– TiVo admirers and fanatics rejoice!
The TiVo HD gives old and new TiVo users the HDTV affection they appetite after the abrupt $800 amount of aftermost year’s TiVo Series 3 HD.
That’s because it’s basically the “TiVo Series 3 light” that has been accounted aback the accession of the Series 3.
Understandably, a few Series 3 (S3) appearance accept been larboard out to accomplish the TiVo HD added affordable.
Even so, best users won’t absence them. This is the high-def TiVo you’ve been cat-and-mouse for.
• Bang actuality for FOXNews.com’s Personal Technology Center.
Late in 2006, TiVo appear its Series 3 HD. Although the S3 was avant-garde and groundbreaking, its amount was a little high.
TiVo will still action the Series 3 HD to users accommodating to pay for its beyond adamantine drive, OLED front-panel display, and THX acceptance for use with home amphitheater systems.
More frugal shoppers should analysis out the new TiVo HD. It retains best of the functionality of the adorned S3, but with a abundant added acceptable $300 price.
Like the S3, the TiVo HD uses congenital tuners to almanac over-the-air ATSC HDTV, unscrambled QAM (quadrature amplitude modulation) cable feeds and exceptional channels, with the advice of two CableCARD tuners.
The CableCARD abstraction is agnate to that of SIM cards on corpuscle phones: You can hire the CableCARDs from your cable provider and admit them into whatever video-capable chump electronics accessory you own.
The CableCARD (like the SIM card) identifies you as a advantageous customer, so you’ll get the akin of account you paid for.
In approach you could pop your CableCARD into flat-screen TVs, TiVos, added DVRs, and Windows Vista MCE PCs to admission your accepted and exceptional programming quickly.
You’ll charge to get the CableCARDs from your bounded cable aggregation or FiOS TV provider. Renting one is usually cheaper than renting an absolute DVR; the amount is about $4 to $10 per ages for two CableCARDs compared with $10 to $20 for a HD-capable DVR.
But you’ll still accept to pay $8.31 to $19.99 per ages for the TiVo service.
The TiVo HD is the aforementioned admeasurement as the S3. Clad in a bright atramentous and brushed-metal exterior, its box-shaped anatomy is advised to fit into the boilerplate TV chiffonier or home amphitheater setup.
It’s about the admeasurement of a beyond DVD, Blu-ray or HD-DVD player, and the admission are in the aback area you’d apprehend them.
The new assemblage retains the component-video, HDMI, S-Video, and composite-video outputs of the S3, as able-bodied as the thus-far disabled eSATA anchorage for approaching adamantine drive expansion.
It comes with a 160 GB adamantine drive, acceptable for about 180 hours of standard-definition TV recorded at “Basic” affection and 20 hours of HD content.
This is beneath accommodation than the S3, which has a 250 GB adamantine drive that can abundance 300 hours of SDTV and 30 hours of HDTV.
Dual USB ports abutment the TiVo’s Wireless G arrangement adapter, but this DVR is not enabled for alien adamantine drives.
(Not yet, anyway. Given that the TiVo association is an agog and technically adeptness one, I’m abiding that convenient hacks for the eSATA and USB ports are in the works. )
The TiVo HD did accord up a few of the accretion and whistles that the S3 archetypal boasted.
For example, it lacks the S3’s THX certification, but that’s a high-end affection advised for the determined videophile who needs to accomplish abiding his/her home theatre looks and sounds perfect.
One affection you may absence is accepting a backlit programmable alien (handy for abyssal in a blurred allowance and authoritative added home amphitheater components).
The TiVo HD comes with a non-backlit but contrarily accomplished alien that looks aloof like the Series 2 remotes of the accomplished eight years. The Series 3 HD’s backlit remote, the TiVo Glo, is accessible alone for $49.
As mentioned before, the TiVo HD has beneath amplitude for recording programs: 180 hours of SD TV shows isn’t bad, but you’ll acquisition yourself deleting those HD videos sooner, because there’s amplitude for alone 20 hours of them.
Last but not atomic is the abatement of the advanced OLED affectation and aeronautics ons. The aeronautics ons are a nice feature, abnormally if you lose remotes. Ultimately, though, the ons and OLED affectation aren’t all that necessary.
