ReplayTV Advanced FAQ by PRMan (from AVSForum)

1. What exactly is ReplayTV for, anyway?

Whoa, this is the advanced FAQ from the AVSForum Message Boards. You may want to check out the FAQ at:

http://www.replaytv.com/partners_products/faq.htm

2. I got a rebate when I bought this thing, but the form is asking for an 18-digit serial number and my Panasonic only has a 9-digit number. Is this the right number, form, etc.?

Yes. Use the model number (PVHS-2000 for 30 hour or PVHS-1000 for 20 hour) and then the serial number.

3. Can ReplayTV automatically skip commercials?

No. You have to use the QuickSkip button to skip them. QuickSkip skips ahead 30 seconds instantly. Believe me, you really won’t mind that much. Also, beginning with version 3.0, you can enter a number and then QuickSkip to skip ahead that many minutes. For instance, 2 + QuickSkip will skip over a 2-minute commercial break automatically. You can also use this method with Instant Replay to go backward that number of minutes.

4. Can I watch one show while another is recording? Can I watch the beginning of a show while the ending is recording?

For the most part, yes. This is the power of ReplayTV. You can watch the beginning of any show while it is recording. In fact, most Replay users get to the point where they always start watching halfway through the show, so they can skip the commercials. You can watch any recording from the Replay Guide while anything else is recording. What you cannot do is watch one channel live while a different one is recording. To do this, you need to split your cable signal and run it separately to your TV on another input. Of course, this will not work if you only have one digital cable box or satellite receiver.

5. The show is in the middle, how can I go to the beginning?

0-Jump or 999-Instant Replay.

6. What Fast Forward and Rewind options are there?

Well, most ReplayTV users rarely use Fast Forward because of QuickSkip, which instantly skips ahead 30 seconds (or any number of minutes). But there are 5 FF (& REW) speeds, which are activated by pressing the FF (or REW) key multiple times:

Labeled

Actual

FF

(3x)

2x

(6x)

4x

(12x)

16x

(48x)

20x

(60x)

7. Is there "Overshoot Protection" then?

Yes. It is activated by pressing Play or Instant Replay to finish a FF or Rewind. It's not nearly as pronounced as TiVo's.

8. This being a digital device, is there any way to skip around like the tracks on a CD or the scene selections on a DVD?

Better. When watching any show, you can enter a number and then jump to skip to an exact point in the recording. This is best described with some examples:

  • 30 Jump - Jumps 30 minutes into the recording (30 minutes)
  • 90 Jump - Jumps an hour and a half into the recording (90 minutes)
  • 100 Jump - Jump an hour into the recording (think 1:00)
  • 130 Jump - Also jumps an hour and a half into the recording (1:30)
  • 180 Jump - Jumps 2 hours and 20 minutes into the recording (1 hour and 80 minutes)
All jumps are done as absolute from the beginning. You can jump relative to your current location by entering the number and pressing QuickSkip or Instant Replay:
  • 2 QuickSkip - Jump ahead 2 minutes (heh, heh, heh)
  • 1 Instant Replay - Jump backward 1 minute
You may want to be careful with these, though, as it seems that if you are recording and watching at the same time that # + QS (IR) may cause a jump in the recording at the spot where it is currently at.
9. What if there is no local number in my area? Will I have to make toll calls? Is there an 800 number?

There is no 800 number and yes, you will have to make toll calls. This can get very expensive ($20-$30 a month). You can check this out before purchase by going to http://www.replaytv.com/customer/dial.htm. Some people get around this by unplugging the phone cord and only letting their unit dial out a couple times a week. Other people put in the wrong Zip Code so they can dial a cheaper number, but I don't know what this does to cable listings. You might try going to the web site, writing down the number and then adding that as your dialing prefix (this works). The additional digits of your Replay-chosen number will be thrown away. You could also use this method for 10-10 numbers, if that would help.

10. How long does it take to set up?

Usually less than an hour.

11. Does it make modem, fan or hard drive noises? Can I put it in my bedroom?

They have the modem silenced, there is no fan and the hard drive makes about the same amount of noise as any other Quantum hard drive (fairly quiet by hard drive standards). The 60-hour units use Maxtor drives instead, which are generally slightly louder than Quantums.

12. I have an A/B cable system. Can I use ReplayTV?

Maybe. There are a few workarounds that have been suggested:

  • Your cable company may have an addressable converter (a cable box that arranges the channels so that they are in order instead of two separate feeds) available for a very low cost (maybe $3-$5 per month). This is probably your best option if you can get it.
  • You can run one cable directly into the ReplayTV and the other through your VCR and then into the line inputs. This is a complicated setup, but some people have gotten it to work (don't ask me, because I really don't understand how). ReplayTV will add 100 to the B channels if you do this.
  • With prices falling the way they are, you may want to just get 2 ReplayTVs and put one on each cable. This is another good option, if you are not tight on cash.
13. What if there is no phone jack near my TV?

Use a long phone cord. If you can't do that, use a wireless phone jack. They can be had for around $75. Make sure it is rated for 56K modems, as many still on the market are only rated at 14.4. People have had good success with the RCA 930 (not 926) and the Phonex PX-441.

14. Will the serial cable control my new digital cable box? Why won’t the serial cable control my satellite receiver?

Only DirecTV is supported for serial contol. This means that digital cable boxes and DISH Network are not supported (apparently they have no support for channel changes on the serial port).

The following DirecTV satellite receivers have worked for some people:

  • Sony B3 DSS
  • RCA DRD203RW (use the Wideband data port)
  • Sony SAT-B1

The following receivers have had problems with serial control for some people:

  • Hughes D45
  • Sony SAT-B1
15. I have a DISH Network receiver that only has UHF control (no infrared). Since ReplayTV does not support the serial port on DISH Network and there is no IR port, am I out of luck?

Check out this site, it may help you out:

http://www.carltonbale.com/dish

16. I have both DirecTV and DISH Network. Can I use both with ReplayTV? If so, won't the channels overlap?

You can use both. ReplayTV adds 1000 to whichever one has less channels so the channels don't overlap.

17. If I use ReplayTV to control my satellite receiver, will I be giving up the cool channel guide and all the other cool features?

Yes, but you will find that ReplayTV replaces most (but not all) of these features with very functional equivalents. But if you are in the market, you may want to consider a low-cost receiver, since you will not be using it's features much anyway.

18. I cannot change channels reliably. What’s up?

You may need to build an "IR fort" around the IR blaster, so that no stray signals come in from the outside. Basically, just cover the IR blaster somehow so that no outside light can get in. You may also want to check out the Tweaker section for information on IR fine-tuning codes.

19. Can I put ReplayTV on its side? It will fit in my rack better that way.

No. According to Replay employees, the unit cools using convection, and this would defeat it. In fact, putting it into a completely enclosed cabinet with poor ventilation is not a good idea. Definitely do not put it under something that will block the vents on top or next to another device that feels hot to the touch.

20. I am missing channels from the channel guide. How do I add them? Can I do it myself?

No. For broadcast channels, e-mail the list of missing channels to marknu@flash.net. He has offered to help on the AVSForum and has been able to do something about it in the past.

For cable or satellite channels, call Customer Service and notify them of the situation. Or, you can go to TMS' website and submit the changes yourself. Generally it takes a couple of days.

In the meantime, you can set up a Manual Record on that channel by hitting Display when you're on the channel field. Then you can enter the channel manually.

