without the crippling, on a computer with a large hard disk and good video card?

      Possible, but damn difficult. Getting everything going and working together is possible, but it takes a LOT of work.

      I'm still fairly early in the process, but it looks like I'm going to have to change keymapping in just about every application to get them to work with my remote, without a keyboard and without use of a mouse. PC applications just aren't setup that way.

      It's poss

  • Well honestly how can you really tell if it is going into a commercial anyways? Its not like the screen doesn't change at all within a show on TV anyways...
    • Re:well yeah.. (Score:4, Informative)

      by TrekkieGod (627867) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:47AM (#6024884) Homepage Journal

      I used to wonder the same thing, until a friend of mine who is messing around with mythtv [mythtv.org] pointed it out to me (and he's going to be pissed he didn't get to post this):

      There are the screen changes, as you mentioned

      Commercials are usually a set length: 30 seconds, 1 minute, per ad

      Sometimes you get the network logo when the show comes back on

      I think there are other ways...sc00p, post 'em up.

      • Re:well yeah.. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        In the UK, you get an indicator in the top right hand corner of the picture indicating that the local stations should prepare to insert their adverts (adverts are handled locally, while programming is centralised, more or less). When the flashing black and white quarter circle at the top right corner stops, then there is usually a frozen frame or short animation before cutting to commercials. This still or short sequence is replayed just before the program continues, and so if recorded could be searched f
        • Re:well yeah.. (Score:3, Interesting)

          by darkith (183433)
          Same in North America.

          A TV which does not obscure the overscan area will show the flashing white square in the top left.

          IIRC, it flashes slowly for a few seconds 30 s before break, starts flashing rapidly 5 or 10 before, and goes solid during the above mentioned transition to the still frame.

          Course, I haven't seen it recently on modern TVs which cover the overscan area well...perhaps it's changed...

    • by L7_ (645377)
      I'm not sure, but you might be able to tell from the sound level difference.

  • Well, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Omkar (618823) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:41AM (#6024816) Homepage Journal
    They're eliminating some of their main selling points, aren't they?
  • Silly. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by grub (11606)

    They sell you these products with the promise of watching "TV Your Way" (or whatever their silly tagline was) and pull stunts like this. It's bait-and-switch.
    • No it's not. It's a list of features on the side of the box that anyone can read and figure out for themselves whether it lets them watch TV their way. Bait and switch is "an illegal tactic in which a seller advertises a product with the intention of persuading customers to purchase a more expensive product".

      A company has the right to add and remove features from their products as they see fit. A consumer has the right to not buy those products based on whether that feature set is one that they feel is
    • We'll ALWAYS find a way to avoid commercials! Since the technology approach has failed us, how about a chemical approach?

      When a commercial block occurs, grab your trusty hypodermic needle and go into a 2-minute coma.
  • ReplayTV Yo-Yo (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnkoer (163434) <johnkoerNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:42AM (#6024827) Homepage Journal
    About 3 months ago I was really considering buying a ReplayTV, but with the whole bankruptcy thing swirling around I became a bit anxious. I have been speaking with people who currently own a Replay and they said their service is still great, so I was starting to come back around. This whole thing has just sent me back towards the Tivo way. I would love to get a Tivo, but I do not have a phone line in my house (cell phone is the only phone I need). Hopefully I can find a Tivo that will not require a phone line, and I will be all over it.
    • Re:ReplayTV Yo-Yo (Score:5, Informative)

      by TBone (5692) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:48AM (#6024900) Homepage
      The V4 software for Tivo supports the USB Ethernet cards. The one I just bought was V3 software, so I had a phone cord running across the house for 3 or 4 days until it got the V4 download. And I bought a Replay over Tivo, just because of their stand against the Media companies...but the product just doesn't compare. Changing channels is ass-slow, there's no multi-user guide/preference setup, nothign other than the cool sharing feature, which is likely going away. Go for the Tivo, you'll be ahppier.
      • I see a lot of posts about people complaining that PVRs don't do exactly what they want them to (I'm one of them, I guess). Is anyone interesed in putting together a prototype design and looking for some funding to make one that actually does exactly what we all know a PVR should do?
    • Re:ReplayTV Yo-Yo (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:48AM (#6024905)
      Actually, the new TiVo kernel (4.0+) finally makes use of the USB ports in the back. You can connect either a Wireless or Wired Ethernet device (http://customersupport.tivo.com/tivoknowbase/root /public/tv2006.htm?) and you are good to go. I do this with my TiVo and wouldn't go back to regular TV, ever.
      • Re:ReplayTV Yo-Yo (Score:4, Informative)

        by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:15PM (#6025142)
        TiVo had built-in support for USB ethernet well before Version 4 came out...version 4 of the software just added an "official" interface menu where you can pick static IP/DHCP.

