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TiVo shows Series3 HDTV Cable Card unit at CES - TiVo Lovers
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zonereyrie
tivolovers
zonereyrie
TiVo shows Series3 HDTV Cable Card unit at CES
ATTN: The original image links are getting swamped - so if you have trouble, there are a number of full and partial mirrors listed here: http://blog.tivolovers.com/253205.html And I'm open to anyone else mirroring.
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Sorry for the delay, I got a later start today than I'd hoped, my bad. I went straight to TiVo's booth and I've been here for a while now, looking around and taking photos. I got a personal tour from TiVoPony of all the new stuff, most of which I can share. :-) Through the marvel of unsecured WiFi I'm coming to you from their booth. The biggest thing they have on display is the Series3 box. The Series3 is the CableCARD HDTV unit, which is due out in mid-to-late 2006. And let me tell you, it is a *SHARP* looking box! Very sleek design, very nice. I have photos, I'll get them up ASAP, but I didn't want to wait to post.

The unit has two CableCARD slots on the back and it will support Multi-Stream or Single-Stream cards. If you have multi-stream then you only need one card, but as long as only single stream cards are available you can use two of them. Yes, the unit is dual-tuner - actually, like the HD DirecTiVo it can use any two of the tuners it has, and it has six. 2 cable tuners, 2 ATSC tuners, and 2 NTSC tuners. Yes, it supports digital and analog cable, digital ATSC OTA, and analog NTSC OTA.

The only inputs the unit has are a coax cable in and a coax antenna in. There are no RCA or S-Video inputs on this unit. For output it has HDMI, Component Video, S-Video, and Composite Video. It has optical digital audio out, as well as RCA stereo out. Like the Series2 units it has 2 USB ports, and it also has a 10/100baseT Ethernet jack built-in. The unit also still has the modem, which seems increasingly archaic. :-) Oh, yeah, I almost forgot - it also has an external SATA port. ;-)

The unit has front panel controls clustered on the right, and a nice display in the middle with a very cool feature - it displays the title of the show(s) tuned at the time, so you always know what it is recording at a glance. There is also an output indicator that indicates if the unit is outputting in 480i, 480p, 720p, or 1080i - and it can be set to any of those. It can also be set to pass-through, so it will send the shows to the TV in whatever format they were received.

The remote ls also sleeker - a slick update of the Series2 peanut with minor changes for HDTV (such as an aspect button). But the big change is that the remote is backlit! It is also weighted and has a ridged pattern on the back towards the base, so there is VERY distinct tactile feedback as to having the remote the right way around in your hand. So those who dislike the peanut because of the ambiguity should be happy.

The box unit still encodes analog content as MPEG2, like the current units, but it supports playback of advanced codecs such as MPEG4 AVC/H.264. This will open up the possibilities of broadband content using more efficient codecs, including HD downloads.

The photos are currently uploading to http://www.megazone.org/Photos/CES2006/TiVo/ - I'll fix the permissions as soon as they're all up so you can see them. Warning, they're HUGE since they're 5 mega pixels, I don't have time to make thumbnails at the moment. I'll do that later - I noticed some of them are a bit blurry, I'll take some more and upload those as well.

Oh, and remember that SATA port? TiVo will also be selling an external SATA drive for easy storage expansion, and they have that on display here too.

I have more, I'll post it in a moment. :-)

EDIT: To clarify, it supports analog cable, even any digital cable channels sent in the clear, without CableCARD. You only need CableCARD for any protected digital channels, to handle the descryption. And since all digital cable systems in the US *must* support CableCARD - it is an FCC mandate - then it should work with all cable systems, analog or digital.

I also got a bit more info, the chipset used in the Series2 supports VC-1 (aka WMV9) and MPEG-4 AVC/H.264, along with MPEG-2, so it has all the same codecs as HD-DVD or Blu-ray. When I asked if it was using a Broadcomm chip I was told that would be a good guess.

