Neutral Axis

Goodbye, sweet ReplayTV. You will be missed.

by on Mar.22, 2012, under Uncategorized

It’s the end of an era in my household.  I had withstood the digital TV wave thus far simply because I didn’t want to part with my ReplayTV DVRs.  Alas, they’re analog only, and only worked with my cable company’s analog channels.  Earlier this year there was a short scare where ReplayTV servers were going to be shut down, thus cutting of programming data.  3rd party solutions were hastily put into place to get around that problem until ReplayTV relented and turned the servers back on.  But now my local cable company has delivered the final blow.  This month, they began phasing out their analog channels and going 100% digital.  As of today, I only have access to the basic broadcast network channels and a few others in analog.  No more than about a dozen.  Now my ReplayTVs only record a sad static screen telling me which digital channels have replaced the old analog channels.  I could possibly use the infra-red blaster capability that was meant to control a cable box to control a digital converter, but I’m not optimistic that will work.

Thus, it’s time to let them slip the surly bonds of the living room and go to the place where all obsolete, yet beloved, electronics eventually find themselves… a basement storage shelf.  One day I’ll hook them back up and watch an old episode of Modern Family.  It will be like a time capsule.

The UPS man just delivered the first of what I expect will probably be 3 Tivo’s to replace them.  How I hope the following that Tivo has achieved over the years is well earned, or I’m going to really miss my ReplayTVs.  I know the main thing I’ll still miss will be the automatic commercial skip.  Of course, that’s the feature that generated lawsuits that drove ReplayTV from the marketplace.  Skipping commercials is a violation of the copyright of the show they’re presented within.  Or so the networks managed to successfully argue.  I suspect Tivo will never risk adding that feature.

I got my first, branded as a Panasonic Showstopper, in 2000.  Shortly after, SonicBlue, the parent company, put out a request on a home theater forum looking for beta testers in the midwest.  I filled out the NDA and was approved to receive their newest model, the ReplayTV 4500.  Some time after that, they sent a 5500 series, and then a second 5500 to test some of the networking features.  From that day in 2000 when I first hooked up the Showstopper, I knew I never wanted to watch TV without a DVR again.  And with the exception of vacations and overnight stays away from home, I never have.  My most indelible memory from my ReplayTV years is that of watching the September 11 attack on the Today Show about a half hour delayed because I had awakened late.  I remember rewinding to see what in the world all that dust was from around the building before it dawned on me that it was the building collapsing.

I have new, hopefully happier, memories to make with my Tivo.

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