        I bought my Series 2 last year when they were still at version 3. All you had to do was plug in the USB ethernet adapter and set the dialing prefix to #401. My TiVo has *never* touched a phone line - it's been ethernet only since day 1.
    • Re:ReplayTV Yo-Yo (Score:3, Informative)

      by Zathrus (232140)
      You don't need a phone line with TiVo -- if you buy a Series2 box (which is all you can get new) then you can connect a USB to ethernet dongle to it and use it for everything -- including the initial setup call. All you have to do is plug in the dongle and set the phone prefix to ",#401" (the pause key does commas).

      Current units are still shipping with 3.x, so if you want to use a wireless network you're SOL until it self-updates to 4.0 (well, you can use a USB->ethernet dongle plus a wireless bridge).
    • actually, any tivo supports network, do a search on google for Turbonet or Turbo Net and Tivo. The Tivo system boards (all of them, or atleast the first series does), have the header to hook up a network card, plug it in, and boot the system, and it works (they compiled eth support into the kernel that is distributed as part of tivo). Then you just change the dial out number to some wierd code (I forgot off the top of my head), and the tivo will use network to pull down info. Although, since mine is hook
  • Why oh why... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sk3tch (165010) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:44AM (#6024854) Homepage
    I don't understand why ReplayTV would even consider removing those features, especially seeing as those are two of the HUGE advantages it has over its (winning) competitor Tivo.

    Sure, Tivo has the 30 second skip if you have the right model and you enter in the Easter Egg, but most people don't surf around for Easter Eggs and therefore aren't aware of it (plus it isn't advertised as a feature for drones shopping at Best Buy, etc.).

    They already declared bankruptcy and were bought out by another company, so somehow by eliminating some of its most compelling features they are going to rise to the top?
    • Well, did you read the article? Obviously the new owners of ReplayTV feel that their inclusion of these features helped to incite some anger within major media companies and, because of this, created friction for ReplayTV.

      "Hollingsworth added that ReplayTV models selling today still include Commercial Advance and Send Show options, but the company has not made up its mind about including those features in future products.

      Two years ago when ReplayTV introduced its 4000 series of digital recorders, those s

  • by Mononoke (88668) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:46AM (#6024870) Homepage Journal
    You do know that advertising is what pays for TV programming, broadcasting, etc., in the USofA, don't you?

    Would you rather have cat^H^H^HTV detector vans running around?

    • > You do know that advertising is what pays for TV programming, broadcasting, etc., in the USofA, don't you?

      nope. consumers pay for broadcasting in the usa with the extra cost of their consumer goods due to the spend on advertising. The adverts don't come for free, and the companies advertising the goods pass that cost on to the consumer.

      in countries with a TV licence, the cost is yearly/ monthly/ not-optional, but it costs *less* (unless you buy *no* consumer goods during the year.)

      IF FMCG companies
      • But the quality of the programming would suck.

        Oh, wait. It does anyway.
        • But the quality of the programming would suck.
          Actually, no. Since the customers would be the viewers instead of the advertisers, programming would be what the viewer want, and not what brings the most eyeballs to the advertisers.

          Countries with State broadcasters (Canada, Britain, France, etc.) have extremely high-quality programming, compared to the inexistant quality of american private broadcasters.

      • > You do know that advertising is what pays for TV programming, broadcasting, etc., in the USofA, don't you?

        nope. consumers pay for broadcasting in the usa with the extra cost of their consumer goods due to the spend on advertising. The adverts don't come for free, and the companies advertising the goods pass that cost on to the consumer.

        You've got to complete the sequence: Consumer pays for goods; Manufacturer pays for advertising so that consumer knows goods exist; Network pays for programming wi

    • They don't have to make me watch commercials. Are they going to also make sure that I don't get up during those commercials to get more food & drink, use the restroom, or surf the other channels until my show comes back on?

