|Well I went ahead and bought the latest Tivo -- the 300-hr Tivo Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder. It has two tuners and high definition capability. It records up to 300 hours of standard programming (but only 32 in HD). And it cost me a whopping $800 bucks. I don't normally bite on new, costly electronic products like this but they were offering a chance to transfer my lifetime Tivo subscription to the new box. They no longer sell lifetime Tivo subscriptions and this seemed like a good chance to do it. However the transfer fee was $200 so the total cost was $1000! I'll have to hang on to this box for at least 5 years I think to get a good return on it.
I bought the original Philips HDR312 (Series 1) Tivo in April 2000 for $715 plus lifetime subscription for $200. So that means over the 7 years it's cost me $915/(7*12)=$10.90 a month. Not bad. I had one scare in 2003 when my modem got fried by lightning but I was able to buy and connect an external modem for $50. Hopefully I can get the same amount of service out of the new box. I have it connected to a surge protecting UPS so hopefully it will be protected adequately. I've got one year of service left on the series1 so I need to sell it or give it away so it doesn't go to waste.
So far the new Tivo is great. Comcast installed the digital cable cards with no problem. Unfortunately I had to get two (I had been hoping I could install one card and use analog cable with the other tuner but that doesn't seem to be possible). The second one will cost me an extra $1.50/month from Comcast. I like the quicker channel change ability compared to the old optical link to the cable box which took several seconds to change channels and every now and then failed to change channels completely. Even though I don't have a HD TV, the image quality is definitely better plus I don't have to limit myself to basic quality like I did before. Actually with the digital cable it's no longer allowing me to select the quality level. I prefer having the control to do this but it's not a big deal. Already it's recorded over 100 Tivo Suggestions and I've started training it to collect the kinds of things we might watch.
I went to buy a wireless adapter and found out that only the Tivo branded adapters work. So I bought one of those for about $50. It connected easily though I had to restart the Tivo a couple of times before it was working properly. I haven't yet tried scheduling programs from my PC. I've only tried the networking features a couple of times. Since I was already using Yahoo photos, it was pretty cool to connect to my Yahoo account and immediately be able to view my photo albums. However for some reason, it tells me I can't connect to Yahoo or other Internet features frequently. So I don't know if the problem's with Tivo, my home network or the Internet services. One time it actually rebooted itself when trying to connect to an Internet service. So that's kind of worriesome. Though the nice thing about Tivo is that they can automatically upgrade its software and fix bugs.
Maybe newer Tivos already had this but another cool feature is that Tivo now groups programs into folders. (So rather than seeing 10 episodes of a particular program in the Now Playing list, I'd see just one folder for for it).
Besides the crash/reboot, the only other thing that doesn't work well so far is the programming guide filter. If you try to filter for something, say "Movies", the performance is unacceptably slow. Very bad. And I only have digital basic cable, not as many channels as many other people. Hopefully they can improve this somehow though it's probably not a feature I'd use that much anyway.