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Television Media Toys

TiVo Unveils Series3 HDTV DVR 309

MegaZone writes "TiVo unveiled their new Series3 unit at CES yesterday. The Series3 is a digital cable ready box, capable of recording two programs simultaneously. It supports cable and antenna input, and it can handle digital or analog cable, digital ATSC, or analog NTSC broadcasts. CableCARD is used for digital cable, and it can utilize a single multi-stream card, or two single-stream cards. The system also sports 2 USB ports, 10/100baseT Ethernet, and an E-SATA port for external storage expansion. Video output is HDMI, component, S-Video, and composite, and audio is optical digital or RCA stereo."
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TiVo Unveils Series3 HDTV DVR

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  • Woo Hoo! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kennedy ( 18142 )
    About freakin' time TiVo!!!!

    I love my series 2 and all, but honestly i've really been itching for the cable card based series 3 units since i've heard about them.

    Hooray for dual tuners in a non-dtivo! hooray for easy expantion too! i just hope these badboys don't cost as much as the hd dtivos...
  • I have a Tivo, and while I know I could build a MythTV I like the "near idiot proof" nature of the little box so I can let my wife use it to tape her shows (American Idol) while I tape my shows (MythBusters) and our shows and then had to hunt for a USB compatible network device, all I could think was "WTF? Why not spend $10 on Ethernet?"

    The other thing I'm very pleased about is the inclusion of the Cablecard option - this gives Tivo a chance to complete with cable boxes - though local Cox has let people know that while you can use the cablecard, it won't be able to get movies on demand.

    Ah, and I was so hoping to see "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigalo". Somehow, I think I'll survive. WIth the ability to plug in external drives, this has seriously upset my plans to convert my spare PC into a Tivo replacement once the service on the current box runs out in October.

    Of course, there's always the possibility Apple will introduce something - but if they do introduce a PVR/Media device, I'm going to expect it to have the same capabilities down to the cablecard that this new Tivo does before I consider it.

    Eh - I'm patient. I have 10 months to wait and see.
    • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:35AM (#14408749)
      I'm not quite sure what your point is. I have a series 1 Tivo (Sony unit from the year 2000). It has 100BaseT ethernet. I bought the ethernet card and plugged it in. No problems.

      Incidentally - why does everybody feel the need to list the TV programmes they like to record? It's like music stories - with those people always seem to like to post the "artists" they like. Why? It's a waste of space.
      • by suprchunk ( 782952 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:00AM (#14408917)
        Incidentally - why does everybody feel the need to list the TV programmes they like to record You know I always wondered about that too. You don't see me running around telling you what kind of toilet paper I use (Charmin) or anti-perspirant I use (Arid). Maybe there should be a study done on this kind of behavior. But I have a feeling they have no friends and are trying to make some on the net by spouting out shows that seem to be popular with all the other losers.
      • I have a series 1 Tivo (Sony unit from the year 2000). It has 100BaseT ethernet. I bought the ethernet card and plugged it in.

        I had a couple of Series 1 boxes too, and bought the ethernet cards as well.

        They're 3rd party accessories that were hacked onto the proprietary expansion slot inside S1 TiVos. There is no such expansion slot on the S2s, and I doubt there is on the S3s. They cost $70 vs ~$10 for a USB adapter and aren't trivial to install (not horribly difficult, but if you're not comfy opening your c
        • I didn't know that about the S2's. Thanks. External adapters are silly - who wants a set-top box with things hanging off it?

          Fitting the card is hardly difficult. You'll spend more time finding the right screw driver to remove the three (four?) screws on the back, and then trying to figure out how to make the top cover slide back without damaging it. Oh, I guess you have to widen a hole at the back to make enough room for the RJ45 to slip through. This is half-an-hour work... the OP was suggesting build
          • External adapters are silly - who wants a set-top box with things hanging off it?

            They are silly, but it's not all that bad -- it's just yet another cable really. But it's an added expense (Fitting the card is hardly difficult.

            I remember it being a major pain on my two Philips units -- it wasn't a case of the card being too large or anything, but rather the amount of space available to work in being exceptionally small. And yeah, getting the case off wasn't all that smooth, and making the hole for the ethern
      • Incidentally - why does everybody feel the need to list the TV programmes they like to record? It's like music stories - with those people always seem to like to post the "artists" they like. Why? It's a waste of space.