      The commercials are there for people who want to watch them, plain and simple.
    • by kwerle (39371) <kurt@CircleW.org> on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:03PM (#6025037) Homepage Journal
      Funny how capitalism works. If enough folks skipped ads (not bloody likely), shows/networks would find another way to get funding. Or they would die. Either way is just fine.
    • by thatguywhoiam (524290) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:04PM (#6025052)
      You do know that advertising is what pays for TV programming, broadcasting, etc., in the USofA, don't you? Would you rather have cat^H^H^HTV detector vans running around?

      Not really, but I don't think that's necessary. Look at HBO's model, or any other specialzied subscription-based channel.

      I've been dying to select exactly the cable channels I want for years. It seems vastly preferable - to me, anyways - to pay $40/month for 8-12 channels that I actually like, through and through. Of course the media giants are all-too aware of this; after all, they watch TV too. You can't shovel your pap in with the good stuff if people have the power to only receive the good stuff, and filter out the pap.

      As for Replay... these companies have got to stop with the fucking bait-and-switch routine. This is the precise reason I'll never consider a subscription-based PVR. It was too easy to see it coming. It's also too easy to just buy the parts for the computer that I need to make it happen there. (Where it belongs, IMHO.)

      Look, I sympathize a bit with the broadcasters, they have some tough questions and sitations to answer. But that's the extent: a bit. I don't care a lot, nor should you. TV will not 'go away' any more than music will. The presupposition that without this one specific economic model for media dissemination, we'll all be without any art whatsoever, is ludicrous.

      • I've been toying with the idea of writing an ivr program (interactive voice response) on a spare machine as both an answering machine as well as a pbx. (caller has to select a number to get in, similar to the privacyguard.com stuff.)

        Combine that with freevo, and when the phone rings, the tv show freezes and the caller's number and name is displayed on screen.

        Or you could simply hit a button on the remote for Do Not Disturb, and only messages are taken (unless the user selects the Emergency option on the
        • I had forgotten to mention that there is a java based answering machine program on sourceforge called TOEJAM.

          I believe it doesn't do ivr though, so you can't have the dialer press 1 for this, 2 for that, and 9 for emergency.
      • Well, if the new owners ReplayTV were honest and forthright, they would not yank the features out from under the current users of Replay, but deny use of these features for all new purchases of Replay.
    • You do know that advertising is what pays for TV programming, broadcasting, etc., in the USofA, don't you?

      A lot of people in the USofA tune in to the Super Bowl solely to watch ads of a higher caliber than usual. If companies developing advertisements would make them more appealing on a regular basis, people would be more inclined to watch them rather than reach for the skip button.

    • /don foil hat

      We already have those, our tivo's think we're gay, and are telling advertisers we will pay over a hundred dollars a year to avoid them (do I watch a $100 in advertising?). God help you if you fall asleep with the TV on skinamax overnight.

      I can tolerate some advertising with my tv. I would much rather be able to rate/select advertisements so I didn't have to see people discussing muffin maintenance or "truth" ad's that are absurd to the point of almost promoting the products they revile.

      This
  • by tuffy (10202) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:47AM (#6024886) Homepage Journal
    If the "intent of copyright", according to ReplayTV, is to play shows the way the network intended, why not show them only at the times they were intended also. For example, if "Brand new episode of series Foo" is airing at 7pm wednesday May 28th, ReplayTV can "respect the intent of copyright" and show it only at 7pm on wednesday May 28th.

    I'm sure it'll be a big hit.

  • by taradfong (311185) *
    TV is evil anyway. It really adds no value to one's life. It is a disease in that it gives your brain just enough stimulation to prevent it from getting bored and doing something worthwhile. Stop watching it. Doing so will change your life. I'm not joking. Watching TV conditions you for the worse, and the only way you'll know I'm not making this up is to go without for 2 months.
    • Stop watching it. Doing so will change your life. I'm not joking. Watching TV conditions you for the worse, and the only way you'll know I'm not making this up is to go without for 2 months.

      And, not watching television will give you something to mention to people [theonion.com] on a regular basis.

    • by doublem (118724) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:03PM (#6025038) Homepage Journal
      My Parents:

      Watch TV all the time. Requests to turn the damn thing off are met with a confused gaze.

      My Apartment:

      TV gets turned on when we have friends over for the purpose of watching a movie, or we're too brain drained to do anything but sit and watch pretty colors. Oh, and when I want to play with my PS2.

