DirecTV Buys ReplayTV (Huh?)

Dave Zatz —  December 13, 2007

I’ve lost track of how many times ReplayTV has switched hands. And today they’ve ended up under DirecTV’s wing for who knows what purpose. Replay had abandoned the hardware DVR market, though they still have subscribers, and they’ve been making a play for the PC software DVR market. A small fish in a small pond.

So far, this is all we know:

Japan’s D&M Holdings Inc said on Thursday it had sold its ReplayTV business, which develops software for digital video recorders, to DirecTV of the United States for an undisclosed sum.

Perhaps DTV will put out a release and clue us in to their intentions. Until then, we’ll just have to speculate… I suppose it’s possible they could (think about) using the ReplayTV interface on their satellite DVRs, re-enter the stand-alone hardware business, or (most likely) just hang onto Replay’s patent portfolio for a rainy day (when/if their do-not-sue deal with TiVo expires in 2010). Or to prevent that rainy day.

UPDATE: I just got my hands on what looks to be a legit letter from D&M CEO Eric Evans to company employees about the sale. Here’s an excerpt..

Today D&M announced that we have sold ReplayTV® to DIRECTV, a US-based satellite television provider. D&M will continue to provide service to the current subscribers for the foreseeable future but will not solicit additional customers. All remaining assets, with the exception of the office space and some furniture, will be assumed by DIRECTV.

23 responses to DirecTV Buys ReplayTV (Huh?)

  1. By the way, I’ve owned a few ReplayTV units over the years. In fact, Replay was my first hardware DVR. Actually, TiVo could still learn a thing or two from them… How about a little red dot on shows listed in the guide that will be recorded?

  2. I agree Dave. I have just moved from ReplayTV to Tivo HDs. Still getting used to not having a visual cue in the guide of what is going to be recorded and having to copy shows for MRV instead of streaming. But, Tivo does HD where the ReplayTV didn’t. Hopefully DTV brings out the best of RTV.

  3. I think its obvious why DirecTV bought ReplayTV. After their relationship with Tivo went sour, they made their own DVR, which SUCKS! I think they realized that making their own DVR is harder than they thought, so they bought one of the original DVR players, ReplayTV. I bet in the future, we will see their own DVR’s running ReplayTV software.

    On another note, I started out as a Tivo user, and bought a ReplayTV (found it on sale at Circuit city). I ended up returning it a week later, as I found it primitive compared to Tivo. I guess my biggest problem with it was it’s lack of conflict management. I dont know much about when shows are on, or what channel/network they are on, I just want them to record. With Tivo thats what I got with ReplayTV, it wanted me to do my own management.

  4. Everyone here knows I’m a huge DirecTV Tivo fan, my 300hr box sees constant daily use.. that said, my standalone S2 has so much junk-ware on it with all sorts of picture apps and stupid add-ons that it’s interface has become clunky at-best. Ultimately a DTV buyout of Tivo might lead to DVR-Heaven, but maybe not. Maybe DTV can make things right with this pickup, but I tend to think not.

  5. Ditto, an original Replay TV user, though that was long long ago. And yes, I still miss the little red dots.

    I assume they were bought for very little. I doubt its for the current product at all. Might simply be for the patents and staff to work on Direct TV’s DVR products. May have little to nothing to do with the current product line.

  6. I agree with Glenn… I was thinking it was for their staff to work on DTV’s own DVR and not for the RTV software at all. I mean, that is old software that hasn’t been updated in forever.

    (original 2020 owner here, it was my first DVR… I still use my 5040 for IVS)

  7. I don’t think there’s any hardware engineering staff left (just the PC software developers) and the subscriber-base is probably worth very little. It’s all about IP.

  8. Original ReplayTV owner here too. Panasonic Showstopper version. And I never had problems with conflict management. It would tell me when a conflict came up. Great piece of hardware, and great software too.

    It’s gotta be the patents they’re buying. Wonder if they could recruit back some of the original engineers too…

  9. It’s about patents.

    Tivo just received a favorable ruling and is suing EchoStar.

  10. The problem with the speculation that DirecTV bought ReplayTV to improve the patents, is that all the people who made ReplayTV what it was have long since left the company.

    This has to be about patents.

  11. I just updated the post with an excerpt from a D&M letter to employees.

  12. I have never owned a ReplayTV. I would however love to see little red dots on my TiVo guide to tell me if something will be recorded. What would be even better is a different colored dot to tell me what is going to be recorded as a TiVo suggestion.

  13. Yeah, it is all about the patents and not the products. I put my thoughts up too: http://www.tivolovers.com/2007/12/13/directv-buys-the-remains-of-replaytv/

  14. Good ol’ ReplayTV. We got our 5500 series near the end, bt at the time, it was really the best DVR. It was better priced, had more options, and had broadband and multi-room way before TiVo. It was only when we went HD that we finally got rid of the Replays, and compared with TWC’s crappy I-Guide, it’s been a very sad break-up. Replay was always the better DVR IMO, but TiVo was verb-able and they spent way more on marketing and making sure celebrities gabbed about it on Letterman (and that King of Queens episode where it made certain conclusions about Spence). Between the lack of marketing, and SonicBlue being sued into oblivion for the 1-2 punch of letting people play their music wherever they wanted to and letting people watch tv whenever they wanted to, they pretty much never really had a chance.

    Here’s hoping Diego can learn from their mistakes, instead of repeating them…

    Kind of funny this news happens around the same time that CompUSA announces it’s closing up shop, since that’s where we got our Replays.

  15. That ad is a farce!! Unless they have a crystal ball, this company that’s just been in Canada officially for what, a month now, it’s a little premature to state they’re #1. And don’t forget this: “Good-bye Shaw PVR, hello poorhouse.” Because cable and satellite PVRS offer their services for FREE!!!

  16. Oh. This site isn’t Canadian. He means *this* ad shown during this article:

    http://i5.tinypic.com/7xuhxrn.jpg

  17. Thanks for the clarification. FYI Google serves up the ad in that spot and the varies. I believe I’ve seen that particular one before – and prior to TiVo entering Canadian retail channels on their own. Must be a reseller?

  18. razor, they also had component outputs first too if I’m remembering correctly. Commercial skip was oh-so-useful (for consumers) and no one will probably ever bring it back.

    I’ve gotten word that the new Comcast Motorola TiVo software interface does mark shows to be recorded in the guide. In the past, it’s been hinted that new features on this platform might one day migrate to the stand-alone product…

  19. TiVo and ReplayTV cross-licensed all of their patents. This purchase could be a way for DirecTV to avoid litigation from TiVo over the TiVo DVR patents. If DirecTV acquired the cross-licensing in the purchase, this could be money well spent on their part, even if they never implement any ReplayTV features.

  20. UsedBoth DirecTiVo And DirecTV DVR December 14, 2007 at 11:16 am

    Well, the DirecTV DVR has a dot for a program to be recorded and a diff one for one recorded via season pass. I still love the TiVo interface overall, though, more than the DirecTV DVR.

  21. What did DTV actually get for their money?

  22. we can’t seem to get a working phone number for our replay tv. anyone out there have one?

  23. It seem that DTV has abandoned all support for the ReplayTV. I just got off the phone with a rep asking where I am supposed to update my CC for my subscription. The web site has not been responding for over a week. She told me they are no longer renewing the subscriptions and my only option is to purchase a DTV DVR unit.

    Its official, the ReplayTV is dead.