When TV Becomes “ReplayTV”

When TV Becomes “ReplayTV”.

Just a quick story before I crash early tonight. Last week, we bought our third ReplayTV. Yes, you read that right – third. It's a financial risk, considering that SonicBlue isn't doing so well financially, but I feel confident that if SonicBlue goes belly up that TiVo will take over its subscriber service (or offer trade-ins) or some genius on Slashdot will come up with a hack for using an open-source programming guide.

So the question you're probably asking yourself is why on earth would we do this, especially since these machines are still so expensive? We did it because two weeks ago, soon-to-be-nine-year-old Kailee asked if she could watch TV. I said yes, and that she should use the one in the living room. Her response was, “No – I want to watch ReplayTV.” You see, she records about 10-15 hours of shows on Animal Planet every week, along with The Saddle Club and Little House on the Prairie. Seven-year old Brent really only uses it to for Batman Beyond (he's outgrown Between the Lions), although today he asked me to start taping Yu-Gi-Oh, too.

Anyway, it was when I told Kailee she could watch ReplayTV that I suddenly realized how proficient she has become with it and that she was actually defining her customized “ReplayTV” differently than regular television. Then I watched Brent with it, and now that he is learning to read, he's actually reading the descriptions of what we've taped. Which presents a problem, since we tape plenty of grown-up programs that we don't want them flipping through inadvertently. We don't use VCRs in our house anymore (except for watching the occasional old videotape gathering dust on the shelves), so the obvious answer was a new DVR (Digital Video Recorder) for the adults.

I could have hedged my bets and gone with a TiVo, but the new ReplayTVs are too enticing. We bought an 80-hour version, swapped it with the family's 60-hour one, and set up the older one in the bedroom. The remote for the new Replays takes some getting used to, but there are some definite usability improvements and we already love the “commercial advance” feature that skips through most of the commercials. When a show fades out to commercial, it just picks right back up where the commercials end. Very spiffy, and it's really great when you have kids! Network executives will be happy to know that it's turned off by default out-of-the-box, but I changed that pretty quickly.

The new Replay has an ethernet port, so I can connect it to my home network and send digital pictures to it (which can also show up as the screensaver!). My network is a wireless one, though, so I'd have to get a Linksys bridge (or something similar) or buy a hub and run a wire. Naturally, I'd rather opt for the wireless option, but being a good citizen, I was just gearing up to re-implement WEP security now that everything is running smoothly again.

However I assume the ReplayTV won't understand WEP on its own, and there are no instructions in the manual for setting a WEP key on it. I never imagined myself asking this question, but how then do I add my DVR to my wireless network and secure it? Is the Linksys bridge truly the answer to my prayers? I think so, and I might just have to buy a second one for the PlayStation.  🙂  [The Shifted Librarian]

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