Summary: customer service is weak
works fine most of the time - customer service is poor though. our cable company changed channels a month ago and replay tv still hasn't updated their systems even after 2 emails to customer service, a phone call, and a fax....
Summary: 29 Days
Review: 29 Days.. that is how long our 80 hour replay tv unit lasted. Set it up on April 9 and on May 8th we came home to find it stuck on the 'Please wait one moment' screen. Since the 8th was a Saturday, ReplayTv's customer support was not open. After extensive research on the internet we believed the problem to be hard drive failure, and apparently fairly common. On Monday a call to ReplayTv's support group confirmed it was HD failure and we were told to return it to the point of purchase (Amazon.com in our case)
We had already signed up for the lifetime subscription. In order to get a refund you must submit to Replay proof that the item was sent back. Amazon's return system is automated, and since it was 1 day out of the 30 day return time (from waiting the weekend) I couldn't print the shipping label from the Amazon website. A call to amazon fixed that.. but the whole refund process took several weeks for both companies, numerous phone calls and was a huge hassle.
After having the unit for a month we were really hooked, and I can honestly say it changed the way we watched tv. It was great to be able to sit down and watch the things we enjoyed, without being subject to what was on at the moment. So when it broke, it was very frustrating to not only be without the unit, but to have lost all of the shows that were on the drive.
Outside of this problem we had some difficulties setting the unit up, that to this day we still don't know what the problem was. Calling customer support was of no help. They were clearly going through a script, that had no relationship to the problem we were having.
Once up and running, we found it very easy to use and reliable, although the search function was limited. The best example I can think of is that a search for 'Law and Order' did not turn up all or even most instances - and there is no '&' on the onscreen keyboard. Searches must exactly match the title in the listing and keyword or partial matches are not possible.
We spent alot of time reviewing and comparing different units prior to making this purchase. Picture quality was very important - the picture on even the low and middle settings is very good. Also important too us was that Replay units have component video (and composite and S-video) where Tivo only has S-video and composite. Replay's have built in ethernet (you need to buy an adapter for Tivo), and until recently Tivo charged for the 'Home media option' which has always been free on Replay.
Personally, I was upset that the unit didn't even last 30 days and that this was a common problem. One that you can cure yourself by hacking it, but it voids the warranty, which I couldn't justify because the warranty wasn't up. Add to that the lousy customer service and their lousy hours. So we are going to try a Tivo unit.. the selling point for us being that for $150 they will replace the unit if it breaks after the warranty period, they have better support hours and the some of the user features are better. We will miss the component video though :)
Summary: Good activation experience
Review: I bought a 5508 via Amazon on 4-Dec-2003 as a Xmas gift for my wife. It shipped 5-Dec-2003 and arrived on 11-Dec-2003. Paid $519.99 including 3-year activation. Box has a large green sticker on it stating as much. Today (25-Dec-2003), when I tried to activate online I was prompted for a service activation coupon code, which of course was nowhere to be found. So I called the ReplayTV customer service number. The CSR asked me for the unit's serial number. Then asked me where I bought it, when I bought it and how much I paid for it. It took about 2 minutes of him tapping away on the keyboard and he confirmed that my unit did have 3 year activation included. In fact, he said the unit had "lifetime" activation. He says I'll never need to pay for service, even after the three years. The CSR said the registration would be confirmed within 24 hours and he gave me a reference number for the call. So, at this point it sounds like all is well. I'll re-post again within a few days if any activation problems persist. In terms of setup, the unit required a hard reset (hold the power button for 15 seconds) to correctly register itself on my ethernet network. Other than that brief moment of angst, setup was a breeze.
Summary: I feel this is the DVR to have, you can easily download file
Review: I bought my dad this DVR, almost a year ago. He is totally addicted to it. The reason I bought a replay TV is because of the ability to run a simple software package that allows you to transfer from replay TV to your computer. That alone made it worth it for me, another bonus is the ability to upgrade the hard drive, which is completely simple. (Though it does avoid warranty, cracking the unit open). So by the cheapest smallest hard drive version and an upgrade yourself as you can get 250 GB hard drives for less than $150.
Go here to get the software to transfer video
it is a great software package!
Go here to learn how to upgrade your hard drive
I went from a 40 GB hard drive to a 250 GB hard drive. Took me about 45 minutes from start to finish super easy.
This and what made me choose replay TV over TiVo, I know TiVo is adding a few new features that allow you to transfer videos, but I'm not sure where it will stand.
One thing to keep in mind, if you're interested in importing programs you've recorded and then editing them, sometimes they can be quirky if use Nero version 6 .0 or higher. You can import the videos in Nero vision express, and then we render them. Then you can edit them in almost any video editing package available.
Have some fun and get it done
Summary: OK product ruined by horrible tech support
Review: I echo the other reviewers' complaints regarding poor tech support from Replay TV. Our unit performed satisfactorily for the first 13 months, then the modem stopped working. After several frustrating calls to the apparently offshore tech support, where I was forced to perform the same troubleshooting steps over several times and where case notes from my prior calls were not retrievable for reference by the customer reps, I was told that I could return my unit and receive an out-of-warranty replacement, for a cost of $99.95, plus my shipping costs. However, I could not find my receipt to accompany the defective unit, so I am out of luck. We spent a lot of money for a device that lasted only 13 months.
