The Good The TiVo Series2 DT one-ups generic DVRs with an easy setup, a friendly user interface, its ability to work with any cable or satellite box, and impressive home network and Internet features such as photo and music streaming, downloadable video content, and remote programming. The DT model includes built-in Ethernet networking support and the ability to record a second program simultaneously.
The Bad The TiVo DT's second tuner is useful only for viewing or recording shows on basic analog cable, which severely limits its convenience for many users. TiVo requires additional monthly charges, and most of its once-unique features are now widely available in competing DVRs. It also can't record HDTV programs.
The Bottom Line While its slick interface and cool networking features still distinguish it from rival DVRs, the dual-tuner function of the TiVo Series2 DT is useful only for those with analog cable service.
TiVo Series2 DT
TiVo Series2 DT: TiVo goes dual tuner--sort of
Commoditization: it's the mortal enemy of the distinctive branding that's so prized by companies the world over. And it's exactly the affliction that's befallen TiVo. Even though ReplayTV beat it to market by a few months in 1999, it was TiVo that quickly became synonymous with digital video recorder (DVR) technology. But in the intervening years, satellite and cable companies have ramped up their DVR offerings, stealing much of TiVo's potential market share by providing "free" boxes to subscribers. To be sure, there are still plenty of features offered by a real TiVo that the competition can't touch: a best-in-class interface, the ultimate ease of use, impressive home networking features, and the like. But more and more non-TiVo DVRs either meet or exceed many of TiVo's once-unique offerings.
On the surface, the newly minted Series2 DT seems to correct at least one of the original TiVo's major shortcomings. This dual-tuner version is the first stand-alone TiVo that lets you record two shows simultaneously, an incredibly useful capability that's standard on most cable and satellite DVRs. But there's a loophole big enough to drive a whole season of Monster Garage through: the DT's second tuner lets you watch and record shows from analog cable only. That's fine for people who don't subscribe to digital cable, but if you have a digital cable box, the second tuner will record only those channels that your cable provider makes available via analog, which will vary according to provider (see Features). The Series2 DT also sports a different-colored case and tosses in an integrated Ethernet connection, but it's otherwise nearly identical to its Series2 predecessors. That leaves HDTV owners still looking forward to the significantly more expensive TiVo Series 3 model, apparently due by year's end, which should combine TiVo's interface and networking features with the true dual-tuner HD recording functionality found in models such as the Dish ViP622, and many cable company DVRs. In the meantime, if you don't want to record in HD and don't mind being limited to analog channels on the second tuner or if you really enjoy the flexibility of having some useful home networking and Internet features accessible on your TV, the TiVo Series2 DT could well be your TV dream machine., the
Control options are left to the device's excellent remote. Shaped like a stretched-out peanut, it has a prominent TiVo button perched on its tip for accessing the main menu. Differentiation among button shapes makes navigating the remote by feel relatively easy. A smart-setup system lets the remote command your TV's power and input selection, while the volume control can affect either the television or an A/V receiver.