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Old 09-13-2006, 01:45 AM   #31
megazone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apsarkis
So, have you ordered yours yet, or are you still holding on to the evaluation S3?
I still have the evaluation box for a little while longer. I believe I have the option to buy the one I have. Actually, as I said in the review, the first box has to go back to TiVo for analysis. They want to look at the reboot causing recording. I received a new box today. I need to swap them - and get my CCs swapped.
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Old 09-13-2006, 01:56 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkdtv
Many on this forum don't care for the performance/responsiveness of 7.3.1 on their Series2, so can you comment further on how the S3 compares? Have you noticed any lag with trickplay features at all? Have you noticed any menu navigation lag?
I'm one of those people who never really noticed a slowdown. Keep in mind my main unit was a DVR-810H - 2xx series, and my second most used is a S2DT, the fastest of the S2s. I rarely use my RS-TX20, and then only as a DVD player these days. I'm planning to transfer the lifetime off of it to the S3.

My general feeling is that the S3 is faster. I haven't noticed any delays - it response to everything instantly. Channel surfing is possible. The banner redraws instantly, and there is a two second lag as it locks onto the new channel and displays it. I expect that since it has to tune, buffer, read, decode, and display.

If you hit 'left' off a program you're back to the menu *now* - no lag. Reordering SPM still takes a few minutes - 70 entries - but less time than my other boxes.

The S3 has 128MB RAM for the main CPU, and more RAM dedicated to the encoders. And I'm sure the CPU is faster than the other boxes. It should be faster.

I've been happy with the Pioneer, but the S3 is fast.
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Old 09-13-2006, 02:24 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
ALL outputs are active concurrently.
Can it simultaneously output 480i on the composite/S-Video while outputting HD (720p/1080i) on the Component/HDMI?
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Old 09-13-2006, 02:41 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btwyx
Can it simultaneously output 480i on the composite/S-Video while outputting HD (720p/1080i) on the Component/HDMI?
It appears to do so. I used it with S-Video on my SD TV then moved it to my HD TV with HDMI and watched HD channels on both with it set to 'Native' output.
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Old 09-13-2006, 04:00 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
No., not at all.

The unit has two tuner blocks. Both do NTSC, ATSC, analog cable and digital cable. You can record two of any sources - two digital, two analog, one of each - with or without CableCARD.

You need CableCARD only for encrypted digital cable channels, or for guide data (and what it enables) on clear digital cable channels. Without CC you can record by time and channel.

If you insert only one CableCARD, the entire unit goes single tuner. With no cards, or two cards (or one multi-stream), it is dual-tuner.

You told me I was wrong yet went on to confirm what I had said. The first and last comments contradict each other. First you say it can record two sources simultaneously with or without a CableCARD but then say with a single CableCARD the entire unit becomes a single tuner. We need some clarification as to the effects of installing a CableCARD.

Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
You really need to use no CableCARDs or two (or a single Multi-Stream card). Why? Because the S3 cannot operate in an asymmetric mode, like the S2DT. If you insert only one (single-stream) CableCARD, then the entire unit reverts to single tuner operation. That means you lose the dual-tuner capabilities for antenna and analog cable, not just digital cable. With no CableCARDs installed you have dual-tuner operation for antenna and analog cable, two CableCARDs gives you dual-tuner digital cable. I was surprised by this, having used the S2DT I really expected the unit to operated in the same way. I don't think this is a huge issue, most users are going to have none or two, but it may surprise some. I asked TiVo about this and they said that they are investigating asymmetric configurations as a possible future addition.
Judging from your comments...

With no CableCARD installed:
acts as a dual-tuner and we can record any two sources simultaneously.

With one CableCARD installed:
acts as a single-tuner and we can only record one analog or one digital at a time.

With two CableCARDs installed:
acts as a dual-tuner and we can again record any two sources simultaneously.
Is it one analog vs two digitals in this case or can two analogs be recorded?

So is this correct?
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Old 09-13-2006, 04:34 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JCM3
First you say it can record two sources simultaneously with or without a CableCARD but then say with a single CableCARD the entire unit becomes a single tuner.
A single, single-stream card is a special case which is why I called it out. You need two single-stream cards, or one multi-stream card, for dual-tuner with CC.

