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Retailers Leak New TiVo HD Specs and Price 163

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the tastes-great-less-filling dept.
Brent writes "Retailers goofed and posted most of the specs of the forthcoming TiVo Series 3 Lite, which Ars says may be called 'TiVo HD' at launch. A comparison with the standard Series 3 shows that for a savings of $300, you only lose the OLED screen (do you need a screen on your TiVo?), the glowing remote (which you can pickup for $50 anyway), THX certification (worthless) and 90GB of storage. Looks like it may be a TiVo hacker's dream."
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Retailers Leak New TiVo HD Specs and Price

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  • Hackers dream? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pegr (46683) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:09PM (#19906039) Homepage Journal
    Why, did they unTivoize the GPLed software?
    • by mollog (841386)
      So, What's to stop someone from buying a 750Gb HDD and replacing the 160Gb drive?

      I'm a little amazed that this isn't more hackable; more DVD writers, more memory, more tuners. WTF?

      After all this time, I expected much more. Maybe I should just try to build a PVR. God knows that with the low price of memory, the new multi-core processors, the low cost of disk storage and the new GPUs with vector processors, I should be able to get something worthwhile going. Too bad I don't watch more TV.
      • by cdrudge (68377)
        Typically you have been able to add additional storage space, if I understand things correctly. The Tivo S3 Lite just doesn't come with as much as it's big brother does.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          I'd never buy another Tivo....they don't offer the lifetime 'service' any longer.

          I'm not gonna buy a unit...and then have to pay a monthly 'fee' to use it for the rest of its useful life.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Plus, it uses ReiserFS.

      [Sorry. Now I'm going AC for sure.]
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Eddi3 (1046882)
      They didn't say a hacker's dream, they said a TiVo hacker's dream.
  • What? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Constantine XVI (880691) <trash.eighty+slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:12PM (#19906075)
    What exactly makes it a "hacker's dream"?
    • Re:What? (Score:5, Funny)

      by wawannem (591061) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:14PM (#19906103) Homepage
      well, the summary didn't mention the poster of Natalie Portman that comes with it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by suv4x4 (956391)
      What exactly makes it a "hacker's dream"?

      Well, hackers are poor and... well... That's Slashdot, you and your reasoning.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by phildawg (1104325)
      What makes this so great and a hacker's dream is because the features it loses that cannot be purchased were worthless. The main reason for the Tivo HD is strictly to be able to record at that quality level. A normal tivo cannot do that.

      So what you lose here that cannot be replaced is THX-certification which doesn't mean anything because who has a THX professionally installed, setup, and configured home sound system? The OLED display is no big loss.

      The losses that people would miss are the glow in the dark
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by phildawg (1104325)
        I just wanted to say I goofed on the HD numbers. I originally looked into the Series 3 Tivo HD when it was released as I own 2 normal tivo's currently. I thought it had a 300GB hard drive and it was roughly a 10:1 ratio on space. I now see that it's a 250GB hard drive and the new version will have a 90GB hard drive. My point is still very true and even more so with this knowledge. If 250GB = 30 hours, then 160GB = 17 hours, 1TB = 120 Hours.
      • Re:What? (Score:4, Informative)

        by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @05:19PM (#19906949)

        the 30 and 21 hours of HD quality recording really is a setback, but fortunately you can record programs at lower quality on the HD Tivo's.
        Only as long as you have the alternative to record HD programs in SD quality on an alternate SD channel carrying the same content. HD can only be recorded in HD. Last I checked, HDNET had no SD alternative. Also, the PBS stations in my area have different programming on the HD and SD channels (e.g. Doctor Who is only on the SD channel).

        There's also no IR or serial control by which to use a down-converting cable box on the Series3 platform. For cable programming, you either can record analog and unencrypted digital channels, or you use CableCards.
    • by _KiTA_ (241027)
      What exactly makes it a "hacker's dream"?