Also, if you have a shared channel in your lineup, you may want to look around. Replay will put the shared channel on a different channel number, but it will still tune correctly behind the scenes.

21. My unit is broken. How do I get a replacement and how long does it take?

Call Customer Service. Most people get their new unit within two days. It is cross-shipped and your Credit Card is not charged if you return your old unit promptly. Some people have reported recently that it may take 3-4 weeks to get a replacement and that it is no longer cross-shipped.

22. Can I really record 60 (30, 20, 14) hours on this thing?

Probably not. It can record 60 hours at Low (ReplayTV) / Extended (Panasonic) quality. At this quality, motion tends to become significantly pixellated and computer graphics may crawl noticably. Many find it to be unwatchable for all but talking head shows. At Medium quality, most shows are pretty watchable, except for those that have a lot of action or motion (sports, action movies, etc.). Shows with a lot of motion may still noticeably break up at Medium, although some people find it to be okay. At Medium, you can record only 30 hours total (so Medium takes 2x the listed space). High quality takes 3x the listed space, giving a total of 20 hours. You can mix and match quality levels on a per-record basis. The Live buffer is always at High quality, and always reserves at least 20 minutes (which, if you are following this, is 1 of your hours). Without going into details, let me just say that the sound is affected similarly by the different compression levels.

There are several things that affect the acceptability of recording levels:

  • Size of your television
  • Picture quality of your television
  • Signal strength (and you may introduce an additional split when using ReplayTV)
  • How good your vision is
  • How good your sound system is
  • How much of an audiophile you are

Try out the different levels and see how they work for you.

23. How long is the Live buffer, then?

There is no limit to the Live buffer. You can Pause up to almost 20 hours (on a 60 hour unit) if you have nothing else recorded. It is always going when you watch live TV. You can't stop or limit it.

24. Why can't I bring up the menu options on a show that's currently playing?

It makes no sense, but if you are in the Channel Guide and want to bring up the menu options for a show that's currently playing, you have to press Enter instead of Select. At all other times you would press Select. According to Replay, this is not a bug, but a design decision.

25. What are the differences between the ShowStopper and the ReplayTV brands?
  • The most serious difference between the two units is the implementation of Macrovision copy-protection. The Replay-branded units will allow you to watch a copy-protected signal (like a DVD or a rented videotape) through the Replay as well as let you record it to the Replay. So you could, if you wanted to, rent a DVD and record it to the Replay for viewing later. Note that the Replay will re-insert the copy protection when you play the program back, so you can't make an illegal copy. The Showstopper unit handles this differently: if Macrovision is detected on the incoming signal, the unit will refuse to record the signal at all. This means that not only can't you record a copy protected program to the unit, but you can't even view it through the Showstopper. This isn't really a problem if your TV has plenty of inputs, but if you are short and want to run the DVD or VCR through the Showstopper, you're going to be out of luck. However, there have been some recent complaints from Showstopper owners who have seen their units block a standard broadcast signal because it erroneously thought that it was copy protected. Replay and Panasonic are apparently trying to sort this out... But the vast majority of Showstopper owners are not having this problem at all, so chances are that you won't come across this. But if you feel at all insecure about this, you should consider a Replay-brand unit instead.
  • One other recent difference was also that when the Replay 3.0 OS was released, Showstopper owners had to wait a few additional weeks before they received the upgrade while Replay-branded units already had it. This was obviously disconcerting to Showstopper owners at that time, but it was really only a matter of a few weeks, and no one will really remember it into the future.
  • Also, Panasonics have a 90-day labor, 1 year parts warranty. So, this amounts to a 90-day warranty, since it's probably cheaper to buy a drive (most likely thing to fail) than to repair one and pay the shipping and labor costs. ReplayTV brand units have a 1 year parts & labor warranty.
26. Does ReplayTV pass through closed captioning?

Panasonic and ReplayTV 3xxx and later – Yes, ReplayTV prior to 3xxx – No. There is currently a bug in CC that causes it to disappear when you go into the Advanced recording options menu for padding or choosing days of the week. Resetting your Replay by holding the Power button on the front of the unit for around 10 seconds (until the screen flickers) will bring it back.

27. The audio is really low. It’s about half of what it is when not watching through ReplayTV. How do I fix this?

The tuner in the older ReplayTV units (2020, etc.) is not very good. This problem does not seem to happen in the Panasonic models. Obviously, the easy way to fix it is to come in with RCA jacks and bypass the internal tuner. If this is not possible, many people have found the 15-1961 from Radio Shack to be very helpful in working around this problem.

28. Can I record and playback a VHS or DVD movie?

ReplayTV – Yes, Panasonic – No. ReplayTV strips out Macrovision protection and then adds it back in after playback. Panasonic completely blocks Macrovision and will give a warning message on the screen instead.

29. Aren’t Pay-Per-View movies or other regular television programs broadcast with Macrovision protection?

No. Only commercial recordings such as DVDs or VHS tapes from major studios have Macrovision protection.

30. On my Panasonic unit, I am seeing the Macrovision warning when recording from regular TV broadcasts.

This is a known bug. If you are seeing this and you can still return your unit, I would do that. The ReplayTV branded units handle Macrovision differently and do not do this. Apparently some signals on some cable systems appear to be Macrovision-encoded to the Showstoppers even when they are not. If you are having this problem, it will likely be ongoing on that channel.

Another option might be to get a filter which cleans the signal on its way into the Showstopper. Some people have used their VCR for this purpose.

31. Can I save things to videotape? Can I save more than one show at a time?

You can save things to videotape as long as they are not Macrovision protected. You currently must save shows to VCR one at a time, although the ability to chain shows for Save To VCR is an often requested feature.

32. Can I schedule recordings for PPV movies and events?

Some PPV systems now have full listings. Other PPV channels now show up in the guide with just empty blocks. However, you can use these channels for Manual Recordings, even if the are not in your Channel Guide. You can also do a Manual Recording from an input by pressing Display where it asks you for the channel.

33. Can I schedule recordings for C-Band satellite or 4DTV?

You can indeed record the Line inputs directly. In the Manual Record sequence, when you reach the page where you select the channel, just press DISPLAY. This will allow you to select the input of your choice. If it was configured in Setup as a device Replay knows how to tune (e.g. a DirecTV receiver), then you can optionally have the ReplayTV send tuning commands to the connected device. In the case of 4DTV, since ReplayTV doesn't have tuning commands for that device, it is unable to tune it.

34. Is there anywhere that I can vote for my favorite feature?

Take a look at www.iwantptv.com

35. When does my ReplayTV dial out?

Between 2 AM and 6 AM.

36. What if I am on the phone during the nightly call (or something else is)?

It will try again later, up to 3 times per night according to ReplayTV employees.

37. Will the nightly call keep me from making calls?

Yes. But how many calls do you make between 2 AM and 6 AM?

38. Will the network connection keep me from recording a show or interrupt my Save To VCR?

Beginning with 3.0, they have taken great strides to ensure this will not happen. Now, you are more likely to miss your download.

39. If I accidentally interrupt the download, will it crash?

It will stop downloading and recover gracefully. It will try again a couple hours later, up to 3 times per night. This is the official word, although some people dialing over long distance have reported as many as 13 attempts.

40. It says that my download failed. What will happen if it skips a day? What can I do?

If your ReplayTV fails to dial in to the network, it will pick up everything the next time it dials in (usually the next day). You can use the unit normally, but will be unable to schedule anything 8 days in advance. If you are worried about it, or you see "holes" in the channel guide, you can force a Net Connect by going to live TV and pressing 243-Zones. From there you will see an option to do a net connect.

