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SonicBlue (Replay/Rio) Bought By D&M

michael posted more than 11 years ago | from the play-it-again-sam dept.

Television 193

An anonymous reader writes "Here's the announcement that many have been waiting for all week. Yesterday, the ReplayTV and Rio product lines of now-defunct SonicBlue were auctioned off in a bankruptcy court. Despite earlier negotiations failing to result in a deal, the Japanese holding company D&M, makers of high-end Denon and Marantz stereo gear, bought the product lines for $36.2 million. The big question is what about all of the "lifetime subscriptions" that people bought? No answers as of yet, but we can all be hopeful."

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193 comments

bah. (-1, Troll)

grub (11606) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743516)


I can't come up with a witty comment on this story. Might as well include a goatse.cx link [goatse.cx] .

You forgot something (-1, Offtopic)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743591)

If you'd have included the words eff and pee in your post somewhere, you'd have gotten the +1 bonus.

Re:You forgot something (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743678)

It's amazing the worthess one liners grub posts, but what shocks me is how much he gets modded funny. Maybe they should only give mod points to adults. :-)

I just dropped the one friend who has a friend who made a friend with grub. I didn't want to see any green on grub's fans list. Yes, I'm that petty.

Re:You forgot something (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743736)

Have you considered making grub a foe? Then you'd get a green/brown icon(IIRC).

third post! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743521)

so suck it!

COCK!

fp\ (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743522)

fo on your rio, bizzatch

That's not much money (4, Interesting)

Ignorant Aardvark (632408) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743523)

Only $36.2 million? That's really not that much for an entire line of TiVO-like products. It sounds to me like D&M might make a killing off this investment, if they play their cards right.

Re:That's not much money (4, Insightful)

levik (52444) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743624)

Not neccesarily. Don't forget that SonicBlue already *HAD* these product lines, and still went under. These may not be all that commercially viable.

The PVR market is still high end, still small and already saturated.

Re:That's not much money (4, Interesting)

Scyber (539694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743698)

Yes, but SB was already saddled with debt when they bought ReplayTV. Then they developed the newer 4k and 5k units. So they probably never got a chance to recoup there R& D costs

D&M already has a viable product design, they just need to keep the software updated.

Re:That's not much money (0, Redundant)

shione (666388) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743645)

you're right. that is cheap. someones hit the jackpot.

Re:That's not much money (1, Funny)

Palshife (60519) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743862)

Well, it was a bankruptcy auction. They usually start the bidding at 1 stick of Fruit Stripe gum at those things.

Re:That's not much money (1)

jonbrewer (11894) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744040)

Only $36.2 million? That's really not that much for an entire line of TiVO-like products. It sounds to me like D&M might make a killing off this investment, if they play their cards right.

I'd agree, and add that just the brands "Rio" and "ReplayTV" are worth more than $36 million. D&M could make their money back by Christmas, simply by branding the cheapest MP3/PVR machines they can find with "Rio" and "ReplayTV" and selling them through discount chains like WalMart.

Lifetime Support? (2, Funny)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743524)

Heh, "...until death (or hostile takeovers, bankruptcy etc) do us part ...." =] So much for life time support I guess. However, Rio was a good brand a while back, so I hope the new company continues it's services.

Re:Lifetime Support? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743548)

That brand name is worth money to D&M. They even say so, "Sonicblue Chief Executive Greg Ballard on Wednesday said the product lines would "continue to compete successfully in the marketplace," and that many, if not most, of Sonicblue's employees will continue their work."

I don't think screwing previous ReplayTV buyers would be a good way to compete successfully.

Re:Lifetime Support? (1)

Shrike9 (585789) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744152)

If we could get DVRs w/o these sorry ass 'service' contracts we'd be much better off. I CAN program a VCR!!

Too bad (0)

electro_mike (658829) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743525)

But Still, smart people should just get a cheap linux box and make a meadia center out of it. Seams to be the best path to me

Re:Too bad (-1, Offtopic)

ozzee (612196) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743568)

Wait a minute ... can you say ... Tivo.

I think this is an example to cite where a company based on Linux products (Tivo) out-lasted a company with Microsoft based products. I'm not saying that Linux was the only reason, but the way I figure it, it probably wasn't Mike Ramsay either !

Sonic Blue, RIP. Long live Tivo.

Re:Too bad (1)

austinij (139193) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743577)

The ReplayTV is not based on a Micsoft OS.

Re:Too bad (5, Informative)

jackalope (99754) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743633)

The ReplayTV OS is a modified version of VxWorks from WinRiver.

One shouldn't immediately assume that there are only 2 operating systems in the world. There are a slew more than that, especially in the embedded device arena.