      It's cheap, for a HD PVR.
  • by Itninja (937614) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:13PM (#19906085) Homepage
    I would we willing to pay an extra $300 for a Series 3 that could record HD from my satellite service (Dish Network). Having been a Tivo user for nearly 10 years, I finally had to dump my Tivo and start using the Dish Network ViP622 HD-DVR. It's not bad, but the user interface is no where near as tight as a Tivo. maybe someday Comcast will grace me with cable in my area...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      What exactly prevents it from recording HD?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dgatwood (11270)

        Satellite TV boxes put out analog (component) and/or digital (DVI/HDMI) uncompressed hi-def video. To record that, you need A. a component capture device (relatively cheap/easy) or DVI/HDMI input hardware (also relatively cheap/easy), and B. real-time hi-def compression hardware (expensive/hard). That last one pretty much puts the skids on any attempt to do an HD PVR for satellite without building it into the satellite receiver.

      • by Itninja (937614)
        My HD satellite box (before I bought the DVR from them) only outputs via HDMI or s-Video. The Series 3 Tivo cannot take HDMI input (at least not in this picture [zatznotfunny.com]). And of course s-Video cannot display a true HD picture.
    • Comcast's HD DVR is about the worst piece of shit I've ever had the dubious privellege of using. It's what I use today (HD DVR - nuff said) but it's just a shoddy piece of shit.

      Part of it is plain ol' network issues - blocking, freezing and the like whenever we get a new neighbor who installs their cable.

      But the actual DVR unit will lag occasionally, or get stuck in rewind/ff, and just skip to the end on occasion. I would never buy such a unit and think it's pretty much awful. I probably won't spring fo

      • Comcast's HD DVR is about the worst piece of shit I've ever had the dubious privilege of using.

        I have a Comcast rented Motorola DVR6412-III, and completely agree with you. I'm on my 4th unit with them in only 3 months already,


        Comcast is supposed to start making TiVo software DVR models available as their DVR rental unit in just the next couple of months. While it will take a while to filter through their system, I'm doing my best to be first in line when these arrive.

      • The user interface is so ugly and awful that you get the feeling that Comcast hated designing the thing and wish you would just use the "on-demand" feature instead of the DVR. I had it for about 2 months and the user interface was hostile. You couldn't do much of any useful search, it looked like it was an early Alpha release of the software.

        Forgot about things like "suggestions" and the web-based connectivity that I'd come to expect.
  • Finally! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mjpaci (33725) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:16PM (#19906129) Homepage Journal
    I've been waiting for the T3 to drop in price to something my better half won't cringe at. That $700 price point was murder. Also, I am so freakin sick of the cruddy Motorola DVR that Verizon rents me that I am just peeing my pants with this pseudo press release. It will actually cost less for me to have a Tivo than that crappy DVR. (not factoring in purchase price, of course, so it will cost more, i just won't let myself believe it)

  • yum! gimme gimme gimme!!
  • by rsborg (111459) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:27PM (#19906307) Homepage
    Disclaimer: I'm currently owner of a Tivo Series2, unhacked, unmodified, connected to a SDTV, 5.1 receiver, and receiving analog cable (so I don't have to futz around with the channel blaster or deal with a cable box). I pay approx. $55/mo for this.

    That said, if I'm going to get a new Tivo, I have to deal with a lot of new issues:

    1. $$$: A new HDTV-compatible receiver and display
    2. $$: Cost of upgraded Cable services
    3. $: Cost of cable-card rental fee (x2 if I want to record 2 channels at a time)-or- dealing with the channel blaster again (yukk!)

    So in addition to the upgrade to HDTV, I will have to shell out probably another $30-$50 a month, which I really don't see as being necessary, and for what? HDTV? Forget it.

    On the other hand, this news [arstechnica.com]seems promising, if Comcast doesn't f$ck it all to hell.

    • by radish (98371)
      Well, I think they're actually aiming this at people who would already have a HDTV or were already planning on buying one, so really that's not a cost for the Tivo itself. I mean, I have a S3 and it works just fine with non-HD material and non-HD displays.

