HD and eSATA support for $300
Last modified on Thursday, 26 July 2007 09:54
Tivo announced the launch of a new high-definition model that targets the mainstream HD cable market space. The new $300 unit which Tivo is calling the “180-Hour Tivo HD DVR” appears in many aspects to be a stripped down version of Tivo’s “300-Hour Tivo Series 3 HD DVR” model.
The new unit features two Cable CARD slots to allow access to encrypted programming from cable providers, as well a single over the air (OTA) antenna input which will accept both digital HD and analog signals. This adds up to the ability for users to record up to two programs at once, while being able to watch a third program that was previously recorded and saved on the hard drive.
The new unit includes the ability to record 20 hours of HD programming or 180 hours of SD programming using the included 160GB hard drive. The best news, however, is that the storage can be expanded beyond 160GB using the unit’s eSATA connector to connect compatible external eSATA hard drives. The catch, though, is that the eSATA connector is not enabled and will not be enabled until Tivo releases a software update for the unit expected later this year. Tivo has already warned users that hacks that have been created to enable the eSATA port on other units will not work with this unit.
While the new unit loses its plush back-lit remote and attractive front panel that was included on the higher end model, it is obvious that Tivo feels it can attract more attention and gain more customers by offering a unit at a lower price point. While the new unit does leave satellite subscribers out in the cold, it does offer a solution to cable provider DVRs that often have a track record of not being as reliable and easy to use as Tivo models are.
The installation can be tricky if the cable provider does not have the Cable CARDs in wide deployment or know the ins and outs of configuring its cable system to work with them. While many cable users will be excited about the new offering from Tivo, satellite users from DirecTV and Dish network would be more excited if Tivo chose to release a series 3 HD unit that worked with one of these two satellite systems.