Re:Too bad (1)

BonrHanzon (411856) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744062)

Can't let a little thing like the truth get in the way of your Linux/Tivo/Anti-MS crusade. There is nothing Microsoft in the ReplayTV OS.

Re:Too bad (2, Interesting)

evilviper (135110) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743599)

Unfortunately, it just doesn't work out very well just yet. TV-out devices available for Linux have poor quality, as do the TV tuners available. I've tried. I'm still hoping somebody from gatos will change their minds on TV-out and get the AiW 8500DV working... Supposed to be near-DVD quality output, but lack of drivers screws Linux over again.

Now, this entire situation will be reversed once HDTV gains popularity. Then, input and output will both already be digital, and your computer will have no trouble. That is still assuming that an unrestricted HDTV tuner will be available, and Linux drivers will exist. But, until then (years from now), TVs and Linux PCs won't get along well together.

Re:Too bad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5744177)

No. TV-out devices and TV tuners available as add-ons to PC's are typically of poor quality. The poster is correct in their assertion that this becomes less of a problem as things go digital, but still a problem nonetheless. Large amounts of the poorness of quality on PC components is because of the sheer amount of electrical and RF noise inside a PC.

There are many Set Top Boxes available that currently run Linux on IBM PPC cores, which have fantastic video output quality, and all the features you would expect. BECAUSE THE HARDWARE IS DESIGNED FOR IT.

The OS you're running has zilch to do with generating a quality TV output. Hardware designed by monkeys who say "yeah, that's looks like a TV picture, ship it" is more likely the cause.

Re:Too bad (1)

MortisUmbra (569191) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744189)

Maybe for you, but anybody who values their time in the LEAST would never do that. The MCE boxes are not that great either. But of course you mentioned Linux so you will get plenty of Karma points.

(offtopic) Broken Rio 500... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743529)

My Rio 500 is suffering from the well-known 'checker board screen' problem... but the software fix they supply doesn't work.

Does anyone know anything else I can try...?

Re:(offtopic) Broken Rio 500... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743780)

is the software fix a firmware flash? you might try flashing the firmware with a different version.

Georges W. Bush, our great Fuhrer, dead ! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743535)

Georges W. Bush, our great Fuhrer, dead !

I just heard some sad news on talk radio - American Great Fuhrer (holder of the popular vote of Florida ubermensh) Georges W. Bush, was found dead in his Camp David sionist Kommandatur palace this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his fantastic work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture and popular wars. Truly an American icon.

Re:Georges W. Bush, our great Fuhrer, dead ! (-1, Offtopic)

borgdows (599861) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743667)

wait!
it's not a troll!
it's true [cnn.com] !!!

Lifetime? (5, Interesting)

Good Sumerian (459878) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743538)

Lifetime support has always meant the lifetime of the company. They got what they paid for; it was a gamble, and, unfortunately, they lost.

Re:Lifetime? (4, Insightful)

deanj (519759) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743640)

Well, not necessarily. When ReplayTV got bought out, the company went away, and the assests went to SonicBlue. They honored the lifetime agreement for ReplayTV owners.

Re:Lifetime? (4, Insightful)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743777)

Well, not necessarily. When ReplayTV got bought out, the company went away, and the assests went to SonicBlue. They honored the lifetime agreement for ReplayTV owners.

Yes, but lifetime subscriptions are not an asset - they are a liability. The press release doesn't go into any detail, but I'd presume that D&M got saddled with the liabilities (court cases, outstanding debts, and lifetime subscriptions) as well as gaining the assets.

This is why $36.4M is not a "deal" by the way... and it's why they went under in the first place. They have far more liabilities than assets at this time.

Re:Lifetime? (2, Interesting)

BreadMan (178060) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743906)

Says the article:

D&M Holdings said it bought inventory, receivables, intellectual property and capital equipment, and that it would also take over certain contractual relationships and liabilities.

I'm guessing that "certain contractual relationships" means customer agreements.

I don't see the business case of buying a hardware company that relies on subscriptions and then stiffing your subscribers. If you manage not to upset your subscribers, you have a good pool of people you can up-sell something to in the future. Plus, the nice word-of-mouth referrals will help pick-up business from new customers.

Re:Lifetime? (1)

nojomofo (123944) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743966)

Exactly. If they stiff me on my lifetime agreement, then I'm not going to buy another one from them or pay them monthly. In that case, I'm going out and buying a Tivo. Hopefully, they're smart enough to know that this sort of behavior wouldn't help them.

Re:Lifetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5744218)

Well, they already made their money from you. NEXT!

Re:Lifetime? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743918)

That liabilities are not a problem. Can you say:

TAX WRITEOFF?

Although the laws in Japan about that kind of stuff may vary...

Re:Lifetime? (1)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743835)

Well, not necessarily. When ReplayTV got bought out, the company went away, and the assests went to SonicBlue. They honored the lifetime agreement for ReplayTV owners. Does anyone know for sure?

