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TiVo HD versus TiVo Series 3

6330 Views 28 Replies 14 Participants Last post by  TexasGrillChef
Okay, I'm sure it's been discussed before, but doing some searching around I had a hard time finding any concrete and current information.

I'm on Long Island - Cablevision, Hauppauge is my cable provider.

I'm wondering what are the SIGNIFICANT differences between THD and S3... There's a pretty signficant price difference, or rather money I have to lay out, and I want to make sure I have all the information before I decide on which TiVo to get, if I decide to go that route.

TiVo HD:
Supports M cablecards (multi-stream)
Dual Tuner HD
No THX certification
1 less set of composite outputs
Less hard drive space (20 hours HD)
Less fancy shmancy remote (no backlight)
Less fancy shmancy LED display
$299 (or $267 through Amazon, or $399 with bigger HD -32 hours- from WeakNees)

TiVo Series 3:
Doesn't support M cablecards (yet)
Dual Tuner HD
THX Certification
Additional set of composite outputs
More hard drive space (32 hours HD)
Fancy shmancy remote (backlit)
Fancy shmancy LED display (title of show recording)
$599 (or $399 after mail-in rebate through Amazon, 10-12 weeks to receive).

Do I have that right?
Anything else I should know?

How do you guys feel these days about the potential for switched-digital video coming in the near future (depending on your market)? It's one of the reasons I'm concerned with pricing on the TiVo... I don't want to outlay a lot of money to end up screwed out of some of my favorite programming and back to the cable DVR anyway...

What else should I be concerned about these days?
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Short answer - no significant difference between the two.
jfh3 said:
Short answer - no significant difference between the two.
So which would you buy?
I have one of each. There's really no difference other than what you mentioned above. My S3 has a 500gb drive in it, and my THD will also have a 500gb drive in it by this weekend. I connected a $20 AV amp to get 4 sets of s-video/audio outs from the THD (to connect to my DVD recorder, a slingbox, a VCR, and my computer's AV input) and I had a spare Glo Remote already.

I think the THD case looks a bit cheaper. I do like the display on the S3 - I've gotten used to seeing what's recording without having to turn on the TV, but it's not worth the extra money for my second unit.

I'm pleased with both boxes.
teevohnut said:
So which would you buy?
I have both.

I recommend the THD now, unless you prefer the looks and the OLED of the Series 3.

With the current $599 price, a 10% coupon, and the Tivo $200 rebate, a Series 3 box doesn't cost all that much more than a THD.

Either one is a good choice, just don't buy a Series 2 box.
I had a series 2 for a long time and finally decided to get a HD Tivo box since I just bought new TV. I went with the S3 over the TivoHD because after the rebate, the difference is about $100 give or take. You get a bigger hard drive, a nicer remote, a nicer looking box, plus right now the external drive can only be added to the S3. I did upgrade my old S2 to a 500GB hard drive but I don't plan to upgrade the internal, just add a 1TB external. I went and bought the Antec MX-1 and WD 1TB hard drive from Bestbuy this weekend.
One thing to keep in mind.

Upgrading the INTERNAL Hard Drive on a TiVo voids the warranty.

So consider that yes, you can add an eSATA drive to the TiVo HD to upgrade hard drive space. The internal drive is still a 20hr drive.

Consider the cost of having to pay for "repairs" if you upgrade the internal hard drive of a TiVo HD and it DIES...

Verus.. the xtra cost of an S3 with larger internal hard drive & no voided warranty.

Something similar happend to me once. NOT with a TiVo, but with another CE Device. I upgraded it. It died 3 months later. Even though it "Died" for other reasons NOT caused by my internal upgrade. They still refused to honor the warranty.

So if Hard Drive space is important you. Enough so that you will consider upgrading in the internal drive. Consider the S3. It might SAVE you money in the long run.

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I think that the Tivo HD doesn't support eSATA (today) in the wild, altough rumor has it that it will with the Fall update. I only have S3's so I don't know for sure, but that's my understanding.
For a $100 difference the S3 is a better choice. The remote I believe is valued at $50. It's more than just a "fancy" remote, it's button placement is better. I hate using the other tiVo remotes any more after using the remote with the S3 box. Plus the TiVoHD isn't up to par yet. The TiVoHd still outputs a mono signal from stereo analog channels. They should fix it at some point but who knows when.
I believe I have also read that the TiVoHD has a faster processor than the S3. Someone correct me if I'm wrong on that.
I am not sure if the latest software levels the field, but Spike2K5 has had the THD up to 2.5TB on the internal connector due to higher-bit LBA support on the latest THD software version. At least currently, if expandability is an important factor for you, then the THD has the edge.
From the info in the following link, the Tivo HD is has a 7% faster processor: -->It won't let me post a link until I have 5 posts!! Arghhh! Search for thread 5353037<--

I can't seem to locate it, but there is a very comprehensive thread about Tivo HD vs. S3. One of the differences I remember reading was that the S3 was more responsive than the TivoHD in terms of reacting to the remote. How much more responsive I don't know, but this might be the deciding factor for me.