If this does not fix the holes in your Channel Guide, you can go into setup and select a different zip code, do a full download and then go back and change back to your own zip code and do it again. Some people have had success with this.

Or, you could just schedule manual recordings for the missing times.

41. I keep getting the c1008504 or c1004502 error. What does this mean?

"Could not connect to the network." Try hitting Menu, going into the Setup for Phone Numbers and see if you can select a different number. Also, make sure that the latest software upgrade did not add or remove of some of the extra digits you need to use (such as 1-562 becoming 562 or vice versa or these digits being dropped altogether in favor of a 7 digit string). Also, you might try selecting an alternate number and see if that works better.

Also, did you recently discontinue call waiting from your phone company? If so, you might still be entering the code to disable it on your ReplayTV.

42. I keep getting a "No Dial Tone" message.

This often happens because of voice mail from your phone company. When you have a message, you will get a stutter tone instead of a normal dial tone. ReplayTV will not dial out unless it senses a true dial tone. Check your channel guide to see if you have full listings for the next 7-8 days (you can use FF and Rewind in the channel guide to go forward and back 12 hours at a time). Some people have seen this message even after a successful download. If you are missing data, you can force a network connect by going to Live TV and pressing 243-Zones.

To fix the problem, go into the Dialing Prefix setup screen and press Zones. From there, you can turn off dial tone detection.

43. It keeps telling me it can't connect. What should I do?

Here is a list of steps you can take:

  1. Change dial-up numbers. Go into Menu, Setup, Change Dialing and Input Options and select a different ("alternate") number. Some people have had success by changing their zip code (and area code?) to a different one and then changing it back later to refresh the dial-up number list.
  2. Unplug everything from the phone line except for the ReplayTV, especially cordless devices. Some cordless devices generate less interference if they are sitting on the base unit.
  3. If you are using a wireless jack for the Replay, try a stringing long cord temporarily to see if that helps.
  4. Reboot your machine by powering it off on the front panel, waiting until you hear the disk spin down and then pulling the plug. Wait 30 seconds and plug it back in.
  5. Go to live TV and press 411-Zones and see if the modem is listed on the screen. If it never displays the modem's response string, it is probably fried. If it says "empty I6 response", that's not an error. It's just that that particular brand of modem doesn't return "Link Diagnostics" information.
  6. If your phone cord is going through a surge protector, unplug that from the loop.
  7. Here's a really unorthodox one. Some people have gotten their Replay to dial in by listening to the connection on another extension or especially a muted speakerphone. While seemingly a bad idea, apparently this seems to cause enough noise to force the modem to negotiate down from 56K to a lower setting (33.6 or 28.8 or something). This causes a more stable albeit slower connection, which is less likely to drop carrier.
44. I have heard some people say that they have gotten messages on their ReplayTV (I assume from ReplayTV). Do I have messages? If so, how do I check them?

Press Menu and you will see the Messages menu, perhaps with an envelope next to it. This is where you have to check for messages. You will receive no other notification about failing to dial in or anything else.

45. My favorite show did not record.

Contrary to what you read below, it is my belief (based on personal experience and that of other users of this forum) that even "Guaranteed" Themes and Zones are not guaranteed, and they will sometimes be overridden by "Non-Guaranteed" single or show-based recordings. Also, if you set your show up as non-guaranteed and it did not record, you may be out of space. Count up your recordings and multiply by the quality levels (2 X Medium, 3 X High) to see if your unit is full. Basically, Themes and Zones are not guaranteed, period. "Guaranteed" refers to the space being reserved, not the program being recorded. If you absolutely MUST see a show, do a single or recurring show-based Guaranteed record. Also, among similar priorities, shows beginning earlier get precedence over shows beginning later (a one-hour show starting at 8:00 will get precedence over a half-hour show starting at 8:30). If all else is equal, the recording created first will take precedence over the one created later. In the case of Zones, however, the one on the lower numbered channel will be selected if all else is equal.

Here's the official word from Replay:

CHANNEL RECYCLING RULES
Before we launch into the discussion of priorities, I should take a moment to lay out the rules for channel "recycling" -- the deletion of one show in a channel to make room for a new show. I'll describe the channel recycling policy, and I'll also let you know about a bug I recently found which some of you may experience as well.

The policy is this:

  • Single-record channels don't recycle. They record once, and that's it. Non-guaranteed single recordings may be deleted to make room for new guaranteed recordings in other channels, but guaranteed single recordings (this includes "Preserve this episode") stay until deleted by the user.

  • Show-based channels recycle based upon the number of episodes you have told the channel to keep. In the case of guaranteed show-based channels, they will record every time the show is on at or near the time you specified, on the channel you specified. When the channel is "full" (it has two episodes in it, and it's set for two episodes), the oldest episode in the channel will be deleted to make room for a new episode. By definition, Show-based channels won't record more often than about once a day, since they're looking for a show to be on at a particular time.

  • Non-guaranteed show-based channels behave just like guaranteed ones, EXCEPT: since non-guaranteed channels don't reserve space on the disk, it's also possible for an episode to be deleted before the channel is "full" (e.g. you've told it to keep two episodes, but your disk is pretty full so it deletes the single episode in the channel to make room for recording the new one).

  • Theme-based and Zone-based channels are also configured for how much programming they will hold (1/2 hour, 2 hours, etc.), and the oldest program(s) in the channel will be deleted to make room for a new one coming in. Programs in a theme-based channel won't be deleted to make room for a new program until the oldest program in the channel is at least 23 hours 59 minutes old. This way, Theme-based and Zone-based channels that find lots of hits won't just spend all day recording and "starving" other channels.

  • ANY non-guaranteed show may be deleted at any time to make room for a new guaranteed recording. If this is necessary, the oldest non-guaranteed recording(s)on the machine will be deleted first.

The bug: I found this bug the other day. In 2.0, if your disk is full, and (say) your 2-hour non-guaranteed Science Fiction Zone-based channel has one hour of programming in it when Star Trek comes on, it may delete the show that's in the channel to record the new Star Trek, even if the show in the channel isn't a day old yet. I'm working on a fix for that now, and I'll let you know as soon as I can when we have a date for it to be rolled out.

PRIORITIES
What happens when more than one Replay Channel could potentially record something at a given day and time? Obviously, we can only record one thing, so one of them will have to "win". Which one wins is determined as follows:

  1. The highest-priority channels on ReplayTV are guaranteed Show-based and Single-record channels. These are not allowed to be created in conflict with one another, and the intention is that they should always record, barring unusual circumstances like a change in schedule that causes two of them to move into conflict. In this exceptional case, the older channel (the one created first) wins.

  2. The next-highest-priority channels on ReplayTV are guaranteed Theme-based and Zone-based channels (including guaranteed Theme-based channels created via Find all Episodes). These will take priority over any non-guaranteed show, but will not interfere with guaranteed Show-based or Single-record channels. No effort is made to prevent the scheduling of overlapping Theme-based or Zone-based channels. In the event that two or more guaranteed Theme-based or Zone-based channels find matching shows that overlap, but start at different times, the show starting first wins. If two or more shows start at the same time, the winner is the show airing on the lowest-numbered Channel Guide channel.