      For your other points, my experience doesn't match that at all. There's no "cost for upgraded cable services" - HD is included as standard with digital cable in my region (Cablevision) and I think in most others too. If you don't have digital and don't wan
    • by doormat (63648)
      Perhaps the S3 isnt for you. But it is for me - I have a HDTV and am missing that DVR funtionality. My cable company will charge me something around $15/mo to rent an HD DVR from them, and since I already own an S2, the service on a new box would be $6.95/mo+CC fees ($1.99/mo ea. IIRC), so a total of $11/mo. I dont expect to make my money back, but at least I dont have to deal with that shit SARA software from SA/Cisco. And Cox doesnt have an "HD Fee" for basic HD channels (ESPN, Discovery, etc).

      I'll see ho
    • by Moofie (22272)
      So, maybe you could....

      (stay with me now!)

      not buy one?

      Call me crazy.
    • You buy the S3, you can run your current setup with a 160hr S3L box. If you're getting unencrypted HD, you could even watch HD on your SD set through the composite output.

      Or, you could decide that you _wanted_ stuff in the digital realm, then you could "step up" to paying for digital cable rates, and the cablecard(s) and the cc rental (which is supposed to be nominal).

      You still wouldn't need an HD set, unless you wanted to step up to HD. OF course - again - if you get an HDTV and your cable provider is send
  • With the rising popularity of HD, Tivo is losing a LOT of customers. I know they lost me earlier this year. I had been a Tivo user for over 4 years. But when I upgraded to HD, I had two options. I could pay my cable company $7 a month for their DVR, or give Tivo $800 AND another $10 a month on top of that for their DVR. Guess which I chose?

    I loved the Tivo interface and all the neat extra features it came with. But I didn't love it THAT much. Even the Tivo rep couldn't bring herself to argue against it wh

    • I agree, even with the cheaper price of this new TiVO device I still won't buy it, its still way too expensive for the little extra you get. If TiVO was $10 a month and that included the rental of the equipment I would do it in a hot second. Spending more then $100 on the device is ridiculous, and unless TiVO changes the pricing structure they will die off in time.
    • If you're flinching at the price, they're not marketing it to you.
    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      At this price you think it would at least come with a DVD burner, like the Humax Tivo model I used to have

      Not while the TiVo is dependent upon CableCards to record some channels. That DVD drive becomes a potential way for you to make perfect copies of cable programming on removable media. They can't risk some bug or exploit that could reclassify all-digital recordings from digitized analog recordings allowing unauthorized copying.

      Keep in mind that the Series3 TiVo still doesn't have the TiVoToGo function

      • by jZnat (793348) *
        A perfect digital copy of cable shows? Are you serious? With how badly compressed they already are, you're better off downloading them on BitTorrent for the same (or better if their providers are better with compression) quality without the hassle.
        • by HTH NE1 (675604)

          A perfect digital copy of cable shows? Are you serious?

          Yes, the Series3 TiVo records the digital stream of digital shows. It's just as perfect as what they provide (barring signal loss along the way), and if they were able to sell you access to that stream, they'd rather be able to sell access to another person themselves than have you provide free access on portable media to the same quality signal. (And, unlike re-encoded analog signals, digitally recorded data streams still have 5.1 sound.)

          Besides, my cable company has been too cheap to provide analog ch

    • by LionMage (318500)

      Even at $500, instead of $800, I still can't afford Tivo HD.

      Actually, it looks like the Slashdot summary got it wrong; if you read the Ars article referenced in the summary, this new Series 3 Lite is actually $300, not $500 (as implied by the summary). It's not $300 cheaper, it's $300, period. This has been echoed at other websites, although I'm still waiting on official announcement of the product before I'll believe any pricing information.

      I think the confusion stems from the comparison table in Ars' ar

  • I actually love my Windows 2005 MCE box -- 4 tuners. The problem is CableCard compatibility is impossible. It just doesn't work. I'm ready to give up the system I've perfected (other than encrypted HD and CableCard), for a box like the Tivo.

