"Great product with some limitations.."4.0 starson by Graystone55
Pros: Much cheaper than it's big brother Series 3.
Has lots of HD Video format output options.
Over-the-Air tuner as well as cable tuners.
Cons: Small 160G drive only 20 hours of HD
Only one output other than HDMI
Latest SW version a little clunky.
Remote not as nice as TIVO 3's
Summary: 1st for $300 new or $180 reconditioned this is a great buy even with some of it's limitations. The HD is far cheaper than it's $800 big brother TIVO 3. I've used TIVOs since 2000 and have found them to be a good price for the functionality you get. No DVR I've ever seen is even half a capable as the TIVO DVRs.
The latest software upgrade however has introudced several issues with speed and poor ability to return to previous menus. While wait times are not terribly long, they are annoying as compared to using the older SW versions. TIVO 2 DTs have the same issue now as their SW has also gotten worse. The problem is you'll have no choice on what version you run. The TIVO will upgrade regardless. TIVO seems to be slow on fixing or even acknowledging this problem exists even though hundreds of forum users complain. This is the main reason this unit got only four stars instead of 5.
It covers all the popular video output formats and is capable of all the HD standards. You can als view the output in three different ways regardless of how it was captured.
I got it because I wanted a unit that did over-the air tuning of HD digital broadcasts. This was one thing lacking that always irritated me about my older TIVO 2s. It really depends on your area and listings whether this would be good for you or not. In my area almost all the major networks are doing over-the-aair broacasting and most are better quality HD than from my Cox cable. No cable cards are required for OTA reception and you can still record two things at a time.
One of the negative things was the lack of output options on the TIVO HD. Only one output that is either 3 or 5 component output or S-Video. Only one at a time can be used. No coax outputs and antenna/cable is not passed through this box. If you don't use HDMI for your TV connection, you won't be able to hook up a stereo audio connection or a VCR/DVD recorder as the TV connection takes the only output. Not a good decision by TIVO to actual remove output options that were standard on earlier TIVOs.
Also the ESATA port for TIVO HDs are much more flakey than the TIVO 3 ones. Your options for adding or removing drives through this port are limited severly.
Also I don't mind the peanut remote used with the older TIVO units. But those who have seen the TIVO 3 remote prefer it. I think the TIVO HD remote works fine and if you've had an older TIVO your used to it anyway. I understand you can purchase the better remote if you want it.
The setup on this unit is far simpler than many previous TIVO products. I actually got a defective TIVO HD the first time (bad drive) from Best Buy and had to return it and get another. While the TIVO support people were polite, they will walk you through hours of wasted diagnostics and call-backs if you don't put your foot down to get a final diagnosis. Sometimes you can learn interesting things from these techs though like undocumented tests from your remote and such.
One of the things that is improved with TIVO now is the ability to transfer your initial contract term to a newer box without having to setup a new contract. Numerous times in the past, having to start a new contract on a new box and continue the old one too was very annoying. I'm glad they fixed this. So now, if you buy a new box and want to upgrade to yet another new box before your contract expires you can without starting a new contract. I don't mind paying the $13 per month but hate having to have a contract for any length of time.
All-in-all this TIVO HD's few limitations for the significant difference in price between it and the TIVO 3 makes it a great buy. It works almost as well as the TIVO 3 at $500 cheaper. I am someone who seldom praises a product but have sworn by TIVO boxes since my first in 2000. Unfortunately I don't care much for their customer service but so seldomly need CS that it makes it worthwhile. Now that over-the-air is supported, I can cut Cox cable bill down as well.