"Spectacular!"on by Kafowler
Pros Very easy to use, very fast / responsive, highly reliable, incredible picture quality; extremely high wife acceptance factor (WAF)
Cons Some features like TivoToGo not enabled yet
Summary I had to drive 45 minutes to buy this thing yesterday. Guess they are selling pretty fast at the moment. Thankfully, I was able to pickup two CableCards from the local Comcast office on the way home. They wanted to schedule a truck roll, but I insisted on doing it myself and they gave in after a few minutes.
The Tivo Series3 is priced like a high-end product, but from what I've seen, it delivers high-end performance. If you have cable and are serious about picture quality, sound quality, and reliable recording, this box is a must have. After using this thing, I don't know how I ever managed to live with the crap-in-a-box that Comcast calls a DVR. I didn't think the Comcast DVR was that bad until I used this thing; the Comcast box was annoying at times, but hell, it worked for the most part and was only $10/month. In that regard, using the Tivo Series3 has really been an eye-opening experience.
My expectations were pretty high from all the hype going around, but the box lives up to it and more. I never realized how much the Comcast DVR was degrading my picture. If you've ever felt like there was a haze over your HD channels at times...this box fixes it. I guess the old saying applies...sometimes you get what you pay for.
I spent some time with the original Tivo a few years ago before I gave it up for HDTV. If you've ever used an older Tivo, this box differs in the following ways:
1) completely -replaces- your cable box;
2) records any two SD or HD channels simultaneously, while allowing you to watch a third pre-recorded program;
3) seamlessly integrates SD and HD channels from analog and digital cable (and an antenna if you have one) into a single guide with 14-days of program information;
4) interface and DVR functions are very fast and responsive compared to past Tivos and cable company DVRs;
5) tunes channels as fast as your cable dvr;
6) records all digital channels at 100% original quality;
7) records analog cable channels at higher quality than any previous DVR / DVD recorder;
8) features high-definition widescreen menus and program guide - no more crappy low-res interfaces with black bars on the sides;
9) potential for much larger storage capacity with external SATA port for hard drive expansion;
10) 100Mbps networking built-in (wireless adapter optional) to play back music and pictures stored on your PC or Mac.
This will be a 10/10 product as soon as Tivo drops the price a little and enables a few more features like TivoToGo. TivoToGo is a feature on other Tivos that allows you to transfer recordings to your PC, but it's not on the Series3 yet. I asked about this when I called Tivo today and they said a software update was coming in November that would enable some additional features.
Ok, so is it really worth $800? Is it really worth half your mortgage payment? From what I've seen so far, it probably is worth the price. Like I said before, this box has a high price but it also delivers very high performance. It gives me a noticably better picture than I got with the Comcast SA DVR. I think it would be a value at $500, but it's not at $800, especially since some features like TivoToGo aren't enabled in the current software. My advice for more value-conscious buyer is to wait until this thing hits $400 or $500 and Tivo enables some of those extra features in November. Then it'll be a steal for what it offers.
As an aside, this is the first purchase in recent history that my SO actually approved of after using it. She didn't think the HDTV was worth $2500, she didn't think the Harmony remote was worth $150, and she didn't think the surround sound system was worth $1000. So far, she DOES think this box is worth $500. Of course, I lied and told her that was how much I paid. After seeing the expression on her face after buying the $150 Harmony, I couldn't bear to come home and tell her I just spent $800 on a box for the TV.
(Wish I could get my money back for the Harmony remote, the new Series3 remote is incredible -- gloss piano back, great ergonomic design, wonderful feel and feedback on the buttons, light sensor based backlight, and it's a learning remote. It makes my Harmony look and feel like a cheap piece of plastic.)
"Why pay $800 now?!?"on by dw333
Pros Everything you've ever wanted in a DVR
Cons It costs $800 freakin' dollars! (+$13/month)
Summary Man did I want to buy this, but how can one justify the premium? As a LONG TIME tivo user, Tivo shareholder , and overall HDTV junkie I WANTED this product. But for 2 years I’ve been suffering through the Scientific Atlanta 8300HD’s horrible interface, lack of network options, etc. and have finally adapted to it. I’ve even trained my wife to use it. Now this comes out and somehow I have to think of the “yes it is about the same, honey, but here’s why we need to spend $800 so I can check fantasy scores/weather/movie times on Tivo” argument. Not going to happen. Now I’m going to have to wait several more years for the price to someday fall and continue to suffer through the 8300HD. DARN you TIVO!
Pros Dual Tuners, Off Air Tuner, Cable Cards
Cons No Tivo To Go, No Multi-Room Viewing
Summary Note: The CNet review is still not correct after they updated it; the series 3 does NOT yet have multi-room viewing available. You can see this right on the Tivo site:
I have been a loyal Tivo fan since purchasing my series one years ago. I've purchased them as gifts several times as well. However, without the advanced networking features, this just isn't a compelling upgrade.
I currently have the HR10-250 - the DirecTV HD Tivo, as I suspect a lot of huge Tivo fans do. There were two big features that DirecTV didn't give me that would have made me run out and buy this, even at the $800 price point: Tivo To Go and Multi-Room Viewing. Although they indicate that they'll be coming at some point in the future, there's no firm date.
If they do enable these features in the future, I'll take a second look. But for now, I'll have to take a pass. With the new higher-capacity iPods, this could have been awesome.
Supposedly, the Windows Vista media center options will also support cable cards... but also have the downloading and multi-room capabilities. I hope Tivo gets on the ball before January....
Pros Dual tuner, Cable Card ready, HD recording, same great Tivo interface
Cons Price, copy protection, price, no access to VOD from cable company, price. Did I mention price?
Summary The Series 3 is exactly what I have been waiting for. It has been a pain to watch TV shows and sporting events outside of my Tivo just to see it in HD. It's amazing how much you miss being able to watch what you want when you want it without commercials. Now I can have my HD Tivo cake and eat it to. Albeit an $800 dollar cake!!!!! And I thought the new PS3 was expensive! (Funny how CNET didn't put the price on the "overview" page.) Since me and my wife are die-hards, we'll probably get one. But the sad part is the price will most likely force more casual people to use generic DVR's from their cable companies. Too bad.Updated
...may be a deal breaker for some. I don't use it that much except to move shows to the PC for more room on the Tivo. The reality is it may take several hours to transfer a show that is in HD quality.
The biggest issue is the price. I may have to wait until I can get a Series 3 unit online for less than MSRP. By the time you add a pre-paid service plan, the price is over $1000!
Pros Dual Tuner, HD, 2 years too late
Cons The price is higher than a pc
Summary I once swore by Tivo. Have a lifetime membership on the first model. Then I saw a demonstration for a PC based TV control program. For $80 (software + PCI card) I've been able to record HDTV signals with minimum effort. The interface on the program is as good or better than Tivo. I can take the files anywhere I want, even my PDA since the recorded files are transcoded to standard WMV (I can also use divx).
So question is, should I dump my previous one just to get this functionality in a closed box? For $800 I can get a new PC with 19" LCD monitor, slap in four tuners in it and go crazy. Let's leave this for people with too much money and too little access to drugs.