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#200291 - 25/01/2004 02:02 Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV
clsmith
member

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 183
Due to the rising costs of standard (analog) cable and lack of service I made the switch to Direct TV. Actually one of the biggest reasons I switched was the intollerable amount of Comacst commercials I had to 'endure' while subscribing to their service (If I'm already a subscriber-YOU DON"T NEED TO ADVERTISE TO ME!)

Honestly I couldn't be happier.

My one and only issue at this point is my ReplayTV 4504 and how long it takes to change channels.

Prior to the switch it took roughly 2 - 3 seconds to change a channel and generate a new, watchable, picture. Slower than standard cable but acceptable nonetheless. Now, using the IR blaster, it takes at least 6 seconds to change from one watchable show to the next channel.

While this isn't the end of the world it should work better/faster. The technical question is this: Based on the instructions and device capabilities of both the replay and the Satellite receiver, I should have two options for allowing the DVR to control the receiver.

1.) - IR blaster (a simple IR repeater designed to allow the Replay TV to relay the commands to the receiver.) This is currently what I'm using.
2.) - Serial (a DB9 cable that, via a DB-to-RJ adapter, should allow the Replay to control the receiver via the 'low-speed data' port on the back of the device.

I have a feeling that option #2 would solve my problem but..... It seems that when I try changing the channel using that setup, the satellite receiver simply 'reboots'. It then must re-acquire a signal and re-download the channel guide.

My receiver is an RCA DRD435RH.

I thought that this would help but the 'troubleshooting' link is broken.

Any suggestions?
_________________________
CLS

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#200292 - 25/01/2004 02:37 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
Daria
carpal tunnel

Registered: 24/01/2002
Posts: 3927
Loc: Somerville, MA
Due to the rising costs of standard (analog) cable and lack of service I made the switch to Direct TV. Actually one of the biggest reasons I switched was the intollerable amount of Comacst commercials I had to 'endure' while subscribing to their service (If I'm already a subscriber-YOU DON"T NEED TO ADVERTISE TO ME!)


They advertise on local broadcast channels: I get their ads and I'm an Adelphia subscriber. No cable competition in this part of PA, either. I can get Adelphia or I can get satellite.

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#200293 - 25/01/2004 11:45 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
Miltoid
journeyman

Registered: 17/10/2002
Posts: 57
Loc: Republic of Texas
Have you tried talking to Replay tech support yet? There's a hidden menu page that lets you adjust the inter-command timing of the IR flasher and whether it sends all the digits and/or the OK button IIRC. You should be able to speed things up that way.
Can't remember what the secret is to getting to it though...
_________________________
-Milton 100GB Mk2a / (DEAD)Tuner / Stalk Ford Ranger Republic of Texas

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#200294 - 25/01/2004 13:16 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31181
Loc: Seattle, WA
I made the switch to Direct TV.
(...)
my ReplayTV 4504 and how long it takes to change channels.
As much as I want to support DNNA, and as good as the Replay TV units are, I must suggest that you consider one of the integrated two-tuner DirectTivo units. They're dirt cheap, can record or view two channels at the same time, and don't have to do any IR blasting to get the job done.

Truth is that the only reason I'm using DirecTivo over ReplayTV right now is the integrated satellite receiving. I wish the ReplayTV units had that feature.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#200295 - 25/01/2004 13:33 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: tfabris]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Truth is that the only reason I'm using DirecTivo over ReplayTV right now is the integrated satellite receiving. I wish the ReplayTV units had that feature.

And truth is, I don't regret switching from an integrated solution to ReplayTV. Sure, it wasn't switching away from DirecTiVo. But in the switch, I gained more features out of the box like commercial skip, flawless recording of my shows, and no quality loss. The last one I was really suprised on. Recording on medium has been good enough for me on almost everything, and the shows I don't care about quality as much, I set to low. High ends up actually making a file with higher bitrates then the average DVD, so if I do ever see problems with medium, I have one more level to go to.