I admit I'm not that familiar with the product line, I use a DirecTiVo myself, but I thought ReplayTV's didn't use the subscription model that Tivo uses? I seem to recall folks using that as a reason to get a ReplayTV in place of a Tivo.

But D&M will likely maintain their agreements if they intend to continue the subscriptions if they intend to continue to produce the ReplayTV, this is not an area where the old adage "any press is good press" applies. Maintaining those subscriptions maintains an air of stability to the product, and the cost will likely be low, just connection charges, since they would be maintaining the databases anyway. But if they just wanted to get their hands on part of the tehnology, well then yeah, its game over.

Myself, I avoided the lifetime subscription on my Tivo when I found out it was for the life of my Tivo; man am I happy I didn't. At the time the lifetime cost about 2 years of service. But I bought a second unit, which would have doubled that; whereas the month to month rate covered both under DirecTV's terms. Then DirecTV dropped the rate to $5/month. So within about of year of getting the boxes, the lifetime sub cost jumped from 2 years of service to 10 years, and considering opportunity cost of that money it would likely be more like 20 years.

And as a worst case, Tivo's linux core means there's always going to be a way to keep it going :^)

Re:Lifetime? (2, Informative)

zsmooth (12005) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743890)

I admit I'm not that familiar with the product line, I use a DirecTiVo myself, but I thought ReplayTV's didn't use the subscription model that Tivo uses? I seem to recall folks using that as a reason to get a ReplayTV in place of a Tivo.

When Replays first went on sale, the cost of a lifetime subscription was included with the unit, so they all cost like $500 or $600. Then they realized that Tivo's method was working better since a lot of people didn't want to put down that big a chunk of change all at once.

Lifetime agreement:- Dictionary Definition (1)

phrantic (630202) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743877)

Lifetime agreement: A fanciful mechanism whereby companies can charge the prices they really want to charge for a service but realize that no one will go for it as it is too high. For further explanation, see also Straight hooks and tartan paint

Re:Lifetime? (1)

sbuckhopper (12316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743663)

Lifetime support has always meant the lifetime of the company.

In the US that depends upon what state you live in and what their laws are. I was under the impression in NY that lifetime support meant for the lifetime of the product or 5 years.

By your definition if my product dies, gets lost, burned or whatever, if I still have proof of the service agreement and the company is still in business they would have to replace the product?

Re:Lifetime? (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743771)

By your definition if my product dies, gets lost, burned or whatever, if I still have proof of the service agreement and the company is still in business they would have to replace the product?

No. They just have to support it. Thjis does not mean they have to be sure the hardware works. Just the service.

Re:Lifetime? (1)

sbuckhopper (12316) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743952)

good point, I realized that it was a service being provided, not a service contract for hardware. of course that was after I posted.

Re:Lifetime? (1)

haystor (102186) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744036)

Quite clearly any use of the legal system to circumvent the lifetime services (which provide copyrighted materials) would be a violation of the DMCA.

This might hold an answer (5, Informative)

austinij (139193) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743539)

Silicon Valley Biz Ink [prnewswire.com] is indicating that all current customers will be retained. Hopefully, it works out that way.

-- I

DEATH to unAmerican and Unpatriotic Acts (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743546)

unAmerican and Unpatriotic acts should be frowned upon and that includes violation of DMCA which is designed to protect our GREAT American corporations like Microsoft that has made us so powerful.

DEATH to unAmerican and Unpatriotic acts

DEATH to gnu CRAP

DEATH to opensource SHIT

ONLY Microsoft is RIGHT

ONLY America is RIGHT

Want Proof of this?

Watch some TV you liberal SCUM

Open ur eyes & see how the iraqi people PRAISE our GREAT President and welcome our BRAVE MEN with love

Yet ANOTHER PROOF that the American way is the RIGHT way

Everyone else should DIE

Heil Bush

Hi-fi buys lo-fi (4, Interesting)

southpolesammy (150094) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743551)

Interesting....this is a paradigm shift for D&M, as they've typically invested their R&D on the high-end of the audiophile spectrum. I'm somewhat perplexed by what they hope to accomplish with buying a line of low-end audio devices...

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743564)

Interesting....this is a paradigm shift for D&M, as they've typically invested their R&D on the high-end of the audiophile spectrum.

They can't be very high end if I've never heard of them. Kenwood, Sony, Pioneer... those are high end. D&M sounds like the Apex of the audio world.

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (5, Insightful)

fewnorms (630720) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743617)

They can't be very high end if I've never heard of them. Kenwood, Sony, Pioneer... those are high end. D&M sounds like the Apex of the audio world. Dude, you are probably not an audiophile. Denon and Marantz are related to the likes of Kenwood, Sony and Pioneer like a ferrari to a volkswagen. You probably also never heard of Quad or Nakamichi? heh ... now that's an audio system.