      How does that impact our lives? I spend most of my time with my friends. A night to myself becomes a rare and cherished thing spent reading a book I've been looking forward to or on a game I haven't played in ages.

      My GF and I throw dinner parties, have nights out with friends, spend time talking to each other and interacting as adult human beings.

      Hell, I didn't have cable for four years and never missed it.

      Although I do admit, the Food Chanel is pretty fun. Of course, my GF and I end up trying a lot of the tings we see on the shows there.

      My mother can give a run down of the entire life story of all the characters on "Friends" and "Stargate SG1" (The latter watched not for the content, but for MacGyver's presence.) Her social life consists largely of people from Church, and she doesn't see them very often.

      I prefer my life, thank you very much.

      And to add a slice of irony, I'll quote a character from a very bad sci-fi show: "We stopped watching movies when we realized that our own lives were far more interesting."
    • I fear that the same thing can be said for Slashdot. :\

    • s/Watching TV/reading Slashdot/

      There, now that makes sense!
    • Like any drug, used occasionally, wisely, and with moderation, it can add pleasure to your life without ruining it.

      I like TV when I'm frustrated; it can reset my mind when I'm spinning on some issue. I like TV when I'm ill; it takes my mind off the suffering. I like TV when I have 30 minutes to kill and there happens to be an episode of The Simpsons on.

      It's a drug many, many people abuse, and I'm sure that's what you're thinking of in your post. If you're watching TV three hours a night, every night, i
    • It really adds no value to one's life. It is a disease in that it gives your brain just enough stimulation to prevent it from getting bored and doing something worthwhile.

      So, you're saying that TV = Slashdot?

    • TV is evil anyway. It really adds no value to one's life. It is a disease in that it gives your brain just enough stimulation to prevent it from getting bored and doing something worthwhile. Stop watching it. Doing so will change your life. I'm not joking. Watching TV conditions you for the worse, and the only way you'll know I'm not making this up is to go without for 2 months.

      Substitute "Slashdot" for "TV".

    • Buffy's gone and everything else is all reruns for the next two months anyway!
    • by fendel (18450)
      I wish there were a way to filter out the smug, self-righteous "kill your television" evangelists who invade every TV-related thread for the sole purpose of telling us we're wasting our lives.

      TV is no more evil than books or movies, and avoiding TV does not make your life inherently better.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:49AM (#6024912)
    Replay may disable this feature because of pressure from the networks. That's why it's great that with Tivo the 30 second skip is an undocumented and unadvertised feature, but very easy to enable. This keeps the heat of them, but saves me from having to sit through another 30 second Vagisil spot.

    Also, in reply to another post, you can hook the Tivo to the net using a USB Ethernet adapter, eliminating the need for a phone line.
    • Also, in reply to another post, you can hook the Tivo to the net using a USB Ethernet adapter, eliminating the need for a phone line.

      An additional note, you can even hook your series1 TiVo up to your wireless network, and remove the wires altogether. My TiVo at home "dials in" over my wireless network and cable modem.

      Yum [9thtee.com]

      Doug

    • Totally agreed. I'd say that besides the fact that you can easily record your favorite shows automatically, the 30 second skip is the best feature on the box.
    • Um, they are NOT getting rid of the 30 second QuickSkip function! They are only talking about removing the Commercial Advance function. Big difference!

      Second: Yes, TiVo DOES let you hook up a USB wireless adapter, but ReplayTV announced that they would be releaseing a software version very soon that would enable that feature. Given that they just released a new software update, I think they are on track. Yes, the release was delayed because of the bankruptcy and company sale, but they have proven that
    • by dtfarmer (548183) on Friday May 23, 2003 @01:44PM (#6025998) Homepage
      Replay may disable this feature because of pressure from the networks. That's why it's great that with Tivo the 30 second skip is an undocumented and unadvertised feature, but very easy to enable. This keeps the heat of them, but saves me from having to sit through another 30 second Vagisil spot.

      Commercial Advance is not 30 second skip - it is the feature that allows a Replay TV to instantly skip a whole set of commercials without even pressing a button, so even if it is removed, who cares... I still have a 30 second skip button that works just as well. Of course the article doesn't talk about the features being removed from all Replay TV's, it only talks of it being removed from future models... for those of you who didn't rtfa here are the pertinent passages:
      "ReplayTV said it would likely leave some controversial features on its home television recording machines for now but may strip them from new models."
      "Hollingsworth added that ReplayTV models selling today still include Commercial Advance and Send Show options, but the company has not made up its mind about including those features in future products."

