TIVO HD: A High- DEF DVR for Everyone

Tivo fans and fanatics rejoice the DVR pioneer’s creation provides the HDTV quality you crave without the steep $800 price of last year's Series 3 HD model. Understandably, a few features have been left out, but most folks probably won't miss them.

The TiVo HD uses two built-in tuners to record over-the-air ATSC HDTY, unscrambled QAM cable broadcasts, and premium channels, with the help of two CableCARD slots. Since all the modes are "dual tuner," you can record two programs at once or record one program while watching another live. Inside the device is a 16OGB hard drive, good for about 180 hours of standard definition TV recorded at "Basic" quality and 20 hours of HD content. Note that this is less capacity than the Series 3, which has 250GB hard drive that can store 300 hours of SDTV and 30 hours of HDTV.

The familiar TiVo interface does everything its users have come to expect: schedule, search, and suggest programming to record and play back. Most of the user interface has been optimized for HD sets, so there are fewer “jaggies” to be seen. Like previous models, the TiVo HD endeavors to learn your likes and dislike if you use the thumbs-up/down keys while viewing, and it occasionally will record programs on its own that it thinks you'll enjoy. Keep in mind that, on top of your cable fees, you still have to buy intoTiVo’s subscription service, which runs from $8.31 to $19.99 per month.

Broadband Internet users can get all sorts of content piped to their TiVo HDs, from home movies delivered by online provider One True Media to Internet radio on I was able to connect to my home network via Ethernet port, using a HomePlug powerline network and TiVo's optional 802.11 b/g USB wireless adapter. Yahoo! users will be able to access Yahoo! online content such is photos, weather, and traffic.

More interesting, you can use to search and schedule programs for recording from work, school, or wherever you have a Web browser and an Internet connection. Certain Verizon Wireless cell phones can access TiVo Mobile, which lets you search programs and schedule recordings.

All in all, the TiVo HD lives up to the promise of finally offering HD programming on a TiVo at a reasonable cost. 1Ithink $300 is the sweet spot that will push current TiVo subscribers into the HD fold and lure new users away from the vanilla Cable DVR boxes.

TIVO HD: $299.99

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