TiVo vs. ReplayTV

Once again we see that the superior technology has lost the battle. I agree with all the comments about how the ReplayTV DVR feature set has always been better than TiVO (it took TiVo five years to add Ethernet for cryin’ out loud) but of course TiVO had better marketing and basically drove RTV out of business.

Here’s an article about DirecTV buying the ReplayTV patents and intellectual property (IP) from the Japanese company that bought it from Sonic Blue when SB went bankrupt a couple of years ago. Luckily there are a lot of other hardcore RTV fans out there so even if the current program guide goes away we still have options.

I remember choosing RTV over TiVO many years ago because it had Ethernet capability. I hadn’t even discovered DVArchive yet but I obviously made the right choice. I have really enjoyed being able to download shows to my large PC hard drive and then burn them to DVD to save for posterity. I even upgraded the small hard drive in my RTV from 40GB to 150GB a year ago with no hassle at all. I’m really disappointed that RTV lost the DVR wars. I read that Tivo will let you buffer a whole 30 minutes of live TV, that’s ridiculous. The RTV will buffer as much empty hard drive space that’s available, sometimes we can pause a show for twelve hours and come back to finish watching it.

Luckily you can still buy old RTV units on eBay and get the program guide for free from Zap2It Labs. Sadly I just today came across an article from six months ago that says they were going to discontinue the free program guide service in September. I found this forum thread from June that discusses options so now I’m going to have to go in search of current news about online program guides. I don’t have a problem paying a modest fee for program guide info every month (say US$5) so hopefully someone has stepped up to the plate on this.

One disconcerting thing I did read in a thread was that

FYI, Tribune Media (aka TMS, the company that owns zap2it) is the *only* source of episode guide data in the US other than the stations themselves. They have an exclusive license to all of it (even if a large chunk of the descriptions are incorrect). Everyone else providing listings is just buying it from TMS.

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