TiVo’s Series3 High-Definition DVR Arrives

TiVo Inc. has officially taken the wraps off its Series3 HD digital media recorder, adding high-definition capability (up to 1080i) and two CableCard slots to TiVo’s industry-defining time-shifting and DVR features.

"Our subscribers have eagerly anticipated the day they can use our services in high definition," said Jim Denney, TiVo’s VP of Product Marketing in a statement. "The TiVo Series3 HD DVR gives our customers the best way to experience HDTV in visual and audio performance, an easy, intuitive way to find and record HD programming and a broad set of multimedia and networking capabilities that greatly exceed other generic offerings available allowing subscribers the freedom to enjoy their favorite programming whenever they chose to do so."

The Series3 HD marks for first stand-alone TiVO product which is HD-compatible, and is the first THX-certified DVR on the market, guaranteed to present programming with the full fidelity of the original broadcast. The Series3 has the capacity to record up to 32 hours of HD programming (that corresponds to some 300 hours of standard programming…if you’re still into that sor of thing), and sports dual tuners so users can records two different HD shows simultaneously. The Series3 is compatible with standard analog cable, over-the-air ATSC digital broadcasts, and offers two CableCard slots for interfacing with digital cable systems. Subscribers will need to get CableCards from their cable provider: briefly, CableCards are a modular way for cable companies to let legitimate subscribers decrypt digital cable signals on their own equipment, although in some cases dual CableCards may be required for dual-tuner features, and a cable company set-top box may still be needed for pay-per-view and other provider-specific features.

The series3 is designed to connect to existing home theater setups and offer subscribers flexibility with component choices. In addition to 2 USB ports and Ethernet on the back panel, the Series3 sports digital audio output; S-Video, component, composite, and HDMI video output; and both antenna and cable inputs. The the Series3 box hows what’s recording even when subscriber’s display is turned off.

Of course, the TiVo Seres3 includes long-standard TiVo features of the TiVo service, including online scheduling, wishlist searches, season pass recordings, and (coming later this year) TiVo KidZone, a customized area with pre-approved programs parents choose for their kids. Also planned for later this year: TiVoCast, which enables users to download video content using their broadband Internet connection. TiVoCast will also provide access to online services from Yahoo, Fandango, Live365, and other providers, and enable users to browse TV listings and schedule recordings from Verizon phones.

TiVo says the Series3 HD will be available mid-September from traditional retailers and online and online sources in mid-September; the company is accepting pre-orders now, although some retailers havesaid they don’t expect units until October. Take a deep breath: the suggested price is $799.99.

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