Impressions of TiVo Series3 HD

At the beginning of the year, we got a new TiVo: the beautiful 300-hour Series3 HD. We’ve been TiVo owners for a while now, since we got our 80-hour Series2 about a year ago. TiVo has completely changed how we watch TV, and for better or worse, we’re watching a lot more these days.

We don’t have an HDTV, so we’re not really using the HD features of the Series3 (yet). We mainly got it because:

  • It’s beautiful
  • It has dual tuners using CableCard so we could get rid of our digital cable tuner, which we hate, and still get digital channels
  • It has a very high recording capacity
  • It has a display on the front showing the shows it’s recording
  • We like new toys

Our initial impressions are: The Series3 is awesome.

Since we’re not really using HD, the recording capacity has been great — it’s picked up so much more that we used to get on our 80-hour Series2. Since it has dual tuners, there are rarely conflicts. It tunes much faster than the Charter cable box, so channel surfing is much better as well.

We had a bit of trouble getting the two CableCards the Series3 needs from Charter. The person we spoke to (in person) at the Charter office in Reno had vaguely even heard of CableCard. She couldn’t figure out why we needed them, or how they work. She did determine that they do not carry them at the office, and would have to have a technician come out and install them, for a $99 fee. We argued on that point, that it’s just a card that has to be plugged in, and a phone call made, and there’s no reason I couldn’t do it myself. She finally conceded and waived the $99 fee, but said that a technician would still have to come out. Oh well.
Some observations about the Series3:

  • When we initially connected it without any CableCards and did a channel scan, it found many channels we are not supposed to get. The most interesting part, was that it seemed to find several channels that are used for OnDemand from Charter–they would show full movies “sometimes” throughout the day.
  • Since having a Series3 means you don’t need a cable box, and cable boxes usually have clocks on them, the Series3 has a clock on the front, using its OLED display. It is, however, WAY too small, and not bright enough. We can barely read it from the couch, which is pretty close. This should be easy to fix in software, so please have an option for clock size, TiVo!
  • The power connector comes out WAY too easily. I’ve accidentally unplugged the Series3 5-6 times now, while connecting and re-arranging things. The tiniest tug, and the power is out.

Overall, we love you TiVo!

One thought on “Impressions of TiVo Series3 HD

  1. There is actually a way that you can make the clock and programming info brighter, but you’re right that it’s still way too small. Being able to see the program is really not much more then an extra bell and whistle, but it’s still neat. The only time I actually notice it though is when it’s recording football. When I see that NFL indicator I make sure to hit the tivo button before turning on the TV so I don’t accidently spoil the game.

    My advice is to totally upgrade to a bigger hard drive if you do plan on going HD. I have the 750gb upgrade and it’s awesome. 100 hours HD content and 1,000 SD. I have about a dozen wishlists set up and a ton of great TiVo suggestions.

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