Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Tivo Series 3

I'm not usually a super-early adopter of home electronics. After spending all day thinking about code, I don't want to come home and have to debug my TV setup. But when I heard about the Tivo Series 3, I was instantly interested.

I've had a Tivo Series 2 for years. Before I got it, people would tell me, "it will change the way you watch TV". I found this hard to believe at the time, but after using Tivo for a few weeks, it quickly became hard to remember the pre-Tivo days. Watching TV on my own schedule + Tivo suggestions + instant replay + 30 second skip = a truly better TV experience.

Until the local cable company started offering HD programming. I then found myself having to choose between HD content the old-fashioned way, or the now-inferior SD picture on Tivo. Additionally, I now had both the Tivo and the cable box sucking power 24/7. In an attempt to resolve this, I tried the cable company HD DVR, which seemed like a reasonable solution, but it just couldn't match Tivo. Awful UI + no 30 second skip + massive power consumption + lockups = a very unsatisfactory product.

So the notion of a Tivo, with all its goodness, that could display/record HD seemed like the perfect solution. And when I found out that I could transfer my lifetime membership from my Series 2, I was sold. Having now spent about two months with the Tivo Series 3, I can say it has lived up to my (high) expectations. The high points:
  • Same great Tivo UI
  • HD recording/playback
  • THX certified
  • Dual tuners (works for HD, too)
  • Internal format conversion (essential when your TV only does 1080i)
  • Lifetime membership transfer
  • Great remote (even better than the Series 2)
  • 30 second skip still works!
Power consumption is quite reasonable too - even while recording HD, the Series 3 only draws 34 watts, compared to 28 watts for the Series 2. (Both of which are way better than the cable company DVR, which could be used to heat a small room). Of course, not everything is perfect. Some (minor) lowlights:
  • Tivo to Go is currently disabled
  • No HD display for Music/Photos
  • Music/Photos does not support DLNA media servers
Hopefully these can be rectified in a future firmware upgrade, but they're really just minor complaints. Overall, I've been very satisfied with the Series 3. It just works, and works great.


Andy said...

How many watts did the cable company's DVR put out?

Twinsen said...

I've been using a DirectTV HD Tivo for the past year and a half and have been very happy. Won't give it up for the world. I found the Tivo Series 2 shared video/pics/music + and remote programmability to be a cool factor for sure but can't say I remotely recorded a program but two or three times. But now that I have a Wii... ;o)

juberti said...

I returned the Adelphia DVR before I had a chance to measure it, but the Motorola fact sheet for the box ( indicates it consumes between 48 and 55 watts.

Andy said...

That sounds like money saved to me. Good work. On a side note, what Google software products do you work on in Kirkland?