Quote:
With no CableCARD installed:
acts as a dual-tuner and we can record any two sources simultaneously.
Correct.

Quote:
With one CableCARD installed:
acts as a single-tuner and we can only record one analog or one digital at a time.
Correct for a single-stream card.

Quote:
With two CableCARDs installed:
acts as a dual-tuner and we can again record any two sources simultaneously.
Correct. Two analog, two digital, or one of each.
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:04 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
It appears to do so. I used it with S-Video on my SD TV then moved it to my HD TV with HDMI and watched HD channels on both with it set to 'Native' output.
This is "good to hear". It means that TiVo learned from the mistakes they made with their only previous HD box, the TiVo-designed DirecTV HR10-250, which cannot do concurrent SD/HD output and has no "native" format mode, either.

For the more "high-end" or "custom" users, at least one of these features (preferably both) are highly-desirable, if not essential. There are a number of reasons for this, but I will mention just two:

1. Feeding a continuous SD signal to other rooms in your house (typically by means of a UHF modulator).

2. Feeding an unmodified SD signal (on SD channels) to your video scaler or TV without losing the ability to see HD channels in HD (and without having to press any buttons on the remote, which is typically "hard to automate", even if the remote has a "format" button). Most scalers and TVs do a better job of upconverting SD signals than most source devices (set-top boxes) ... and they always provide a more flexible set of "aspect" controls (which are generally inaccessible if the STB has already converted to HD and added its own "pillar bars").

You are "new to HD", so you may not know that these two features have a long (sad) history with HD afficionados. The very first HD decoder, the now-legendary Panasonic TU-DST50, could do these things ... but no other STBs, including later models from Panasonic, could do them both (a few, very few, offered a "native" option, but none could do concurrent SD/HD output). Finally, about 5 years ago, Samsung started offering these features on their HD STBs, and by the time the HR10-250 was released, nearly everybody did. Except TiVo.
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Old 09-13-2006, 05:53 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
It depends - Grid Guide yes, TiVo Guide no. I explain in the FAQ - and above in the review.
That's a bit disappointing. I prefer the TiVo guide style. I'd like to see a number of shows at a glance to determine if they're HD or not instead of having to select them individually to see that.
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:16 AM   #39
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Does it output simultaneously on the Component and HDMI connections?

Once the price drops and if / when the MRV is enabled, I will have one in my master bedroom, which has two TVs (one in the sitting room and one in the bedroom). It would be nice to be able to watch HD on either TV (or both) using one S3.
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Old 09-13-2006, 12:48 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
It appears to do so. I used it with S-Video on my SD TV then moved it to my HD TV with HDMI and watched HD channels on both with it set to 'Native' output.
As pointed out, this is a long requested feature, which the HR10-250 may never get due to hardware limitation. Its tripped up a lot of people ("Why doesn't my S-Video work"), me included.

This makes saving to VCR, or installing something like a Slingbox much easier.
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Old 09-13-2006, 03:07 PM   #41
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Question HD Output Selection

Can the S3 output Component and HDMI concurrently or do you have to select one to be active?
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Old 09-13-2006, 03:22 PM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btwyx
As pointed out, this is a long requested feature, which the HR10-250 may never get due to hardware limitation. Its tripped up a lot of people ("Why doesn't my S-Video work"), me included.

This makes saving to VCR, or installing something like a Slingbox much easier.
Agreed! I have a VCR and RF encoder attached to mine, for "cheap remote viewing", so this works well.
Question: Are both the HD and SVideo output same aspect, eg 16:9 program -> 16:9 on both outputs? or can you configure it? Or does it automatically/always letterbox the SD outputs?

One annoyance for me on the Comcast 6412 is the Svideo out is ALWAYS letterboxed (assumes 4:3 output for 16:9 source), even though I'd be archiving a program to view on the same 16:9 later (just in SD)... annoying loss of visible data/really messed up aspect
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Old 09-13-2006, 07:31 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
The S3 has 128MB RAM for the main CPU, and more RAM dedicated to the encoders.
What type of memory? Is this a user-replacable SIMM? Be nice if we could upgrade to 256M or more ...
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Old 09-13-2006, 11:42 PM   #44
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I looked at the images of the back of the unit and didn't see anything for high end automated control systems like crestron or a simple IR miniplug in. Did i miss it or did they not include it in a high end system?

if you are using 2 cards do you need to split the incoming coax or do you only need to plug in one. I assume both but wanted to ask.

