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Old 03-09-2010, 05:53 PM   #1
sbiller
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Upgrade TiVo HD or Series 3 to Premier XL

I have two units in my household, a Series 3 and a TiVo HD. Which one of the legacy series 3 platform should I upgrade? Pros of the Series 3 is the OLED display and THX certification, con is the two cable card requirement.
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Old 03-09-2010, 07:53 PM   #2
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I own two of each, and I have always preferred the S3 to the THD. They're just better boxes, in my opinion. As long as you don't mind being billed for two CableCARDS, I say keep the S3.
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Old 03-09-2010, 09:05 PM   #3
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The S3. For me, the OLED is worth the two cablecards and, frankly, I'm disappointed that it isn't still available even on the highest end Tivo. I would definitely pay $100 extra if they still offered it.
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Old 03-09-2010, 10:46 PM   #4
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I own two of each, and I have always preferred the S3 to the THD. They're just better boxes, in my opinion. As long as you don't mind being billed for two CableCARDS, I say keep the S3.
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The S3. For me, the OLED is worth the two cablecards and, frankly, I'm disappointed that it isn't still available even on the highest end Tivo. I would definitely pay $100 extra if they still offered it.
I was leaning towards the series 3 because of the OLED display, better build quality, THX, etc. It is a bummer paying an extra fee each month for the cablecard.
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:18 PM   #5
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you would pay $100 just to see the name of the show you are recording on the front of the tivo???
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Old 03-09-2010, 11:32 PM   #6
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I'd probably stick with the S3 as well. Especially in my case where I know Comcast only charges $2 a mont for an extra cablecard which in the grand scheme of things is pretty insignificant.
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:16 AM   #7
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you would pay $100 just to see the name of the show you are recording on the front of the tivo???
S3 costs an extra $35.4 per year for the CC.
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Old 03-10-2010, 09:39 AM   #8
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S3 costs an extra $35.4 per year for the CC ...
He was responding to post #3.
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Old 03-10-2010, 01:47 PM   #9
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I have the THD and any interest in the Premiere went out the window for me when I heard that there would not be any additional tuners. However, that interest has returned now that I heard the Premiere will consume 25watts of energy compared to the 50watts of the S3/THD. That's quite a savings on the electric bill.

Does anyone recall if the reported wattage info refer to standby or recording?
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Old 03-10-2010, 04:19 PM   #10
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I have the THD and any interest in the Premiere went out the window for me when I heard that there would not be any additional tuners. However, that interest has returned now that I heard the Premiere will consume 25watts of energy compared to the 50watts of the S3/THD. That's quite a savings on the electric bill.

Does anyone recall if the reported wattage info refer to standby or recording?
There's basically no difference since the TiVo is always recording two channels, even in standby. People have measured the difference due to no output needed in standby at about a watt (some people under a watt, some over). TiVo's figures should be without standby, though I don't think they ever said.
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:17 PM   #11
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you would pay $100 just to see the name of the show you are recording on the front of the tivo???
This was one of the main reasons (looks, especially the OLED) that I spent $799 on my Series 3 in the first place. And also why I refused to get a tivoHD until I found one for $149.99.

edit: So basically I was willing to pay a lot more I suppose. And yes I know your question wasn't directed at me
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Old 03-10-2010, 05:21 PM   #12
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I have the THD and any interest in the Premiere went out the window for me when I heard that there would not be any additional tuners. However, that interest has returned now that I heard the Premiere will consume 25watts of energy compared to the 50watts of the S3/THD. That's quite a savings on the electric bill.

Does anyone recall if the reported wattage info refer to standby or recording?
Mine consume 35 to 37 watts.
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Old 03-10-2010, 06:06 PM   #13
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I have two units in my household, a Series 3 and a TiVo HD. Which one of the legacy series 3 platform should I upgrade? Pros of the Series 3 is the OLED display and THX certification, con is the two cable card requirement.
While the S3 may be a bit more powerful and have the OLED screen, I would definitely upgrade that box if you use cablecards on it. You can save money with a single M-card in the THD and the re-sale value of the S3 will be slightly higher. So, financially, it makes sense to upgrade the S3 and sale it. Of course, if money is not an option, I might stick with the S3 and get rid of the TiVo HD.
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Old 03-11-2010, 04:22 PM   #14
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Mine consume 35 to 37 watts.
Okay. That makes more sense than considering FIOS dvrs are about 34w. I don't where I came up 50w from.
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:22 AM   #15
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I came down on the side of keeping our Series3, at least for now. Ordered the Premiere XL and will try to sell our TiVo HD w/1TB hard drive after the new box arrives.