  3. Next is all non-guaranteed channels. No effort is made to prevent the scheduling of overlapping non-guaranteed recordings. In the event that two or more non-guaranteed recordings overlap, the program starting first wins. (Note that this means that a non-guaranteed theme-based recording starting at 2pm can win out over a non-guaranteed show-based recording starting at 2:15). If two or more programs begin at the same time, a non-guaranteed show-based or single-record channel will take priority over non-guaranteed Theme- or Zone-based channels. In the event that two or more non-guaranteed show-based or single-record channels start at the same time, the oldest channel will win. In the event that two or more non-guaranteed Theme-based or Zone-based channels find programs starting at the same time, the show on the lowest-numbered Channel Guide channel wins.

TO REITERATE
It has been stated many times on AVS Forum that "older channels have priority". This is correct to an extent. It is certainly the case in the event of conflicting guaranteed Show-based or Single-record channels (this is very rare). It is the case when non-guaranteed show-based or single-record channels start at the same time. However, for Theme-based and Zone-based channels, the rule is that we'll take the one we find first when searching for programs to record. Since we search the guide channel-by-channel starting with the lowest number, the show on the lowest-numbered channel will win.

46. The recording rules seem really confusing. Is there a To Do List that shows everything that is scheduled to record?

Not currently, but this is a highly-requested feature and has been hinted at several times by Replay employees as being something they want. Unfortunately, it did not make it into the 3.0 software release.

47. I deleted a show (or changed a recording) and now it no longer shows up in the Replay Guide. Also, if I do a Find Shows or find it in the Channel Guide, it no longer has the red dot. But, I can't reschedule the recording because I keep getting a conflict with the non-existant recording or I get "Failure to create Replay Channel." Help!

This is a known, reported bug. I worked around it this way. First, I cold rebooted by turning off the unit, waiting until the hard drive stopped and then pulling the plug for 30 seconds. (This step turns out to be unnecessary, but since it may be a file system problem, it seemed like a good idea.) After plugging it back in, I went into the Replay Guide and deleted something (can't remember if it was a recorded show or a whole channel). Then my problem recording showed up. I then DELETED it immediately and rescheduled it. The rescheduled recording took and worked. You could then reinstate whatever you deleted to make your problem recording show up.

Other people have solved the problem by adding a non-guaranteed recording to the same timeslot and then making it guaranteed.

Still others have deleted it from myreplaytv.com and then let it dial in.

Ultimately, though, some people have had to resort to using 777-Zones to completely restore their ReplayTV to factory-new condition.

48. My show at 3 AM did not record and everything looks right (according to the rules). Any ideas?

It is much less likely with the 3.0 release, but if the nightly download takes too long, your show might not record. One possible workaround is to tie up the machine with recordings from 2 AM onward (most likely at Standard/Extended if you are just recording for this reason). The phone call will not happen unless the unit is available. Of course, this way you run the risk of missing a guide update, unless that is what you want to do for toll call reasons.

49. ReplayTV recorded the wrong channel. Why?

Check to make sure that your IR blaster is still in place. Make sure that your wife/kids, etc. did not change channels on the cable box or satellite receiver. Make sure your cable company didn't change the lineup without telling you. Also, you may want to check the Tweaker section for information on fine tuning your IR blaster.

50. ReplayTV says it only recorded 27 or 28 minutes of my 30 minute show. With the way shows cut off as it is, why does it do this?

It doesn't. It generates a time estimate from the size of the resulting MPEG file. Since it uses Variable Bit Rate Encoding (VBR) it is impossible to get an exact number. Rest assured, your entire show is there.

If the clock is more off than this, it could be that the signal is of very bad quality.

Below are the encoding parameters of the ReplayTV at the three different quality levels. These were discovered by someone writing a file system parser and analyzing the MPEG streams.

Low/Extended Quality:
--Video: 352x480 @ 29.97 fps
--Encoded 2000 kbps, Observed 1900-1950 kbps
--Audio: 32 khz / 96 kbps

Medium Quality:
--Video: 720x480 @ 29.97 fps
--Encoded 4000 kbps, Observed 3700-3800 kbps
--Audio: 32 khz / 160 kbps

High Quality:
--Video: 720x480 @ 29.97 fps
--Encoded 8000 kbps, Observed 5600-5800 kbps
--Audio: 32 khz / 224 kbps

All three streams have VBR encoded in the header. The streams only seem to have about a 5% oscillation in bitrate.

51. I am missing the last minute of my show. Why did Replay cut it off?

ReplayTV synchronizes it's clock with the atomic clock nightly as part of the download. Unfortunately, the networks can get behind at times. Sometimes, this is even done on purpose as a marketing ploy. If this is an ongoing problem with a certain show, use the show padding feature that is new to the 3.0 software.

52. I want to record only the opening monologue of the Tonight Show. Can I do this?

This feature, known as VCR-style record, is now present in the 3.0 version of the software. It works by specifying the exact start and end time and the channel. Hit menu and then select Manual Record.

53. How do I get only the "new" episode of the Real World (or some other show that plays multiple times per week)?

You pretty much have to find it manually and record only that show. MTV broadcasts this so many times that it makes Themes all but unusable. You can try limiting your search to a certain day or days in order to get only new episodes. The ability to limit by day is new in 3.0.

54. If I have a show set up to record every week and the network moves it, will I still get it?

If the show moves to a timeslot adjacent to the original, you will still get it. If it moves farther away, you will not. If it moves to the same timeslot on another night, you will still get it, unless you've limited which days it will record on. Example: If you have a show-based recording to get Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? at 9PM, you will also get the one at 8PM on Tuesday. You will also get the ones at 10PM except when there is a show starting at 9:30, in which case you wouldn't, because then it would be more than one timeslot away.

This can be used to your advantage for recording your favorite sports team on their main channel. I record the Los Angeles Kings on Fox Sports West at 7:30 PM recurring. This catches every game starting between 4:30 PM to 7:30 PM. Ideally, I should have caught one of the games starting at 7:00 PM, which will still catch the 7:30 PM games but will also catch the 4:00 PM games.

55. I just paused for 6 hours and now I am watching the show and have decided that I want to save it. How can I do this?

Well, now you can’t. If you had pressed Record instead of Pause when you walked away then you could have saved it. Your only option now is press Rewind and get out a videotape. This feature has been requested several times. It did not make it into the 3.0 software.

56. How do I avoid missing extra innings, overtimes and the like?

Padding, new in 3.0. Padding goes up to 240 minutes, for those 7 period playoff hockey games and 13 inning baseball games.

57. My recording consists entirely of a black screen.

This is rare, but the MPEG chip may be hung. Power cycle your ReplayTV by turning it off, waiting for the drive to spin down and unplugging it for 30 seconds. Also, make sure your cable box or satellite receiver is not powered off. Many devices will put out a live black screen when they are "off".

58. My recording consists entirely of a blue screen.

Your recording source was likely turned off. Make sure your spouse / kids didn’t turn the cable box off. Make sure the channel or line input is correct on your VCR if it is between your cable box and your ReplayTV. Did you have a power outage by any chance? It is likely that your cable box will not turn itself back on but your ReplayTV will. Buy a cheap UPS to avoid this.

59. I have a Simpsons theme and it recorded the episode from 6:00-6:30 but not the one from 6:30-7:00.

This is a known bug in a previous version of the software (2.1). Use a show-based recording instead. This is still present in 3.0. You can also increase the size of your theme 30 minutes longer than you really want it, as ReplayMike says it is an erroneous space limitation.

60. I get green lines across the Simpsons or some other cartoon, especially in bright red patches of color.

This happens when the red on your signal is oversaturated. Contact your cable company.