        Sometimes to get grass root efforts going to support the shows/music they like. I never saw "Firefly" when it first came out, but I saw enough people on /. praising it that I thought I would give it a try and loved it.
      • by uradu ( 10768 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @12:10PM (#14409486)
        > I bought the ethernet card and plugged it in. No problems.

        I have the same setup, but enough of the "no problems" already. For your average non-techie consumer wanting Ethernet there ARE problems galore with the SA1: willingness to void warranty by opening the unit, obtaining the right size Torx screw driver (which not exactly a common household item like a Philips driver), cutting the right-sized hole into the back of the unit to snap in an RJ45 socket and obtaining said socket and wiring it to a patch cable stub (or just drilling a hole into the back and running a patch cable straight from the card to the outside and having it all look like shite and be prone to having the cable pulled too hard and unplugged or unseating the card), obtaining and installing the necessary Linux software to serve up shows from the box, editing the init script to start it all up, and hoping that after all this the box still works right.

        Yeah, no problems at all for your average Best Buy customer.
    • Eh - I'm patient. I have 10 months to wait and see.

      I've got even longer; I don't expect to be able to justify the cost of this monster 'til it drops down into a range slightly closer to what I paid for my current standalone unit, especially since my lifetime subscription on the standalone unit's not transferrable. (It's not that I don't yet have an HD monitor yet-- the big reason I don't is because I've been waiting for affordable HD Tivo. :) )

      One of the things I love about my current Tivo is Tivo-to-go. I
    • I own a duel tuner DirecTivo and I've been very happy with it. My only complaint is that generally the DirecTivo lags behind the regular TiVo in terms of updates, etc. A good example of this is that my DirecTivo has USB ports on the back but no support for a USB ethernet card.

      Looking at this there's a couple of things I wish this thing had.

      1. A firewire port. I understand why they wouldn't put one in there, but come on. My parents digital TV tuner has a firewire port, this thing should to.
      2. A gigE netw
  • It's about time! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jmp_nyc ( 895404 ) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:22AM (#14408665)
    As I recall, Tivo unveiled their first prototype of a cablecard enabled, HDTV capable DVR at CES 2 years ago. I would have been ready to buy such a creature at the time.

    Obviously, the current model looks leaps and bounds ahead of what they originally put forth. I love the display on the front that shows what both tuners are recording. (Although no more sneaking recordings of shows my wife doesn't know I watch, and doesn't think I have time for.) However, I can't help but think that they missed out on a significant piece of the market as people have resigned themselves to using cable company provided DVRs for HDTV. It doesn't help that cablecard implementation at most cable companies is still pretty buggy, and not used widely enough to get debugged thoroughly too quickly.

    My bet is that this unit will succeed or fail (and the company with it) depending on how much marketing muscle Comcast puts behind it as part of their alliance with Tivo. Of course, I'm still likely to buy one, as the HD-DVR Time Warner provides for me is horribly buggy...
    • Re:It's about time! (Score:5, Informative)

      by MegaZone ( 684924 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:28AM (#14408701) Homepage Journal
      Actually one year ago. The first time they showed a CableCARD box was CES2005. They had a very early prototype running, and at the time they said it would be out in mid-2006. They're still following the same course.
    • My bet is that this unit will succeed or fail (and the company with it) depending on how much marketing muscle Comcast puts behind it as part of their alliance with Tivo. I think you're forgeting something. The one huge thing Tivo has going for it is the upcoming Netflix downloads. Rent a DVD with no hassle what so ever? That's hard to say no to.
  • Ethernet? USB? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by penguin-collective ( 932038 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:26AM (#14408690)
    It's nice that it has Ethernet, but can you do anything useful with it or will it be heavily DRM'ed?

    What about the data on the USB disk--is it encrypted or is it readable and usable MPEG files?
    • Most likely it will be exactly like the Series 2 DVRs -- You can copy recorded files from it to your computer, but need the special TiVo Player to watch them.
      • Re:Ethernet? USB? (Score:2, Informative)

        by Fishstick ( 150821 )
        No, you can watch them with WMP, but you supposedly need Sonic MyDVD to burn them . As someone else pointed out, you can use freely available utilities to "unwrap" the .tivo files into straight mpeg that you can then do with as you please.

        Maybe you are thinking of TiVo Desktop -- the app they provide to let you download the shows from your TiVo? You don't even really need this (though it is nice), you can download through your browser if you find out the url.