Having used both the TiVo HD and Series3 for several years, I still like the features and the quality of the Series3 more.
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:23 AM   #16
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Old 03-12-2010, 07:50 AM   #17
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I am going to get a Premiere for the main viewing room. Any opinions on whether the THX certification worth the extra $200? I don't need the extra recording space and, although my receiver (Pioneer Elite SC-27) is THX certified, I don't really use those modes.

For me, all signs point to no but since my previous (and current) TiVo is an S3 which IS THX certified, it got me a little concerned that I would notice a 'step-down' in Audio and or video quality (since TiVo claims that the THX certification ensures the best audio/video quality - or something to that effect).

Thanks for any opinions/advice
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:57 AM   #18
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Any opinions on whether the THX certification worth the extra $200? I don't need the extra recording space ...
I've never really bought into the whole THX hype. To me, it's more of a marketing gimmick than anything else. In theory, THX certification guarantees that a product meets certain specs and performance criteria. Even if that's true, it doesn't mean that a product that isn't THX certified fails to meet those same criteria. To me, the decision to buy the XL over the regular Premiere simply came down to the larger drive. Since you mentioned that recording space is not a factor in your decision, I'd say just stick with the cheaper box. Plus, if you decide somewhere down the road that you need more space, you can always upgrade the internal drive or add an external one.
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Old 03-12-2010, 01:19 PM   #19
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Even if that's true, it doesn't mean that a product that isn't THX certified fails to meet those same criteria.
Exactly. In fact I conducted a small test when I bought our TiVo HD. We were just moving into our house and Comcast needed to get both set up w/cable cards so I connected both the THD and our Series3 (via HDMI) to our LCD TV to make life easy for them. I compared the PQ side-by-side. There was a difference...it was minor but there was a difference. The PQ of the THD seemed slightly less sharp. It was across the board, menus, recordings and live. To my eyes I could not see any difference in color reproduction. So as mentioned the difference was very minor...the THD picture looking slightly "softer" and not quite as crisp. I've no idea what element might have made the difference between the two. And honestly, some folks might have preferred one over the other so I don't think one was really "better". I also connected both to our Integra receiver (TOSLink optical) and I couldn't hear any difference in the audio between the two at all. So with respect to the Series3 being THX certified and the TiVo HD not being certified, I don't think anyone would ever notice the difference in normal day-to-day use. FWIW all of our HT equipment (Series3, receiver and speakers) happened to be THX certified but I didn't buy them because of that...it just so happened that the equipment I wanted had the certification. I can't say how that same comparison might turn out between the standard TiVo Premiere and the XL of course.

Here's the THX take on things and you can Google dozens of articles about it.

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To me, the decision to buy the XL over the regular Premiere simply came down to the larger drive.
That and the learning Glo Remote made it an easy choice for me as well. As I've mentioned elsewhere after the various upgrade offers and discounts the difference between an XL and upgrading a standard Premiere to 1TB came down to about $25. With the Glo Remote it's a wash in my case. If you don't need the recording space I'm sure the standard Premiere would serve very well.
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Old 03-12-2010, 02:06 PM   #20
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But the bottom line is no one knows for sure whether there is, or is not a difference in the hardware between the Premiere and Premiere XL.

or even the two TiVoHD models.

personally there was a noticeable difference between my original s3 and a regular TiVo HD. The bitstreamed audio pops up in a split second with any of my S3 units, while any of my TiVo HD units takes up to a second. And this is the case with three different HDMI receivers.
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:08 PM   #21
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I've had only Series3's. I take it that the follow-up TiVo HD's were not THX?
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:49 PM   #22
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I've had only Series3's. I take it that the follow-up TiVo HD's were not THX?
Correct, The TiVo HD's were not THX Certified.
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Old 03-12-2010, 03:56 PM   #23
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Correct, The TiVo HD's were not THX Certified.
But the later TiVo HD XL's were. And no one I've seen is quite sure what, if any, difference there is in the audio or video playback between the HD and HD XL
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:08 PM   #24
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There may be nothing and the just didn't pay for the certification.

