TIVO Series 3 Review

When the first TIVO came out years ago, I was the first in line to get one. It was love at first sight.

Several DVR’s later, I decided to go back to the original and purchase a Series 3 TIVO.

The Series 3 costs $699 retail and there was no way I could or want to pay that much. So I checked out EBay and patiently waited… after bidding on about 5 auctions (only to have some jackass outbid me at the last couple seconds!) I finally nabbed one. I think I got a good deal: Brand New for $375 (including shipping).

After the initial setup and living with it for a week, here are my thoughts.

What you need:
– A $60 wireless TIVO unit (you could find one cheaper I’m sure).
– 2 Cable Cards – I’m with COX and when I called they said I needed to have a tech. come out and install it for me. I’m not sure how much that cost but each cable card was $55. I guess the woman on the phone liked me cause she said she would waive one cable card and give it to me for free. Fantastic!

What I love:
– TIVO Desktop. For the basic version (which is free), you can stream mp3’s and pictures directly from your computer. You can also transfer programs TIVO has previously recorded onto your computer to watch when your away from TIVO (you can also transfer it to your PDA which is great for when your driving in your car – not that I do that). This alone makes the software excellent but if you upgrade to the plus version ($24.95) you get the option of putting your own videos onto TIVO. This means, if you’re a fan of downloading videos from bit torrent you can now watch them directly on your TV. Fantastic!
– When you fast forward and then push play, it skips back 5 seconds.
– Online scheduling of programs
– On the front of the unit itself, it tells you what it is currently recording.
– It has games you can play! (Scrabble included)
– Yahoo traffic and weather
– Live 365 music streaming
– You can stream podcasts

Things I wish it did:
– Had network logos on the TV guide screen. It only has the station ID (KSWB or WDCA). I have no idea what most ID’s mean. I would love to see the CBS or NBC logo beside the station like my old DVR.
– On the tv guide grid, had some sort of color differentiation that tells you what you are going to record. It gets confusing looking at the grid for the evening….you think you’re going to record The Office but if it isn’t highlighted in the grid, I always have to click onto the description just to make sure I’m in fact recording it.
– That the clock and all other info on the front panel of the box were much, much brighter. You can barely read it and I’m not that far away.
– The now playing screen looks really cluttered. I wish I could clean it up. There are just too many things on there. It has a folder named HD Recordings. If you open it up, they are the exact same recordings that are listed in the Now Playing list. It seems sort of redundant, doesn’t it?

All in all, I’m happy with my Series 3. Maybe at some point, some of the things I wish it had will be incorporated but it’s not enough to not make it a great purchase. And with the ability to connect to the internet at anytime, I’m imagining some very cool things are in store for TIVO in the future.

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