There is also another URL for the photos: http://www.megazone.org.nyud.net:8090/Photos/CES2006/TiVo/SMALL/ - and if anyone else wants to mirror them, please feel free - just give me some credit. If you want to repost them in your own blog, site, etc - please COPY them to your server, don't kill mine. :-)

As for price - nothing has been announced yet, that's still To Be Determined.

I have more photos which I'll be uploading shortly.

EDIT 2: Oh, one other tech detail I forgot. The S3 is still using IDE drives internally, only the external drive is SATA. Also, the external drive is not removable in the conventional sense. Once it is connected, the OS makes it part of the file system and shows may be recorded using both the internal and external drive - as in the SAME show may have its bits scattered on both. If you disconnect the external drive the unit will cope with it, but any shows recorded with any data on the external drive will vanish. So it isn't something you connect, record to, then take to another unit to watch the shows.

As for CPU, RAM, etc. I don't have that info yet, but I'll ask.

Anything else? :-)

EDIT 3: See this entry for more info on the photos - more uploads and mirrors. Also, to permalink to this post, use http://blog.tivolovers.com/252572.html as the best direct link.

EDIT 4: Greetings Slashdotters. :-)

EDIT 5: To clarify, the Series3 WILL NOT support CableCARD 2.0. It is strictly a unidirectional device. It will support CableCARD 1.0 and MultiStream, but NOT 2.0/bidirectional. The earlier content that suggested it would was the result of a miscommunication.
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ATTN: The original image links are getting swamped - so if you have trouble, there are a number of full and partial mirrors listed here: http://blog.tivolovers.com/253205.html And I'm open to anyone else mirroring.

Tags: ,
Current Mood: excited excited
Current Music: CES buzz

131 comments or Leave a comment
Comments
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krellis From: krellis Date: January 5th, 2006 11:37 pm (UTC) (Permalink)
My HD TiVo lust just got worse! You bastard! Steal one! :)
rogueonion_8 From: rogueonion_8 Date: January 5th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC) (Permalink)
Great post. Thanks for the update!
ertyu From: ertyu Date: January 6th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Too bad it won't support satellite or non cablecard cable systems. Otherwise impressive.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC) (Permalink)
I guess I wasn't clear - it supports analog cable, even any digital cable channels sent in the clear, without CableCARD. You only need CableCARD for any protected digital channels, to handle the descryption. And since all digital cable systems in the US *must* support CableCARD - it is an FCC mandate - then it should work with all cable systems, analog or digital.
QAM support? - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: joezollo Date: January 6th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC) (Permalink)
I cannot get the pictures to load.
krellis From: krellis Date: January 6th, 2006 12:27 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Try the coralized version of the link:

http://www.megazone.org.nyud.net:8090/Photos/CES2006/TiVo/

If enough people use it, it should cache everything and let the load off MZ's server.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Don't be "sorry for the delay"...

You had the scoop, man! Great job!

zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 06:07 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Don't be "sorry for the delay"...

You know, I really didn't expect to 'have the scoop'. Since I overslept and then took my time getting over the convention center, I figured the news would be everywhere. I was *shocked* to find, after I'd posted, that it seems no one else had even mentioned the Series3! Let alone post any photos of it. I've even had a national publication ask to use one of my photos.

I'm just blown away and laughing my ass off about this. Little TiVoLovers breaking the news. Heh!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Disk Usage?

Is that a disk usage indicator to the right of the show title?
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 01:13 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Disk Usage?

Nope, that's the aspect indicatior:

480i
480p
720p
1080i
wickerdotus From: wickerdotus Date: January 6th, 2006 01:18 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Awesome post.

Thanks for taking the time to type up everything, and include the photos too. I know what is at the top of my list for Christmas 2006!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 01:30 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Great Job!

Thanks for posting the pics and a wonderful summary! I can't wait!

Alex
http://www.tivoblog.com
avacon From: avacon Date: January 6th, 2006 01:31 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Thanks for writing this up. I can't wait!
credendovides From: credendovides Date: January 6th, 2006 02:08 am (UTC) (Permalink)
This may be the TiVo that gets me to ditch DirecTV. Not that I've had any complaints with the DirecTV service directly, but turning their back on TiVo in favor of their own crappy DVR means people like me get left behind on all these snazzy new features like TiVoToGo, HME, and all that fun stuff. (Not that I'd get them anyway, given that I'm still using S1.)