      For those other Replay TV users who have troubles with Commercial Advance (I have them too) I have found the best way to use CA is by leaving it off, and when you hit the beginning of the commercial break, turn it on and 90% of the time you will instantly be back to the program with the usual cues that you've just come back from the break (logo in the corner, banner for the next show, etc). Turn it off in preparation for the next break.

      For those few times where it doesn't work, the 30 second skip and instant replay buttons will work fine as is usual, just turn off CA before using them to avoid skipping too far ahead on accident (when CA activates in the middle of 6 30-second skip button presses).
  • UltimateTV (Score:3, Interesting)

    by IsleOfView (23825) <slashfu@mugf[ ]om ['u.c' in gap]> on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:49AM (#6024914) Homepage
    OK, OK - I'm not in love with Microsoft --- but, I picked up an UltimateTV/DirectTV Receiver w/ 35 hours recording last year for $99. Hard to pass up. Not a perfect device, but it does have (surprise, surprise) a 30 second skip button that works great. I'm surprised I don't see discussions about that more often?
  • Never Happen (Score:3, Insightful)

    by splatter (39844) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:51AM (#6024934)
    I'm surprised ReplayTV has lasted this long!

    Yup and I'm never surprised that you continue your crappy yellow journalism!

    Face it folks it's not going to happen. There are a lot of consumers out already using the replay that will raise holy hell if they discontinue this function. What they need to do is get off their ass and countersue like the VCR makers did in the 80's since these functions are no different then hitting FF on a VCR.
    These suits have no basis or merit. They need to let them run the course, and make the precident so that the product can go back to normal operations.
    DP
    • Face it folks it's not going to happen. There are a lot of consumers out already using the replay that will raise holy hell if they discontinue this function.

      I doubt that very seriously. I bet you don't own a ReplayTV, cause if you did, you'd know the commercial skip function hardly ever works. I'd bet most people turn it off, as I do, because it tends to clip bits of the show. I had it on for awhile, and it seemed to work about 10% of the time. Here's the kicker: if it skips past a few seconds of the st

  • AP Article (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:52AM (#6024939)
    I read an AP article on this last week, and it mentioned features were being removed to make some cheaper models of the device, not being removed from the whole product.
  • Not a big loss (Score:3, Interesting)

    by HopeUnknown (668633) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:54AM (#6024964) Homepage Journal
    Commercial skip features like the 30 second skip don't work well enough anyways...but you have to wonder what will happen once we can bypass commercials at the press of a button. My guess: embedded advertising (imagine watching your favorite tv show, and a coke bottle starts dancing across the screen during the middle of an important conversation. Fun times!)
    • imagine watching your favorite tv show, and a coke bottle starts dancing across the screen during the middle of an important conversation

      I think they call it product placement and it happens all the time in movies.
  • by IpSo_ (21711) on Friday May 23, 2003 @11:57AM (#6024992) Homepage Journal
    I believe there was a Ask Slashdot a few weeks ago regarding building your own PVR. The majority of the comments seemed say "Why bother, just buy a TIVO/Replay TV, its already done for."

    Well, this is why you roll your own. Yes, its a little more work, the cost is pretty much the same, but there is no monthly fee, and features don't get yanked out from under you.

    MythTV is absolutely amazing, and its evolving incredibly fast. If your lookinng for a PVR, I recommend giving it a shot.
    • and features don't get yanked out from under you

      They haven't removed any features. They aren't removing features from existing products. They're considering removing features from new products they might offer.
    • by Musashi Miyamoto (662091) on Friday May 23, 2003 @01:07PM (#6025624)
      A little more work? Installing a TIVO is absolutely brain dead. Think of this in terms of a non-computer person you know... Maybe your parents.

      Tivo has:
      - No install of Linux, software, libraries.
      - no install of cards
      - Customer support if you cant figure out how to plug it into your TV (the truely braindead)
      - Comes with all the cables

      Some of us are Unix admins at work and can write their own Myth TV if they wanted, but DON'T WANT TO. TV is supposed to be a relaxing veg-your-brain "activity". Most people don't want to have to think about it.