A pretty good article on THX Certification.
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:21 PM   #25
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But the later TiVo HD XL's were. And no one I've seen is quite sure what, if any, difference there is in the audio or video playback between the HD and HD XL
Correct...and I'd wager there isn't any difference other than TiVo submitted it for certification. I think TiVo wanted to keep the price of the TiVo HD down as much as possible (and as compared to the original Series3 some of the components they used would seem to support that theory).
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:23 PM   #26
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A pretty good article on THX Certification.
Wow, I didn't finish it yet, but that is a very good article. So far I haven't read any new ideas or thoughts that haven't been included in other articles, but they do a great job of pulling all of the info together in one place. I'm keeping that link handy. Thanks!
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:09 PM   #27
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I find it interesting though that while everyone agrees there is "probably" not a diffence in the hardware but is rather simply a matter of not forking over the extra dough to pay for the certification - yet what subjective input there is is in agreement that there at least 'seems' to be a difference in performance either by sound, video or both.
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Old 03-12-2010, 09:25 PM   #28
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I find it interesting though that while everyone agrees there is "probably" not a diffence in the hardware but is rather simply a matter of not forming over the extra dough to pay for the certification - yet what subjective input there is is in agreement that there at least 'seems' to be a difference in performance either by sound, video or both.
I think the differences mentioned (so far) are a bit apples and oranges. That is we've been comparing the THX Certified Series3 and standard TiVo HD. The hardware (and some of the OS) are known to be different...and the architectures are several years apart. There are bound to be some differences based on that alone. To do a more level comparison someone would need to compare a TiVo HD and a TiVo HDXL side-by-side. That would give us a better feel for any real differences. I suspect that even if you ran a comparison of the original Series3 and the TiVo HDXL (both THX Certified) there would be some differences.

Eventually someone would have to do the same comparison when the TiVo Premiere's are released into the wild.

All of that said, unless someone has access to the multitude of high-tech bench testing equipment needed to conduct a truly scientific comparison, it would still be a subjective "here's what I saw/heard" statement of "fact". Nothing wrong with that but I suspect we'd have a difficult time really agreeing on things unless the differences were uber dramatic...and my guess is that they probably aren't.
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Old 03-14-2010, 07:47 AM   #29
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I'm extremely pleased with my Series 3 and love the OLED. The Premiere has absolutely no compelling new features to justify an upgrade. So, in a way, I fell really good that my Series 3 that premiered in 2006 is still pretty much state of the art for TiVo. Really, a more powerful chip to run Flash with a true HD display of the very same, formerly beta, search on the S3, with perhaps more stable experience with internet content and an itty-bitty picture of the channel you are watching in the corner and the elimination of the second Cable Card slot is hardly the leap into the next generation nor does it rise to the level of compelling features such as recording more channels at the same time. Thanks TiVo for unintentionally seeing to it that my beautiful Series 3 first generation 4 years down the road really was kind of future proof all along.

The THX certification is probably more noticeable with analog recordings using the MPEG encoder. I can't say if the digital recordings are any better than HD or XL, but my Series 3 does have the best digital recording playback quality of all the DVR's I have.
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:06 PM   #30
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I'm extremely pleased with my Series 3 and love the OLED. The Premiere has absolutely no compelling new features to justify an upgrade. So, in a way, I fell really good that my Series 3 that premiered in 2006 is still pretty much state of the art for TiVo. Really, a more powerful chip to run Flash with a true HD display of the very same, formerly beta, search on the S3, with perhaps more stable experience with internet content and an itty-bitty picture of the channel you are watching in the corner and the elimination of the second Cable Card slot is hardly the leap into the next generation nor does it rise to the level of compelling features such as recording more channels at the same time. Thanks TiVo for unintentionally seeing to it that my beautiful Series 3 first generation 4 years down the road really was kind of future proof all along.
Those are some of the reasons I opted to keep our older Series3 instead of the TiVo HD when I ordered the Premiere XL. The XL will take the place of the Series3 in our HT setup, but the S3 will have a good secondary position. MRV between the two will be better than it was between the S3 and the THD. Plus Im really looking forward to the Premiere's new HD GUI. Not so much because it's HD (that's icing) but I like the idea of not having to leave what I'm watching when I go back to the menus (had a Comcast DVR once that had that feature and although it was a real POS that was really nice). I also like the fact that a great deal of info is included on one main menu page instead of having to jump around menu-to-menu to see upcoming programs, SP's, more info about the program (including Internet material), recommendations, cast info, instant access to on demand programming, etc. The convenience factor is really a big plus IMHO.

But agreed, it's not an earth-moving kind of upgrade and hard to justify if you're happy with what you have. Hopefully the convenience, user friendliness and high-quality look and feel will bring some new folks into the fold. We can still brag on our Series3's though.
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