    I had the original Tivo the week it came out, and I do miss it. TWF (The Wife Factor) is a big one, and she misses the Tivo also. Just to keep her happy I'd pay $30 a month if I had to for Tivo (2 phone calls from her a month about a broken TV is pricier than it sou
    • by SScorpio (595836)
      Have you looked into hooking up a digital receiver to your computer using firewire to capture HD and the digital channels without needing to use cable cards? You can use an Xbox 360 as an extender to a TV and it makes it a little easier to get into the DVR software. You will also be able to move the computer away from the TV and into a closet so you won't need to worry about noise.
      • by Ryan C. (159039)
        Only for the unencrypted channels. There is no such thing as a 5C compliant firewire card for a PC. So in most markets you can only record "free" TV over firewire. No ESPN/HBO/etc.
    • by 3waygeek (58990)
      You might want to look at the Hava [myhava.com] -- it's sort of like a Slingbox for MCE. I picked one up a week or so ago, but haven't hooked it up yet. You can plug your cable box's component video output into it (it'll act as a passthrough if your TV takes component video input), so it'll get the same signal as the TV, allowing you to record protected content.
      • by ivan256 (17499)
        The only descriptions of the resolution of this device on their website are "High Quality" and "DVD Quality". This thing almost certainly only outputs 480p video over the network. Better than slingbox, but equally as useless for HD-DVR usage.
  • I'm thinking a few hundred GB to start - what was the drive type again?

    And is it pin-controlled, software set, or hard-wired?

    Gotta have some place to put my Red Dwarf and Darkworld episodes ...
  • OT Recommendations (Score:3, Informative)

    by asphaltjesus (978804) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:36PM (#19906449)
    I've configured both knoppmyth http://www.mysettopbox.tv/knoppmyth.html [mysettopbox.tv] and mediaportal for win32 http://www.team-mediaportal.com/ [team-mediaportal.com].

    Each has their caveats. Knoppmyth works better once you get it rolling, but there's lots of fiddly work to get it going. Lots of fiddly work. Once it's up its rock steady. It manages powering down/sleeping between scheduled shows much better than win32.

    MediaPortal is easier to set up. Buggy interface though. Not show-stoppers but whacky things that make it hard to use. For reasons I haven't investigated it uses some kind of proprietary file type to store the shows. If someone knows how to set it up to make an mpeg that would be great. http://www.team-mediaportal.com/ [team-mediaportal.com]
  • I'm a TiVo Series 1 user who doesn't consider anything on cable worth coughing up $30+/month for, so I get all the TV I need over the air. Given the imminent demise of free programing data for MythTV, and the continuing absence of those legendary digital-to-analog converters the Feds promised us, this may turn out to be my best option for when the analog transmitters go dark. If only I could transfer the "lifetime service" from my Series 1 to one of these... Still, it's cheaper to pay TiVo for an EPG than
    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      "Given the imminent demise of free programing data for MythTV..."

      Don't worry, the MythTV people are working on a fix for this. Check out this link [easytvdata.org] .

    • by HTH NE1 (675604)

      I'm a TiVo Series 1 user who doesn't consider anything on cable worth coughing up $30+/month for, so I get all the TV I need over the air. Given the imminent demise of free programing data for MythTV, and the continuing absence of those legendary digital-to-analog converters the Feds promised us, this may turn out to be my best option for when the analog transmitters go dark. If only I could transfer the "lifetime service" from my Series 1 to one of these... Still, it's cheaper to pay TiVo for an EPG than t

      • by tverbeek (457094)
        I don't currently have a MythTV box; I was considering building one as an ATSC-capable replacement for the TiVo S1 when the analog transmitters go dark. Your proposed solution is clever, but writing custom data conversion scripts (among other things, I'd have to translate the cable-service channels in the TiVo database into the local ATSC subchannels) and maintaining two boxes is more trouble than I'm interested in undertaking just to watch a half dozen TV series and the odd movie; the no-maintenance simpl
    • by Abcd1234 (188840)
      Given the imminent demise of free programing data for MythTV,

      Huh? MythTV had guide data before Zap2It Labs came along, what makes you think it'll suddenly die when it disappears?
  • THX cert means little if your speakers/TV aren't also in a room that is THX certified. Unless you are a serious audiophile, it's like having heated car seats when you live in Florida. Cool feature, but not worth an extra $500 when you will probably never use it (hear the difference).

