TiVo Series3 HD: First Impressions

I installed and activated my TiVo Series3 this week. I'm replacing my old, hacked (ethernet, larger disks, etc.) Series1 TiVo that I've had for many years. I upgraded now to take advantage of TiVo's limited time offer, which allows Lifetime subscribers to transfer their Series1 or Series2 Lifetime subscription to a Series3 box for a one-time fee of $199.

I've temporarily wired the Series3 to my old Proscan television until I buy an high-definition set. Using the same TV, the picture looks better than before, though I can't tell whether that's due to the improved electronics in the TiVo, or because the signal no longer passes through a separate digital cable box, or because I'm bypassing my A/V receiver and routing the signal directly into the back of the television. For whatever reason, it looks very good.

The front panel display was the first thing I noticed when I turned on the Series3. Rather than the Series1's two simple status LEDs, I saw this:

I'm happy to have a clock and I love the crispness of the OLED display. Playing with the unit a bit, we get the next surprise:

When recording a program I've requested, the Series3 displays the name of the show on the front panel. Nice touch. But, wait, there's more:

The Series3 has two tuners and can record two programs at once. Or it can record one show while someone is watching live TV on another channel. This is one of those marriage-saving features as my wife was sick of not being able to watch live TV because the Series1 was busy recording something for me while I'm away on business.

We also like that recorded programs can now be organized into folders, which cuts down on visual clutter and makes navigating easier. And the back-lit remote is a nice feature.

Since I've put the Series3 on our home network via its built-in ethernet, I've enabled some additional features. I can now display all of my iPhoto pictures and albums on the TV. I've also made my iTunes music collection available through the TiVo, including my playlists. This was all easily done by downloading the free TiVo Desktop software.

I also tried using the TiVo Central Online web page to remotely program my TiVo and it worked without a hitch. I'm sure this will be useful when I'm traveling...so long as I can make sure I'm not using both tuners at the same time my wife is trying to watch TV at home. :-)

If it isn't obvious, I give the Series3 a big thumbs up so far. It feels like an amped up and improved version of my Series1 TiVo experience, which was already excellent.


Comments:

How about the cost? Still expensive?

I've had dual tuners in my Series 1 Tivo for years and couldn't imaging life without it. It's a DirecTivo so I also don't get any delay in changing channels. Too bad DirecTV and Tivo stopped working together. I have to get DTV's HD recorder if I ever want to record HDTV. :-(

Posted by Kevin on December 29, 2006 at 04:56 PM EST #

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