General TIVO HD Questions...

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by 10_pearljam, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. 10_pearljam

    10_pearljam Member

    Dec 27, 2005



    I have some general Tivo HD questions that I was hoping the community may answer for me. I currently have a Series 2, with a lifetime subscription, but I am thinking of upgrading to the Tivo HD!!

    1. Do I need to add on another subscription at $6.95/mo. or can I transfer my lifetime to the new Tivo HD. I'm thinking I need to add the $6.95 but was hoping to transfer.

    2. I keep seeing that there are a lot of pixelation problems with the HD this still occuring? What is the main cause and how can I avoid it from the get go?

    3. I have Comcast in the Philadelphia Area. I understand that I need two cable cards. But I hear people are getting one sometimes and still using the dual is that? Which option would I want to ask for?

    4. Can I add an external HD to the Series 2 or the Tivo HD? If so, is it as easy as just plugging it in as you would on a PC or do I have to do something special? Maybe it's not even possible.

    5. How has everyones experience been with the Tivo HD?

    6. Besides the HD, are there many features that the Tivo HD has that the Series 2 doesn't?

    I'm sure I will have many more questions, but I'd like to thank those that answer my questions ahead of time. I really want to pull the trigger on this, but I'm waivering right now...


  2. blhirsch

    blhirsch Tivo-riffic!

    Mar 1, 2003
    I don't think it's possible with a series2, but perhaps others can correct me.

    I think they are largely resolved. The key seems to be the recent software update. To avoid them, I'd get the tivo, and make sure it's updated itself and restarted with the current software BEFORE the installer gets there with your cablecards.

    Comcast in the Philadelphia area has what are called "M-cards" which mean one card will support multiple streams--hence you get dual tuner with one card. I'd do that. Make sure you request it, and have it put in the notes for installer to bring M-cards. (and have them bring more than one in case the first doesn't pair correctly.)

    The eSATA port is not currently enabled on the TivoHD, but will be in the near future, hwich means you can buy an eSATA external drive, hook it up, and use it for external storage.

    Besides some headaches at installation, my experience has been great. There were some initial pixelation issues with ESPNHD at the outset, even with the software update, but that seems to have resolved for no reason I can figure out. But I don't have Comcast. I have FIOStv in the Philadelphia area and I'm muuuuuch happier with it than Comcast. Even the picture quality on HD channels is better with Verizon than with Comcast as I saw last night on my friends' TV last night. And I still get Comcast Sports so I can watch the Phillies blow their playoff chance. In HD, too. ;)

    Don't know. I had DirecTV before this and there were LOTS of things that the series2 did that the DirecTivos didn't do. Someone else can weigh in on this one.

    Don't waver. Buy. :)
  3. jfh3

    jfh3 Active Member

    Apr 15, 2004
    Denver area
    Many of these questions, if not all, have been answered here before. :)

    There is no lifetime transfer option for the Tivo HD. If you have existing monthly service you could transfer it, but in your case you would have to add new service (3 years) to get $6.95 a month.

    No, not the problems that were the major concern.

    Run the latest software for the Tivo HD and hope your cable company doesn't use CableCARDs manufactured by SA.

    Short answer - you want an MCard (or multi-stream CableCARD). For more details, read the CableCARD installation FAQ. sticky at the top of the page :)

    To the Tivo HD, yes.

    Until Tivo provides official support for it, you have to do something special.

    Fine, on the c2 level of code.

    True digital support for dual tuners, HD and eSATA (external storage), better picture quality.

    Read some of the existing threads, especially the stickys.
  4. demon

    demon BURNINATOR

    Nov 15, 2006
    Western SD
    I would definitely recommend it - I personally have the Series3, but any opportunity to combine TiVo with HDTV is a good one, two great tastes and all that. :)

    If you're retiring your S2, you can just go on the TiVo website and enter the new TSN - the account is exactly the same, so it really doesn't matter.

    Edit: Oh, misread; lifetime transfer... well, that's a different matter. I've heard people have on occasion called in and asked nicely and have gotten the lifetime transfer; dunno how accurate that is, but you could try it.

    There seem to be conflicting causes; some people get it, some don't. It sounds like there are known issues still lingering with the Scientific Atlanta CableCARDs that may cause it, and signal strength being out of range (too high, too low) can also cause pixelation issues. If your provider uses SA head-end gear, there's not a lot you can do, though it sounds like they're working on firmware fixes to solve it. You can be very insistent with the installer about checking the signal level - insist that he bring in a signal meter, and connect it to the same cables, with any splitters/etc. in place, to verify that the signal you're getting with your current wiring will in fact be strong enough to get a correct picture. Personally I had it somewhat with my old cable provider (Time-Warner, Albany NY; SA gear), while I'm not seeing it at all with my current provider (PrairieWave, Rapid City SD; Moto gear).

    With the TiVo HD, it has support for so-called M-Cards (multi-stream CableCARDs) which can handle decoding multiple streams with a single card. Mention "M-Card" or "multistream CableCARD"; they may or may not deploy them outside their own boxes, and they may or may not even know what you're talking about, as employee training on CableCARD related matters has been shown to be rather lacking. Other than using two S-cards adding a little extra complexity to the setup, and a bit more to your monthly fee, once they're installed it'll all work the same. However, it wouldn't hurt to call them up now and ask what the fees are, and poke around for M-Card availability.

    The Series2 does *not* support any external disks. The TiVo HD has an eSATA port on the back, which is intended to support external disks; apparently the same enterprising guy that figured it out on the Series3 also found out how to activate the drives on a TiVo HD. It's a bit more involved, but I know there is a way (it involves connecting the drive to a PC and partitioning/formatting it as MFS - dunno the specifics, but search the forums, I know there are posts detailing the process). I personally have a 500 GB eSATA drive hanging off my Series3 since 5+ months ago now - if you can drop the few hundred extra for an eSATA drive and correct cable, it's definitely worth it.

    As I mentioned, I have the Series3, not the TiVo HD; they're fairly similar though, and other than my recent hassle in *getting* the CableCARDs, I'm quite happy with the unit itself. I'm sure someone else will follow up with some TiVo HD specific comments though.

    That's not enough? :) Strictly speaking though, I don't think there are any other major features that the TiVo HD gains you - the Series2 OS has pretty much everything, but of course it's all SD-only. The tuners are the big gain, along with the external storage (which you already mentioned; not "official" for now, but many report it working fine). Unfortunately, at least for now, you'll lose MRV and TTG/TTCB; TiVoPony has reported (and it's been much-discussed) that those features will be appearing in an upcoming update before the end of the year.

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