Tivo HD = $400

Tivo_hd_series_3 I previously noted that the basic Tivo 80 hour machine was free after rebate.

I hadn’t really followed up on that — I’ve been watching the 300-hour TiVo Series 3 HD Digital Media Recorder.

Yes, its true: I am still in the plasma-less camp. In the old house, a turn of the century colonial, no wall in the living room could take a 60"-incher. As soon as we get past the re-construction of our termite-eaten den in the new house, I have my eye on a Pioneer Elite. That wil, of course, require an HD TiVO.

When the TiVo HD Digital Recorder was first released, the reviews were mostly *rapturous, with the notable exception being the $800 price tag. (Even their CEO admitted the price point was too high).

I was pleased to see that’s now been cut in half. Amazon is offering the box at $599, plus a $200 rebate.

If the HD stays at this price when I get the plasma, it will become a must-have addition.


*  Reviews: 

“…these boxes (cable company DVRs) are to TiVo as an oxcart is to a Maserati; their creators, it’s painfully clear, do not share TiVo Inc.’s obsession with polish and elegant simplicity.”
-9/21/06: The New York Times, David Pogue

“I could see no difference between digital programming viewed live (with or without the TiVo Series3) and the same content as played back from the DVR’s hard drive. Apparently, the Series3’s THX certification was well earned.”
-9/12/06: PC Magazine, Robert Heron

“In addition to TiVo’s TV-recording functionality, the Series3 supports the same impressive and expanding roster of networking functions found on the Series2 boxes. Notably, most of these features have yet to appear on DVRs from rival manufacturers; they’re among the reasons that TiVo is touting the Series3 box as a Digital Media Recorder (DMR) instead of just a DVR.”
-9/12/06: CNET, John Falcone

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  1. ml commented on Jun 4


    Have you settled on plasma instead of LCD?

  2. almost died laughing commented on Jun 4

    599 for starters, but by the time you get the 2 cable cards in there and pay the monthly fee you are so much better off just using the HD box from the cable company. I pay an extra 10 bucks for mine, 5 years of service for the price of a tivo..(by which time the series 3 will be well obsolete) and of course when the local cable company starts doing on demand then it will be compatible.. tivo wont be as cablecard is just 1 way.

  3. joe commented on Jun 4

    The Pioneer is gorgeous, I have the 50″. If you really must have top of the line, they make a 1080P Elite called the Pro FHD-1, but I think it only comes at 50″. Either way, plasma is a much better picture than LCD in my opinion, the colors look more natural and less bright.

  4. CDizzle commented on Jun 4

    Interesting stuff. I’m in the market for a new TV/DVR/content provider myself.

    The 70″ Sony XBR is actually leading to me contemplating doubling my TV budget from $3M to $6M.

    Maybe I’m offbase here, but, I was under the distinct impression that LCD was lapping Plasma. GLW vs. GNSS stock performance as a starting point…but LCD seems to be running Plasma out of town. Do others think Plasma pic quality is substantially better?

    Personally, I fancy dem tiny l’il mirrors.

    Feedback/banter enjoyed and appreciated.

  5. Nikki commented on Jun 4

    Yeah, too bad you can’t use these with satellite…you gotta choose between HD Tivo or Sunday Ticket. DirecTV’s DVR interface sucks, it was a sad day when that partnership died.

  6. John Thompson commented on Jun 4

    If I’m ever in the market, I’ll get a Pioneer receiver for home theater. But Sony’s LCD tvs have Energy star and great Triluminous LCD picture.

  7. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jun 4

    Wait — I have DISH — this wont work with that?

  8. KirkH commented on Jun 4

    The 60 inch 1080p plasmas are about as future proof as you can get. Normally lower resolutions are fine but for that size you may actually notice the difference in resolution between 1920×1080(1080p) and the Pioneer at 1365 x 768 (720p+).

    The LCDs are usually brighter and higher resolution but plasmas tend to win in the color department. And if you go 1080p then resolution is a moot point. Also some support 120hz which is a good thing because film is shot at 24hz/fps and 120/24 = 5, a whole number, so you get to avoid the pesky 2:3 pulldown issue.

  9. anon commented on Jun 4


    I spent $3.5K on the 50″ Pioneer Elite and while I highly recommend them, it seems illogical to spend $7K on a 1080i TV when in two years everything will be 1080p.

    The only reason I purchased a 1080i now was because the 42″ plasma TV I purchased a few years ago went bad and it was under warranty. I simply replaced it with the 50″ Elite.

    When I purchase my next plasma, it will be a 1080p and this 1080i Elite will be mounted on the bedroom wall.

    I dunno, but I would not spend $7K on something that is going to be obsolete in less than 2 years.

  10. anon commented on Jun 4

    The plasmas are much better than LCDs because if you are going to have a room full of people (for example, watching a movie or sporting event) a plasma has a much better view from a 170 degree side angle. Most LCDs are terrible when viewed from the side.

  11. anon commented on Jun 4

    My 1080i has the “ability to accept a 1080p signal,” but it is not a 1080p TV. Two separate issues. I would make sure it is a 1080p TV and when I purchased the 50″ three months ago, there were only two 1080p plasma TVs and they were in the $10K range.

    Again, make sure it is a 1080p TV, not just that it accepts a 1080p signal.

  12. Barry Ritholtz commented on Jun 5

    The price is irrelevant — a client owns a high end audio/video store, so I am looking at closer to $5k for the 60 incher

  13. S commented on Jun 5

    CDizzle, I was under the impression that LCD was the preferred technology for smaller screen sizes and rear projection, but Plasma is better suited for 50″ and larger. And DLP is a laggard regardless.

    Where I used to work, we have a 60″ built into the wall tuned to CNBC all day every day. After about a year or two, the ticker that scrolls across the bottom was “burned” into the screen. I lost my enthusiasm for paying $10,000 for a TV after that.

  14. Rusty commented on Jun 5

    TiVo’s divorce from DirecTV is the only thing keeping my household in the non-HD camp. The options now are to go to HD with a Tivo using Comcrap, with their *stellar* customer service, or to stay on DirecTV and use their flavor of DVR, which blows.

    My wife would rather have a Tivo and DirecTV than HD, and I’m hard pressed to argue against. So the status quo reigns.

    Tivo is the Apple of DVRs – the interface is so elegant and perfect that you can’t conceive of going back to the alternatives, even if it means forgoing some ubiquitous/transcendant functionality such as HD.

  15. JM commented on Jun 5

    Have both LCD and Plasma. Plasma blows it way in the 1)color department, 2) Viewing Angle and 3)motion, sporting events. LCD blows away Plasma on cost. Tivo starting to get interesting but still too expensive relative to Cablevisions DVR, which always works fine. 4 years with the Pioneer plasma, no burn in at all.

  16. Lord commented on Jun 6

    Capitalize Tivo’s $17 a month at 5% and it’s over $4000 excluding the box but it is nice.

  17. Lord commented on Jun 6

    It’s the dirty little secret of HDTV. The simple equivalent of a programmable VCR that records hours and works without an expensive ‘service’ doesn’t exist.

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