ReplayTV model history:

The original release of the ReplayTV was the model 20XX from ReplayTV.  A unique feature of the ReplayTV 20XX line was they ignored macrovision entirely.  Although ReplayTV 20XXs had a firewire port, presumably for hard drive storage expansion, the port was never activated in software.  Early adopters paid a hefty premium for a ReplayTV.  Here's pricing from late 1998/early 1999 via (

ReplayTV 2001 @ $995 (approx. 6 hours of storage)
ReplayTV 2002 @ $1295(approx. 10 hours of storage)
ReplayTV 2003 @ $1495(approx. 13 hours of storage)
ReplayTV 2004 @ $1995 (approx. 26 hours of storage)

Panasonic released the ShowStopper in 2000, which was followed by and was the hardware equivalent of the ReplayTV 30XX series ReplayTVs.  (Originally the ShowStoppers and 30XX series ReplayTVs treated macrovision protected content differently.  ShowStoppers would not record or even display macrovision protected content, while the 30XX series ReplayTVs would record and playback macrovision protected content, with macrovsion added back on the playback to prevent downstream copying.  Version 3.02 of the ReplayTV software made the ShowStoppers and ReplayTV 30XX series ReplayTVs functionally equivalent to allow recording and playback of macrovision protected content.)  Panasonic also manufactured a 27" TV with integrated ShowStopper. These units run software version 2 and cannot be upgraded to a later version.

ReplayTV followed the 30XX line with the 40XX line in the fall of 2001, the first to feature an Ethernet port and networking features like streaming from other ReplayTVs on the local area network and Internet Video Sharing. The 40XX series was also the first series to feature Automatic Commercial Advance.  Although the 40XX series had a modem in addition to the Ethernet port, when the line was first introduced, the modem was not activated.  A later software release allowed the use of the modem or the Ethernet port for net connects. To try and market ReplayTV to a larger group of consumers, lifetime service was separated from the hardware for the first time in the 45XX series (released in mid-2002), identical to the 40XX series except they did not include lifetime service. 

The 50XX series ReplayTV (released in October of 2002) went to a different motherboard with different video encoding/decoding, and was sold for a time without lifetime service included, then for a time with service included and then again without service included.  There was a lawsuit filed by the entertainment industry (Hollywood and the major TV networks) against SONICblue (the owner of ReplayTV at that time), objecting to Automatic Commercial Advance and Internet Video Sharing - claiming copyright infringement.  The 55XX series line, released in late summer 2003, was an attempt to make peace with Hollywood and the major networks over Automatic Commercial Advance and Internet Video Sharing. It is identical hardware to the 50XX series line, but Automatic Commercial Advance and Internet Video Sharing were removed as features.  Although the 50XX series line included a USB 1.1 port and the 55XX series line included a USB 2.0 port, the port was never activated in the software.  While the firewire port in the early 20XX line was likely for storage expansion, the USB port was probably added to allow for USB to Ethernet connectivity, or possibly storage expansion.

(The above dates were obtained from researching the ReplayTV web site via the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.)

The current owner of ReplayTV is Digital Networks North America, whose parent company is D&M Holding, which is also parent to the Denon and Marantz brands as well Escient and Rio.  In 2005 the company decided to focus on software and software licensing, abandoning DVR hardware production entirely.  (For ReplayTV company history click here.)

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