Skip past annoying ads with Commercial Advance feature
You'll never go back...
It may sound dramatic, but my ReplayTV has changed my relationship with television completely.
First, the ability to pause live TV is amazing. When the phone rings, we pause the show, answer the call, and then resume. Nothing missed! An interesting point to discuss with my wife? Pause and talk. You'll wonder how you lived without it.
The ability to schedule automatic recording of all the TV shows I watch, and to have them actually recorded reliably (which is more than I can say for my VCR) has given me complete freedom to enjoy TV on my own terms.
Let me say that my wife and I watch a lot of TV, we just plain have a lot of shows that we enjoy watching. And Replay allows me to watch my shows when I want them, how I want them, no matter what the network schedules may throw at me. Like the Simpsons? Schedule your Replay to keep the last five syndicated episodes at the ready whenever you feel like a laugh. Enjoy the late night shows but can't stay up? Program it to record the shows while you're asleep and watch them in the morning. You can even set up a manual recording that will just record the monologues! And of course it will record all your favorite daily and weekly shows, even if they're on a special day or change time slots. Even set up categories in order to keep your shows organized. Even if you don't spend a lot of time watching TV, wouldn't it be nice to have something recorded that you actually want to watch when you have time? Don't be a slave to the TV Guide again! (BTW- The program guide on the Replay is a huge improvement if you are used to the cable TV box electronic guide).
One of the best things about the Replay over your VCR is that you can watch a show that's already been recorded while it's recording something else. That means that you're no longer stuck waiting for something to finish recording in order to watch something. You can even watch a show that's recording from the beginning! You can come home halfway into recording "Friends", and watch it from the beginning while it records the rest of the show!
And that's where the ReplayTV excels: When you watch a recorded show (or even live TV that you've paused for at least 5 minutes), the Replay will automatically skip the commercials! Sure, you can turn off the skip if you want to see them. But it's just a thing of beauty when screen goes blank going to commercial, and then all of a sudden the program continues where it left off! When someone asks "did you see the commercial where....", you can smugly say "nope" :*)
If you watch TV in more than one room, you can get a second unit and connect them together. You can actually watch a show on one Replay that was recorded on another. And if your friends or family have a ReplayTV, you can actually send a show or even your home videos from your unit to theirs over the internet. All you need is their Replay ID and hit "Send" and off it goes. It's not instantaneous though, even a half-hour show can take hours to transfer. But it's a lot faster and easier than mailing a videotape.
The other choices in this market are good don't get me wrong, I own a TiVo as well. But like I said: Once you've seen Commercial Skip, In-Home Video Sharing, MyReplayTV.com, and Internet Video Sharing in operation, you'll never go back. The TiVo is now in the guest bedroom...
And Sonicblue is continuously working on improving the software, adding new features and functions. It just keeps getting better.
This thing is worth every penny.
Great product, lousy support
The 5160 is my second ReplayTV unit. I also have a 4508 that I just love.
My problem with the 5160 is that you have to download a humongous operating system update from SonicBlue's network before you can do anything with it, and SonicBlue's network isn't robust enough to handle all the download requests it seems to be getting this Christmas season. My connection kept timing out an hour or two into the download, and as a result it took me three days of trying to finally complete the setup process. Meanwhile, SonicBlue's tech support department was no help at all. Sometimes I couldn't even get through; other times the wait to speak to a representative was over an hour.
I'm a fan of SonicBlue's products, but I'd hold off on the 5160 until SonicBlue works the kinks out. To capitalize on the holiday buying season, SonicBlue seems to have rushed these units out the door before they were ready.
I've done the research...
The best reason for choosing Replay TV over its competition is it is best at doing what has been its greatest asset to our family: returning time to our busy schedules. Literally. You won't believe your feeling of power and control over television (and Father Time) until you experience watching ER in 43 minutes instead of 60, thanks to Commercial Advance. It doesn't fast forward past commercials, it simply doesn't play them! (unless you want.) Replay TV is the only brand with this capability. Another time saving feature is the Channel Guide. We save so much time thumbing through tv guides looking for movies and shows to watch simply by entering our favorite titles (and actors) into Replay TV and letting it constantly keep an eye out for these programs and recording them when they become available! The user interface that Replay TV uses is very friendly not only to me, but more importantly, to my wife and 2 children (ages 9 & 12). This was an important factor in my decision to go with Replay TV, by the way. We each have our own folders to store our programs in. Replay TV is to the VCR what a computer is to the typewriter. Once you experience how much more enjoyable tv is with this unit, you'll never go back to a VCR. The picture quality is way better than a VCR. My 12 year old son said that if he had a choice between a broadband internet connection or Replay TV, he'd pick Replay TV (he had been bugging me about getting broadband for months!) I don't mean to sound like a salesman for this company; I'm simply sharing the experience of my decision that was based on putting a lot of time into comparing price and features. Replay TV won.