      Have you seen the FAQ on Myth TV?
      Compare these questions and nswers to the "plug it in" install of Tivo:

      I get an error when compiling about 'mkspecs'?
      You need to set QTDIR. On Debian, it should be /usr/share/qt. On Mandrake, it should be /usr/lib/qt3

      I can't change the channel when watching TV?
      Something's wrong with your program database. Did filldata run with no major errors?

      When is the last time Tech Support over at Tivo asked a user "Did you make sure that /usr/local/lib is in /etc/ld.so.conf and then re-run ldconfig?"

  • not perfect (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chill182 (591443) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:01PM (#6025029) Homepage
    The commercial skip works great on sitcoms that are on the main network stations. That's about it. On TechTV and G4 it doesn't skip past the long commericals (video professor, that air filter thing). On dramas like 24, Buffy or Alias it skips too far, requiring me to rewind several minutes. I probably use commercial skip on about 1/4th of all my recorded shows.
  • Tivo and Replay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by BrookHarty (9119) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:07PM (#6025073) Homepage Journal
    I have the DSS tivo, very nice as its all digital, no analog saving. Saw that the Replay was onsale at costco, and the slashdot article on copying files to your PC/MAC.

    Bought the replay, found out you had to buy a subscription, it wouldnt work without one. (and it was refurbished...)

    Hooked it up off the tivo, and the picture quality saving fromt the Tivo to the Replay was not that great. Could of been the Digital->Analog problem, but even my VCR recorded better. But I was able to move the files to the PC or MAC and edit them. But in the end, I didnt want to pay for the subscription, and he quality wasnt as good. Also, it didnt work with my normal DSS box. (the IR didnt control it) So I returned it.

    Even thou Tivo doesnt have an option to copy the movies off, the DSS models have a great picture, even better than the normal broadcast quality. Im thinking of getting the series 2 for DSS, could use more HD space also.

    BTW, i used the litttle secret code to enable 30 second skip, works great. Only problem tivo has, season pass manager is slow.
  • 30 skip on Tivo (Score:3, Informative)

    by asv108 (141455) * <alex AT phataudio DOT org> on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:08PM (#6025085) Homepage Journal
    I know this works on my Tivo Series 2

    While watching a show hit:

    Select -> Play -> Select -> 3 -> 0 -> Select

    The move to the end of the show button turns in to a 30 second skip button. It works great for me, sometimes it turns off after software updates so you will have to run the button sequence again.

  • by DA_MAN_DA_MYTH (182037) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:08PM (#6025086) Homepage Journal
    I had bad luck with that function chopping out bits of show anyway.

    turn off commercial advance, after the advance and rewind a couple of seconds to desired point. Turn commercial advance back on.

    Commercial advance is by far one of the greatest features, it makes hour long shows into 40 minute shows saving me time and giving me more tv!
  • Fast Forward? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mikeboone (163222) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:13PM (#6025118) Homepage Journal
    I have not made the move to a PVR, but we use our 9 year old VCR to tape shows and watch later. And guess what, I use the fast forward button to get through the commercials! Perhaps we should remove that button from all remotes.
  • Why Replay? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Zepalesque (468881) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:19PM (#6025173)
    Responding to all of the "I told you so" Tivo posts:

    The one reason that I bought a ReplayTV instead of Tivo is that I can plug the unit into my router and then download the recorded Mpeg2 files down to my primary computer, where I can then compress it into Divx or whatever.

    It is the open attitude that SonicBlue represented that eventually won me over. I can only hope the D&M is good about this too. If not... MythTV is probably in my future :)
  • by rubinson (207525) <rubinson@@@email...arizona...edu> on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:21PM (#6025189) Homepage
    I'm a bit confused as to why commercial skip/advance has become so controversial all of a sudden. VCRs have had these features for years: Panasonic [panasonic.com], Sony [sonystyle.com]. So why is this a big deal when it comes to PVRs?
    • It might be because the commercial advance on replay tv is automatic. (I think) If I understand it correctly, the Replay TV would skip commercials without your intervention. On the TIVO, not only is the 30 second advance a hidden option, you need to push a button.
  • by jbarr (2233) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:45PM (#6025405) Homepage
    As a long-time ReplayTV owner (have a model 2001, 2020, and a 5040) for me, this really is no big deal at all.

    First off, it only affects the 5000 or newer series. So, two of my three ReplayTV boxes will be unaffected.

    Second, some have had great success with Commercial Advance, but I never had much luck, so I never use it.

