DirecTV Buys What's Left Of ReplayTV

from the thanks-for-the-time-shifted-memories dept

DirecTV has had something of a love-hate affair with TiVo for years, so the company must be happy that it’s been able to pick up the remains of ReplayTV. Remember that ReplayTV actually pre-dated TiVo in the DVR scene — and the two were direct competitors for a while. ReplayTV was a favorite among many in the techset for not giving in to the entertainment industry (as TiVo did). That meant that ReplayTV actually allowed features like commercial skipping and sharing recordings with other ReplayTV users. Unfortunately for ReplayTV this also meant a series of bank account-draining lawsuits forcing the company into bankruptcy followed by a firesale to consumer electronics firm D&M Holdings. Not much was heard from ReplayTV for a while. The company decided to drop the hardware habit and focus just on software — but apparently it wasn’t doing much for D&M Holdings. It’s unclear what DirecTV is planning to do with what’s left of ReplayTV, but the immediate speculation is that it’s really just buying a patent portfolio at this point. It’s a rather sad end for what had been an innovative and consumer-friendly company.

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Companies: directv, replaytv

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Comments on “DirecTV Buys What's Left Of ReplayTV”

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Justin says:

Nice Boxes

I love my ReplayTV units. I had two with upgraded 320GB drives wirelessly bridged with a DVArchive server. Other than some stability issues they are the best DVR I have seen in terms of functionality and openness. I was one of many that really hoped to see a High Def version but alas it was not to be. I have had to replace them with the Verizon provided DVR in order to take advantage of HD recording. They’re still sitting on my bedroom floor, I just don’t have the heart to part with them.

Lionel Mandrake says:

Re: Commercial Skip Fiction?

>>Weird, my TiVo has commercial skip on it. Maybe you should be posting fact instead of fiction?

Or perhaps the Anonymous Coward is actually clueless when it comes to how this technology works:

The method of “Commericial Advance” employed by Replay in units up through Model 5000 was automatic. Repeat: Automatic. Tivo’s skip method was and still is quite manual.

As such, Replay’s units up to, but not including the 5500 series, were perhaps the MOST SUBVERSIVE products on the planet. Watching ReplayTV was and still is quite literally like watching PBS all the time. Actually, even the sponsorship announcements at the beginning of shows like NOVA on PBS are GONE. Automatically. No buttons.

Then why is ReplayTV gone? A little matter of not having a war chest big enough to fight the zillions of dollars in advertiser’s lawsuits that were ultimately settled on their total weight, not merit. Where was the EFF? Subsequent models after model 5000, (like the 5500) had this “automatic” feature crippled, even though the code was still buried in the FPGA.

Even Tivo’s (secretly user-programmable?)30-second skip remained undocumented, though this was still a manual button to press. (select-play-select-30-select). Also because of lawsuit fears.

Fiction? The only fiction here was the sanctity of the US justice system. “Might” clearly won out over “right” here.

Clueless Coward!

Katie says:

TiVo Pain

We have DirecTV at home, and recently got a new receiver for their expanded HD programming… and the TiVo system has been completely bled into the rest of the DirecTV interface at this point. Gone are the cute sound effects, and the remote control is an absolute nightmare. Instead of the ergonomic peanut shape with everything in a logical place, there’s a gigantic play button at the top with a tiny pause button off to its bottom-left. The placement of other buttons seems random, and they are identified with only text labels (no icons) that are likely to wear off before any of us memorize what they do.

I want Replay back =( Maybe their acquisition can help DirecTV to suck less, but I doubt it. Right now, I’d almost prefer cable, and I’d definitely prefer a Media Center PC.

— katie

kiki jones (user link) says:

repeat after that guy: AUTOMATIC commercial skip

I noticed recently that the skip button on my remote is worn down to a tiny little nub… I finally took the deal from the satellite company so I could have the same function in a second room. I did long ago have some good geeky fun upgrading the replay’s hard drive once.
Bad Advertising! Sit! Stay!

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