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TiVo Series3 Dual Tuner HD DVR Review


Our Scientific Atlanta tech couldn't get the TiVo to work properly with the cable cards. However, we convinced him to just leave the cards with us. Later that night we had it working without any problems. We tested the box in our east coast facility and didn't notice any of the digital artifacts we experienced in our west coast facility. The east coast was a Scientific Atlanta system and the west coast was a Comcast system. The Motorola cards in the Comcast system seem to be more problematic although we've experienced fewer problems within the last couple of months.

The TiVo Series3 HD box can record 300 hours of non-HD programming, control live HD and record 2 shows at once. It also features some media center type of functionality, network sharing and other PC like features such as sharing photos and podcasts. We didn't bother with the new 'features.' We really wanted to see how this box measured up against previous TiVo boxes and to see how the HD quality measured up.

First off, the UI is pretty much the same. It's a bit faster than previous boxes but honestly still feels a little poky. It's like TiVo got some deal on an ASIC that it just couldn't pass up. With out a large cache of memory, everything is stored on the internal hard drive, your settings, your shows, menus'everything. This can make the box feel sluggish at times, especially when searching for specific content by genre or actor.

The bright spot is the new remote. It's about time TiVo included a backlit remote. It's much better and simpler. It lacks direct access to some features on previous remotes but works just fine. We miss the ability to search by the technical attributes of a program such as HD, Dolby surround'etc. Not sure if that's now longer possible but it wasn't easy to figure out with the modified menu and remote.

Which brings us to price. We can't imagine how TiVo can do serious volume at this price point. Street price on this unit needs to be half of what it is today and TiVo's subscription fees are getting very aggressive. It's still the best DVR service available but we think TiVo will be facing very stiff competition from On-Demand services as the market matures and bandwidth is exploited.

Visit TiVo for more information.

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