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Old 09-14-2006, 12:02 AM   #45
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You only need to plug in one coaxial cable. The cards take care of the rest as far as I understand.
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:06 AM   #46
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Quote:
Originally Posted by waynemk
I looked at the images of the back of the unit and didnt see anything for high end automated control systems like crestron or a simple IR miniplug in. Did i miss it or did they not include it in a high end system?
You did not miss it. No TiVo has ever had this — although the S1 and S2 have an RS232 port and an IR mini-phono output jack (but they are used to control external cable and satellite boxes, not to control the TiVo itself).

As I posted before, with an IR flasher (stuck to the front panel or in fact anywhere near the front panel) it is possible to control a TiVo with 100% reliability. I have done so for years, from an AMX controller (and Crestron, which is not the brand I personally favor, should be equally effective).

But one-way IR control has many limitations, even when it is as reliable as it is with a TiVo. That is why I am looking forward to the HR20P, which DirecTV has announced will support a control port "for the custom installer market". The downside, of course, is that it is "not a TiVo". But DirecTV (aka Rupert Murdoch) has left its users little choice in the matter, as they are moving their HD content to MPEG4, which the HR10-250, the last TiVo-designed DVR for DirecTV, does not support.
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:20 AM   #47
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I would like to add a small amount of detail to Megazone's review of the S3.

I have had my S3 for a few hours now and thought I would comment on the OTA HD reception. I am quite pleased with the tuner's performance. It pulls in a few more distant stations than the built in tuner in my Samsung HDTV or my HiPix HTPC.

Another welcome tool for OTA users is the signal strength meter buried in the Messages and Settings -> Settings -> Channels menu. There is a signal strength meter for Cable (QAM only) and Antenna (OTA SD and HD).

The channel changing speed is about on par with with my (former) Motorola 6412 and Scientific Atlanta 8300HD cable PVRs. I would like the channel change speed to be faster but it is not significantly different that either of the other two HD PVRs I used.

I will not be able to comment on the Cable Card performance as it will take Cox Orange County until Tuesday to roll a truck to plug the cards into the S3. If the issue has not been completely beaten to death by then, I may add my two pence.

So far, I am very happy with my purchase. I can already tell that I will quickly add an e-SATA enclosure or a larger internal drive as I watch a lot of HD sports and 32 hours goes quickly. :')

I hope my humble addition to Megazone's review was useful to someone.

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Old 09-14-2006, 06:26 AM   #48
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lgarnick
Can the S3 output Component and HDMI concurrently or do you have to select one to be active?
There is no selection, it appears to be concurrent. I haven't tried the component ports to be sure (and I don't have a spare cable) but since there is no output selection at all, it would seem to be concurrent.
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Old 09-14-2006, 06:26 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jfh3
What type of memory? Is this a user-replacable SIMM? Be nice if we could upgrade to 256M or more ...
Surface mounted, just like the other units.
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Old 09-14-2006, 07:57 AM   #50
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I just listened to Robert Heron's review of the S3 on Tuesday's episode of DL.TV. This is a nit-picky point, but he mentioned that the actual TiVo interface screens look like they were just "copied" from the S2 and not updated for the S3. As a result, the text is not as crisp and round icons are squashed ovals.

Any truth to this or did he just have aspect ratio problems?

Good to hear about the included HDMI cable ... but I, too, would need one longer than 3'. Oh well.

edit: nevermind about the menu screens ... I found this thread.
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Old 09-14-2006, 10:41 AM   #51
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Has anybody yet had the chance to compare the OTA reception to that of the 10-250, or does anybody know what to predict based on the hardware? My 10-250 just barely brings in my major OTA locals, but it has problems when the wind is blowing hard. A little improvement would be a significant advantage; on the other hand, slightly worse would be a big disadvantage.
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Old 09-14-2006, 12:32 PM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windracer
Any truth to this or did he just have aspect ratio problems?
I don't see it - and you can see my photos for yourself.