61. The whites seem to be too bright on some programs.

This happens occasionally and seems to be magnified if you are going through your VCR or using an RCA cable to your TV instead of the S-Video.

62. The picture is blocky and breaking up for a couple seconds. What’s wrong?

You probably have a weak signal or one that dropped out for a couple seconds. If you record at Medium or especially Low (ReplayTV) / Extended (Panasonic), a lot of motion will cause the area to explode into pixellated blocks because there is not enough space at this speed to record all the changes. Most people use High Quality for sports. Remember, though, that some programs are digitally compressed and decompressed before they are broadcast, so you may be seeing artifacts that were present in the original signal.

63. The sound and picture are out of sync slightly. How do I fix this?

Press Pause twice and it will sync up. Instant Replay is also effective.

64. Can I "spin down" the hard drive to save wear and tear on it? Will I miss programs or downloads if I do this?

Yes, if you turn the unit off, the hard drive will spin down. Of course, studies are split as to whether hard drives are better off being run continuously or not, so you will need to make your own decision on this. The unit will still wake up to do recordings and dial in even if it is "Off". During these times, the hard drive will be spinning and will make noise. It will also spin up every half hour or so to check whether or not to record anything.

65. My hard drive makes noise every 15 (20, 30) minutes when ReplayTV is off. can I make it stop?

Go to Live TV, press 243-Zones, move to the input box at the bottom of the screen and press Select. Enter DISABLE DISK SPINDOWN in the box (known as the "Claw Foot Portal" or CFP). Make sure you spell it correctly. This is especially helpful if you are using two ReplayTVs in the same room and are toggling them with one remote using the Power button. Enter ENABLE DISK SPINDOWN to turn it back on.

66. What can I type in the Claw Foot Portal?

First of all, the Claw Foot Portal is the empty box at the bottom of the screen after you go to Live TV and enter 243-Zones. Here are some things you can enter in there:

DISABLE DISK SPINDOWN makes it so that your hard drive still spins when the unit is off. The constant noise is found by many to be less distracting in their sleep than the regular spin up and spin down. Use ENABLE DISK SPINDOWN to change it back.

PLAY CONTINUOUSLY will add a Play Continuously menu item to your Playback options. Enter it again to turn it off.

TIC TAC TOE will allow you to play Tic Tac Toe by pressing 111-Zones.

ME LIKE COOKIES will show you a short hidden message.

MODESTO GIRL will make all your red circles look like hearts instead. This happens automatically on Valentine's Day.

67. How do I find out what version of the software I am running?

Go to a screen where you are watching Live TV and press 411-Zones.

68. Man, you sure know a lot of key codes. Do you know any more?

Here is a good list. In all screens:

  • Record = Done
  • Channel Up / Down = Page Up / Down
  • Rewind = Previous screen in multi-screen dialogs
  • Exit = Exit screen
  • Channel Guide, Replay Guide, Replay Zones, Menu = Pressing any of these will jump immediately to that guide. You don't need to close the current screen. Pressing the same button again will close that guide.
In the Channel Guide:
  • Rew, FF = Jump 12 hours back or forward
  • Channel Up / Down = Page Up / Down
  • ## then Enter = Shows that channel at the top of the page
  • Enter = Brings up menu for shows currently in progress (like Select does on future shows)
From recordings or live TV:
  • ## Jump = Jumps ## minutes into the show
  • ### Jump = Jumps # hours and ## minutes into the show
  • # Quickskip = Jumps ahead # minutes (up to 999 - recorded shows only)
  • # Instant Replay = Jumps back # minutes (up to 999 - recorded shows only)
  • # Return To Live = Jumps to # minutes from the end (recorded shows only)
  • 243-Zones = toggle clock, CPU meter, force net connect, claw foot portal
  • 411-Zones = hardware information, software version and build number
  • 777-Zones = be careful in here, "Restore Factory Defaults" (read: lose everything)
  • 611-Zones-116-Zones = be careful in here too, country codes and zones prefix
  • 111-Zones = Play Tic Tac Toe (after entering TIC TAC TOE in the claw foot portal)
  • 876-Zones = Totally resets your unit. Will force a full setup the next time you reboot.
On the Main Menu screen:
  • # = Selects the corresponding menu entry. So Menu-3 selects the Replay Guide automatically. This is very useful if you have limited memory/buttons on your universal remote, since you can get by without dedicated Replay Guide and Channel Guide buttons.
On the brightness screen:
  • 888-Zones = ReplayTV staff easter egg
On the cable box screen:
  • Zones = Advanced cable box settings screen
On the dialing prefix screen during setup:
  • Zones = Wait for Dial Tone and Dial Using Tone/Pulse settings
On the Manual Record screen:
  • Display = Allows you to select line inputs for Manual Record
On "keyboard" screens:
  • Rewind = Backspace
  • FF = Space
  • Record = Done (very useful on this screen)
69. Can I run two ReplayTVs in the same room?

Sort of. There is a kludge that works pretty effectively. Push the power button on the front panel of one unit so that one unit is on and the other is off. Now the Power button on the remote will toggle them and only the "On" unit will respond to other IR codes. Use the DISABLE DISK SPINDOWN option above so that the units power up faster when toggling, otherwise you may get into a situation where they are both on and you are deleting recordings on the wrong box.

In the latest version, there are undocumented discrete codes that can be used to run multiple ReplayTVs. Basically, they continue to respond to the default Replay and Panasonic codes, but also respond to the first discrete code they see upon startup. You need a Pronto remote (or compatible or a friend with one) to do this. This site has more information.

You can also add these codes to any One-For-All remote by using a JP-1 connector.

70. The sound is about a second behind the picture when watching live TV. What’s wrong?

You must listen to the audio that is coming from the ReplayTV instead of bypassing it with your receiver. (Although you can run the outs from your Replay into your receiver so that you can decode Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound.) It takes about a second to compress and decompress the video so that you can pause live TV.

71. Does ReplayTV know what I watch? If so, what do they do with this data?

Yes, they do keep records. The Privacy Policy promised that they will never use your data except in an aggregated form. "Mr. Nielsen, 5124 ReplayTV users recorded the most recent airing of X-Files, but it doesn’t matter anyway, because they skipped all the commercials."

72. I forgot to set a recording. Is there any way to program my ReplayTV when I am not at home?

Go to www.myreplaytv.com. It will only get into your unit when it dials up.

73. How do I completely clear all programmed settings on the remote control?

Well, you would hit Code Set + 981 but you really don't want to do this, since the ReplayTV codes will be permanently lost. Yes, I mean permanently. You also do not want to hit Code Set + Hard Disk Recorder (ReplayTV on old remotes). That will also clear it. What you really want to do is Code Set + 980.

For a complete online manual of lots of cool things you can do with the ReplayTV remote, look at the Robman's How to Program the Replay Remote site.

74. OK. What I really want to do is control my audio receiver with the Replay (or Showstopper) remote. Can I do this?

Yes. Be very careful entering these codes, because it might be possible to permanently screw up your remote if you do it really wrong. Here is the sequence to change your Cable button into an Audio button:

First you need to temporarily disable the Replay codes.

  1. Press and hold CODE SET, two flashes.
  2. Type 977, four flashes.

Now you need to change the CABLE button to be an audio button.

  1. Press and hold CODE SET, two flashes.
  2. Type 992, two flashes.
  3. Press: ReplayTV (Hard Disk Recorder), CABLE, two flashes.