Anyone accustomed with a contempo Series 2 or S3 TiVo will acquisition best of the aforementioned aeronautics and examination appearance here.
Amazon Unbox now lets you adjustment and download TV shows and movies anon to your TiVo (you already had to do the acclimation from your PC, an blackballed added step).
TiVo’s Swivel Chase action lets you acquisition programs application tags (like analytic a blog) or alike with a “If you like this” feature, which uses TiVo ‘s advancement agent to acquisition new being to record. Swivel Chase alike searches online agreeable on Amazon Unbox.
KidZone creates a kid-friendly ambiance so that you can absorber your accouchement from added developed programming while absolution them chase for article to watch.
Recording in Glorious HD
Picture affection depends, of course, on your cable service, but application Verizon’s FiOS TV, I was able to set the TiVo up and get it active quickly.
Video affection ranged from actual acceptable to accomplished with HD content. SD content, predictably, was beneath compelling, but that’s the case with cable-company DVRs, too (a Motorola QIP 6416, in my case).
The TiVo HD works as a QAM tuner, too, for unscrambled channels, should you adjudge you don’t charge CableCARDs from your cable provider (and your provider supports QAM).
In addition, it can accept over-the-air HD agreeable for chargeless as continued as you use an antenna. All modes are “dual tuner,” so you can almanac two programs at already or almanac one affairs while watching addition live.
One of the TiVo’s two CableCARD slots, classified as “multistream,” will abutment approaching dual-tuner cards. Both of the TiVo slots are alone CableCARD 1.0 adjustable at the moment, so pay-per-view and video on appeal are not yet supported.
If you’ve acclimated a Series 2 or Series 3 TiVo before, you’ll be able to aces up the TiVo HD’s peanut-shaped alien and go to town.
(But like the Series 3 HD, the TiVo HD lacks the Series 2’s TiVo-to-Go service, which lets you download programs to your anthology or desktop, because of mandates from CableLabs, the cable-company consortium.)
The accustomed TiVo interface does aggregate its users accept appear to expect: schedule, search, and advance programming to almanac and comedy back.
Most of the user interface has been optimized for HD sets, too, so there are beneath of the “jaggies” apparent on antecedent TiVos.
The advice screens and the acclaimed timeline on the basal of the awning are aciculate and accessible to read.
Less-used appearance such as the online sections of the card accept a few fuzzy-interface issues, but those for the best allotment are absurd to abrade you.
Users of older, standard-definition TiVos and some DVRs may acquisition the TiVo HD a bit slower, decidedly back the arrangement is afterlight its two-week programming guide.
This is a aftereffect of accepting to draw abundant added advice for an HD screen. But accepted searches crave beneath clicks on the alien than with the sometimes bulky interfaces apparent on cable-company DVRs.
Like all antecedent TiVo models, the TiVo HD endeavors to apprentice your brand and dislikes if you use the thumbs-up/down keys while viewing, and it occasionally will almanac programs on its own that it thinks you will like. (Anything you almanac manually automatically gets a thumbs-up.)
With today’s 1,000-plus channels of programming, this can be a boon, whether you like quilting, assertive types of sports (but not others), or advisory programming. Of course, programs you absolutely accept to download get priority.
An Internet-Enabled DVR
As on added TiVo models, the cooling fan and adamantine drive on the TiVo HD are quiet. You’ll hardly apprehension their operation from up close, and you absolutely won’t apprehend them from your couch unless you accept bionic ears.
You shouldn’t accept any agitation award a way to affix to the Internet so that the TiVo can amend its affairs adviser and admission online agreeable such as podcasts and downloadable movies.
I acquainted the TiVo HD into my home arrangement via its Ethernet port. I was additionally able to get online application a HomePlug powerline arrangement and TiVo’s 802.11 b/g USB wireless adapter.
If you’re not a broadband Internet subscriber, the TiVo HD includes an analog modem for downloading affairs adviser updates, but not online features.
Broadband Internet users can get all sorts of agreeable piped to their TiVo HDs, including home movies from online provider One True media, and accept to Internet radio on Live365.
Like some cable providers, TiVo has partnered with Fandango to let you chase for and buy cine tickets online from the abundance of your couch.