The quickest, and cheepest solution is indeed to call ReplayTV support. They know quite a few tricks and tweaks for the boxes, and can probably get that time down a bit.
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Tom

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#200296 - 25/01/2004 13:49 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: drakino]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31181
Loc: Seattle, WA
I gained more features out of the box like commercial skip, flawless recording of my shows, and no quality loss.
I've got all those with the DirecTivo. The commercial skip is a hidden feature that I activated with the select-play-select-3-0-select command on the remote, but the others are just there by default.

I don't know what you mean by "flawless" recording, but in terms of quality, that's one of the nice things about having the integrated satellite tuner: The video is a direct stream to the hard disk from the satellite. No intermediary conversion or transmission happening.

Not that it matters much since the DirecTV data is compressed way past the point of tolerable for me and looks like crap to begin with.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#200297 - 25/01/2004 13:57 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: tfabris]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
It must just be me then, but my DirecTV looks better than any digital cable TV I've seen at other people's homes. That may be due to my TV's built in line doubler though...

But, as Tony said, I think the DirecTivo boxes are the only DVR's that offer true "flawless" recording.
_________________________
Brad B.

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#200298 - 25/01/2004 14:59 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: Miltoid]
clsmith
member

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 183
Yeah, I already knew how to get in and 'tweak' the blaster codes/settings. Set everything as low as it could possibly go (while still being able to change channels) and only a marginal speed up.

Thanks.
_________________________
CLS

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#200299 - 25/01/2004 15:07 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: tfabris]
clsmith
member

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 183
My friend has the DirecTivo setup. What convinced me to stay away from that, for now, was:

1) I already have the Replay. And though I'm a little miffed about the channel change time everything still "works."

2) Tivo (at least in my area) must download the program guide from the satellite everytime you wish to view it. (replay channel guide fast, changing channels slow.... Tivo channel guide slow, changing channels fast.)

3) I don't have any HDTV equipment so the better picture quality of the Tivo isn't that attractive - yet.

6 of one, a half-dozen of the other at this point. I DID get the triple LMB dish to allow for HDTV in the future. I'll probably change then.
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CLS

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#200300 - 25/01/2004 15:12 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
clsmith
member

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 183
Agreed. I've only had Direct TV for about 48hrs. now but from what I've seen it is much better than the Digital Cable right next door. We'll see what happens over the next few weeks (signal strength in my area etc.)
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CLS

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#200301 - 25/01/2004 16:29 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
Not sure if this helps you.... but DirecTivo's default to "DirecTV style" guide... please tell your friend to disable this (I think in "Guide" view you hit the info key). The other option is "Tivo Style" guide which is much faster. Tivo might have to update more frequently in the first few days of ownership, but after that, it should be only at off peak times like 3am. And that'll only use one of the tuners to do it... Geography shouldn't matter, that's the whole point of satellites.

That being said... I can see why you'd want to stick with Replay after having invested in the hardware.
_________________________
Brad B.

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#200302 - 25/01/2004 16:42 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: tfabris]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
Flawless as in it has never missed a recording I have set up due to the IR blaster use. It always tunes the right channel. Serial would be nice, but doesnt seem necessary in my case.

I know the integrated units just save the raw stream coming in, but comparing my old integrated unit to my ReplayTV at medium, I see no difference. And this is not to a normal TV, it's to a upscaled 800x600 large monitor.

And RE, commercial skip. The ReplayTV unit he has, and mine support automatic skipping. So, no reaching for the remote when a commercial break comes on, you just sit back and see the little icon pop up when it does this. The newer 5500 won't automaticially skip them, but it still marks where they are, and one button press on the remote skips the entire commercial break. I'm waiting to record the Super Bowl to activate the hidden reverse commercial skip. Instead of it skipping the commercials automaticially, it will skip the game automaticially.

Other out of the box features I can't live without now would be the network. I didn't have to hack anything, and I run a Java application on any of my computers to see the shows. Double click, and I am streaming them to my computer. Or, I can download them for later, like here at work to watch during the downtimes. It's also come in handy for the internet show sharing the few times I forgot to record something. Post a request to a web board, and my unit had the show two days later.

