Replay it again no more...
Well, I had to pull the plug on a dear friend last night... my RePlayTV DVR. It, and it's brother, who died too young of hard drive failure, have been time-shifting TV shows for me for the last 8 years. Alas, RePlay is ending the service as of next week. While there are some hacks to keep it going using a third-party scheduling system and running a Windows machine as a server, nobody was sure that work until a week or two ago when RePlay released the encryption keys that it depended on. Before that happened, I went on eBay and bought a lifetime series 2 Tivo with an upgraded drive for $170. I figure if it lasts me a year and a half, it will cost me the same as a year and a half of a Comcast subscription would have cost, but with more features and capacity (and a warm fuzzy feeling of not giving Comcast even more money).
I bought my first RePlay in 2003, when I was a fresh out of college grad working second shift. Which made it hard to catch prime-time TV shows. I picked the RePlay over the Tivo based on the fact that it had ethernet (I lacked a phone line and wireless wasn't yet common), the fact that it had some goofy features like commercial skip and show sharing (especially useful since my then-housemate bsom bought the same RePlay), and a deal that Amazon had after rebate on an oddball 60-gig model that was originally only made for Costco.
I hooked up the Tivo last night and am still getting used to it - the interface and how it treats things like conflicts is vastly different. I had to reprogram all my shows, which was annoying - especially since i have shows that aren't currently on, which means I can't find them in the program guide. I also have an almost-full replay that I'll need to hook up at some point to watch the shows on it, or export them using dvarchive, a neat utility that lets you grab shows off of Replays.
I'm still convinced that the RePlay was the better product, But Tivo did a better job of branding and advertising, was more consistent about strategy (at one point RePlay went from monthly subscriptions to lifetime and building it into the product, then went back to monthly - but ended up giving lifetime subscriptions to a ton of people who bought devices at subscriptionless prices that still had the lifetime info on the package and claimed to have been misled. They also added neat features (like commercial skip and internet show sharing) that pissed of the RIAA. They also changed hands a bunch of time, from SonicBlue to a company called DNNA that also owned Denon, to DirectTV.
I'm sure I'll get used to the Tivo, but giving up a system I've been using for 8 years and know exactly how to make do what I want is painful. Ironically, I find myself watching a lot less TV of late anyway - I've been trying to work out more and put more time into my eBay/Hamfest side business - so having a DVR doesn't even matter as much.