Now you should restore the ReplayTV codes.

  1. Press the ReplayTV (Hard Disk Recorder) button.
  2. Press and hold CODE SET.
  3. Type 987, two flashes.
  4. Type 0001, two flashes.

Now you need to assign a device code to the new audio (CABLE) button. To do this you need to find the correct device code for your receiver at http://www.hifi-remote.com/. This new audio device can also be used to program CD players.

For a complete online manual of lots of cool things you can do with the ReplayTV remote, look at the Robman's How to Program the Replay Remote site.

If your Instant Replay and Channel Guide buttons are now switched, see this topic

75. My Instant Replay and Channel Guide buttons switched places. How do I fix this?

If this happens to you, do the following two commands:

  1. Press ReplayTV (Hard Disk Recorder).
  2. Press and hold the CODE SET button, two flashes.
  3. Type 994, two flashes.
  4. Press IR followed by CG, two flashes.

Now for the other button.

  1. Press ReplayTV (Hard Disk Recorder).
  2. Press and hold the CODE SET button, two flashes.
  3. Type 994, two flashes.
  4. Press CG followed by IR, two flashes.
76. Is there any way to fine tune the remote control for my flaky cable box? I have a General Instruments (now Motorola) series box and the IR blaster is very inconsistent. I have a Scientific Atlanta box and it takes 7 seconds to change channels.

You can use fine tuning. On the screen labeled Code Set Selection (or Cable Box Brand), hit Zones. This will give you a screen with fine tune adjustments. The values for General Instruments DCT-1000 and DCT-2000 boxes is as follows (from the AT&T preconfigured Replay boxes):

Enable Fine Tuning: Yes
Codeset: 4476
Send Enter: Yes
Minimum digits to send: 3
Inter-action delay: 0400ms
Response delay: 0200ms
Pre-command delay: 0400ms
Inter-command delay: 0401ms

For Scientific Atlanta boxes, all you need to do is send the number of digits that your cable box displays (for analog boxes, Minimum digits to send is 2, for digital 3).

If you are tweaking for your own device, here's what we think each item means (SOME OF THESE ARE GUESSES):

Send Enter
Determines whether or not to send the Enter key on your cable box or satellite receiver's remote
Minimum digits to send
Let's say you are trying to go to channel 2. If MDTS is 0 or 1, Replay will send "2". If it's 2, it will send "02". If it's 3 it will send "002" and so on.
Inter-action delay
This is the time between the pressing of each digit. Increasing this number often helps if you are dropping digits (recording channel 13 instead of 123).
Response delay
Puts up a black screen while doing the channel change so you don't see the blue "no video signal" screen. It is completely safe to monkey with this value, decreasing it to see more of your show or increasing it so you don't see the channel banner generated by your satellite receiver or digital cable box.
Pre-command delay
How long Replay waits between sending a wake up signal and the first digit. Increase this if your box often misses the first digit in a channel change.
Inter-command delay
This one is a bit unclear. Is it the time between the last digit and Enter? Not really sure. One thing I have noticed, though, is that this value seems to always be greater than or equal to the Inter-action delay in every set of good codes.
77. Are there discrete codes for Power On and Power Off on ReplayTV?

Check out the Robman's site for information on the codes and Pronto CCF files. If you have a learning remote and have a Philips Pronto (or a friend with one), you can use these codes.

78. I wonder what’s inside my ReplayTV.

If you open the case, you will void the warranty. Be especially careful of the unshielded power supply (it’s not in a metal box like in your PC). Here is a good link to look at for a 2020:

http://www.ilmfan.com/replayinards.html

and a ShowStopper 30-hour:

http://www.sharkyextreme.com/te/hw/reviews/video/panasonic_showstopper/internal.jpg

79. Does ReplayTV have an Ethernet / USB / etc. port?

No. No current or past ReplayTV unit has had these ports. The old ones did have FireWire, but it was never activated.

80. Can I expand my ReplayTV or ShowStopper with an IDE drive upgrade?

Yes. There is now a standardized way to replace your #1 drive with a larger drive and add a second drive. It is confirmed that someone now has a working 167-hour ReplayTV using 2 80GB Maxtor drives. These methods will work for any sized IDE drive! Here is the link to all the versions, including linux and Windows command line and graphical utilities:

RTVPatch.sourceforge.net

If you have Win9x/ME, you may want to use this utility to create the linux boot disk: rawrite for Windows

If the floppy doesn't work, try again with another floppy disk. It doesn't do any error checking so a bad sector on the floppy will cause it not to work.

Here are the steps someone used with a single drive patch using the Windows command-line version:

  1. Installed Windows 2000, Win 2K SP1.
  2. Removed the RPTV drive and put it on the secondary IDE chain. Left it as a master.
  3. Unboxed the Maxtor 80 GB, configured it as a slave and put it on the secondary IDE chain. My primary has a Quantum 8 GB OS drive and a CD ROM.
  4. Powered up. Went to maxtor.com and downloaded amset and wvset utilities. Put them on a bootable Win98SE floppy.
  5. Soft Reboot to floppy
  6. Ran wvset /show. Indicated the maxtor would verify through the next 9 power cycles, which jives - they come from the factory set for 10 cycles.
  7. Ran wvset /off, which turned off write verification
  8. Ran amset /check. Indicated AM was on with a value of 0xC0. (PRMan: Interesting that the 3060 drives ship with this feature enabled, just as I theorized. This may cause some of the additional skipping seen on the 3060's).
  9. Ran amset /off, which turned off AM stuff.
  10. Note I did not do a LL format as Maxtor states it is only a last resort on non-functioning drives. (PRMan: Regardless of what he did, you really should use MAXDIAG and do a full write-destructive test at this point. That will remap all bad blocks on your new drive. If you don't do this, and you hit a bad block during normal usage, it will result in a skip in your programming).
  11. Power cycle, boot to Win2K
  12. Ran RTVPatch. Showed my primary drive as 0, RPTV as 1, Maxtor as 2, 2 GB Jaz as a 1 GB Jaz on 3.
  13. Forced RPTV to 39876480. That got rid of the NEEDS TO BE PATCHED message. f-y-1-39876480 (PRMan: This would be the correct value for a 2020 only.)
  14. Forced Maxtor to 160086528. f-y-2-160086528
  15. Selected RPTV as source. s-1
  16. Selected Maxtor as target. t-2
  17. Mirrored P1. m-y. 32 seconds on my Dual PII 333 with 256 MB RAM
  18. Mirrored P2. m-2. 36:50 minutes (PRMan: You can skip this step if you don't care about preserving your old shows.)
  19. Ran the patch. p-n. Showed CRC of 0x27D8 and XOR of 0x67, which felt good since I had calculated these earlier.
  20. Quit RTV patch and shut down. x.
  21. Set the Maxtor back to a master. Left the RPTV in the system for poking around later.
  22. Installed the Maxtor back in the RPTV.
  23. Hooked it up, got "Please wait" a couple of times, screen flashes, then back to channel 4 which I was watching last time I powered it up.
  24. Hit Guide, got 65 hours plus my previous 17 or so guaranteed. Shows preserved.
81. Can I save my shows off to PC/Video CD/etc.

Some people have figured out the file system enough to grab a file from the ReplayTV show partition and view it using their PC's software DVD player. To do this requires removing the ReplayTV hard drive and connecting it to your PC.

