S3. Has it Gotten Better from Day 1?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by jhurlbut, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. jhurlbut

    jhurlbut Make the S3 Work!

    Sep 1, 2005
    Puyallup, WA


    OK, I don't want this to be another "bash TiVo" thread. I bought my S3 on day 1 from Frys. I live in the northwest and have Comcast. I went through 3 weeks of trying 10 or more different cable cards, Two S3's, 3 technician visits and well over 20 hours of tech support with Comcast and TiVo on the phone. I ended up returning the 2nd S3 and giving up.

    I decided to re-visit this forum to see if there were any shining lights out there. But all I see are complaints about cable cards (still!), complaints about dropouts, complaints about audio problems with a few "mine is working great" threads thrown in. I was so on board with the S3. I still absolutely hate my Comcrap HD DVR and would LOVE to have a working S3. But I'm guessing now is still not the right time to buy one.

    Does anyone know if TiVo has something new in the works? Potentially without Cable Cards? I've heard rumors of a Comcast box with TiVo software. Any truth to those rumors? Please, I'm dying to have my TiVo back. Give me some hope.

  2. Granzella

    Granzella New Member

    Sep 12, 2006
    SF Bay Area
    I have had zero issues since I got mine from day 1. (september)
  3. porges

    porges Member

    Feb 28, 2001
    I just broke down and got Cablecards for my TiVo today, after having the S3 for 5 months. It worked fine. It might be more reliable with the newest software, which was pushed out to all machines a couple of weeks ago. (My cable co is Comcast/Boston.)
  4. fritolayguy

    fritolayguy Science, bitches

    Oct 31, 2002
    Liberty, MO.
    Same here. Cablecards were not an issue, and I have been very happy with my S3 investment since purchase.
  5. CosmoGeek

    CosmoGeek Member

    Feb 26, 2007


    You could try calling your local Comcast to see if they can confirm a successful S3 install in your area. I remember your original posts. I had similar issues but eventually got it resolved on the third or fourth truck roll (can't remember for sure). For me the problem was the impatient tech instantly navigating after the card was plugged in and before the 161-4 message or the cable card screen coming up on its own. Also they kept sending "hits", which didn't work, but eventually sent an "initialize, refresh, hit" sequence. Anyway, a very painful experience but it eventually worked.

    At this point, I would be tempted to wait for the Comcast/TiVo box, especially since SDV could conceivably hit your area by the end of the year. I don't expect to get the five years out of my S3 that I got out of my S2.

    I remember when I got my S2 that I figured that if TiVo stayed in business for three years I would think it was worth it. Even though they keep losing money, they are still around.
  6. ashu

    ashu User title defunct

    Nov 8, 2002
    No, OP - it hasn't. It was the best HD DVR in the market in September 2006, and that status is still unchanged.

    Blame your local cable franchise for your issues, unless you HAVEN'T tried a replacement unit during your original experience (I may have missed it - but you didn't mention you did - perhaps your S3 unit was faulty?!)
  7. ChuckyBox

    ChuckyBox New Member

    Oct 3, 2005
    There have been some changes -- there have been a couple software updates that fixed a lot of problems, and there are new features.

    As for cable cards, it looks like the biggest change is that the cable companies are learning how to support them. A recent poll in this forum showed that most people got working cards the first time. That didn't seem to be the case when the product was introduced.

    TiVo and Comcast do have a deal that will put TiVo software on Comcast's Motorola DVRs. We are told that this product will be introduced to its initial test market in the "near future." Most people think that means within one to three months but no one from the companies is saying. The test market is said to be "significant" so unless you are in a fairly big city, it won't be you. If your Comcast system uses the Motorola DVRs, you will likely get offered the product within a year or so, but again, no one is saying. If you have the Scientific Atlanta hardware, your wait will be longer (maybe forever).

    SCSIRAID Active Member

    Feb 2, 2003
    Vero Beach, FL
    My TiVo S3 has been great since I got it in September. Cablecards and Antenna. I do suffer the dropout/pixelation issue but that isnt near enough to tempt me to go back to the 8300.....

    I think Chucky hit on the biggest improvement... the cablecos now know what an S3 and a cablecard are and are learning to deal with them.
  9. caddyroger

    caddyroger New Member

    Mar 14, 2005
    Some where...
    I live Graham WA not far from Puyallup, WA. I went to the Tacoma 6th st office and picked up 3 cards 2 for the tivo and 1 for my tv . Went home and installed them by, Tivo directions and they be working perfectly since Sept.
    The comcast tivo my be out this summer so may be it will work better for you. I might try it again then.
  10. mikeyts

    mikeyts Stream Warrior

    Jul 10, 2004
    San Diego,...
    Judging the quality of a product by discussion in an online forum about it isn't terribly wise. Very few people are going to come here to say how highly satisfied they've been with their S3--they open new topics to discuss problem or issues that they have with it, seeking help and feedback. I've only had mine for two months, but I use it heavily. The cards installed on the first visit both instantly worked and have worked fine ever since. The box froze once (requiring a cold start) since I got it. I've got no complaints, and it would never have occurred to me to come to this forum to open a thread just to say that it works as advertised. I have to believe that the vast majority of user experience with this is pretty much the same.