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743756)

you are probably not an audiophile

s/probably/obviously/

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743821)

D&M aren't high-end. They're middle-range. Think Meridian and TAG and such for high-end.

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (3, Informative)

ePhil_One (634771) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744149)

Denon and Marantz are related to the likes of Kenwood, Sony and Pioneer like a ferrari to a volkswagen

More like middle range, say more like a Volkswagen to a Jaguar. What the average joe thinks of as high end, but folks who are really dedicated to it know there's lots of stuff even higher and/or more specialized. Carver would more closely map to Ferrari, perhaps McIntosh to Lamborgini. And there are more out there that map to even more exotic stuff, like McLaren's, Liegnfeter(sp?), Vector, Shelby, Panos, ... (Ok, so I'm more into cars than audio) Probably maps pretty well in terms of volumes, etc.

I'm still cursing my freind for getting me hooked on the idea of getting a Carver Sunfire (http://www.sunfire.com/ [sunfire.com] )

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (4, Funny)

Zathrus (232140) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743800)

They can't be very high end if I've never heard of them. Kenwood, Sony, Pioneer... those are high end.

Congrats... you've just named all of the major low-fi vendors.

Would you like to play again? Maybe, this time, try something more simple. Like automobiles. Hint - Honda, Toyota, and Ford are not the top of the line, despite sales figures.

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743844)

They can't be very high end if I've never heard of them.

Ahhh, the cry of the ill-informed everywhere. The "I'm the most important person in the world; if I've not heard of them, they don't exist" syndrome. Some form of psycological defense, I'm sure. "Hey wait, I appear to be ill informed. Hell no! They mustn't exist!" Like ducking your head back into your protective shell. Yes, trully the world is a complex and scary place. You don't know everything. Get used to it.

HAHAHAHA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5744015)

heh.

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (4, Interesting)

Drakino (10965) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743610)

I'm somewhat perplexed by what they hope to accomplish with buying a line of low-end audio devices...

SonicBlue fired all the low end audio people a while back, leaving the audio engineers in the UK (The empeg folks). They are very capable of delivering quality high end devices if so requested. I believe the empeg sound system came close to any high end ($1000 and up) in dash stereo unit for potential audio output quality.

Hopefully this means the empeg Mark 3 might see the light of day.

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (2, Interesting)

NetJunkie (56134) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743657)

You'll probably see these come back as Philips branded devices, assuming they don't have a exclusive agreement with TiVo. A lot of Denon/Marantz products are released in a lesser form as Philips... My Marantz remote control is almost exactly the same as the Philips TSU-2000 remote.

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (1)

Sivart (644) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743737)

That would be because, until quite recently, Marantz was owned by Philips

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (2, Informative)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743759)

D&M isn't high end.

It's more of a high-end of the low-end.

Rotel, Krell, Sunfir, Mark Levinson, anything with vaccum tubes and the list goes on are more towards the middle and hugh end of the audiophile spectrum.

You know stuff where each mono-block amp costs more than the most expensive D&M box. Or when your system has a phono cartridge that costs 5-15,000 bucks, that's high-end.

But me, I'm happy with my Denon AVR-3803

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (4, Insightful)

Surreal_Streaker (636407) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743930)

You know stuff where each mono-block amp costs more than the most expensive D&M box. Or when your system has a phono cartridge that costs 5-15,000 bucks, that's high-end.

I'd argue that when your system sounds good it is high end. Thousand dollar phono cartridges only guarantee that your system is expensive. High end systems take more than just money.

Re:Hi-fi buys lo-fi (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744066)

I'll go with that.

My Denon and Paradigms do sound good, as good as Rotels and M&Ks according to my buddy who spent twice as much as I did for Rotels and M&Ks.

But my point was there is an ass-load of stuff above and beyond Denon.

Lifetime Activation (4, Interesting)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743572)

INAL, but if D&M continues the ReplayTV "Name" (ie, they purchased the name, not just the products) then they should have to honor the agreement. If the company all of a sudden become "D & M R-TV", or even "ReplayTV+" then the current owners might be screwed. Hopefully, they'll honor the current agreement, or only charge a small "transfer" fee.