    • Considering the pictures show the option to transcode your recordings for use on a PSP, video iPod, or Windows Media Library, I'd assume it would pump out the transcoded files via the ethernet port (wow, takes so much brainpower to figure this out). DRM'd? Possibly, but since it transcodes, not necessarily. Watermarked? Most definitely. Also, there is no USB disk.
    • Re:Ethernet? USB? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Zathrus ( 232140 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:45AM (#14409250) Homepage
      t's nice that it has Ethernet, but can you do anything useful with it or will it be heavily DRM'ed?

      With current S2 TiVos you can do quite a bit with the ethernet -- play MP3s, slideshows, get weather/traffic/movie times and tickets/etc (the interface is open and extensible), transfer recordings to a PC and back (PC includes Windows, Mac, and Linux; although for the latter two you probably need to run Galleon []), transfer MPEG2 video to the TiVo (and maybe MPEG4/H.264 w/ the Series3? It's not clear yet), and various other stuff.

      As far as the video that's exported goes -- it's in a ".tivo" format which is a loosely containered MPEG2 video. It's completely trivial to strip off the outer layer and get to the real data beneath it. And it looks like the new TiVo Desktop software will even offer transcoding to a number of alternate (DRM'd) formats as well. But really, it's a joke to take off the TiVo DRM, or to just play it from a standard MPEG2 capable video player (it's designed to allow you to do that). Yes, you can play it in mplayer.

      What about the data on the USB disk--is it encrypted or is it readable and usable MPEG files?

      It's SATA, not USB, but that's a minor nit. The data is not in straight MPEG files -- it's on TiVo's proprietary FS. That was figured out [] long ago. But if you can simply download the stream to your PC, there's little reason to futz around with the drive -- especially since you cannot be assured that the entire video is stored on the external drive (it may be, but it may also cross drives; the article states this).
    • It's nice that it has Ethernet, but can you do anything useful with it or will it be heavily DRM'ed?

      Yep - not ever have to worry about running a phone line over to the TiVo, or think about when the phone is tied up, or get incensed at the stupidity of transferring data over POTS ever again.

      Even if you couldn't transfer video with it (and I'm sure you'll be able to) the update capabilities make it worth it.

  • by us7892 ( 655683 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:27AM (#14408696) Homepage
    It's been fun dabbling with Tivo's HME. Getting Google Maps on my Tivo via my desktop PC, playing with newsfeeds, etc. This site has some interesting HME Apps listed, []

    Now, with the new Series 3 Tivo, what will developers really be able to do with a new HME...or does Tivo have little interest in opening up more to the developer community?
  • Broadcast flag? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ixne ( 599904 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:31AM (#14408723)

    Does this allow you to record two HD shows at once, only to have to delete them after 90 minutes?
  • I take it they still want me to pay $400 for a lifetime subscription or $14 per month? Yet, not allow me to export my recordings without using their proprietary app? No, thanks. I'll stick with my v500 []

  • Trade-in program (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Call Me Black Cloud ( 616282 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @10:33AM (#14408738)

    That's what I hope to see...a trade-in program. I'd happily turn in my 2 Series 2 DVRs for a discount on 2 Series 3. Sure, TiVo can't reuse the parts but maybe they can sell them in 3rd world countries where even cable TV is a gift from the gods. Or since the TiVo is just a Linux box they can change the software a little to make them educational and donate them as a tax write off. Who wants a $100 laptop when you can get a TiVo plus "Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing" (though it may be difficult to master with the peanut shaped remote)?
  • Great! (Score:2, Interesting)

    Any markets support CableCard yet?

    I guess its just living in Canada, which sometimes sits in the stoneage when it comes to certain technology. TIVO has never been available up here, only what the monopolies Rogers (Cable) and Bell(Phone/Satellite) see fit to offer us Canucks.

    While Rogers PVR features 2 input recording and is mostly a decent device (the Acientific Atlanta Explorer 8300), I really wish for more competition in the PVR/Digital Cable box market, allowing me to select more robust solutions like
    • Re:Great! (Score:3, Informative)

      by MegaZone ( 684924 )
      TiVo works in Canada now. The service officially added Canadian support several months ago, but the hardware doesn't have a retail presence there yet. You can import a Series2 from the US and subscribe it in Canada no problem.
    • Re:Great! (Score:3, Informative)

      by doormat ( 63648 )
      In the US, the FCC has required cable companies to suppot cablecard 1.0 as of last July. Cablecard 2.0 is required starting sometime in 2008 or 2009.
    • by tgd ( 2822 )
      Most do, if not all, but it sometimes takes a few calls to the cable company to get someone who a) knows they do and b) knows how to get it for you.