If I want to archive shows to DVD, very easy to do as well. There is a program that sees the commercial skip markers in the MPEG 2 files, and can use them to remove the commercials before archiving.
_________________________
Tom

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#200303 - 25/01/2004 21:18 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: drakino]
DeadFire
addict

Registered: 30/05/2002
Posts: 695
I love this guy.

Has anyone noticed how loyal most ReplayTV customers are? From what I've seen on this board and others, the average TiVo user doesn't care who made the toy - they just care what it can do. But a happy ReplayTV owner is always quick to point out its unique features, or in the case of similar ones, how the Replay does the job better.

With all of that said, my recently upgraded ReplayTV 5160 (formerly 5040) will likely serve me for a long time to come. I don't really care about HDTV; most of the shows I watch aren't broadcast in that format anyway. And as far as how slowly the channel changes, regardless of setup - I rarely watch live TV. When I do, I use the Channel Guide to pick a show prior to changing channels.

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#200304 - 25/01/2004 23:52 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: drakino]
msaeger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/09/2000
Posts: 3608
Loc: Minnetonka, MN
So what models support the auto commercial skip and do you have a guess as to if it will be removed.

I keep looking at the replays but I think it would miss some features my tivo has that replay doesn't.
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Matt

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#200305 - 26/01/2004 00:16 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12053
Loc: Sterling, VA
Any suggestions?
My parents have a model similar to that DTV receiver in their house on one of their TVs (their main TV has a DirecTivo). At first I seem to recall having the problems you mentioned with the serial cable when I tried connecting my Tivo to it. The Tivo, however, comes with an RJ-to-minijack cable. You mention that you used an adapter. Did that come with the Replay unit, or is it just something you picked up for the purpose? The problem might be with the connection. I may have possibly had the problems when I tried using the DB9-to-minijack cable that came with the Tivo on one of the ports on the back of the sat receiver (by the way, the Tivo's serial side is the one with the minijack).

So maybe there's a problem with the conversion of the DB9? I'm not sure why the PVR companies even use it as an option. None of the new receivers I looked at had the 9-pin connector. It was lucky if there was a low-speed data port at all. Maybe that's just what I saw, though.

And I have to second my vote to simply get a DirecTivo. I have an SA Tivo and I'm jealous of my parents' DirecTivo. I can't tell you how much nicer it is to record two shows at once and watch a third. I can't imagine the improvement it would be to go from an IR blaster setup to an integrated two-tuner unit. I had the IR blaster setup with digital cable for the first month I owned my Tivo. I called Cox and asked them to take the digital receiver back. The IR blaster is far too frustrating.


ps-I'm not complaining about the Tivo/sat receiver setup, though. That serial cable worked perfectly, and changing the channel is exactly like changing it with cable. It's instantaneous.

pps- The one thing I don't like on my parent's DirecTivo is that it has an audio delay. Any change of the channel, FF/REW, or playing of a program has about a 2 to 3 second delay in the audio after the video starts playing. Why is this, and can it be fixed?
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Matt

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#200306 - 26/01/2004 02:15 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: msaeger]
drakino
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/06/1999
Posts: 7868
Loc: Seattle, WA
So what models support the auto commercial skip and do you have a guess as to if it will be removed.

The Replay 45xx and 50xx support skipping automaticially. the 55xx marks the tracks, and offers the one button skip.

And this feature won't be taken out. The lawsuit against SonicBlue for this was settled by not having new units automaticially skip commercials. Internet show sharing also won't be taken out of existing units, but does not work on the 55xx. however, LAN sharing still works great on the 55xx, and can still easially be exported to PC.
_________________________
Tom

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#200307 - 26/01/2004 13:57 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31181
Loc: Seattle, WA
Tivo (at least in my area) must download the program guide from the satellite everytime you wish to view it.
Wow, is that why it takes a long time to refresh the screen when I hit "Watch Live TV", or even page down on that screen? I thought the Tivo was just plain slow.