    The smaller HD is a bummer, but if the units are as easy to upgrade as the older units were, it's easy to image/re-image onto a larger HD.

    So, upgrade the HD in the Lite and the only "functionality" you give up over the Sta
  • by Hangtime (19526) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @04:50PM (#19906619) Homepage
    I just purchased my Tivo Series 3 (the wife and I are Tivo nuts and we just bought an HDTV so it was required) and here's my notes so far.

    1. Cablecard installation sucks. Make sure when you talk to the provider that they ALWAYS bring 2 Cablecards. It just took for times for TimeWarner to actually get cable going. None of this is Tivo's fault as much as its lack of understanding on the cable company side. The problems are in two places: one - firmware upgrades can take FOREVER, it literally took my 3 days to update the Cablecards, two: provisioning the TWC head-end folks have not quited figured this out yet and it took the guy talking to a friend to get the cards provisioned correctly. So when they come out make sure they try to flash the cards before they leave HQ and know someone on the other side that knows how to provision.

    2. The lost 90 GB is not much of a problem. Tivo Series 3 have an eSATA connection that can be enabled through a backdoor code (see http://www.tivocommunity.com/tivo-vb/showthread.ph p?t=350510 [tivocommunity.com] on how to do so). Then you get yourself a $50 enclosure and $300 1 TB drive and your rocking for approximately the same price.

    3. I wish the OLED wasn't even there and I had $50 back. You can't see it half the time and its so small its tough to read from across the room.

    4. THX: I don't have a home theater (working on that but gotta be a little more frugal now) so I wouldn't worry about it.

    The $300 price point is the magic number and when it comes in watch out because these will start flying on the shelves.
    • by Kenrod (188428)
      Presence of an eSATA port on the Tivo lite has not been confirmed.
    • Actually, I really like the OLED display. My old series 1 had two LEDs. Power and recording. The S3's OLED display shows what two programs are being recorded, plus the time. It *is* a bit small, but I'm very happy to have it.
    • by HTH NE1 (675604) on Wednesday July 18, 2007 @06:37PM (#19907797)
      1. Also, CableCards seem to be really picky about how many splitters there are in the cable. My TWC really wanted the TiVo to be the only thing connected to the wall, but could tell from my setup that that simply was not feasible. I did determine that one splitter was blocking some frequencies and had to ditch it.

      2. eSATA port is unconfirmed. (BTW, I hate that people selling cables try to sell "internal eSATA cables". I almost bought the wrong kind because they haven't learned that the "e" stands for "external".)

      3. Even if you can't read the OLED display from across the room, you can still tell from a glance (on a unit not in Standby mode) whether what's recording on a tuner is a scheduled recording of yours or not (Suggestions are not named on the OLED; scheduled recordings are).

      4. I wish earlier models included an Emmy symbol the year TiVo was awarded one.

      I'm waiting for my $300 rebate, but I won't use it to buy another one. Eight TiVos are enough for me right now. (Heh, my first two 14hr Series1 TiVos also had $300 in rebates, making them cost -$0.01 after rebate, not considering taxes on pre-rebate price.)
    • by radish (98371)
      Just as another data point I also recently got an S3 (for $400 after rebates, very nice price). I was actually dreading the card installation after having read all the stories, but it went very smoothly. Total time including the firmware updates was about an hour and it's worked flawlessly since installation.

      I was upgrading from a cable company supplied DVR (Sci Atlanta 8300HD) and for me, the cost of the Tivo is VERY much worth it. The thing is faster, everything works better from an interface perspective,
    • by stickyc (38756)
      1. Cablecard installation sucks. Make sure when you talk to the provider that they ALWAYS bring 2 Cablecards. It just took for times for TimeWarner to actually get cable going. None of this is Tivo's fault as much as its lack of understanding on the cable company side. The problems are in two places: one - firmware upgrades can take FOREVER, it literally took my 3 days to update the Cablecards, two: provisioning the TWC head-end folks have not quited figured this out yet and it took the guy talking to a fri
      • What's really scary is that currently, only a few 3rd party devices (some newer HD Televisions and the TiVos) use CableCards, but the tech said Comcast is planning on rolling out their own hardware that uses them. This means that instead of 1 CableCard install per month, all installs will be CableCard based.

