If you haven't read the news, the new Tivo Series 3 was launched on September 12th.
What's so different about the Series 3? Well, it can record in HD, for one.
If you have been keeping up with my blog, you will know that I got a new Panasonic plasma TV a few months ago. When I got the HDTV I was seriously excited and 85% of my TV viewing is just watching the HD channels. Occasionally I will slum it and go back to "regular tv", like record "The Alternative" on VH-1, which is an hour's worth of New Wave videos from the 80's and early 90's. Love that show.
Anyhow. My old Tivo, the Series 2, I connected to the plasma and it worked...sort of. The HD picture was smaller when I watched TV through the Tivo, since the Tivo couldn't support the higher resolution. "Regular", or 480i, TV was ok, but its like listening to a record versus a CD.
One of the abilities I really liked was that the Series 3 has two tuners. So, I could record a show on one tuner, which uses a cablecard, and watch another show on another tuner. With the Series 2 - you were stuck watching a show while it recorded. I also liked the fact that I could transfer my "lifetime membership" from my old Series 2 to the new Series 3. The "lifetime membership" transfer is listed here. It does cost $199 to transfer, which sucks, but paying $13 a month for the service, it's a simple question of "WIll I be using a Tivo for more than 15 months?" Considering I had my Series 2 for 3 years, I would say that is a big fat "Yes".
The Series 3 has some serious downsides. First is price. At $800, this was a serious dent in my plans when i'm trying to "save" money. In the last 6 months I bought a plasma TV, a new Canon camera and now a $800 Tivo. Maybe I should shut up about my PSE&G problem, if i'm single handedly trying to jump start the US economy. Second, you can't order Pay-Per-View or Video on Demand through the Tivo. That sort of sucks, but since I have my old Series 2 (which has an internal DVD burner), I can just order it on the common room TV, burn it to a DVD and watch it upstairs. Third problem is that Tivo-To-Go is disabled (for now), so I couldn't take anything that the Series 3 records and put it on an iPod, or other device to watch. From what I understand, this might be available in the future.
The way I see it is that I don't have many expensive hobbies (I only golfed 5 times this summer), and the new TV season is starting this week, i'm fairly good at being frugal in other areas of my life and I do work a second job bartending (by the way, Mikie's was so packed last Saturday that we had a line at the door. It was a good night for me!). With shows like "Lost" and "Grey's Anatomy", and countless others that I want to watch, along with hitting the gym 3 times a week and there are lots of nights that i'm simply not home - I need this to make sure I don't miss my favorite shows.
Yes, I have issues.
I have a technician from Cablevision coming on Tuesday morning to connect and configure my cable cards. I plan on doing a write up next week on "How To Install A Tivo Series 3 In Hoboken". I disconnected my old cable box and connected up the Series 3 last night, and it only recognizes the "regular" TV, and won't display any channel past 100 right now. I'll probably just suck it up and wait until Tuesday, I just don't feel like reconnecting everything again. Planning on taking my old Series 2 and using it on the common room TV, since it isn't HD.
Gizmodo has a cool review of the Series 3 here, which you can read to see what else it offers.