      I've had one for over a year in my TV.
  • by phildog ( 650210 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:06AM (#14408968) Homepage
    I understand DirecTV is switching from Tivo to homegrown DVR stuff sometime in 2006. Does anyone know if there will be a cablecard supporting DirecTV this year? If so, I could just stick 2 DirecTV cablecards in this new tivo and not have to suffer through DirecTV's crappy DVR attempt (yes, I'm pretty confident their homegrown DVR is going to suck).

    My HR10-250 is getting installed tomorrow. But I hate how DirecTV is stripping all the cool HME options from their Tivo-powered boxes. So to me this upcoming series 3 Tivo powered by DirecTV would be a killer TV product.

    By the way, $600 is NOT the going price for the DirecTV HDTivo if you are a good DirecTV customer, see this thread [] for details on getting that price down. My cost was more like $200 after rebates and service credits. I'm fully expecting this device to be obsolete within a year, but to me it is worth it for $200.

    • I'm sure you're already aware of this, but your device will be outdated very soon. DirecTV is switching their HD content over to MPEG4, which the TiVo unit can't handle. The question is how long they'll continue delivering MPEG2 HD content...
  • by Gothmolly ( 148874 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:10AM (#14409009)
    That they will shell out $DOLLARS for one of these behemoths? So you can record the Superbowl and Desparate Housewives at the same time? So you can wire it into your home network, and have instant access to all of the DVDs and CDs that you bought and carefully ripped to your home terabyte SAN? Do people no longer read books, play Uno, or throw frisbee with their dogs? Go to neighborhood bars to watch sports games?
    I don't see it. Of course the geek factor is high, so it will likely be talked up much on Slashdot and in some circles, and eventually, Joe Walmart will buy them when they have to upgrade their TVs else they fall behind, but is there really a compelling reason for this? We're SWIMMING in media these days, barraged by content, and look at the results - dumbing down of everything, even the Discovery Channel, kids with no reading or writing skills, no attention span, etc. etc.
    • Absolutely. Not because I am addicted to "media". But because I enjoy media, but it absolutely has to be on my terms. I have to be in control of when and how I watch it.
      You see this as some low value item that provides little benefit to you. Don't buy one, and you now what, I don't really care. Enjoy whatever it is that you do. But as a person that enjoys his TiVo, and has for years, it is wonderful to be able to find my whatever time during a week, and the "media" that I want to watch is sitting
    • So you can record the Superbowl and Desparate Housewives at the same time?

      That'd be a pretty nifty trick, since I don't believe that ABC will be broadcasting them both at the same time...
    • by gr8_phk ( 621180 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:42AM (#14409239)
      "We're SWIMMING in media these days, barraged by content"

      That's why some people love TiVo. Most of that media flood is crap. TiVo allows them to select what they want to see and view it when they want instead of being some kind of slave to the TV. This doesn't make TiVo the best solution.

      Personally, I think people should drop cable altogether. All the local channels are broadcast in digital, and each cable company carries a different subset of them. The arguement that all the good stuff is on cable is a self-fulfilling prophecy. If you'd drop cable and make the broadcasters compete (and increase their market share) they'd start picking up good shows and the quality would increase quite a bit. TiVo would not be needed to sift through it all. Best of all, people wouldn't be paying monthly for any of it.

      I don't need cable to watch Desperate Housewives or the Super Bowl - both of which will be in HDTV across the nation over the air. You want to record? Get an HD3000 or Air2PC card and dump to hard drive, convert to DVD (reduced quality), use across your network, whatever. It's amazing to me that the public has decided it's normal to pay to watch TV programs that have already been paid for by advertisers.

      OTOH, People pay for bottled water and complain about the price of gas. WTF?

    • You do know that Discovery Channel has split into multiple channels, and all the good science stuff is still there, right? On the other ones?
    • Not necessarily that I want to be swimming in media, but that I want to watch what I want to watch, when I want to watch it.

      I haven't seen a commercial in about a year (thank you 30 second skip), and I just tell TiVo what shows I like, and when I visit it, they're on there. Who knows when the shows play; I don't care.

      I watch more shows now than I used to, but spend a lot less time doing it. Win-win, I say.

