TiVo Premier Elite DVR packs 2TB storage, four tuners

Day one of CEDIA 2011 kicks off today and TiVo is marking the occasion by announcing the latest addition to its DVR family, the TiVo Premier Elite. Interestingly, the new unit reads a lot like the Premier Q, a similarly equipped DVR we reported on earlier this year, which is slated to be provided only to cable partners. 

The Elite will come with a 2TB hard drive capable of storing up to 300 hours of HD recordings. It is TiVo’s first retail DVR to offer four digital tuners, allowing the user to view one recorded program while recording up to four others. The Elite also earns THX certification.

In addition to DVR functionality, the Premier Elite offers access to several network content providers, including Netflix, Pandora, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, Blockbuster and YouTube. TiVo reports that the Elite’s on-board browser will allow users to search for programming across all of its resources simultaneously, providing one-screen access to any instance of a show’s availability. For instance, searching for “House” will bring up links to both the network broadcast of the show as well as those episodes available on Hulu. No word from TiVo on whether the Elite will support on-demand video services from cable providers, though.

As for connectivity, TiVo has equipped the elite with one each HDMI, component and composite video outputs with both digital and analog audio outputs. Also on the back panel are an ethernet jack, two USB 2.0 ports, a cablecard slot and an eSATA port for optional additional storage. 

There are a few caveats, though. While the Elite supports digital cable, high-definition digital cable and Verizon’s Fios service as sources, the DVR will not work with satellite boxes, terrestrial HD antennas, or analog cable sources. In fact, TiVo has had to file for a waiver with the FCC because of its decision not to include analog tuners — a factor that could delay the unit’s availability, which is currently slated for the end of this year. When it does come available, it will reportedly be sold through Magnolia stores, authorized home theater installers and at TiVo’s website. Pricing has not yet been announced, but TiVo’s current flagship, the Premiere XL, sells for $299.

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