Just bought a new HDTV - To buy or not to buy?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by HalloweenNightJW, Aug 22, 2007.

  1. HalloweenNightJW

    HalloweenNightJW New Member

    Aug 22, 2007


    I just bought a new Panasonic Plasma the other day. The thing is, I also just bought my first TiVo (the Series 2) back in May. My question is, should I upgrade to one of the new TiVo HD boxes? What's going to happen if I try and TiVo something on the new TV with the old box? I assume I will be able to TiVo SD broadcasts, but not HD ones, right? Also, what are the major differences between the $800 HD TiVo box and the new, lower priced one? Thanks in advance!
  2. Dr_Diablo

    Dr_Diablo Dr_Diablo

    Nov 23, 2003
    TivoHD Advantages
    MSRP is $500 less ($299 vs $799)
    TivoHD has ~7% faster CPU (450 MIPS vs 420 MIPS)
    TivoHD has twice the system memory (256MB vs 128MB)
    Supports MCARDs out of the box.
    Newer QAM/VSB demodulation chips for potentially improved OTA reception.
    New, dedicated hardware for MPEG-2 and MPEG-4 SD->SD and HD->SD transcoding
    Could allow HD->SD MRV with older Series2 Tivos
    Could allow TivoToGo and MRV to support content flagged as "copy one generation" (via downres)
    Could allow Tivo to use TivoToGo and MRV to record and stream content for which they cannot obtain Cable Labs approval to pass (via down-res)
    Could allow place-shifting like Slingbox (thanks megazone)
    Real-time transcoding could eliminate the need to do it in software, reducing the licensing fees for the Tivo Desktop software.
    Consumes less power.

    TivoHD Disadvantages
    No lifetime transfers.
    Smaller hard drive (160GB vs 250GB).
    eSATA expansion is not yet functional (Kickstart 62 method does not work).
    No THX certification.
    No piano black enclosure with OLED display.
    No slick, learning remote (sold separately for $50).
    No bundled HDMI cable.
    Drivers for new components potentially less mature / optimized.
    Ships with older 8.1.x branch of Tivo software, which doesn't have all the performance improvements of the 8.3.x branch on the Tivo Series3.
    Potentially slower disk I/O, which may hurt responsiveness.
    The Broadcom BCM7401 in the TivoHD has a single 1.5Gbps SATA channel that is "split" for the internal SATA and eSATA connections using the Silicon Image SiI5723. In contrast, the BCM7038 in the Series3 had a dual-channel SATA controller, so no "splitting" was required. This may negatively impact disk I/O when both internal and eSATA drives are used, and Tivo responsiveness is highly dependent on disk I/O. The SiI5723 does support several RAID modes that could potentially improve random I/O
  3. kmill14

    kmill14 New Member

    Dec 11, 2006
    If you are going to buy a new sports car, you might as well buy the premium gasoline to go with it. Get the Tivo HD.
  4. sniperlv

    sniperlv Member

    Jan 17, 2001
    Las Vegas
    I agree get the HD Tivo. You will enjoy that plasma much more.
  5. cgould

    cgould Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Bay Area, CA


    Compared to my Sony SVR2000 series1 connected via Svideo , to my 55" CRT-RP hdtv, the S3 Tivo has a MUCH nicer picture quality, even for SD analog/digital (due to the 480p over component.)
    The Tivo's video decoders/scalers are even much nicer than those on my old Comcast Moto6412 HD box, so even the SD Digital channels look much nicer than that HD STB.

    Sure, the old S2 Tivo will work, but it won't look that great, coming over SVideo into the plasma. Much better to get HD picture quality, and even improved SD picture quality, w/ the HD Tivo vs the old S2.
    However, nothing rushing you, you could wait if you want to and see if price comes down, or if you're happy w/ the picture so far...
    also depends on if you use features the HD tivos don't, eg MRV and TivoToGo, or if you have Lifetime (doubt it) on the S2 box.
  6. ciper

    ciper Active Member

    Nov 4, 2004
    I've been using my S1 Sony Tivo with an HDTV for years. Once you adjust the resolution to 720x480 and turn the bitrate up the picture is equal to standard cable which I assume most of your shows are in.

    Is it worth the extra money to be able to record a few shows in high def?
  7. thehepcat

    thehepcat Member

    Jan 9, 2002
    I'm in the same boat having just picked up an LCD two weeks ago.