I wonder if I'll need to make any MFS Tools changes to support S3.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 02:12 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Can U Ask them another Question?

Would you already know, or could you ask them, if they have tested this unit in any of the areas where DirecTV has started delivering their new satellite services?

Thanks.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 03:20 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Can U Ask them another Question?

The new box doesn't work with satellite at all, so I'm not sure what you're asking.
buran From: buran Date: January 6th, 2006 02:21 am (UTC) (Permalink)
It looks interesting. Now I know that when I get a flatpanel TV these will be around. Question is, will it be worth bothering immediately or not? Maybe not, unless there is a visible difference with HD devices and Charter's cable services in St. Louis.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 03:08 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Dumb Question

OK, how do you have two tuners if you only have one cable coax input? Do you use the antenna input as well with a splitter, or does it actually split the signal after it comes into the cable coax input?

Can you tell I don't have the dual tuner DirecTivo?
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 03:21 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Dumb Question

Unlike DirecTV, which needs two connections from the dish to the box, cable and antenna signals are all-in-one, so it splits them internally.
Re: Dumb Question - (Anonymous) - Expand
Re: Dumb Question - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 03:32 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Tivo Series3

These are some great features, however if Tivo wants to get some serious cheers, they MUST be sure the RJ-45 port is operable AND a Gigabit one!!! This would facilitate the necessary bandwidth for these larger HD files and allow home networking enthusiasts to further leverage the benefits of TivoToGo across their Gigabit networks :)

Therefore, if you are having additional conversation with them, please be sure they understand the importance as this additional small change as it is sorely needed.

zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 03:36 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Tivo Series3

It came up in conversation already actually, but 100baseT should be fast enough even for HD file transfers. Keep in mind that to really use a GigE port the entire unit would have to be beefy enough - not only the Ethernet port and chipset, but the system bus, CPU, etc, all need to be powerful enough to sustain high speed traffic - AND handle the other system tasks like recording. So it impacts the entire system.
Re: Tivo Series3 - (Anonymous) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 04:28 am (UTC) (Permalink)
a) Even Series2 units no longer need a landline. 7.2 introduced network Guided Setup out of the box, and this unit would be the same way.

b) Actually I answered this in my original post. :-) NTSC antenna or analog cable will be encoded as MPEG-2, as with current TiVos. ATSC or digital cable will be saved as-is, in whatever format it is transmitted in - which today is MPEG-2 for both, though we may see MPEG-4 on digital cable at some point. Broadband content is more likely to use MPEG-4.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 05:03 am (UTC) (Permalink)

vod and ppv?

Will the CC 2.0 cards this box accepts allow for PPV and VoD, or is it just for multistreaming? (not complaining, just wondering)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 05:05 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: vod and ppv?

I can ask for a clarification on this tomorrow. But the impression I got today was that it is just for multi-stream support at this time, but supporting CC2.0 would mean handling bidirectional communication, so it would probably be software for VOD/PPV/etc.

I'll make a note to ask specifically.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 05:04 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Picture-In-Picture?

Any word on whether the Series3 will have a PIP feature now that it will have dual tuners? I noticed when looking at your remote pictures that the Window button on the Series2 has been replaced by the Aspect button.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 05:47 am (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Picture-In-Picture?

Hmm, I don't think so - but I'll ask.
bugabuga From: bugabuga Date: January 6th, 2006 05:45 am (UTC) (Permalink)
One more thing :)
Given that all TiVOs have USB port, did they think about cable box control via USB? :) Of course once the Echo generation of boxes is out and about it's not actual but still... all Scientific Atlanta boxes support "USB Keyboard" mode. That is, if you connect to cable box the keyboard and tap key up, channel changes. Same for down and numeric keys. Beats IR interface any day and shouldn't really be that hard to implement.
Also, it would allow using external box for cases when "extra super premium" service is not cable card compatible :)

Thanks for the pictures!
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 05:48 am (UTC) (Permalink)
Most cable boxes don't officially support USB control, so TiVo hasn't done it. But I hadn't heard about the keyboard trick, that's interesting.