      As to whether I'd let my children spend hours a day getting a media addition in front of a TV: No, an
    • That they will shell out $DOLLARS for one of these behemoths... Do people no longer read books, play Uno, or throw frisbee with their dogs? Go to neighborhood bars to watch sports games?

      Or maybe that by having a DVR we can watch the shows we want while leaving more time for reading books, plaing Uno, playing with the kids, etc.

      Being able to start an evening show I like an hour later (after the kids bedtimes), allows us to not try to rush things and still get everything we want to get done done.
  • The color scheme for that remote has got to be the ugliest thing ever. It looks like the Ronald McDonald special edition remote.

    Here's to hoping that isn't the final color scheme...

  • Remeber the whole Tivo2Go fiasco last year? How long after it was announced did it take for Tivo customers to actually get access to the feature. I'm impressed by the specs but it probably won't be available for sale until 2007.
  • by British ( 51765 ) <> on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:22AM (#14409095) Homepage Journal the blasted latency.

    I was lucky enough to be given a TiVO(forgot the series), hacked to 80 gigs, and Ethernet,etc. While it is nice to be able to pause live tv, the only thing I didn't like was the latency with pressing buttons on the cable box.

    You try to punch in 040 and you get 0 4 2 seconds later showing up on the TV. I would say 60% of my channel changes were unsuccesful due to the cable box's timeouts. I thought the batteries were bad in my remote control. So I bypassed the tivo entirely, and it switched channels just fine, nice & fast.

    Is there a way to turn off "pausable tv" and just push the video straight through? I can live without it. I just wish when I did a plain(ie not scheduled) recording it didn't stop after a half hour. BTW I have no tiVo service. Just using it as a VCR.

    • It sounds like you don't have the TiVo set up very well. In most cases there are multiple versions of the same cable-control profile for a given cable box, which differ by command speed. Sounds like you picked the slowest option without trying the faster ones? The idea is to get the one that's fast enough to tolerate (and get all the digits in), but slow enough that the box doesn't miss any digits.

      Of course some cable boxes are better supported than others, or simply interoperate more/less reliably; so YMMV
    • Have you properly shielded your cable box's IR receiver? If your Tivo remote is IR-interfering with the signal that the Tivo sends (via its IR dongle) then channel changing will be mostly unsuccessful. If you read the Tivo instruction manual it shows how to block the cable box's IR receiver so it only gets the Tivo-dongle IR signal, not the secondary conflicting signal from your Tivo remote. Basically just put something opaque in front of the cable box's IR receiver and Tivo IR dongle.
      • Well, actually I'm surfing channels with the cable box remote & cable channels, not via the TiVO. The TiVO is just going through channel 3, so channel surfing on that wouldn't take me very far.
        • Ah, you mean the 1-second delay. You know, you are really wasting your money by just using the Tivo as a VCR. You should try the service, I think you don't know what you're missing.

          Anyway, if you want to bypass the Tivo's buffered recording (i.e. watch TV directly without rewind capability), just watch TV directly. You can get a cable splitter, split the signal coming out of your cable box, and assuming your TV has at least 2 inputs just connect Tivo to one input and your box output to the other. Switch
    • Is there a way to turn off "pausable tv" and just push the video straight through?

      No, and it wouldn't do you any good anyway. What you're complaining about is having to use the IR blasters to change channels on a cable box. If you only have analog cable (or OTA) then there's no need for a cable box and TiVo will tune using it's internal tuners -- just as fast as your TV or cable box.

      This version will also be just as fast, because it won't have to wait for the external tuner either.

      You can also fiddle with t
    • Is there a way to turn off "pausable tv" and just push the video straight through?

      If you're using the RF output, then yes.

      You Ask, We Answer
      Q. Our friend Jim (alongside many others out there in Newsletter-land)
      wrote to ask, "What is the benefit/purpose of the 'Standby' feature
      in TiVo?"

      A. Remember that the TiVo DVR does not have an on/off switch; it
      can't, because it must remain on at all times in order to record
      your favorite shows. In Standby mode, your DVR remains "on"--it
      still records programs you have req

    • Well this is the downside to most DVRs and more so if you have to connect to an settop box like digital cable or sat.

      The delay becomes a non-issue once you become fully addicted to TIVO since you will never want to watch live TV. I hate channel surfers.