Also, I remember seeing that the TivoHD shares the bandwidth with the internal drives with eSATA whereas the S3 has a dedicated channel for each. This would only be a factor if wanting to run eSATA but I honestly don't think it would be noticeable.

I'm in the same boat and the $100 difference is not a concern. I'm leaning towards the S3 but my only hesitation is that the S3 hardware might not have the same future potential as the TivoHD. The bottom line is that Tivo has 2 very different hardware systems for the HD boxes and I would think the goal is to consolidate to a single hardware configuration. If this is the case, it seems like they would go with the TivoHD platform.

As I said in a previous post, my head is spinning from all this!!
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scoombs said:
I am not sure if the latest software levels the field, but Spike2K5 has had the THD up to 2.5TB on the internal connector due to higher-bit LBA support on the latest THD software version. At least currently, if expandability is an important factor for you, then the THD has the edge.
Is this something that a software update for the S3 will solve? I assume that's a no... Very interesting as now I'm swinging back to the TivoHD! :confused:
I know I've made the decision to go to the TiVoHD versus the S3 and the decision is based soley on money. Having just bought a car and incurred a car payment for the first time in 20 years, I'm watching all expenditures. I know I pay almost 12 to rent the Comcast box and since I already have an S1 my monthly fee will be $6.xx per month so the box will literally pay for itself in time. I'm just wondering if anybody thinks the price will drop around about Black Friday.
cgull said:
Is this something that a software update for the S3 will solve? I assume that's a no... Very interesting as now I'm swinging back to the TivoHD! :confused:
TiVO could switch the Series3 tivos over to mfs64, but It would mean rewriting quite a bit of file system metadata on disk. I'm a bit doubtful they would do this to TiVo's in the field, since the risk of messing up some fraction of the field tivos is non zero. If they continue to manufature new Series3, they might start populating the new ones with a 64 bit aware MFS, for example when/if they start shipping the boxes with 9.x pre-installed.

Although the TiVoHD processor may be slightly faster on paper, in my experience it's actually slower than the Series3 for many things: no FPU, slower access to memory, etc. YMMV. Probably not a major deciding factor. From an end user point of view, the performance between the two platforms isn't significantly different, in my experience.
I've also read that the S3 comes with a HDMI cable, but the THD does not.

I'm also debating on whether to get a second S3 for my house, or make the second unit a THD. I am leaning towards another S3. Since the better remote is worth $50, and the HDMI cable is worth approximately $40, just two items are worth the difference in price of the two units, after the S3 rebate.
I don't need an HDMI cable... I have a few of those already :)

As for audio output being mono... that can't at all be correct. We plan to use the digital out to pass the signal to a receiver for 5.1/dolby digital. I don't expect that to be a problem with either the S3 or THD.

Future-potential was my big concern as I know there are some "rumors" that the S3 might be discontinued all together in favor of a THD with a bigger hard drive. If I buy from WeakNees with the bigger hard drive already (AND their extended warranty) I'd be killing two birds with one stone.

My biggest concern with going THD over S3 is the pixelation issues and slower response to remote times. Anyone want to discuss either of those issus?
JamieP said:
TiVO could switch the Series3 tivos over to mfs64,...
Is this implying that the TivoHD does have mfs64?

(I presume mfs64 breaks the 2 tera-freakin-bye "limit"?(*))

(*) In my day, we had 5 megabyte hard drives, and we LIKED IT. Ok, I personally am a bit too young to have used 5 meg drives myself, but I have a 120 meg drive on a computer at home and used 40 and 80 meg drives before that.
LOL about the old "small" hard drives... Jeez, the first computer I had didn't even HAVE a hard drive at all... you ran your software off one 5 1/4 floppy and saved your files on the other 5 1/4 floppy. Ooooohhhh ahhhhhh.
Yes I remember those very well.
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