Originally Posted by jonwww
Sorry my bad, I forgot about the original Tivo HD, but the S2 does not use cable cards (correct?).
So might as well not record HD on S2 because you won't really see it anyway. I can connect a standard VCR to a HD stb & it basically does the same thing as the S2 (obviously Tivo's digital recording would look better then video tape but same output resolution constraints). The S2's best output is s-video which I believe is only 480i.
Actually the TivoHD came out after the S3 - in an effort to get out to the masses with a lower price; S3 has larger space, a fancier learning remote, front display, front buttons, and THX certification. They both run the same version of software.
Here are the types of setups you can do with each version of Tivo's out there..
Series 1 - Analog tuner built in; or can tune via set top box from comcast
Series 2 - Analog tuner built in; or can tune via set top box from comcast
Series 2DT - Dual analog tuners built in; or can tune via set top box from comcast
Series 3 - Dual Cablecard tuners; Analog tuner; OTA digital tuner - Can use any combination of these
TIvoHD - Dual Cablecard tuners; Analog tuner; OTA digital tuner - Can use any combination of these
I've been using Tivo for 7 years now (yes seven...) I have an original S1 that I have had hooked up to a Moto Box and a SA box over the years (currently however now it just tunes the analogs as we use our S3 for digital tuning/recording). The quality of the HD downsampled recording on the Tivo is outstanding; a crystal clear picture. While it is scaled down to SD it is great even on lower resolution screens. I hacked the bit-rate on the Tivo and had no visible compression or artifacting. Out of the box a Tivo S1 has a better picture than an S2, but with hacking and increasing the bit-rate you can get them to be equal.
Now here is the kicker, with some HD TVs you'll get a better picture using composite rather than s-video from the S1/S2 tivos. I know it sounds crazy, but you'll have to try what is best for your situation.
The setup that I've used in the past with great success and which gave me the best picture on all channels is as follows:
Tivo S1 - Hacked to tune analogs on its internal tuner (ch 1-70); tuned digital channels (99-1000) via IR control to the STB (SA3250); the STB input was fed into the S-video and audio L/R "in" on the Tivo. The Tivo out was fed to the TV via a composite cable. Then I used the DVI out to feed another input on the TV for true HD content.
I did this for 4 reasons
1. the SA3250 destroyed the analog channels - the artifacting was aweful, Tivo's own internal tuner was better.
2. Was able to record all digital channels
3. If tivo was recording an analog channel I could watch a digital channel via the other TV input.
4. Direct DVI connection to my TV
Now this has since been torn apart - Now we have the S1 recording analog only on its internal tuner and an S3 with dual cable cards that can record anything. (An S2 is on the way to replace the S1). The above could be done with any S1 or S2.
Oh and the S1 and S3 both "broadcast" themselves through the rest of the house, Tivo in any room! but thats another topic..
Hope this helps!