is a brand of digital video recorder
(DVR), a term synonymous with personal video recorder
(PVR). It is a consumer video device which allows users to capture television programming to internal hard disk
storage for later viewing (and time shifting
). The first ReplayTV model launched in January 1999, two months ahead of rival TiVo
. Currently, ReplayTV only sells a PC edition of their product.
ReplayTV was founded in 1997 and purchased by SONICblue
On March 23, 2003 SONICblue filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and on April 16 sold most of its assets, including ReplayTV, to the Japanese electronics giant D&M Holdings. SONICblue was fighting a copyright infringement suit over the ReplayTV's ability to skip commercials when it filed for bankruptcy.
On December 19, 2005, Digital Networks North America announced that it was exiting the hardware business as soon as current inventory is sold out. ReplayTV would then concentrate on PC software sales of its DVR technology in a partnership with Hauppauge Computer Works, a manufacturer of Television cards for PCs.
On December 13, 2007, D&M Holdings sold most of the assets of ReplayTV to DirecTV.
ReplayTV service is only available in the United States
via its subscription program. Although hardware is no longer sold, the subscription service remains active. Through the subscription service, searchable program guides are downloaded to the ReplayTV unit nightly. Older units are only able to accomplish this download via a dial-up
connection. Later models also capable of downloading program guides via the user's existing internet connection (broadband
), as well as via the dial-up connection.
Like other PVRs, ReplayTV allows the users to record television programs. The subscription service is operated on a monthly fee, or one time payment, lifetime subscription. Each individual unit requires a separate subscription. Older units, like the 2000 and 3000 series, did not require monthly subscription fees, and those units that are still in operation continue to receive programming data without a subscription. The price of the original ReplayTV units was higher than comparable TiVo units by approximately the same amount as TiVo's lifetime subscription, so a lifetime subscription was essentially priced into the units.
Some ReplayTV models allow automatic commercial skipping with no user intervention. It scanned for the black frames local television stations used to insert commercials. This unique feature was the reason the company was sued out of existence.
Hardware and features
The "4000 Series" and "5000 Series" ReplayTV units have Ethernet
connections that allow the user to stream shows to another similar ReplayTV unit within the same local network, transfer shows to another similar ReplayTV unit (either on the local network or across the internet) or to a personal computer
. This capability enables the users to move recorded programs to PCs using third-party programs. These units also have the capability to automatically skip commercial advertisements during playback; this feature, though not 100% perfect, led to a lawsuit against the company. Recording of television programs could be accomplished either manually, or through use of the program guide.
The most recent "5500 Series" ReplayTV units had the ability to stream shows to another similar ReplayTV unit within the same local network, but can no longer transfer shows to other ReplayTV units across the internet. The "5500 Series" units have also had the automatic commercial advance feature removed in favor of a manual "Show|Nav" feature. The units are otherwise identical to the "5000 Series" units.
The "4000 Series", "5000 Series" and "5500 Series" ReplayTV units stored the content using MPEG2.
- *Video: mpeg2video, yuv420p, 720x480, 29.97 fps, 7413 kb/s
- *Audio: mp2, 48000 Hz, stereo, 192 kb/s
The operating system used on the "4000 Series", "5000 Series" and "5500 Series" was Vxworks.
2005 products with list prices (no longer available):
- ReplayTV RTV5504 40-Hour Digital Video Recorder ($149.99)
- ReplayTV RTV5508 80-Hour Digital Video Recorder ($299.99)
- ReplayTV RTV5516 160-Hour Digital Video Recorder ($449.99)
- ReplayTV RTV5532 320-Hour Digital Video Recorder ($799.99)
The ReplayTV 5000 series included a JP1 remote which could be reprogrammed or upgraded using free software.
The ReplayTV subscription has two different options, a monthly recurring charge of $12.95, or one-time activation of $299. Subscriptions for additional units were $6.95 a month. PC edition customers are charged $20 per year and come with one year of service.