TiVo is calling the new DVR the first to come THX-certified, which means recordings will retain the fidelity of the original broadcast. It's slated to become available by mid-month, and will carry a retail price of $799.99.
In addition to traditional features such as Season Pass and WishList searches, the box will also support dual tuners, and two slots for CableCARDs, which are cable operator-supplied modules that authorize digital cable services without the need for a separate set-top box. The two-CableCARD set-up is there to authorize both tuners for cable-fed services and watch and record capabilities.
Current generation CableCARD "hosts" (i.e. set-tops and digital TVs) do not support interactive services such as video-on-demand. A coming two-way CableCARD platform, which will support the Multistream CableCARD (M-Card) will, however.
The hard drive on the Series 3 will store up to 32 hours of HD programming, and up to 300 hours of standard definition programming. With a software download, the DVR will also support content encoded in the more bandwidth efficient MPEG-4 format.
Thanks to an Ethernet port, the box will also handle downloaded applications, and later this year will support TiVoCast, a service that pipes in video from Internet sources such as CNET and iVillage.
Endgadget has an early review of TiVo's new entrant, giving it high points for the DVR's intuitive interface, but lamenting its lack of multi-room viewing. The absence of such value-added features "makes the MSRP more difficult to swallow," the reviewer notes.