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January 6, 2006 / jnolen

Finally! A TiVo Series3

Finally, something to get me excited about TiVo again. They've announced the TiVo Series 3!

There are several new features that I've wanted for a long time:

  • HDTV!
  • 2 Tuners (technically six: three pairs of over-the-air, digital NTSC and ATSC). But importantly, you can record two shows at once from any source.
  • Ethernet (but still no built-in wireless?!)
  • HDMI and component outputs
  • Up to 1080i output
  • 16:9 / 4:3 aspect switching on the remote (this has been a killer ever since I got my new TV.)
  • The remote is backlit
  • External Serial ATA interface for attaching an external drive: you no longer have to crack the case to expand capacity.
  • A screen on the front of the unit that tells you what it's recording.
  • CableCard 2.0 (It remains to be seen whether this is at all useful to me.)

All of this stuff sounds great. First of all, it's necessary to keep pace with the home PC-based solutions that have developed since TiVo's introduction. And the addition of HDTV is a feature that has been sorely lacking for tool long. Also, hopefully will give TiVo a big cash infusion when many of their customers upgrade their hardware. I know I will.

One thing the ars review doesn't mention at all is the software. I'm hoping that there is a big improvement there: I'm particularly hoping to see a faster interface and more options for interacting with the TiVo from my computer. (Not so much watching the shows, but controlling the unit.) Even though I tend to be sitting just a few feet from the unit, I've really come to like the way the Squeezebox can be controlled from any web browser.

The bad news is that the Series3 is scheduled for mid- to late-2006, and that's a long time from now. But this announcement does give me some hope that they're actually doing something useful up there at TiVo HQ.

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