From the service agreement...
SonicBlue [sonicblue.com]

REPLAYTV Digital Video Recorder

Activation and Service Agreement

This Agreement applies to your use of the ReplayTV Service and is a legally binding agreement between you, SONICblue Incorporated and its wholly owned subsidiary, ReplayTV Inc. (collectively "ReplayTV"). By clicking the button marked "I Agree" below or by otherwise communicating your acceptance to ReplayTV or by using the ReplayTV Service, you agree to all the terms and conditions in this Agreement. IMPORTANT NOTE: Your ReplayTV digital video recorder works only by activating and receiving the ReplayTV Service offered and provided by ReplayTV. If you do not agree with all the terms and conditions of this Agreement, you are not authorized to use the ReplayTV Service, and you may return the ReplayTV unit to ReplayTV or the authorized retailer from whom you purchased the product for a full refund within one (1) month of the original purchase date.

Re:Lifetime Activation (1)

The_Rook (136658) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743687)

IANAL either, but as i understand it, bankruptcy court allows a company, with the permission of the court, to set aside its obligations including debt and current contracts. part of the agreement for d&m to buy replay may have been to set aside certain replay contracts such as the lifetime activation or possibly supplier agreements.

oh, and by the way, while dennon and marantz gear is reasonably good, they are not the apex of high end audio, not by a long shot.

Re:Lifetime Activation (1)

stsai (463884) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743802)

I believe you are citing the part where it says collectively "ReplayTV" as the basis for your comment. That part simply means that the phrase "ReplayTV" will be used to refer to SONICblue, Inc and its subsidiary ReplayTV, Inc. Whether or not D&M will honor the lifetime agreements is completely dependent on the structure of the agreement between them and ReplayTV, and has nothing to do with this service agreement.

Re:Lifetime Activation (1)

Christopher_G_Lewis (260977) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743908)

I was actually refering to D&M purchasing the one or both of the companies "SONICblue, Inc and its subsidiary ReplayTV, Inc" VS D&M purchasing the asset known as ReplayTV and the right to maintain and manufacture past and current hardware...

But as pointed out, the Bankrupcy court will probably agree to allow D&M to punt any past agreements.

My understanding is that the court will basically allow pretty much anything in order to get some money back to the debt holders...

Net result, FUBAR'd users :-)

Re:Lifetime Activation (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743871)

This is an asset sale not a stock transaction. Certain assets of SonicBlue (apparently including it's Rio and ReplayTV technology, trademarks and customer list) were purchased by D&M.

D&M is *not* SonicBlue's legal successor and will *not* assume SonicBlue's liabilities. The "lifetime" service people are just a few of many SonicBlue creditors who are going to lose here. It's unfortunate but they are no more deserving than the unpaid vendors and creditors that get burned in any bankruptcy. We should just be happy that the product line was picked up by a firm with the apparent resources to continue the scheduling service and to continue to develop the software. Tivo's software has pulled ahead in recent weeks. I'm hoping for big things from the next software update on the Replay.

S.O.L. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743579)

The big question is what about all of the "lifetime subscriptions" that people bought?

I'm pretty sure D&M would've had to have bought out any and all contracts that SonicBlue had held, too. If they haven't bought the company outright, I don't think they're obligated to any service contracts or anything like that.

As somebody pointed out above, a lifetime contract means the lifetime of the company. Pretty rare that you'll find a sucker willing to take on the responsibility of assisting a previously installed user base-- it's usually not worth the money.

Re:S.O.L. (1)

Scyber (539694) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743750)

Well SB continued to support existing Replay users when they bought out ReplayTV. Of course look at what happened to them...


The problem is that if D&M ditches all of the existing customers, then it will just about ruin the ReplayTV name in the consumer market. ANd they did buy the name.


I can't imagine that supporting the current customer base is too expensive.

The user base is only partly prepaid (1)

fendel (18450) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744063)

A lot of people bought lifetime subscriptions--in the beginning, that was the only option--but I think there are still a lot of ReplayTV owners paying the monthly fee. If D&M keeps the channel guide servers going for those folks, how much would it really cost them to let the lifetime subscribers dial in too (literally, or figuratively for the broadband units)?

lifetime (5, Interesting)

ih8apple (607271) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743585)

I've been a replaytv user for 3+ years and considering how much effort it takes to support the subscriptions, I'm assuming they will honor the lifetime subscriptions to keep customers loyal.

I mean, how much effort could it take to download a bunch of schedules from tvguide or whoever, encrypt them into the proprietary replaytv format, and put them on an FTP site. For the broadband users, they're done. For dialup, they need a simple agreement with a national ISP to support a few thousand 5 minute calls every night.

Re:dial up for replaytv - not a few thousand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743620)

The install base of replaytv systems is 100000 units. That's 100,000.
D&M will need to make a deal with AOL for dial-up guide updates...

Re:dial up for replaytv - not a few thousand (3, Insightful)

ih8apple (607271) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743642)

yeah, but how many of those are dial-up and how many are broadband?

