Jim Bray's Car & Tech rants - publishing online exclusively since 1995
Replay Capture Suite

Applian's Replay Capture Suite 24 lets you record, re-use web-based media

By Jim Bray
April 11, 2024

Streaming media, whether via Netflix, YouTube or whatever, is the hot commodity in consumers' choices these days. And thanks to products such as Replay Capture Suite, you can exploit it yourself, over and over again.

It's quite empowering!

It's pretty cheap, too, all things considered. As of this writing, the suite is on sale via Applian's website for $49.95USD, down from its already reasonable regular price of $79USD.

Traditional networks and broadcasters are finding their ratings crashing these days, not only because they spew mostly crap and/or propaganda into our homes, but also because people are deciding to cut the cord – getting rid of the cable, satellite or whatever – in favour of content they can choose to watch at their convenience rather than that of the broadcaster, PVR's notwithstanding. Streaming is also a good way to find stuff you want to see, rather than what they're pushing on you to see.

This is why there are so many streaming services vying for your time and money (well, they probably don't care a whit about your time…).

The download process for the whole Applian suite is a bit of a pain, in that you have to download each app separately even if you're doing the whole Suite, but it works fine and once you're done, the "central app" called Applian Director (which is included) lets you see which sections you have that are current and which have upgrades available for – again, separate – download.

And on the other hand, if you don't want to purchase the entire suite, you can just download the parts you want. Cheaper to get 'em all, though.

That Director is a marvelous place from which to exploit the Suite. Here's what you can expect, quoted directly from its "welcome message": "Have you been searching for an app that allows you to find all of your favorite media recording tools, all in one place? Look no more. With the Director, you can search and select all of your favorite media recording software and install them from one easy place. The Director makes it easy for you to find, record and keep all of your favorites: online, or from your PC or Mac."

So if, for example, if you want to record something from Netflix, you can type "Netflix" into the Director's search box and the program nearly instantly tells you to use Replay Video Capture. Type in "podcast" and it directs you to the Replay Radio app. There are also some helpful links to videos, forums, etc.

It doesn't always work easily, but it's surprising how often it does. I managed to download an old favourite Top Gear episode from PlutoTV and, though it took more than one try before I figured it out, it did eventually work, and work well. Just don't tell the PlutoTV folks, or the Top Gear ones, either.

Media capture also has settings to use it as a digital video recorder (like the one you might have in your cable or satellite box) and there are settings to record automatically or only record the audio. It's pretty cool.

One thing that rubbed me the wrong way was how every time I fired it up, I'd have a new tab open in my browser, trying to sell me NetOptimizer. This is annoying.

Other apps in the suite include Replay Music, which you can use not only to record, but to split large music files containing multiple songs into individual tracks, and add the artist, title, album and genre information to the files. You can also use it to record audio from websites.  

You can also use Replay Radio, which Applian says is an all-new version now. All you have to do is fire it up, pick the show or radio station you want to keep, and Replay Radio will record it for you automatically. I used this years ago, in an earlier version, to record Rush Limbaugh's radio show and I tried the new version with Dan Bongino's show, setting it up to record daily from Monday to Friday, and it worked fine. You don't even need to have the app running; it'll fire itself up at the appropriate time.

Once your broadcast (or whatever) is recorded, you can listen to it at your convenience and on whatever device you want to use.

Replay Converter is an easy way to convert video and audio files. You simply pick the files to convert, choose an output format and click a button to start the process. Everything happens automatically. There is a wide variety of file formats from which to choose as well. Oh, sure, not all are there, but there's a lot.

Video Padlock, another component of the suite, lets you protect the personal video files you've stored on your PC, using pretty straightforward encryption. Just fire it up (you'll have to remember – or write down – a password here), show it which file(s) you want to encrypt, and it does it for you without fuss.

Media Splitter, like its name implies, lets you extract or delete parts of your media files. I could have used this last year when I helped my sister-in-law edit some personal family videos, and it would have made her life a bit easier (maybe that's why I forgot about it!). She wanted to keep the parts where her kids were playing hockey (or something like that!) while gassing the rest and I believe this would have done the job just fine.

There's also a YTV Clone app, which Applian says lets you "easily transform your PC into a multi-viewing entertainment center. It's the best app for those who don't want to miss a live event or show ever again!" Alas, this one requires you to use Go ogle Chrome as your browser, something I refuse to do, so I can't comment on this one's quality. I have no reason to think it doesn't work fine, though; I just have an aversion to Go Ogle.

Bottom line is that the Replay Capture Suite 2024 works pretty much as advertised and can add a lot of freedom and flexibility to your online media experiences. And it's quite affordable, even when not on sale.

A Great Gatsby?

In the same vein, a new startup app – not related to Applian or its apps (that I know of) – claims it can help you find where to watch your favourite shows and movies for free – through non-subscription-based TV services like Sling TV, Tubi, Pluto TV, and others.

"Between Netflix always raising their prices and the explosion of streaming networks in recent years, many people are now paying for multiple subscriptions to different TV platforms. With each one adding up month after month, it might feel like it's not too far off from paying for cable," Gatsby's PR folk said in a press release.

And that's the rationale behind the Gatsby website and app: a way to help you save money by not having to pay through the nose for stuff you can actually watch for free – or you can use it find redundant streamers you may be paying for, so you can cancel some of them if you like.

Alas, watching on free services often, if not usually, means you'll have to sit through commercials, which doesn't seem unreasonable to me as long as they're not too onerous the way YouTube has gotten to be. In fact, YouTube has gotten so bad I've started looking for alternatives. I'll let you know if I find a good one. Or you can let me know and I'll pass along the knowledge in an upcoming rant.

Anyway, Gatsby "brings all your streaming services into one place where you can see if you'll have to rent, buy, or subscribe to watch something. The platform also checks through the growing number of free networks where you can find TV shows and movies that won't cost you anything to use.

And because it seems many of us can't watch stuff unless the people we follow deem it, well, followable, the app also lets you see what the individuals you follow have watched recently, and it also lets you send recommendations of shows or movies to friends. You can become an Influencer!

The Gatsby TV app claims to have 100,0000 users despite it only being out for a few months.

Now, I haven't used the app and so can't comment on its worth – or lack of – so I merely present this for your information. I did surf by their website at www.gatsby.tv, however, and it pretty well does everything outlined above, and for a wide variety of countries.

I did a quick search for Top Gear and it not only brought up the classic British show in various incarnations (including the post-Clarkson/May/Hammon years and some of their compilations), it also offered different national versions, including French and American. There were also links to CTV's website for free watching, as well as a couple of rental choices.

CTV wouldn't let me watch the show without signing up and logging in, so I bailed. But it did appear that it would work if I were willing to jump through Corporate Media's hoops. And I'm not.

Ditto for Game of Thrones and Monty Python's Flying Circus. Gatsby showed me where to find them for subscription services, or for rental. Alas, neither was available for free. Yet, anyway.

Still, Gatsby looks like a pretty neat way to find cheap and/or free ways to watch a wide variety of programming.

Copyright 2024 Jim Bray

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