The TiVo HD is the first digital video recorder from the cult leading manufacturer and service provider to offer high-definition capabilities at a price below $500. The TiVo Series 3 is the first HD box, but comes at an audience limiting $800. At $300 the TiVo HD is within reach for many more people, and the only sacrifices made will affect the more discerning videophiles. Almost all of TiVo's services are available in the HD, though the nature of its CableCARD interface limit some features that are found on set top boxes provided by your cable company. However, the Internet capabilities allow the HD to pull content from online networks and interact with the web, which most cable network boxes do not support. While some of the basic recording features are available without a subscription, most of the functionality is accessed by subscribing to the TiVo service.
Television content can run through the TiVo in three different ways: 1. CableCARD, 2. over the air broadcasts, and 3. unscrambled QAM. There are two CableCARD slots found in the TiVo, one of which is marked multistream. This particular slot can handle advanced cards that support more than one tuner. If you're not familiar with the CableCARD service it is a thin card you rent from your cable company to receive digital cable, including high definition, without having to rent the full set top box, at a savings of up to $10-$15 per month. Over the air broadcasts require the use of an antenna that connects to the RF port on the back of the box. Two limitations of the CableCARD system are that interactive features provided by your cable company, and OnDemand services are not supported on the TiVo HD. Furthermore. the TiVo HD only works with cable providers, and not satellite delivered television. And lastly, some cable companies use a technology called Switched Digital Video (SDV) that is incompatible with the TiVo, so contact your company to make sure the TiVo will work.
A 160GB hard drive comes standard with the TiVo HD. This is smaller than the 300GB hard drive that comes with the Series 3, and will allow you to record about 180 hours of standard definition programming, and 20 hours of high definition. An eSATA port is provided that lets you hook up an external hard drive for an additional 500GB of expanded storage. The TiVo HD can record two high-definition programs at once, while you watch a third program that has been previously recorded. Recording is scheduled manually, or automatically through the recommendation system and season pass.
Online streaming, web based control, and program guides are all done through the TiVo's Internet connection. You can connect to the Internet through the included ethernet port, or through the optional TiVo branded Wireless USB adapter. If you don't have broadband available, then the TiVo includes an integrated modem allowing you to connect a phone line and access Internet that way. If the device is connected to your home network, then you can stream pictures and music but not video. TiVo To Go, which allows you to transfer recorded television onto your computer is available in the firmware update as of November 2007. Having the TiVo Internet connected lets you access video programming from online services such as Amazon's Unbox, and TiVo's own TiVoCast. You can also stream live radio from Live365.com and listen to podcasts either the top one's listed by TiVo or by specifying the podcast's RSS URL directly.
The TiVo HD contains all of the interface and search functionality that the TiVo is famous for. You can search the program guide in a variety of ways such as by actor, director, etc, or using the tag based system. The TiVo will also recommend shows to you based on your viewing preferences and matching you up with people that have similar tastes. A 30 second skip of commercials is available when watching recorded programming that is activated by the following key sequence: Select > Play > Select > 3 > 0 > Select.