Consider this:

1. When broadband support was first announced 3 years ago (after replaytv had been in business 2 years), the reasoning behind it was that over 85% of replaytv customers had broadband access at home (cable/dsl/isdn)

2. All of the devices since then have focused on broadband (any model 4000+)

I'm assuming that, at most, the dial up need is in the low 10's of thousands, not in the 100's of thousands

CODE RED AT CHRISTDOT.ORG (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743595)

Uh oh [christdot.org] , a troll went undeleted... need assistance!
They're feeding trolls! I repeat, they are feeding the trolls.
Emergency! Emergency! Emergency!

Re:CODE RED AT CHRISTDOT.ORG (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743647)

They out and out admit to deleting "nonsense", so that takes 9/10ths of the fun out of trolling them.

Doesn't any one RTA? Subscription info... (5, Informative)

splatter (39844) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743597)

"D&M Holdings intends to keep all ReplayTV
customers and will design, manufacture and distribute a line of ReplayTV and
Rio products."

Sounds like they plan on continuing as normal. Hopefully D&M won't be buryied like Sonic Blue.

D&M will be fine (3, Insightful)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743795)

Denon and Marantz has a very solid core business - home audio entertainment. It's a well-respected, much-loved brand.

The likelyhood of D&M running into financial difficulties is slim, simply because their traditional businesses are cash cows. Even if the SonicBlue division (whatever it ends up being called) makes a loss, D&M will be fine (short of some vey serious mismanagement).

It's like Microsoft and Hotmail - even if Hotmail was to sink like lead, the money that Microsoft makes from its other businesses would more than keep it afloat.

As someone else has said, $36.2 million to buy yourself a major slice of the PVR market (not to mention portable digital music players) is a steal.

Philips and Marantz (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743603)

Philips owns a significant part of Marantz, you know.

http://www.twice.com/index.asp?layout=story_stocks &articleid=CA66618

Re:Philips and Marantz (2, Interesting)

matthew.thompson (44814) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743677)

I believe that story is now out of date the www.marantz.com site now states, under their History link.
MARANTZ TODAY


The Philips period ended in 2001 when Marantz Japan Inc. acquired the brand and all overseas sales subsidiaries. Today, Marantz falls under D&M Holdings, a joint holding company set up in 2002 to integrate Marantz and Hi-Fi manufacturer Denon in a strategic union that will strengthen both companies in the current tough economic climate. The company employs more than 1600 people in over fifty countries. It carefully selects its dealers to ensure that the quality of the service they provide matches the quality of the products Marantz produces. A dealer must satisfy strict requirements regarding demonstration facilities and store layout before Marantz products can be sold.

Re:Philips and Marantz (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743728)

"&M Holdings Inc. will establish a new head office in Sagamihara City, Japan, with Kabumoto as the new president and CEO of the company. Sakamoto will be installed as the new president and CEO of Denon, and Takashi Sato will serve as the new president and CEO of Marantz. All shares of Marantz and Denon will be transferred to D&M Holdings, making Denon and Marantz wholly owned subsidiaries. Marantz shareholders will receive one share of D&M Holdings per share of Marantz stock, and Denon shareholders will get 0.4416 shares for every share of Denon stock. Ownership by Marantz shareholders and Denon shareholders in D&M Holdings will be 30 percent and 70 percent respectively, which means Philips and Ripplewood will have stakes of 14.7 percent and 68.6 percent in the new company."

As of Apr02...

Re:Philips and Marantz (1)

red_gnom (545555) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744156)


And the RIPPLEWOOD HOLDINGS, LLC is in the hands of Rockefeller family,
so 68.6 percent of Denon & Marantz belongs to Rockefellers now.

This is what scares me about these services.... (4, Insightful)

Flabby Boohoo (606425) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743638)

"....what about all of the "lifetime subscriptions" that people bought?"

That is exactly why I have never taken the plunge. I don't want to invest in hardware that (more or less) requires the company to be around for it to work properly. For example, the only broadband options in my area are fixed point wireless. The problem is that I have to invest $500 in the hardware. What happens when they disappear in a year or two? I am stuck with useless hardware (unless someone else offers the service).

I guess the dot com mess is still fresh in my mind...

Re:This is what scares me about these services.... (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743784)

That's one of my aversions to TiVo. Last I checked (admittedly over a year ago) the unit was virtually worthless without a subscription. I remember reading that you could record 30 minutes at a time, on one touch, and not schedule recordings (even manually). So if TiVo were to go out of business, I'm left with a hunk of junk.

Re:This is what scares me about these services.... (1)

4of12 (97621) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743846)

Not necessarily.

Some TiVo owners didn't like the unit calling the mother ship and potentially downloading new revs of the OS that might mootify all their carefully-soldered hardware add-ons (eg, ethernet out).

I bought the lifetime subscription for the two TiVos I own (which have user-added hard drives) and been reasonably happy with it.