      However things to make the blasters work better is to build a fort around them and the ir receiver on the set top box. I just wrap the whole thing in electrical tape. You need to make sure the IR is aligned with the reciever well too, and make sure you hav
  • My new HDTV (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tacokill ( 531275 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:24AM (#14409116)
    I just took the plunge to HDTV the other day. In setting all this up, I would like to pass along what I have learned thus far. It has been an interesting trip, to say the least and I have learned that there is a LOT of hype around HDTV that is probably not quite warranted yet.

    I subscribe to basic extended analog cable. I get locals plus standard cable content (Comedy central, lifetime, etc). No premium channels. I have this cable feed running through my Series 1 Tivo and from the Tivo, into my A/V receiver - which outputs the picture only to my TV. In this mode, the TV is essentially a monitor.

    I also have a PC w/ Meedio hooked up to this. I used to use the S-video to an old analog TV and that worked ok. Once I hooked it up to my HDTV (TV has PC/VGA in), words can not describe how much of an improvement that makes. The PC has a Soundblaster Live! on it and digital optical out to the A/V receiver....more on that piece later.

    The 3rd device I have is a DVD player (Philips DVP-642). Audio is coax digital. Video is components. Both Audio and video feed into my A/V receiver. My receiver has components in and out to the HDTV.

    Now that you have an idea of the setup I use, let me lay out some issues I have run into that the Tivo3 may simplify.

    1. Of all the devices I have hooked up, my PC w/ Meedio looks the best. And so do all of my downloaded movies and shows. Most of the rips I have are in HDTV and that seems to be the standard nowadays. Why is this important? Because the old "downloaded videos sacrifice quality" no longer holds true. It may not be as good as upscaled DVD's but it is MORE than reasonable.

    2. My soundcard sucks. The optical out only outputs stereo sound. I think it will pass through Dolby and DTS but who cares -- that's what my DVD is for. THIS IS A VERY BIG DEAL IF YOU WANT SURROUND SOUND out of your PC. Get a card that can output 5.1 on the fly. As I understand it, most Creative products ONLY output stereo through the digital out. (note: they may "pass thru" DTS/DD but that is different). I wound up ordering a Turtle Beach Montego. Haven't set it up yet.

    3. There is very limited HDTV content available. Over-the-Air (antennas), I can pick up all the major networks. Another alternative is to go w/ DirecTV -- but if you subscribe to them, you only get about 2-3 extra channels (I don't count preview channels, etc) more than an antenna. For Dish, its a little bit better -- you get about 4-5 extra channels. Same with Cable. The Point: Each of the above costs an extra $10-$15/mo. And for that, you get at most, 4-5 extra "real" channels that you couldn't get by just sticking an antenna behind your TV.

    4. I just ordered a CableCard from my provider (Cox). This allows me to keep my standard "analog" cable that feeds my Tivo while at the same time, allowing me to view the 5-8 HDTV channels that are available. If I had a Tivo3, I could just slap that card into my Tivo3 instead of using my Tivo 1 (for analog) + HDTV tuner on TV set. The Tivo 3 will record whatever you throw at it (HDTV, standard digital, analog, etc) in one nice, neat, little box.

    I hope this is helpful to people. There is a lot to think about on how to set things up and these are the major issues that I ran into. I think the biggest disappointment I see is the lack of HDTV content. Just go look at the HD offerings from Dish or DirecTV and you will see that it is very minimal. Perhaps that will change with time but I definitely have that "pay more for less" feeling with respect to my cable/sat bill.

    So, if you want to record HDTV, you have the following options:
    a) Build a PC w/ HDTV card and use an antenna (unless your HDTV capture card supports CableCard)
    b) Build a PC w/ HDTV capture card and use the cable company's Cable box to tune. Note: consider the remote control implications if you choose this. Changing channels = change channels on Cable box.
    c) Use the cable companies HDTV DVR (@ $15/mo from Cox. YMMV)
    d) USE A TIVO3 w/ CableCard (simplest, easiest, hopefully cheapest)

    Hope this helps others who decide to take the plunge.
    • Re:My new HDTV (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Zach978 ( 98911 )
      You aren't watching enough HD. Almost all national sports (and lots of local sports here) are in HD. I have HBO/Showtime HD, INHD1/2, HDNET1/2, Discovery HD, ESPN HD, all the HD PBSes, and all the local HD stations (almost all of primtime is HD now)....