Quote:
Good to hear about the included HDMI cable ... but I, too, would need one longer than 3'. Oh well.
I think it may be 6'.
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Old 09-14-2006, 05:49 PM   #53
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Can I output to a DVD recorder to make a copy of a recorded program or is there some way it blocks it?
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Old 09-14-2006, 06:19 PM   #54
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
My general feeling is that the S3 is faster. I haven't noticed any delays - it response to everything instantly. Channel surfing is possible. The banner redraws instantly, and there is a two second lag as it locks onto the new channel and displays it. I expect that since it has to tune, buffer, read, decode, and display.
Hi megazone,

How fast is the matrix-style guide? On my Series 2, it scrolls and redraws soooo slowly.

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Old 09-14-2006, 07:37 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by windracer
I just listened to Robert Heron's review of the S3 on Tuesday's episode of DL.TV. This is a nit-picky point, but he mentioned that the actual TiVo interface screens look like they were just "copied" from the S2 and not updated for the S3. As a result, the text is not as crisp and round icons are squashed ovals.

Any truth to this or did he just have aspect ratio problems?

Good to hear about the included HDMI cable ... but I, too, would need one longer than 3'. Oh well.

edit: nevermind about the menu screens ... I found this thread.
This is probably true, as the 10-250 is this way. Never really bothered me; I can't see that a round icon is inherently better than an oval one. I suppose that they could use narrower text in HD, but the interface is evidently designed to be clearly readable in all output formats, and certainly achieves that goal.
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Old 09-14-2006, 08:52 PM   #56
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Is it just me, or does anybody else find it interesting, or at least amusing, that DirecTV released their new HD DVR (the HR20) the same week as TiVo released the HD Series3? (In fact the very next day, the HR20 was released 9/13, although it had a Los Angeles-only Beta that started in mid-August.)

And just as the TiVo community is "up in arms" about missing features (MRV, TTG, and eSATA in particular), the DBS community is ranting and raving about features missing from the initial rollout of the HR20 (the ATSC tuners are not yet supported, nor is eSATA). In DirecTV's case, there's no CableLabs controversy, all the missing features appear to be due to a "slipped development schedule", coupled with a marketing requirement to ship the product on time "ready or not".

But then, that appears to be the reason for the disabled eSATA port in the case of both boxes ...

DirecTV has promised, publicly, to fix both major omissions with a firmware update "by the end of the year". That commitment, at least, is an improvement over TiVo being held hostage by CableLabs. On the other hand, the DirecTV boxes have never supported MRV and TTG anyway, and although they did announce a "2Go" feature for "portable media devices" (at CES in January), they aren't getting beat up about it. Yet.
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:41 PM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by megazone
There is no indication on individual recordings in Now Playing indicating if they are HD or SD. However, if you turn on Groups, there is a special 'HDTV Recordings' group which will contain all of the HD recordings currently on the unit. That includes Suggestions.
Are all the HD recordings just thrown in the root of that HDTV Recordings folder or are there subfolders?
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:49 PM   #58
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Originally Posted by jlib
Are all the HD recordings just thrown in the root of that HDTV Recordings folder or are there subfolders?
I think that the HD folder is in ADDITION to the HD shows being displayed in the Now Playing list in the normal manner. The HD folder is an additional way to access the same recordings.
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Old 09-14-2006, 09:56 PM   #59
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btwyx
As pointed out, this is a long requested feature, which the HR10-250 may never get due to hardware limitation. Its tripped up a lot of people ("Why doesn't my S-Video work"), me included.

This makes saving to VCR, or installing something like a Slingbox much easier.
I thought this was insisted upon by DirecTV, to avoid piracy. That if HDMI and HDCP were active, all other outputs were off.
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Old 09-14-2006, 10:10 PM   #60
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pab Sungenis
I thought this was insisted upon by DirecTV, to avoid piracy. That if HDMI and HDCP were active, all other outputs were off.
Not so. In fact, at the time that the HR10-250 was released, all other current-model DirecTV HD receivers (non-DVRs) had concurrent outputs. As have all subsequent DirecTV HD receivers (including the recently-released HR20 DVR).

This omission was "TiVo's design error", they used an older-model analog video output chip that did not support two resolutions concurrently (HD and SD). However, the HR10-250 does output HD video concurrently in analog (on the component outputs) and digital (on the HDMI output).
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William C. McCain
Palo Alto, California

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