82. Can I clone my ReplayTV drive and use it in my Panasonic? Will it cure the "Macrovision" problem.

The 3xxx series of ReplayTV brand and the Panasonic ShowStoppers have the same software on the drive.

Some people have used this method to get the newer software versions on the Panasonic units. This will not change Panasonic's Macrovision handling to work like Replay's.

You can also go the other way.

Do NOT mix 2xxx series ReplayTV and Panasonic.

83. There is no color on things I record.
There are several things that may cause this:

A bad S-Video cable. S-Video carries the picture and the color on two separate cables, so if the color cable is broken inside, you'll see this. As a test, try a different cable or use the composite video cable.

A bad unit. Some people have fixed this by going to Live TV and entering 777-Zones. Then they select the option to totally reset. You will lose all data if you do this. If this does not work, you may have to return your unit.

84. My unit won't upgrade to the latest software version. If I force a Net Connect with 243-Zones, it downloads the whole thing and then I see it come up with the new logo. Then it restarts and I still have version 2. What can I do?
If your machine is still under warranty, then by all means call Customer Support. They will get you a new machine, but it will take a while.

If you don't want to wait that long, you could try copying the drive from another unit that has already upgraded (assuming you have 2 units). Of course, there is no guarantee that this machine will retrieve the next upgrade, so this is a temporary solution.

85. What operating system does ReplayTV use? Is it Linux?
No, that's Tivo. Replay uses a proprietary real-time OS that may be related to VaxWorks (from their job postings). It is called Sutter and the Replay system uses XML extensively for data. The Replay OS is very efficient compared to Linux, allowing ReplayTV to use smaller processors and less memory for the same tasks.
86. How do I get this to work from Canada or Mexico?
According to Replay, Canada is NOT SUPPORTED.

But that's why this is the Advanced FAQ. Let me give you all the information we have to date. Basically, there are several problems to getting the device to work from Canada. They are:

  1. The 800 number. It is a U.S. only 800 number. The easiest way to get around this is to visit a friend near the border in the U.S. in order to do the initial setup. While you are at it, I would connect several times using 243-Zones in order to get the 3.0 upgrade. Another way around it is to pick up the phone and manually dial whatever you need to in order to get on a line that can dial U.S. 800 numbers. Then start the Replay setup and hang up the phone.
  2. Zip Code and Local Number. Since you can't enter your Canadian 6 digit alphanumeric zip code, you'll have to choose a U.S. one. Choose the Zip Code from the city closest to the border where you are at. For instance, if you are in Toronto, use 14301 (Niagra Falls) and 716-694-xxxx for the number. Obviously if you live in Vancouver or somewhere else you would use whatever's closest. When choosing the Local Number, make sure to tell it you need to dial 1-716 or whatever you need to do. If you need to, this is the screen where you can add a dialing prefix. If your country has different-sounding dial tones, you can hit Zones on this screen and turn off dial tone detection, but only after you download version 3.0.
  3. Listings. Obviously you are at the mercy of what's out there. If you have DirecTV or DISH (Echostar) then you are probably in better shape, but only if it mirrors the U.S. one on most or all of the channels. Otherwise, the border city's over-the-air listings usually include a some Canadian stations. Also, you probably get the U.S. ones. If you are in Mexico or somewhere else, you probably can't get sensible listings at all. Even then, you can use Manual Record to tune to a specific channel at a specific time, but you won't have theme or search capabilities.
87. What kind of drive should I use for the upgrade and how do I prepare it?
The brand doesn't matter. Most people are using Maxtor drives because they are the only company making an 80GB IDE drive right now. There is certainly no reason you can't use another brand. The old Replays came with Quantum and the new ones (60 hour) with Maxtor.

You want a 5400 RPM drive or less. 7200 RPM drives generate significantly more heat, so you probably don't want that as ReplayTV runs hot already. Some of the drives coming with the unit were 4400 RPM even (or maybe that was TiVo, but you get the idea). So drive speed isn't really the issue here.

If you get a Maxtor, you should turn Write Verification off using the utilities at Maxtor's site (or that came in the box). You can leave Acoustic Management set to Fast or turn it Off. If it's too noisy, you can change it later. Mine is set to Off and it is easily drowned out by my sound system. Some people change the UDMA settings and cable, but you really don't need to do this. The Replay doesn't appear to support UDMA 66 or 100 (the original drives weren't that fast), so I wouldn't bother setting the drive that way, UDMA settings are automatically negotiated anyway. You probably want to do a write destructive test to the whole drive first (now called Low Level Format by Maxtor) or you might get minor skipping in some recordings until the drive fills up the first time. I didn't let it finish and had some minor skipping until I filled it up (usually 1 second or less).

Some people fret about replacing the "EZ-Bake" enclosure, as it is coming to be called (when you open your unit, you will understand). I went ahead and replaced it, as Replay apparently thought it was OK to cover the breathing hole when they made the unit to begin with. This possibly contributes to the tolerable noise level even though I have Acoustic Management off.

P.S. Don't forget to jumper your drive back to Master (Single for Western Digital) before putting it back into your Replay (unless of course you are doing a 2-drive upgrade, in which case they should be Master and Slave). Good luck with whatever you do.

88. I would sure like to use a wireless keyboard to enter searches. Can I hack my Replay to do this?
You could, but why not just use a WebTV or Dishplayer keyboard? Both of these work, although they are undocumented and unsupported.

Also, F8 brings up the Replay Guide and F9 the Channel Guide. There is no way to press Done, however, as the Enter key is not mapped.

89. How do I get a manual for 3.0?
There is one online at www.replaytv.com/contact/guidetoreplaytv30.pdf. You will need Adobe Acrobat reader to view it.
90. Can I extract ReplayTV show files and save them to another format somehow?
Yes, but it involves removing your ReplayTV drive from the unit and connecting it to your PC. Use FlipFlop's wonderful RTVExtract program to do it.

The files are standard MPEG2 files and you should be able to play them on your PC if you have the correct codecs, which are installed by basically any demo DVD player you can download from the internet.

91. Can I make a shorter video clip out of a longer program?
Yes. The process is as follows:

  1. Connect one of the ReplayTV outputs (both audio and video) to line input #1.
  2. Play the program to be clipped and pause it just before the starting point of the segment you want to save.
  3. Press "Input" until the selected input is line #1. You will see a video looping effect on the screen.
  4. Press "Record" (once).
  5. Examine the default end time value and make sure that the total recording time is at least as long as your clip length. If necessary, extend the ending time by an hour or two.
  6. Press "Record" again. This will actually start the recording, and the red LED will come on.
  7. (Time is of the essence here, as all of the screens you see now will also be saved at the start of the clip.) Press "Replay Guide," find the saved recording containing the clip, and press "Select" twice. With a little practice, you'll be able to predict the quickest direction to move in the guide (hint: the list is in alphabetical order). You are now making a new recording starting at the beginning of the desired segment.
  8. When the playback reaches the end of the segment, press "Pause" (optional), then "Jump," "Stop," and "Stop." That will terminate the recording. The "Jump" is necessary so the "Stop" button will stop the recording, not just the playback.
  9. To return to normal TV viewing, press "Input" as necessary.
If you plan ahead and note where each segment starts, you can put multiple clips onto the same re-recording. When you reach the end of one segment, use "nnn-Jump" to skip to another segment ("nnn" is the time marker in the playback).

That's it. The clip will be named with the date; too bad there's no "rename" feature.