One problem, though, is schedule drift, where some movie off the satellite runs over the regularly scheduled time slot. The TiVo's feature of tacking on extra time to the recording helps this problem, but I'm loath to record too much unwanted crap (I already get commercials that I have to FF through and can't edit out).

Re:This is what scares me about these services.... (2, Informative)

Snowspinner (627098) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743786)

For what it's worth, TIVO has repeatedly promised that, should they go out of business, they will release ways to continue getting the channel information for free. ReplayTV hasn't made a promise like that, but I'm honestly not terribly worried about them if they're owned by D&M, who I doubt are going anywhere.

Re:This is what scares me about these services.... (1)

KUHurdler (584689) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743979)

Yeah right, and when I die I promise to give EACH of you that read this One-Million Dollars!!!

Of course, the day after I die.

Re:This is what scares me about these services.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743878)

Exactly. A 'lifetime subscription' to anything other than, say, National Geographic, is a worthless gamble.

D&M made a good purchase (3, Insightful)

steelerguy (172075) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743653)

Both Denon and Marantz make pretty high quality products and some nice higher end audio and video equipment. This looks a nice aquisition for them so they can expand their product line in a nice progressive way. They already make good DVD players and receivers, now they can add a media center device that will allow DVR capabilities and MP3 music libraries.

I do have a feeling that they will somewhat support the Replay TV customers, but they will no do any additional development. My guess is they will come out with their own unit and offer Replay TV owners deep discounts if they trade in. They are not going to want to support someone else's service.

May 1st is Post as Anonymous Coward Day (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743656)

To protest the stupidity of the Slashdot moderation system, on May the 1st, we will be asking everyone to post only as Anonymous Cowards.

Hopefully through this action some awareness can be raised that the current system is flawed due to the Overrated/Underrated options and their immunity from meta moderation.

You can mod us down (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743721)

but you can never censor us, you fascist fucks.

Re:May 1st is Post as Anonymous Coward Day (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743833)


To protest the stupidity of the Slashdot moderation system, on May the 1st, we will be asking everyone to post only as Anonymous Cowards.

Hopefully through this action some awareness can be raised that the current system is flawed due to the Overrated/Underrated options and their immunity from meta moderation.

Ah, the Great Slashdot Blackout, Part Deux

And, we who were there remember how well the FIRST ONE went. *snicker*

Re:May 1st is Post as Anonymous Coward Day (1)

Globe199 (442245) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743965)

Or maybe you should just worry about something important!

Globe199

Re:May 1st is Post as Anonymous Coward Day (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743970)

Hopefully through this action some awareness can be raised that the current system is flawed due to the Overrated/Underrated options and their immunity from meta moderation.

Well thats nice. Shame you're wrong, and your protest is worthless. The bug was fixed, Under/Overrated moderations have shown up in M2 for at least the past year. It is not a loophole in M2.

Good news (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743812)

In the last three months, Microsoft earned $2,790,000,000 in profits!

High end? huh? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5743834)

makers of high-end Denon and Marantz stereo gear

Denon? High end? Maybe it's high-end compared to your pc speaker.

I'm glad I didn't go lifetime (1)

chill182 (591443) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743843)

I hope the ReplayTV stays around because it is as addictive as crack. I tried watching TV at a friends house and it was like going through withdrawl. I couldn't commercial skip and I was stuck watching whatever happened to be on at the time.

I felt like a caveman stuck watching the same old rerun of "Fire".

Empeg!! (1)

ajayrockrock (110281) | more than 11 years ago | (#5743887)

Is anyone else hoping that they bring the Empeg [empeg.com] back to life? I bought the Mark IIa when SonicBlue shut down production for a mere 300 bucks and I can say that it's the greatest MP3 player on the planet. Its been several years since the player was released and there's still an active community that builds all kinds of crazy software for the stereo (partly due to the fact that it runs linux).

later,
ajay

PS. And OGG support is coming soon!

If it's anything like a "lifetime guarentee"... (2, Insightful)

aerojad (594561) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744002)

...those usually are void once the company goes under. You basically have a lifetime guarentee as long as the company is around, which is why it only really means something when the company has been around a long time, like Sears for example.

If the agreement is anything like that, the buyers of the assets can in theory say that since the original company is gone, they don't have to continue the service but they can offer them a new service, just like the old one, at a higher price.

Think $$$: Why wouldn't they keep their commitment (2, Interesting)

evenparity (569837) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744155)

If D&M are going to continue the Replay line, they would be crazy not honor Rio's lifetime subscriptions. Subscribers are assets.

Not only do you get a chance to upgrade them to next model, the eyeballs themselves must have some value. Marketing departments are constantly trying to develop channels like these subscriptions, and they are willing to pay for them.

