I’ve spent some time playing with my new 80GB Tivo Series2 DVR. The primary reason for purchasing this was not for the ability to pause live TV or even to record it, but simply to enhance the video and audio quality while adding the aforementioned features. Generally speaking the Tivo unit increased the quality of both the audio and video output from my cable connection (over the standard Motorola Cable Box). Unfortunately the Tivo unit does not support HD content, so the difference between HD and standard definition broadcasts is slight, although noticeable. It has an intuitive and near flawless interface, although there are delays between screens which will annoy anyone not used to this. Delays are also present during channel changes. There are also long load times for software and TV listing updates, although you can continue to watch Live TV during these periods. Initially I couldn’t get the Tivo Desktop software to allow me to transfer my recordings to my computer, but after finding a forum post describing the solution that was easily remedied*. I bought the unit from Best Buy for about $340 including a four year warranty. There are $175 worth of rebating so that drops the price of the initial purchase to $165, which I believe is a good deal. Unfortunately you have to also plunk down $12.95 a month or a one time fee of $299 for the service itself. That is as they say, how they stick it in. Time will tell if this product and service is worth the money spent, but as of now I’m leaning towards yes. The unit does what it advertises and with some modifications (hehe), maybe a bit more!
* NOTE: After trying this I found that it actually did not work. I called Tivo Network Support to find out that you have to wait up to 72 hours (not the 24-48 it says on the website). Sigh.
ADDITION: TVHarmony makes a program called AutoPilot that automatically downloads and converts the Tivo files into popular formats including PSP.
ADDITIONAL ADDITION: The Tivo Desktop software finally works after much waiting. The transfer over my 802.11g (54MB) wireless network is abnormally slow, but it does work.