      I have an HD PVR through TWC (extra $6/month, if it breaks it's not my problem). HDTV sucks if you aren't watching HD signal (rips from the internet don't count!)

      Most of my favorite shows, and most of the sports I watch is all HD, so it's definately worth
      • Re:My new HDTV (Score:3, Insightful)

        I have an HD PVR through TWC (extra $6/month, if it breaks it's not my problem).

        This is the biggest single reason not to get TiVo IMHO. In the 2 years I've had TimeWarner's DVR I've had 2 hard drive failures and I've upgraded to the HD DVR. 3 new boxes, and I'm still paying just $6/month.
  • Two questions:

    (1) Does it still require a landline telephone connection? I have a cable modem for Net access, useful for remote programming, but like many others have dropped the (otherwise) unnecessary landline.

    (2) Does it offer, either plainly or through a simple hack, the 30-second commercial skip? The DVR from my cable company allows dual recording while I'm watching another recording, so foregoing the 30-second commercial skip seemed a small cost.

    But if the Series 3 drops the landline requirement and o
    • by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:56AM (#14409366) Homepage
      They haven't required a landline since Series 2, and all the previous tivo iterations, including the directv model, have included a short remote-control code to enable 30-second skip.

      And to head off the question, yes, even the initial setup on a Series 2 can be done via broadband, but only with *supported* USB ethernet adapters. Wireless can't be enabled until after setup, at least with v3.2. I think v4.0 of the software supports more adapters out-of-the-box, so it depends a little bit on which version you get in the package.
    • If you happen to be using a cable company supplied dual-tuner HD capable DVR from Motorola (Comcast uses these), the 30-second skip hack takes about 30 seconds to set up. Your description sounds like the Motorola DVR that I have.
  • Right now I am using TWC's DVR box and it sucks donkey arse. The user experience is horrible. The only good thing about the Explorer 8x00s is the dual tuner and the price ($8.95/month). Now with those babies coming out from Tivo I will ditch the DVR in a heart beat.

    My dream setup: two CableCARDs into a Series 3 Tivo, and one simple non-DVR box from Time Warner. That way I can keep my OnDemand stuff and I can record two channels at the same time on Tivo. I wonder, though, how much I will pay TWC for tripli

  • by Yeechang Lee ( 3429 ) * on Friday January 06, 2006 @11:46AM (#14409265) Homepage
    This thread proves once again that Slashdot needs a (-1, Cheapskate that won't ever buy anything their mommies don't give them the money for, but will whine endlessly for it to be free anyway) rating.

    Ahem. I bought a Series 1 TiVo box in June 2000, later upgraded it myself to 200GB (the absolute most space available at the time), and happily bought a lifetime subscription. (The sort of idiots here who whine and complain about the horrible, awful TiVo subscription fee has always been around and always will; please ignore them.) However, five years later my box sits in the closet. In part it's because a drive died, but it's mostly because, yes, I built a MythTV box.

    I *didn't* built a MythTV box because of:

    * The subscription fee. See above. I always felt I got way more than my money's worth from TiVo; heck, were I to sell my box on eBay it'd still be worth a few hundred dollars due to the lifetime subscription.
    * A desire to export TiVo recordings to elsewhere. I never quite understood the fascination people had and have with decrypting TiVo's file system and exporting programs to elsewhere. If anything I wanted my TiVo to act as the portal through which I could view my video library.

    I built a MythTV box because I wanted to:

    * Bring programs *into* the box, not out of it. MythTV lets me view all my videos and DVD images in a nice, neat, format that resembles the directory hierarchy they are stored in.
    * Record HDTV programs. Thanks to two cable boxes and two FireWire cables, I can today record two HD programs simultaneously.
    * Have plenty of storage space. MPEG-2 HD programs take 7GB/hour. about 10 times more than TiVo's about 700MB/GB on the lowest-quality standard. With MythTV I can use NFS (or, in my case due to mysterious performance issues [], Samba) to put all the recordings I want on my 2.8TB RAID 5 array []. From the description it sounds like the Series 3 TiVo will have an Ethernet jack, but a) it's likely to be 100Mbps--likely to be problematic in real-life conditions when recording two HD programs and watching a third at the same time--and b) who knows what type of external storage the box will ever support in practice.