This being is all gravy on top of the TiVo DVR functions, but it does accord you a living-room interface to online entertainment. Look for TiVo to add new online appearance as time goes by.
The TiVo HD instantly formed with my SlingBox Pro analysis unit, proving yet afresh that the SlingBox is the peanut adulate to the TiVo’s chocolate.
Placeshifting is quick and painless. The SlingBox Pro downconverted the TiVo’s HD component-video achievement for manual beyond my home arrangement at actual acceptable quality.
Using it, I was additionally able to watch recorded agreeable beatific wirelessly to my laptop in the bedchamber while my wife watched article abroad on the bedchamber TV.
Placeshifting to my laptop on a 3G corpuscle arrangement and to my Windows Mobile T-Mobile MDA smartphone on the alley was aloof as easy.
You can use assertive Verizon Wireless corpuscle phones to admission TiVo Mobile, which lets you chase programs and agenda recordings. It’s for those situations back you apprehend about new programs while talking to accompany at assignment or account the cardboard on the train.
You can set up your TiVo to almanac remotely, and the affairs will be cat-and-mouse for you back you airing through the door. TiVo Mobile costs $1.99 a ages and works alone with Verizon Wireless.
Yahoo! users will additionally be able to get Yahoo! online agreeable on their TiVo HD, such as online photos, weather, and cartage info. Compared with the FiOS cable box, however, that’s not too special.
With Yahoo!, it takes at atomic three clicks on the alien to accompany up acclimate and cartage on the TiVo; they’re alone one bang abroad on a FiOS cable box.
What’s added absorbing is that you can use tv.yahoo.com to chase and agenda programs on your TiVo.
Just annals your TiVo HD with tv.yahoo.com or www.tivo.com, and you’ll be able to affairs it from work, school, or wherever you accept a Web browser and an Internet connection.
If annihilation will balk new TiVo purchases, it will be the affluence with which the cable companies get subscribers to use their private-branded DVRs.
A cable company’s techs can set up a HD DVR for you and alter it bound if it breaks, and the account may be cheaper than TiVo in the continued run, acknowledgment to the aberration in account fees. And the TiVo still can’t admission your cable company’s video on appeal and PPV programming.
Also, a being who gets acclimated to alive with a cable-company DVR may not appetite to absorb time acquirements a new card system, abnormally if the aboriginal one is easier to use and offers added features.
All in all, however, the TiVo HD lives up to the affiance of assuredly accepting HD programming on a TiVo at a reasonable cost. It does amount search, record, and playback functions bigger than anyone abroad in the DVR business.
I anticipate $300 is the candied atom that will advance accepted TiVo subscribers into the HD bend and allurement new users abroad from the plain-vanilla boxes offered by best cable companies.
BOTTOM LINE: Combining the best of the allegorical simple-to-use TiVo interface with bifold CableCARD readers and an affordable amount (finally!), the new TiVo HD delivers the affiance that the TiVo Series 3 HD made.
PROS: The best HD-capable TiVo ever. Bifold HD tuners. Still accessible to use. Online scheduling via Web armpit or corpuscle phone.
CONS: Card operation is a little apathetic at times. No TiVo to Go. No accessory support. Cable TV DVRs can be cheaper in the continued run. Great for fans, may be too backward for novices. Cell-phone scheduling is alone on Verizon Wireless.
COMPANY: TiVo Inc
Price: $299.99 ListVideo Outputs: S-Video, Composite, Component, HDMIAudio Outputs: Optical (Toslink)Storage Capacity: 160 GBHeight: 3.4 inchesWidth: 16.5 inchesDepth: 12.6 inchesWeight: 12 lbSupported EDTV and HDTV Resolutions (HD Ready): 480p, 720p, 1080i, 480iBuilt-in TV Tuner: NTSC, ATSC, CableCardDual-tuner: YesNetworking Options: EthernetPorts: Alien SATA (eSATA), USB 2.0 (both currently disabled)
EDITOR RATING: Four and bisected out of bristles stars
Copyright © 2007 Ziff Davis Media Inc. All Rights Reserved. Reproduction in accomplished or in allotment in any anatomy or average after accurate accounting permission of Ziff Davis Media Inc. is prohibited.
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