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Tivo Series3 "Mini-Review"

30 Oct 2006  |  Tags: ,

So I decided that as soon as the prices on the new Tivo came down, I would get one to replace my crappy Comcast Motorola DVR. (which, in the past, was the only way to get a Dual-Tuner High-Def DVR in one box, EDIT: With Comcast’s digital channels… that’s the key)

Tivo Series3 Setup (2)

"The OLED screen is pretty sharp, and you can control its brightness. The LEDs beside it seem kind of pointless though. I wish it would show whatever was on all of the time… not just when recording."

Last week, deals started appearing for $100 off the Series3… not bad. I chose to buy one from eBay and received it this morning. $700 for the S3, plus $299 for three years of service. $999!?!? Well, let’s look at it this way: I was paying $15/month for a Comcast DVR up-until-now… which would cost me $540 over 3 years. So, $999-$540 = … ** $459 including three years of service (an $8.30/month value) ** is my actual cost here. Plus, I can sell the Tivo later on… where as Comcast’s Motorola box I have to give back. Even though the Tivo is likely to decrease in value, it’s still a better investment than renting a DVR from Comcast in most cases. And! The last thing I want is to give Comcast more money. (especially for such a buggy system with an interface from the 1990s.)

Blah blah blah. So I hooked the box up to my TV with the included HDMI cable, which I wish I’d known they’d included because I bought one separately… d’oh. (they also include composite, component, phone line, a phone splitter, and a Coaxial cable) Plugged one end of an Ethernet cord into the Series3, then the other end into my Airport Express, and it was downloading its TV guide in no time at all.

Comcast is bringing over my CableCARDs tomorrow, so in the meantime I tried setting it up using “Cable & Antenna”. In theory, this will use the local Basic Cable channels, in addition to whatever it can receive over any High-Def Over-The-Air stations. For me, I tried three antennas without any luck receiving FOX or NBC via HD… they were just out of reach. (and with HD, you either get a perfect picture, or no picture at all, so you can’t compensate with static) ABC, the WB, and others came in… but without the complete line-up I ended up setting the unit to “Cable Only”. Hooray for grainy analog! (until tomorrow)

Tivo Series3 Setup (1)

"Like my über lame show choices? :D"

Then it was on to program my favorite feature… the 30-second skip. Perfect for jumping past commercials and boring/sappy parts, you can watch twice as much TV in the same amount of time! Record a show, start playing it, then press Select, Play, Select, 3, 0, Select… and you should hear three chimes. Now the “advance” button will have this function, and the nearby “instant replay” button will remain a 15-second rewind.

Although I’m still figuring out the interface (this is my first Tivo), Comcast set the bar pretty low with their Motorola box so I doubt I’ll have any complaints. So far, so good. I’ll try to post again tomorrow on how the CableCARD install goes.

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