    That's it. No, I really don't care about MythTV's themability (Why, oh why, do people focus on themes in free software so much? Don't they realize that 99% of them look eye-meltingly awful--Kids, raytracing is, like, *so* 1995--and don't do a thing to fix any underlying usability issues with the application?), MythWeather, MythGame, MythPhone, etc., etc. Hey, they're nice, but I'd give them up in a flash to fix the last niggling bugs in mythfrontend (Geez, folks, what *is* up with the "displaying OSD in some recordings consistently crashes mythfrontend" bug in 0.18.1? Linus used to call such issues "brown bag" bugs, as in bugs in Linux kernel releases so showstoppingly bad he wanted to wear a brown bag for letting it loose into the world.) and the annoyances (some pretty colossal) in MythVideo's Video Manager module. If TiVo Series 3 manages to robustly support external filesystems (I have *no* problems with some sort of encryption scheme here) *and* let me view my preexisting videos through the elegant TiVo interface, I'm there. (Especially if TiVo kindly offers us longtime lifetime-subscription owners free upgrades.) I am, however, not waiting for these things to occur; there's TV to watch, and record, today.
    • * The subscription fee. See above. I always felt I got way more than my money's worth from TiVo; heck, were I to sell my box on eBay it'd still be worth a few hundred dollars due to the lifetime subscription.

      I don't like subscriptions, but even more than that I don't like being locked into a single service provider. What if, in two years, the scheduling on the Tivo service is always wrong, or the prices raise outrageously. Having the choice to switch providers is a big plus for me. Right now I use a free

  • TiVo is dead (Score:2, Interesting)

    by caudley ( 632164 )

    Maybe if they started shipping these units today they would have a chance at saving themselves. But they're not going to have them ready for another 6 months at least?

    They announced HDTV support for early 2006 at last years CES, and that was insanity. How can it take one year, much less two, to develop HD TiVo when the capability is (was) already available through DirecTV. By the time this box ships, the DVR market is already going to be firmly in the hands of the cable companies. Most of the market i

    • Re:TiVo is dead (Score:4, Informative)

      by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Friday January 06, 2006 @01:32PM (#14410111) Homepage
      This is a cablecard box. That was a DirecTV box. You'll note that they are not the same thing.

      That said, it still seems like "mid to late 2006" is a tad late for something like this, although I believe most of their delay trouble has been wrestling with the cablecard standard.

      This box also includes MPEG-4 and WMV support, probably for both downloadable content and futureproofing in case cable companies change codecs away from MPEG-2 as DirecTV has done. That change by DirecTV has obsoleted the HD DirecTivo-- isn't it worth a little extra wait to have one that won't become useless the second your cableco goes MPEG-4?

      This box, and their Comcast partnership, should keep them afloat. (crosses fingers)
  • It is a shame that Tivo pulled out of the UK and haven't come back again. At present, if you don't want to cough up 15 quid to Sky a month (on top of the Sky+ box rental - which actually is pretty damn nice) then you can get a freeview box and a bunch of channels for very little money and no monthly fee.

    However the problem comes with a PVR, you either get Tivo and do some jiggery pokery to get it to manage the changing of the channels on the digibox - which is not only a huge hack but means you can only t

  • With the way memory is going up in size and down in price, everything will be automatically recorded you will be able to just delete the shows you don't like instead of spending time finding/recording the ones you do.
    Either that or TV will soon become fully 'on demand' and Tivo will become just another alternative for individual viewing preferences.
  • Does anyone know if DirecTV offers or has any plans to offer CableCards? If so, then I'll be all over this series 3 TiVo when I move next year.
    • Hmmmm... Cable.... Cards.... Cable... Cards... Cable..Cards.. Cable.Cards.


      I wonder why the word Cable would be in there?

      And no, they won't ever support CableCards
  • Oh please say so... WEP is so hard for users to configure (long key), and most want to run their AP in WPA mode for more security.
  • I guess us satellite users can just sit on a tack. There are no S-Video or even composite imputs on this box nor is there serial control or IR blaster support.

    Not that being a satellite user (Dish Network) I could use the dual tuner features (would need two satellite recievers) or of coruse the CableCARD but it would be nice to buy a Series3 because it would be more future proof, like maybe if Dish miraculously became CableCARD compible in a few years) or I switched to a different provider (less likely)

  • Although tivo is notorious for their slow rollouts. I'm pretty sure they "announced" Tivo2Go at the 1999 CES (I kid, I kid)


"Well, it don't make the sun shine, but at least it don't deepen the shit." -- Straiter Empy, in _Riddley_Walker_ by Russell Hoban