Originally Posted by CHG
No problems upgrading the HD to the bigger hard drive? I thought that I had read that the software for previous TiVo's did not work with the HD.
The old software doesn't, but a new upgrade tool was released. It's still in testing -- not ready for official release yet -- but it appears to work very well. More information and download link here
Originally Posted by CHG
Can you tell us how the TiVo HD is not as good as the Series 3, besides the remote and display? I just got the HD and may pick up a series 3, as well, or another HD. No problems upgrading the HD to the bigger hard drive? I thought that I had read that the software for previous TiVo's did not work with the HD.
- 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.
- 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 (i.e. more bugs)
- 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.
The TivoHD has a few graphical bugs that Tivo needs to fix. These are minor things, but the Series3 doesn't have them. The TivoHD is a completely new design with many new drivers, so some bugs are probably to be expected; the Series3 had its share of annoyances when it was released a year ago, but Tivo fixed them.
As noted above, the TivoHD also uses the older 8.1.x branch which doesn't have the performance improvements of the 8.3.x software on the Series3. As a result, the guide and menus are much slower on the TivoHD. The TivoHD should get 8.3.x or newer software in a few months to improve its performance, but until then, the Series3 is the faster and more responsive box.
In six months time, after several software updates, I expect the TivoHD to be the better box. As of today, the Series3 is the better box simply because its software is more mature.