    Well, I do have one beef, and that has to do with external drive support; I feel a bit the victim of false advertising on that front. I do trust that it will eventually be resolved and the expansion drive port enabled (though it might require a special drive).
  11. hornblowercat

    hornblowercat New Member

    Mar 4, 2007
    In The Good...

    +1. And if you read these forums like you claim you do you realize most people come here to complain, not to talk about how great their S3 is.

    And as others said, it's gotten better with the new software implements.
  12. DrWho453

    DrWho453 New Member

    Jul 16, 2005
    Raleigh NC
    After the first installation, I had some issues, one I think was that they never fully init card 2 until later that night because I could not get some of the HD channels but after 9:30 that night, I had all the channels. I did have some issues from time to time with channel going blank for no reason and if I was recording the channel, I had to stop the recording to get the channel back or change to the next channel and back. But that got better over time and since the latest software upgrade, I have had very little problems with it. From time to time if I change channels on the 300 level, the channel sometimes goes gray and if I wait a couple of minutes, I get the cable card on the screen saying to use this information to set the card up but then if I hit clear, the blank channel has video again. I am not sure if its because I am flipping through the channel faster then it can keep up or what but it happens so rarely that its not a problem and I love my tivo 3.
  13. tedbill

    tedbill New Member

    Feb 11, 2002
    The S3 has worked great for me, CableCards and all. Only getting better with the new services that have been recently announced and updated software.
  14. drew00001

    drew00001 New Member

    Jan 13, 2007
    I live a bit North of you (Bel-Red area) and also ordered my S3 on the first day. I also have Comcast. Apparently, I had a much better experience, but should note there was a small learning curve for myself and the Comcast agent. The only problems I had installing the first two cards came from my own impatience and not realizing that the S3 manual said to ignore an error message I received. Once I ignored such (and became patient), I had no further problems with these two cards.

    Unfortunately, I had to change Comcast accounts, which meant two new cablecards. With both sets of cards, the Comcast office in Redmond innitialized the cards and gave them to me to install. I don't think the second agent set my new cards up correctly, as they did not innitially work. I called CS and Comcast sent an agent ($15 charge to me ) and fixed the problem quickly. That was in October. Everything has been working great since. :)
  15. BoyScout

    BoyScout New Member

    Aug 9, 2002
    All of my problems have been with Comcast not the S3. There are some features I wish the S3 had (MVR, TTG, etc...) but those aren't problems. I experience occasional audio dropouts, but I get those with the Comcast box too so I believe they are coming from Comcast as well. I was told by a Comcast CSR that the TiVo SW would be available any minute now (three weeks ago).
  16. pmeec888

    pmeec888 New Member

    Mar 12, 2007
    I had my S3 since October. No issues with the installation or setting it up. The only problem I had in the beginning was that channels will dissappear sometimes. I called Tivo and their response was they knew of the problem and that there was an update that would address the problem. No problems since the first update. I love the S3!
  17. aaronwt

    aaronwt UHD Addict

    Jan 31, 2002
    All three of my Series 3 boxes are working great. The only problem was getting the right person from Comcast who knew what they were doing and was able to talk to the correct person at the headend to input the correct cable card info. Once that was done everything was fine and has been now for over 2 months.
  18. IHDB

    IHDB New Member

    Mar 9, 2007
    Not quite - you're right it was and still is the best, but now it has the Kidzone, Recently Deleted folder, TivoCast and Unbox software updates, so I think it is substantially better. :D
  19. rdrrepair

    rdrrepair Bill Knapp

    Nov 24, 2006
    845 New York
    This mirrors my experience including the cold restart - just once.
    Yep, same with me... :up:
    I think TiVo could have done a better job of informing us that the external drive didn't work yet and that MRV was not enabled. Yes, I feel disappointed and a little bit deceived. I do trust the explanations though.

    I've seen enough posts that a lot of people feel this way too... And a few also think that it was well know. Sorry, I didn't know. Now, would that have kept me from buying it? No, I bought it for the lifetime transfer and the HD clarity - both I am happy to report went well and the S3 is a very enjoyable luxury!

    I would have bought another S3 but the wife wanted nothing to do with a TiVo (For her) that did not do MRV and only recorded 30-300 hours - Her machine records 478+ hrs.

    My S3 is a very nice unit and I am happy to have it! One shot install with Time Warner of Newburgh NY - The tech that installed the cards never did one but that didn't keep it from working right the first time.
    I love the Unbox - I downloaded 3 shows so far - Not in HD or 5.1 but it works very well. They will improve this with time too!
  20. Squeege96

    Squeege96 New Member

    May 1, 2006
    Richmond, VA

    I am a Comcast customer here in VA. I picked up an S3 in Jan from the TCS, Comcast came out the next day (which was surprising), and everything went 100% smoothly. The installer said that he had installed CC's in over a dozen S3's, so he was realy confident during the process.

    I say go for it. The only downside that I have seen is that I have become a total "Hi-Def" snob -- if it isn't in Hi-Def, I don't watch.... ;)

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