Recording HD With TiVO Series3

Alison Young
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October 27, 2006
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In the past few years TiVo has become a household name, and I’ve noticed that I no longer have to explain what it is when I’m talking to people about it. It’s definitely one of the greatest inventions to cross my path. Since I’m so busy, I love the fact that I can watch my favorite television shows at my own convenience and not deal with all the commercials. You may remember me mentioning the TiVo Series3 which premiered in January at the Consumer Electronics Show. Now it’s here and ready to be added to your home entertainment system.

What sets the Series3 apart from the previous TiVo models is that it can record in high-definition (HD), and it is THX certified to give you an advanced home theater experience. Plus, I thought having 80, then 180 hours of recording time with the previous TiVos was awesome, but this one has 300 hours of space for you to put all your favorite shows (but if you’re recording all HD, the record time significantly drops to a maximum of 32 hours). “TiVo continues to be the best way to watch television, and we are very proud to extend the TiVo experience into the world of high definition with the release of the TiVo Series3 HD box,” says Tom Rogers, president and CEO of TiVo.

With the Series3’s dual tuners you can record two HD programs simultaneously while you’re watching TV or playing back a third previously recorded show. The OLED front-panel display shows you what is recording, even if your TV is off. The Series3 is compatible with digital cable and analog cable, and is the first TiVo to support over-the-air digital (ATSC). Later this year it also will support the newly released TiVoCast service feature, which allows you to access content directly through your broadband Internet connection. Future software releases will enable advanced MPEG-4-based downloading. Features include Season Pass recordings (record every episode of all your favorite shows with no repeats), WishList searches (type in key words and your TiVo acts as a search engine to find programs that have anything to do with those words), TiVo Online Scheduling, Home Media Features (access Internet radio, podcasts, movie times/tickets or share digital photos) or Product Watch.

In addition, the Series3 features a new, sleek, backlit user-friendly remote control. The builtin Ethernet and USB ports provide you with advanced connectivity and easy networking capability. The advanced chipset included with the Series3 box also lays the groundwork for support for additional download features in the future.

As good as it sounds so far, a major drawback of the Series3 is that it does not have any TiVo To Go features. That basically means you cannot transfer your recorded programs to your computer or portable device (i.e. external hard drive) as you could with the Series2 models. The only way to get around this is good old-fashioned real-time recording to your video recorder or VCR (if you still have one). If you want HD, you will sort of have to downgrade and sacrifice this cool trait off your old TiVo.

Keep in mind you can also record in HD with Oceanic’s Digital Video Recorder (DVR) as well. I currently pay $9.95 per month for Oceanic’s DVR service. I actually cancelled my TiVo plan when Oceanic came out with this a couple of years ago because of the HD capability. As with the Series3, Oceanic’s DVR can record two programs simultaneously, but you cannot transfer your programs to your computer, and you’ll have a tendency to catch repeats. Call Oceanic at 643-2337 for more information or to subscribe.

The TiVo Series HD will burn a hole in your wallet with its $799.99 price, and an additional $12.95 per month for the TiVo service plan. You can find the Series3 at Best Buy (, Circuit City ( or from TiVo directly (

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