        That sounds like a good way to quickly encounter and iron out the bugs in the system. Those who sign up a couple months later might have no trouble at all.

  • I love how the THX logo is branded on everything now, and none of it really is THX quality. THX has become a marketing angle, but it really does and is nothing.

    THX only matters if they're sending an engineer to your home studio, to custom craft an audio solution for your home studio's room size, shape, materials, and how it all effects the acoustics.

    but yeah they dont.. So its just a dam sticker on a box.
    • by iluvcapra (782887)

      My teacher in school was the inventor [wikipedia.org] of THX, the theatrical motion picture system. He was eventually forced out of Lucasfilm in the early 90s, and every now and then we would mention the newest "THX" product we saw, like around the time were in school, car audio systems were starting to get "THX" certifications. He'd just roll his eyes and laugh, and mutter "ridiculous."

      The original tech, a THX movie theater, is still worth seeking out, since they still enforce the quality control standards in those (a

      • by mshurpik (198339)
        Hey most "average joes" think thx = surround.

        So, go teach.
        • by iluvcapra (782887)

          Hey most "average joes" think thx = surround.

          I dunno, Dolby has done a lot to assert that THEY = surround, which though flawed is a bit more accurate, and when people walk into a movie theater, they simply expect that the speakers on the walls will emit sound giving the impression of sound in depth, without asking "who" or "how". When people ask me what kind of audio gear they should buy, I tell them to just get stereo speakers, maybe a center channel, and to buy movie tickets if they want to hear a film

    • by LionMage (318500)
      THX is mostly marketing these days, true, but you'd be amazed at how much it costs to get THX certification for a piece of home theater hardware. (I have a high current power amp which is THX certified, and although it's an impressive piece of hardware, there's little about the design that specifically was required by THX -- basically, the amp vastly exceeded the minimum power and distortion requirements, and the manufacturer put a couple of trimpots on the inputs so you could do careful level adjustment.)
  • You can get a Dish Network DVR622 for free with an 18 month commitment now. 250GB of storage and coming in August you can use external USB drives for even more storage. Online records are coming in September via dishonline.com. Add that it can record three unique HD feeds at a time (2 Sat + 1 OTA) and Dish offers the most HD channels of any provider (6 more coming August 15th). I just don't see why people pay for receivers/DVR's any more.
    • by hawk (1151)
      >I just don't see why people pay for receivers/DVR's any more.

      Pay for a DVR, or have teeth extracted without anesthesia^H^H^H^H^H^H deal with DishTV

      not a hard choice :)

    • by radish (98371)
      Because Tivo is better. The day I was able to get the cable guy to take away the POS company-supplied DVR and replace it with something which actually worked and had an interface from the 21st century was a great one :)
    • by Richy_T (111409)
      You can get a Dish Network DVR622 for free with an 18 month commitment now.

      So not "for free" then.

  • TiVo has only a 30-40% market share of a total DVR market of roughly 10-12 million systems.

    Ontop of that, they're testing popup ads.....baaaaaaahhhh. Nice of mods to give some free ads.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TiVo [wikipedia.org]

    Alternatives. http://www.dvrplayground.com/ [dvrplayground.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mkraft (200694)
      First off, popup ads were never implemented. TiVo tested them on a few people, found they didn't work well and scrapped them. I don't know why people always bring this up since there hasn't been a popup ad on a TiVo in over 2 years. There's far more ads on the cable box Comcast gives me (they're all over the guide), than I ever see on my TiVo.

      Second, TiVo is the best known DVR out there and the most successful purchasable one there is. When Comcast starts selling their own HD DVR that's as good as Ti

Is it possible that software is not like anything else, that it is meant to be discarded: that the whole point is to always see it as a soap bubble?