Upside: Unlike a standalone TiVo, which requires a monthly or lifetime fee, the SD-H400 comes with free TiVo Basic service. You get limited programming guides and recording functions, including cable and satellite control, right out of the box. And since its progressive-scan component outputs work with both DVDs and TiVo-recorded programming, the combo unit offers improved video quality unavailable on a regular TiVo.
Downside: The full panoply of TiVo conveniences, such as 14-day programming guides, Season Pass recording options, and the cool Home Media Option is available only if you upgrade to TiVo Plus service, which costs either $13 per month or $300 for the lifetime of the unit.
Outlook: A DVD player and a TiVo DVR in one console is a great idea, but you might want to hold out for the a model that combines TiVo technology with a DVD recorder. Unlike the SD-H400, Pioneer's DVR-810H and Toshiba's own RS-TX20 can archive your hard-drive recordings on DVD.