    And third, the Internet File Sharing for me is another non-issue. Given the upstream cap on my Internet connection, show sharing is just plain prohibitive.

    Dinally, let's not confuse "Internet File Sharing" with in-house program streaming between ReplayTV boxes on the same LAN. This feature is NOT being removed. This is the one feature for me that makes the 5040 worth it--it lets me seamlessly offload shows using the DVArchive app to my PC where storage is cheap and either stream them back to the ReplayTV box or burn them to DVD.
  • by duplicate-nickname (87112) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:47PM (#6025430) Homepage
    I don't see anything in the article that mentions the 30 second quick skip. They are talking about Commercial Advance (which jumps over commercials automatically when it detects them) and the send show feature.

    I'm sure many RTV owners will agree with me that having the ability to send shows over the internet is pretty pointless (it can take hours to days to send one). That feature is probably rarely used my most. However, in the process, D&M better not remove the ability to stream shows from other RTVs on your LAN. That would sucks and break DVArchive (which is probably the biggest selling point of Replays).

    Now Commercial Advance is a nice feature, but it only works on about 1/2 of the shows I watch, and on that half it doesn't work flawlessly. It wouldn't kill me to lose this features, but it is one of the reasons why I bought a Replay instead of Tivo.

    Lastly there is the 30 second skip. There is no talk of removing this feature...and they better not. Being able to "shorten" show watching time is one of the big reasons for owning a PVR in the first place. This feature is a must!

    And for those who don't know, you can do a X minute skip by typing the number of minutes on the keypad and pressing skip. 3 + Skip works well to skip over a lot of commercials. ;)
  • by gatekeep (122108) on Friday May 23, 2003 @12:50PM (#6025455)
    I'm noticing a lot of posts along the line of 'This is why you should use MythTV..'

    Don't overlook SageTV! [www.sage.tv]

    While it's not free, nor open source, it's the most incredible PC-based PVR I've seen to date. At only $59.95, it's a bargain. Program guide data is FREE! Upgrades are FREE! And the pace of development has been outstanding.

    In it's current build, it supports;
    - Multi-tuner, multi-lineup recording (satellite on one card, cable on the other.. or two cable captures, or five.. whatever.)
    - Recording to either Mpeg2 or Mpeg1 format (for easier portability to DVD-R or VCD.)
    - Network streaming to other PCs
    - Automatic recording of favorites, as well as suggestions based on your viewing history (which is easily disabled.)
    - XMLTV listings import (if for some reason, free listings aren't good enough for you.)
    - Dscaler support and plugins (much better quality than MythTV, Tivo, or Replay on my HDTV.)
    - Audio library management..

    Features they're saying will come 'soon' include;
    - HDTV Support
    - DVD Playback

    It's not free, but it's definitely a value. The way the guys at Frey Technologies are adding features is just unbelievable. Sometimes, free solutions are not the best.
  • by iabervon (1971) on Friday May 23, 2003 @01:04PM (#6025598) Homepage Journal
    I've not found commercial advance to do a good job of identifying the commercials, and always turn it off. The skip forward feature is just as effective, particularly if you're watching a show you watch frequently enough to know the pattern of the commercials.

    I think the networks should align the commercials very regularly, such that a 30-second skip will give you a few frames after the start of each commercial. I've been watching TV with a ReplayTV recently, and haven't seen any of the commercials people have talked about. Ideally, people would skip all of the commercials which aren't targetting at them and watch the ones that are because they're interesting.

    Ads between shows are also effective, since ReplayTV continues to play the audio while you're selecting a show and doesn't let you skip if there's nothing to skip to.
  • by Anita Coney (648748) on Friday May 23, 2003 @02:16PM (#6026295) Homepage
    About 6 months ago I built my own computer/TIVO based around ATI's AIW Radeon 8500DV, which comes with their fantastic RemoteWonder. ATI's latest software has a 30 second skip feature, plus you can set up custom buttons to skip back or forward 3 seconds to get exactly where you want to be.

    My family can watch the recorded shows on any computer throughout the house. We can pause live TV. ATI's software identifies the station and gives the program's name (which is great for surfing). You can also set it up to check what's on all of your favorite channels at the same time!

    Plus, you can use if to store you music collection (which you can also play throughout the house) and for games.

    And best off all, you can build such a system for less than $500 bucks and you'll never have to pay monthly fees.

A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie

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