As was mentioned elsewhere in the thread, you can toggle to a different view which doesn't have that slowness.

Are you sure that it's a genuine download from the sat which makes that screen so slow? I find that hard to believe since the Tivo needs to keep that information in its memory in order to schedule its recordings anyhow.

I don't have any HDTV equipment so the better picture quality of the Tivo isn't that attractive - yet.
Standard def programming that's been data compressed (whether it's Tivo, Replay, Digital cable, or even live DirecTV) looks like crap on any high def equipment. When you get an HDTV, you will be disappointed by just about any digital programming that isn't actually high def itself. The compression artifacts are just that much bigger and sharper on a high def screen because they're zoomed-in.

You get the same compression artifacts on high def programs, they're just much smaller because the overall picture is much smaller. So they're not as offensive.

In my case, I decided to go with DirecTivo, knowing that data compression looks like crap on a big screen. The convenience of a PVR finally outweighed my dislike of compression artifacts.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#200308 - 26/01/2004 14:02 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31181
Loc: Seattle, WA
I've only had Direct TV for about 48hrs. now but from what I've seen it is much better than the Digital Cable right next door.
Oh yeah, it's better than most of the digital cable I've seen, too. Still looks like crap compared to a proper analog signal, though.
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Tony Fabris

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#200309 - 26/01/2004 14:58 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: Dignan]
clsmith
member

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 183
You mention that you used an adapter. Did that come with the Replay unit, or is it just something you picked up for the purpose?

That was something that came with the RTV. They give you the option of using just the DB9 or the DB9 with the DB to RJ connector. I thought about building a pass-through and Null-modem etc. But I figured that Replay knew best...

And I have to second my vote to simply get a DirecTivo

One of the main reasons I switched to DTV was the fact that it was going to be cheaper. I can appreciate your recommendation to get the Tivo be cause it's integrated and has some killer features but.... The new receiver, then the monthly fee etc that would take me over my previous monthly fee and would ruin the pitch (er, justification) I used to get my girlfriend to agree to the switch.

The fact is that the RTV works and it's already activated (lifetime.) There's just that one annoyance. If I end up having to live with it I guess I will (I'll just keep trying to make it better till one of us dies )
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CLS

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#200310 - 26/01/2004 15:47 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: tfabris]
SE_Sport_Driver
carpal tunnel

Registered: 05/01/2001
Posts: 4903
Loc: Detroit, MI USA
Tony, you aren't using the DirecTV style menus are you?

Tivo/DirecTV gets the program guide at night. I've seen the red light kick on at 3am before. That's what it is doing. So the slowness is just due to cache and processor speed I guess.
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Brad B.

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#200311 - 26/01/2004 15:53 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: SE_Sport_Driver]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31181
Loc: Seattle, WA
Tony, you aren't using the DirecTV style menus are you?
I still prefer them to the tivo-style menus.
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Tony Fabris

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#200312 - 27/01/2004 11:31 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: tfabris]
wfaulk
carpal tunnel

Registered: 25/12/2000
Posts: 16706
Loc: Raleigh, NC US
Weirdo.

Both the TiVos I've had became quite slow once I upgraded their storage capacities. I think it has to do with the size of the database of the ``Now Playing'' shows. But that's really just an educated guess.
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Bitt Faulk

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#200313 - 27/01/2004 11:56 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
tonyc
carpal tunnel

Registered: 27/06/1999
Posts: 7058
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA
The fact is that the RTV works and it's already activated (lifetime.) There's just that one annoyance. If I end up having to live with it I guess I will (I'll just keep trying to make it better till one of us dies )
I don't suffer from this particular annoynace, then again I have basic cable and not DirecTV. The thing is, *automatic* commercial skip (found on the RTV 5000 series) is, to me, the absolute killer app. And since it's been proven in court to be legal (or maybe it was not proven to be illegal, I forget) I don't think it's going to ever disappear from the RTV software (if it does, I'll be pissed.)