Summary: ReplayTV stepped up to the plate!!
Review: I got one of those units with the activation included, and yes, I only paid $300 for the 80 hour unit. While it did take a couple of phone calls and an e-mail, Replay did activate my unit with no further payments. I also used tech support three (yes three) times and they were helpful each time. Can't beat the quick skip for eliminating commercials.
Summary: Serious Quality Issues
Review: I have had a TiVo for more than a year and have been very pleased with the ease of use and quality of the guide service. The only reason I considered a ReplayTV was for the ability to do video extraction and the ease of networking the ReplayTV which is not readily performed on my Series One TiVo without spending more than the cost of a new TiVo or a ReplayTV. I have yet to get more than 10 minutes of use out of my ReplayTV 5504. While watching live TV, the picture would stutter and freeze after 5 or 10 minutes of use. A scheduled recording would be almost unwatchable due to the stuttering of the video and the audio. I spent several man-hours with tech support trying to resolve this problem. Finally, ReplayTV offered to exchange the unit. I installed the replacement unit and went through the setup screen, connected to the internet and downloaded all of the appropriate software from ReplayTV. I thought that this replacement unit would finally fulfill my expectations about ReplayTV. Imagine my disappointment when I started having essentially the same problems over and over again. Now, I can not even get the ReplayTV to set up from a cold restart. I think that ReplayTV has some serious build-quality issues with this unit. I am not an uninformed user. I have successfully installed both wired and unwired networks for myself and others. I have built my own computers for more than 10 years. The frustrating part is that some ReplayTV owners seem to be trouble-free. This may be the luck of the draw. But, what are the odds of getting two bad units in a row? If the problem is resolved, I will amend this review.
Summary: My VCR is now collecting dust..
Review: I have had my ReplayTV now for about 3 months. I wanted to wait a while before I posted a review. I'll start with the negatives as there aren't too many. I found it a little confusing at first when setting up a program to record. For example, if you want to set American Idol to record, you will either have to setup a "Replay Channel" that records any show with "American Idol" in the title. IF you select it to record from the program guide, it will only do repeat recordings for that time slot. It hard to explain if you have never used a ReplayTV before, but suffice to say it can be a little tricky.
The monthly fee is over priced, but then again they are in line with Tivo. The problem is you can now get a PVR from your local cable company at almost half the monthly charge. HOWEVER with ReplayTV and Tivo you can pay a one-time fee and be done with it. I opted to pay the one time fee as I hate to give the cable companies any more money.
That's it for the negatives. Everyone knows what these boxes can do. They are great for anybody that watches TV. Even if you only catch a few shows a week it's a must. No longer do you have to worry about whether or not you're missing a show, or you forgot to set the VCR.
I have NO complaints about the fan noise. I saw several complaints in a few of the reviews about the noise. Guess what folks, TIVO has a fan and a hard drive also. It's just the nature of PVR's. Regardless, I can barely hear it.
Summary: Love it
Review: I only have one complaint and that is when you hook up with DishNetwork you have to make sure that your ReplayTV doesn't go to a channel that you don't subscribe to because the ReplayTV won't be able to switch away from it. But I've been able to avoid the problem and have been a big fan of it since. I have it networked with my brother's ReplayTV and we can use both to record and I can watch my brothers recorded shows through my box. Pretty cool.
Set up isn't too difficult, and barring any whacky issues you can be up and running in less than 10min.
Subscription is still cheaper than Tivo, but I don't know how long ReplayTV will be around. I'm not saying it is a bad company, I just see Tivo commercials more than ReplayTV.
I haven't had a problem with it but....I hope ReplayTV would make a change so you don't have to use the Infrared blaster to change channels on DishNetwork boxes. Hopefully they'll make a back of the box wired connection for it in the future.
I recommend this box.
Summary: Technically a better product than Tivo
Review: I purchased this unit about 3 months ago, with the full realization that you pay by the month or a lifetime subscription. I hope that this fiasco people are dealing with this month is resolved happily. If this gets ReplayTV in trouble with the marketplace, that would be a shame.
ReplayTV is simply a superior product than Tivo. Don't just look here, look at newsgroups and other bulletin boards.
- better video quality
- unlimited buffer time (limited to disk space, not Tivo's arbitrary 15 minutes"
- Automatic Commercial skip (automatic, not just a 30-sec skip.) This feature works GREAT. However, only the 5040 has it, later models do not. REASON ENOUGH to choose ReplayTV 5040 over Tivo.
- Easily upgradeable drive space. See http://replaytv.us
- Network to your home LAN. Download files to your PC for editing and DVD burning. The BIGGEST reason I bought this and not Tivo.
I have not had ANY software problems with this system. My wife easily programs it. Only improvement I can think of is recording two shows at once, which only DirecTivo can do, I believe.
Don't be scared off by the misunderstanding/marketing goof by ReplayTV this month. I'd hate to see this product lose out to Tivo in the long run.