Home Theater Review

 

ReplayTV Series 5500 Digital Video Recorder Reviewed

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HTR Product Rating

Performance
3 Stars
Value
2.5 Stars
Overall
3 Stars

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Installation/Setup/Ease of Use
During the initial setup, the first thing that you tell the system is your zip code and area code. It then looks for local numbers to call ReplayTV Central. Once called, it asks you how you receive your programming --antenna, cable, or satellite (specifically DirecTV or EchoStar). You can even combine satellite and cable, and mesh your local cable company and satellite programming together seamlessly. It has the channel lineups of every cable company across the U.S. Initial setup was relatively quick, taking approximately 20 minutes. Once RePlayTV has downloaded all initial programming content to your DVR, you're set. Simply follow the directions on the screen by pressing the Play button on the remote. For this review, I used both cable (Cablevision) and DirecTV programming using a RCA set-top box.

Also during setup, you can tell the system how many hours of shows you want to keep in memory. You can also select the recording quality at that time. If you're watching a program, you can decide to record a program on the spot by simply pressing the Record button on the remote. You can add minutes before and after a specific recording so you don't miss any part of your program, because sometimes
shows start early or run late.

With the addition of the Ethernet connection for your home network, you can now connect additional Series 5500 models together. Each Series 5500 model must have its own unique name on the network (e.g. Living Room, Bedroom, etc.). This allows you to watch programs recorded on other RePlayTV models, and delete or record programs on those units. Once set up, it was easy to use and manage all of my recordings. If your home network includes your PC, you can transfer digital photos from it to your RePlayTV to create your own slideshows. The Series 5500 comes with a 40-button universal remote that will also control your television and satellite/cable box. The keys are logically laid out with a centrally mounted cursor ring, allowing you to easily navigate the extensive EPG. While the remote was easy to use, it was unfortunately not illuminated.

Final Take - Overall, the RePlayTV 5500 Digital Video Recorder is a terrific product. The on-screen guide is very thorough and helpful. The universal remote actually works in cutting down remote clutter. You can pause live TV, and never miss your favorite shows! While earlier generations produced a lot of heat, the Series 5500 with a built-in fan/cooling system does the trick and you don't have to worry about ventilation problems.

A digital video recorder is a very slick recording medium without the hassles of videotape or copyright issues of recordable DVD. The Series 5500 was very easy to use. While some might say you can't share recorded material, I say that's simply not true. It was very easy to set up a home network that includes multiple Series 5500s. It's also very easy to port recorded programs to an attached VCR. This RePlayTV includes the previous monthly service charge into the initial price of the unit. So, whatever you pay for your Series 5500 covers any monthly service charge for the first three years of operation.

Additional Resources

• Learn more about ReplayTV on this resource page

ReplayTV 5500 Series Digital Video Recorder
3 models: 40GB, 80GB, 160GB
Tape-free recording
Pause and Instant Replay of live TV
Progressive Scan
On-Screen Program Guide
UHF/Infrared Universal Remote
Optical Dolby Digital output
2 A/V inputs/outputs
S-Video input/output
Component Video output
Ethernet port 10/100Mbps
USB port
Custom universal remote
Cable/Satellite Mouse
3"H x 14W x 16 7/8"D
Weight: 9 lbs.
MSRP:
$499 (Model 5504)
$599 (Model 5508)
$849 (Model 5516)

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