Also, keep in mind the following:

Refinement spares you from having to include Replay menus in your recording:

  • Note the start and end times of your segment so you can pre-program an accurate recording length.
  • Set up a future start time for your recording (say, a minute or two ahead) and press Done.
  • Jump back to your program and queue up the starting point, then press Pause.
  • Wait for the red light to come on, and as soon as it does, press Play to begin playing the segment.
  • When your segment is done, you can achieve a clean closing point by powering off your Replay unit (recording continues unattended till the end point you programmed in; if you were accurate in your measurement, the red light goes out within moments).

What's neat about this method is that, if you wish, you can preface your segment recording with program detail if you wish, using either the information display, or even the VCR countdown feature.

92. My ReplayTV no longer responds to the remote control, but it still operates my TV and/or VCR.

The ReplayTV remote is just a One-For-All remote that has been silkscreened differently and had ReplayTV codes added. Sometimes the ReplayTV codes can get lost.

Try this:

  1. Press the blue ReplayTV button (Hard Disk Recorder if you have a Showstopper)
  2. Press and hold Code Set until the red LED blinks twice (about five seconds)
  3. Press 9-8-7 on your remote, again, red LED should blink twice
  4. Press 0-0-0-1 on your remote, LED should blink twice.
Note: On that last step, if it blinks one long flash, chances are it didn't take the restore properly. Try it and see if it worked, if not, try again. If after a couple attempts it still doesn't work, here are your options:
  • Call Replay Support and they may ship you a new remote. This can take two weeks. Call Replay at 800-933-5899. Of course, if it is a Showstopper remote, call Panasonic 888-843-9788.
  • Build a "JP1" box to re-program the remote with the upgrade code. (assuming you don't have one of the original 4-battery replay remote, it doesn't have a JP1 connector). See Robman's One-For-All hack site for more info. Or find a friend with a JP1 that can do it. Or pay for a 2-way Fedex a friend with a JP1.
  • Buy a remote that includes Replay codes. (The RCA RCU810 has most, but is missing QuickSkip and Instant Replay.)
  • Buy a learning remote and take it over to a friend's house with ReplayTV (or even the store) and program it. A popular model among AVSForum members is the Sony VL-900, because it has unlimited learning and just enough buttons if you are creative. Plan well, though, since you can't move them around later. Don't worry though, the codes survive a battery change.
93. How do I temporarily stop a Replay Channel from recording without losing the content currently in it? I don't want hundreds of summer reruns.
For a show-based recording (double red dot):
  • Set Record All Shows back to "No".
  • Set it to only record on a day that the show is not on (such as Sunday).
For theme recordings:
  • Set it to non-guaranteed and set the recording level to Standard/Extended and the time to keep to 30 minutes. This still won't stop half-hour shows from recording, but at least they won't take up much space. This will work for hour-long shows.
  • Watch the shows and then delete them. It is probably several months until new episodes start again anyway.
94. How do I mount 2 drives in my ReplayTV? I am not really handy with tools and the idea of drilling through metal scares me! Is there any way to do it without building something?
See this link.
95. My ReplayTV cannot control my DISH Network receiver box. Help!
Here are some things to try:
  1. Remove the UHF antenna from the back of the unit. The unit will not respond to infrared while the antenna is attached.
  2. Change the Remote ID to 1. This controls the UHF and the infrared, and Replay is only programmed to use Remote ID 1 (on code 0775 usually).
If your DISH Network receiver does not support infrared remotes at all, you may want to check out this topic.
96. After a power outage, I rebooted my ReplayTV several times and got it to come back up, but now it has stopped recording. If I check the Channel Guide, there are no red dots next to my shows. How can I fix this?
You can try forcing a Net Connect by going to live TV and pressing 243-Zones. After the Net Connect, it should begin recording again.

If this doesn't work, you could try a new recording and see if that one works. If so, you could redo all your recordings by deleting them and then re-adding them.

If that doesn't work, you may have to reset your unit with 777-Zones.

97. My guaranteed recording did not record. Why not?
Here are some reasons I've seen where a guaranteed recording does not record:
  • It is a guaranteed theme. Themes are NEVER fully guaranteed. Use a guaranteed recurring show-based recording instead.
  • Your machine locked up because of heat or the kids playing with the remote or something and someone else (wife) rebooted it before you got home.
  • You are out of memory. The message for this is pretty clear. Do a soft boot and try to reduce the number of channels you have laying around, particularly themes which seem to take up more memory.
  • Your drive is full because you have a demo unit and you never actually removed the demo recordings by using 777-Zones.
    98. How do I backup my Replay software to a file on my Windows 95/98/Me drive? Can I back it up to a CD-R? How do I restore it?
    Absolutely. Several of us have done this.

    Here is the script to backup the first 320MB to a file on a Win98 drive, which can then be easily backed up to a CD-R. This is what I did, although I think I had to add a -U vfat to the mount command to get it to work for some reason. These instructions assume that your Windows drive is Primary Master (hda1 on "mount" line) and that your Replay drive is Secondary Master (hdc on "dd" line).

    mkdir /windrive
    mount /dev/hda1 /windrive {add "-U vfat" or "-U ntfs" here if necessary}
    cd /windrive
    ls
    dd if=/dev/hdc of=/windrive/replay.img bs=1024 count=320000
    cd ..
    umount /windrive
    
    Once you have done this, you can go into your burning software and burn replay.img onto a CD-R.

    To put it back, you would do the following (assuming your CD-ROM drive is Primary Slave "hdb" on mount line):

    mkdir /replaycd
    mount /dev/hdb /replaycd
    cd /replaycd
    ls
    dd if=/replaycd/replay.img of=/dev/hdc bs=1024 count=320000
    cd ..
    unmount /replaycd
    
    99. Why does ReplayTV cost so much? Clearly you can make one for around $200!
    Former ReplayTV employee Ben gave us this quick ballpark rundown August 21, 2001:
    Let's do a quick back-of-the-envelope tally of some of the things that you would find in a PVR, shall we?
    
    $100 - hard disk (mid sized)
    75 - manufacturing/assembly/test
    10 - casework
    7 - power supply
    10 - main circuit board
    25 - misc parts (fpga, connectors, etc)
    10 - packaging/collateral
    10 - main cpu
    20 - mpeg video encoder
    5 - mpeg audio encoder
    30 - mpeg a/v decoder/on-screen-display
    10 - flash rom (16 Mbit)
    10 - main ram
    10 - mpeg encoder ram
    10 - mpeg decoder ram
    10 - analog tuner
    10 - digital multi-standard decoder
    5 - digital video encoder
    20 - modem
    ----
    $387
    
    And that's just hardware. Don't even talk about Channel Guides, advertising, etc.
    100. Can I put the drive from my 3xxx series Replay into my 2xxx series Replay?
    Do NOT mix drives between the 3xxx/Showstopper series and the 2xxx series. It will not work! You run the risk of messing up your unit. You CAN change drives between, say a 2020 and a 2003 or even between a 3060 and Showstopper.
    101. Can I use a Panasonic remote with a ReplayTV brand and vice versa?
    Yes. Both units respond to both codesets.
    102. While watching a show, I pressed QuickSkip or Instant Replay several times and the machine locked up. What do I do?
    "Doctor, my arm hurts when I go like this..." "Stop doing that."

    This is a known condition. When you press a key on the remote, you should wait until it responds before pressing another key. If you get more than 3-4 keys ahead, you run the risk of locking up the unit.

    103. If I change the batteries on my remote, will I lose all my codes?
    No. Just be careful not to press a key on the remote while the batteries are out.