It's not like hitting a few 30-second skip buttons is hard (and using the Replay "ShowNav" is even easier) but for someone like me who's often just got TV on in the background, it's really great to be able to catch the daily sports talk show while I'm in my kitchen making dinner and not have to worry about pressing any remote buttons. The commercial skip is truly automatic and virtually bulletproof as long as the show is at least 10-15 minutes delayed (so it can reliably detect the commercial breaks.) I'm not sure there's another feature anyone could add to a PVR to make me want it over my RTV 5000, and it seems to me this will be the last PVR series ever to have commercial advance. So, just like my empeg, I'm gonna hope and pray this one lasts me forever.

Hmm, maybe I should have bought a "backup" RTV...
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- Tony C
my empeg stuff

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#200314 - 27/01/2004 11:56 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: wfaulk]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31181
Loc: Seattle, WA
I think it has to do with the size of the database of the ``Now Playing'' shows. But that's really just an educated guess.
I just read up on the Tivo Cachecard, and yes, the slowness of the Tivo menu is due to the database.

From what I gleaned from the Tivo Cachecard site, the database is all hard-disk-based, and the player doesn't have a lot of cache RAM. So when it's streaming video to its disk drive, database reads and writes take a back seat to the actual video streaming. That's why the guide menu is so slow, and why doing database-intensive operations like rearranging your season passes is painfully slow.

Unfortunately, the Tivo Cachecard isn't available for the Series 2 units yet.
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Tony Fabris

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#200315 - 27/01/2004 15:12 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: tfabris]
Ezekiel
pooh-bah

Registered: 25/08/2000
Posts: 2413
Loc: NH USA
rearranging your season passes is painfully slow.

Word.

-Zeke
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WWFSMD?

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#200316 - 27/01/2004 15:18 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: Ezekiel]
tfabris
carpal tunnel

Registered: 20/12/1999
Posts: 31181
Loc: Seattle, WA
One thing that reading up on the Cachecard made me realize: If you want to do something database-intensive such as mucking with your season passes, just do it when the unit isn't trying to record two streams of video. So frequently, the unit is just recording random stuff that I don't care about. So I could stop those recordings before going in to alter the season passes and I'll bet the response gets much faster.
_________________________
Tony Fabris

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#200317 - 27/01/2004 16:38 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: tfabris]
Dignan
carpal tunnel

Registered: 08/03/2000
Posts: 12053
Loc: Sterling, VA
I've got a standalone, and mine takes forever to do that regardless of whether something's recording or not. It really is a bit annoying. It would have been nice if they had set it up so that you could rearrange the passes, then approve the changes before it started going to work on them.

By the way, does anyone know of a way to put a hold on a season pass? Sometimes I'll be gone for a few weeks, and I won't want it to record certain programs, but I don't want to have to come back and set up the pass all over again. I know there's probably no way of doing this, but I thought I'd ask
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Matt

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#200318 - 27/01/2004 16:41 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: Dignan]
Ezekiel
pooh-bah

Registered: 25/08/2000
Posts: 2413
Loc: NH USA
You could set it's record priority to the bottom (and then _wait____), or modify it to only keep one episode. Just a thought.

Tony - that does make sense. I'll have to try that. Ususally I just go get a drink .

-Zeke
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WWFSMD?

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#200319 - 27/01/2004 22:16 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: clsmith]
msaeger
carpal tunnel

Registered: 23/09/2000
Posts: 3608
Loc: Minnetonka, MN
I bought a raplay 5040 tonight and will be picking it up tommorrow so I will be able to see how the tivo and replay compare.
_________________________

Matt

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#200320 - 27/01/2004 23:02 Re: Help with ReplayTV and Direct TV [Re: msaeger]
clsmith
member

Registered: 15/01/2002
Posts: 183
Cool! Best of both worlds.

I'll be interested in seeing how you like the two of them side-by-side.

_________________________
CLS

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