    For me, since my TW comes through Scientific Atlanta gear, I'm going to wait for the pixelation issue with the cable cards to get fixed before I make the jump.....and from TiVoPony's recent post, it sounds like that should be fairly soon!! :up:
  8. MScottC

    MScottC Well-Known Member

    Sep 11, 2004
    Having a big screen HDTV without an HD TiVo (of either flavor) is like having a Ferarri with baby carriage wheels. The question is not, "Do I get a new TiVo??" The question is "TiVo S3 or Tivo HD??"
  9. litkaj

    litkaj Member

    Jun 5, 2007
    Exton, PA
    Wait... I was under the impression that the S3 had two sets of 128MB (with one possibly unused at this time for an MPEG-4 decoder) and that the HD had a single 256MB. Is that not true?
  10. F4Boy

    F4Boy New Member

    Dec 10, 2002
    I just ordered the S3 yesterday...and you hit it right on ^^^ that was the question. My answer was 18-20 hours of HD is unacceptable. 30-32 puts me in the ballpark, plus the better remote and the display....
  11. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2003
    I was in almost the same situation as you, having purchased a S2DT just a few months before the HD came out. I went ahead and upgraded to the HD. The reason was simple: I found myself constantly conflicted over whether to watch something "live" in HD through the TV's tuner, or to Tivo it with the S2 and watch in SD.

    In response to your other questions, your existing S2 will work just fine with your HDTV (albeit in SD of course). I personally see no advantage to paying a premium for an S3 over the HD -- mostly you're getting a few glitzy bells and whistles (fancy remote, etc).

    As to whether or not to upgrade right now, if you mainly watch network programming, then you might as well wait until the fall season starts. Give the THD some more time to get the bugs worked out and/or see if Tivo offers and rebates or lower price on the S3.

    Finally, I don't recall if you specified this in your message or not, but beware that the THD and the S3 do require you to have cablecards in order to use digital programming via cable with full Tivo functionality. You'll want to check with your cable co if necessary and make sure you know what additional fees you might be required to pay to get the cablecards.

    Last but not least, look at it from a financial perspective. Consider how much you're paying per year for cable and how much you paid for your HDTV. The cost of a THD is small compared to either of those.
  12. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2003
    It depends entirely on what type of programming you watch. If you watch mainly primetime network TV (like I do), then a large part of your viewing experience will be in HD, and it's definitely worth it.

    If you watch mostly SD programming, then it's definitely not worth the cost to upgrade, not to mention the rise in complexity of the Tivo (i.e. cablecards and the misery they cause)
  13. Rosenkavalier

    Rosenkavalier Call 1-600-DOCTORB!

    Nov 9, 2001
    D/FW area,...
    I'm not a specialist, but I think the original comment ("System memory") is technically accurate: while the S3 does have 256MB of memory (128MB x 2), only 128MB of that is available for use for "system" functions. The TiVoHD lumps all 256MB of its memory together, then shares it with system functions and other video functions.
  14. cgould

    cgould Member

    Dec 28, 2002
    Bay Area, CA
    If you can afford the $300 TivoHD cost, and don't mind the "risk" of cablecards (often not a problem , but depends on your install/head-end tech)- and especially if you want to watch the digital channels-
    even just watching SD programs (digital or analog) on the HD Tivos vs an S2 is a *significant* step up in picture quality.
    I was fine with my SA1 sony box (over SVideo), but now I can't stand the PQ vs the S3- partly due to the S3 using higher bitrate/res to record, but also I think a lot due to the Component rather than SVideo connection- the signal is just a lot cleaner, period. It also helps that the Tivo has such a good scaler/video chips.
    For a large TV, even if you don't watch much HD, it might be worth it just for improved SD picture quality.
  15. smbaker

    smbaker Well-Known Member

    May 24, 2003
    You have a valid point there; I also noticed an improvement in recording SD quality when going from the S2 to the THD. That being said, I still have an S2 in the bedroom (also with an HDTV monitor) and the slightly reduced SD quality doesn't bother me. I just look at it as an added plus in the living room.

    If Tivo ever gets QAM-mapping supported for non-cablecard users, or if they implement MRV for the S3/HD, then I'll jump right out and upgrade the bedroom S2. (what are we going to do with all these leftover S2's anyway?)

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