We got a new Tivo box a few weeks ago … Tivo was running a promotion where you could buy a new Tivo Series 3 (HD) and transfer a lifetime subscription to the new box. As an added bonus, you could keep the old box running for a year.
Needless to say, it was not a hard decision. Although we currently do not have a HD TV, I suspect it’s just a mater of time before we get one.
The new unit arrived about 2 weeks ago … and I found a small problem. The new unit lacked the ability to control an external cable box via a RS232 cable. The old one had this ability. The new unit uses Cable Card(s) to decode & tune the cable signal. So I had to call Comcast to arrange to get a cable card (or two) installed. It took about a week to get Comcast out here … but they came out and installed a multi-stream cable card. Oddly enough, they arrived early and got the job done relatively fast.
Two nice things about using a cable card …
- No more ‘flip bar’ that shows up every time the cable box switches channels. That was really annoying to me, because Tivo already gave us much better information about the program we were about to watch.
- There are two tuners in the new Tivo and the multi-stream cable card will process two feeds at the same time. So we can record two shows at the same time.
The new Tivo has a few other nice features …
- Built in RJ-45 network connection. We don’t have to use the USB. Of course I’m still stuck using wireless for the time being … at least until I figure out a way to get a wire from the basement to the wet-bar area.
- It’s got an eSATA port … although it appears to only work with Tivo certified storage devices, we can theoretically upgrade the storage by just hooking up a external drive. I tried hooking up an eSATA drive that I had on hand, but it didn’t recognize it.
- Although this isn’t really new to the Tivo, I was able to get an S-Video cable hooked up to feed the TV … and the quality difference is noticeable. Much better than the composite video we were using.
My only real gripe about the new unit is that the “Standby” button is gone. We used to push this button to put the unit to sleep … although it didn’t really go to sleep. It just shut off the audio & video feed to the TV. I can still put the unit into standby, but it takes 3 to 4 menu options to do it. If we don’t put the unit into standby, eventually it will automatically switch to live TV. Since we feed the audio through our stereo, that can be annoying.
Our options on this are to a) Use the menus to put the unit into standby, or b) mute the sound and turn off the TV while leaving the Tivo on. Neither is very handy. I called Tivo support and conveyed my disappointment.
Other than that, I really like the new Tivo. Maybe for the holidays Ginny and I will get a HD TV. The only big problem is that our current TV works fine. Oh well, maybe figure out something to do with it.
Of course now I have to figure out what to do with the old Tivo. 🙂