And you're welcome. :-)
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 10:58 am (UTC) (Permalink)
I hit the last question in another reply - TiVo is hoping to allow users to buy any SATA drive that meets some minimum spec, but it remains to be seen how it works out in the real world.
(no subject) - (Anonymous) - Expand
craigeagle From: craigeagle Date: January 6th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC) (Permalink)
What is the recording capacity of the Series3? Is that decided yet?
- Craig
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 01:21 pm (UTC) (Permalink)
Heh, someone else just asked that. :-)

Right now 'up to 300 hours' - which is SD of course, and implies a 250GB drive. But that isn't set in stone.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 01:54 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Backwards Compatible?

I have been holding off buying a second TiVo until the HD capable version, this is great news! My big question - is it backwards compatible with Series 2? Will I be able to transfer videos from my Series 2 box to the Series 3 and vice versa?
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Backwards Compatible?

This is the third person in a row to ask this I think. :-)

TiVo's intention is for the Series3 to do MRV with the Series2 - but not with HD content.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 02:23 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Help with the pictures

I copied the pics and put them on my server also to help you with bandwidth.
They are located here
http://spidertrace.com/Gallery/Tivo3

zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 02:31 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Help with the pictures

Thanks!
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 02:25 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Trade in program?

Next time you're with the TiVo guys, ask them if there will be a trade-in program for Series 2 DVRs. The way I see it I have to buy 2 of the HD ones so any way I can save money is a good thing!
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 02:32 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Trade in program?

I imagine it is too early for marketing plans to have been set, but I'll ask.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 02:26 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

No DirecTv/Dish support is a disaster!

No Satellite support? Are they crazy? Dish and Direct are getting ready to roll out the capability to support hundreds of channels in HD, (both the your local affiliates and existing cable channels)- while most digital cable systems appear to be maxed out with their bandwidth at 8-12 channels of HD. So why in the world would I want to stay with cable? (and yes I am aware that most "cable" channels are not in HD - but a big reason for that is because they know that most of them are niche channels and would not be given precious HD bandwidth on cable systems - thact will continue to be reserved for the HBO's, Showtimes, ESPN's, Discovery, and maybe a network feed or two, and so these channels have no financial reason to produce HD content that wouldn't be broadcast.) I was waiting for the standalone HDTivo to ditch my overpriced Comcast, buy a HDTV and go to Dish (which just announced a huge increase in HD channels right across the hall there at CES.) The failure to have a HD input on the series 3 is a monster/huge/potentially fatal design flaw. Why would I want to use the Dish DVR? It sucks.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: No DirecTv/Dish support is a disaster!

Cable networks are nowhere near 'maxed' out, and cable MSOs are aggressively adding HD channels. Also, as they convert more analog channels to digital, that frees up bandwidth for more expansion. And there is also the possibility of introducing MPEG-4, as the satellites are, to reduce bandwidth per channel.

And there was NEVER the chance of HD input from an external tuner. That's a given. Encoding HD on the fly is cost prohibitive, it requires very powerful, very expensive hardware - WELL outside the consumer product range, even the high end. To record HD you need access to the raw digital signal that is already compressed - and you can't get that from an external tuner. The satellite vendors aren't going to help others by exposing the data, especially due to DRM concerns.

If you want a satellite HDTV DVR you are going to be stuck with the vendor's own offering, and that's that - unless/until the FCC decides to mandate something like CableCARD for DBS, but they've shown no inclination to do so.
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 6th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Missing Screws

The picts show missing screws on the back. Looks like the engineers were up late putting in finishing touches. Standard for CES.
zonereyrie From: zonereyrie Date: January 6th, 2006 02:47 pm (UTC) (Permalink)

Re: Missing Screws

Yeah, I was tempted to see if they'd let me open it... Maybe I will ask today...
131 comments or Leave a comment
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