It costs big $$$ to develop the guide data, but costs very little to distribute it more widely to these lifetime subscribers. By not honoring the agreement, it will cost them a lot in goodwill.

Of course, I can see them maybe offering lifetime subscribers a year or two of free service and then maybe making them pay, too. But it seems like there is an advantage of not making these people feel cheated. Cheated customers never return and they complain a lot (LOUDLY!).

(I'm glad I am a happy Tivo user.)

Maybe I missed it (1)

SomeOtherGuy (179082) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744170)

Does someone have a link to a story that explains why SonicBLue could not keep there heads above water? To me it looks like they had won the battle of getting their products (portable Mp3's and CD based Mp3's) on just above every available shelf of every willing retail shop (Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, etc.) Which considering a lot of high quality, sometimes obscure, sometimes better priced competitive products never even got in the door. And considering that most buyers do not want to go through the hassle of ordering the alternatives from some fly by night japanese web site and waiting 6-8 weeks for delivery if they ever deliver it all, requiring a credit card, some shady Ebay megadealer and all the other pitfalls of ordering online VS. walking into a brick and morter in any of the lower 48. Bottom line -- is it a weakness in the end user market that caused the downfall, is it the fact that the market is not as wide spread as conventional CD players, or DVD players, or TV's??? It is just hard for me to comprehend as to why a company that had such a monopolistic foothold in the brick and mortars could not at least break even.......

BK Court Info - Sonic Blue's sale of Replay & (2, Informative)

slogadget (665731) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744173)

Looks like the Bankruptcy case for Sonic Blue will be held in the Northern District of California Bankruptcy court. Judge Marilyn Morgan is hearing the case. Here is a link about the sale of Replay and Rio: Sale of Replay, Tues 15th April 2003 [uscourts.gov] ~Robert

subscriptions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#5744191)

Yep, anthony started the company and decided to offer 'lifetime subscriptions.'

He starts things up, not keep things running, I sold replay a couple years ago, but lifetime subscriptions still honored.

Sonic Blue decides to piss off the content providers that sue them out of existance, will D&M now honor the subscription?

They don't have to.

Good Riddance! (1, Troll)

drayzel (626716) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744210)


I'm not sure why everyone was/is such a fan of Sonic Blue and the other various bastard children of Diamond. I've had and seen nothing but problems with thier products. Shoddy workmanship, disposable products and low quality output.

My Rio Volt 250 lasted 2 months, my brothers PVR was nothing but trouble, their video cards back in the day suffered driver issues for years after initial release.

GOOD RIDDANCE! It sounds like D&M may be able to take the popularity of the name and turn out an adequate product.

Of course I am a freaking idiot and my opinion is probably usesless... I guess that's why I was given MOD points today, so I would STFU... but my dislike for SB, Rio, DiamondMM etc. overcame my deisre for an over rated sense of power and control.

Hi-fi elitism (4, Insightful)

theLOUDroom (556455) | more than 11 years ago | (#5744212)

I've already see a few posts on this topic that just made my stomach turn. Here's an example:

D&M isn't high end. It's more of a high-end of the low-end. Rotel, Krell, Sunfir, Mark Levinson, anything with vaccum tubes and the list goes on are more towards the middle and hugh end of the audiophile spectrum. You know stuff where each mono-block amp costs more than the most expensive D&M box. Or when your system has a phono cartridge that costs 5-15,000 bucks, that's high-end. But me, I'm happy with my Denon AVR-3803


Here's another one:
Dude, you are probably not an audiophile. Denon and Marantz are related to the likes of Kenwood, Sony and Pioneer like a ferrari to a volkswagen. You probably also never heard of Quad or Nakamichi? heh ... now that's an audio system.


I'm not an "audiophile" if by audiophile you mean "sucker." People who spend a ton of money on this stuff are buying some VERY overpriced equipment. Just because something is the most expensive in the world doesn't make it the best. And tubes? Yeah, you can make a good amp with tubes, but you can make just as good or better of and amp with transistors. (Guitar amps are a slightly different story.) Saying something has tubes, doesn't necessarily make it good.

I've decided to stick to pro-audio gear for all new audio purchases. There's just something stupid about spending $200 on unbalanced phono cables, but "audiophilies" have no problem with that. Nor do they seem to have a problem with $1000 speaker cables, etc.

If you're going to spend a ton of money on your audio system, I suggest you buy the same things a recording studio buys.

Just to show you guys are being a pompus asses, here's a brochure from quad:
here [iagamerica.com]
check out those power amp specs: 108 db SNR

Now lets go look at some pro gear:
Check out the specs. page [crownaudio.com] for this Crown amplifier.
SNR 120dB

People "in the know" don't buy that ridiculously overpriced "high end" stuff, they buy pro grear. It performs wonderfully, takes abuse, and costs less.
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