New Tivo Series 4

The DVR market has become a lot like the cell phone market. You have the phone that is a tiny portable computer and you have the phone that comes cheap with your service provider, makes calls and you don't care if it falls into the lake. The middle appeals to less and less people. The DVR market also seems to fall into those two extremes. You're either a person looking for a living room platform where you can get all the latest services and software (Pandora, Netflix, Social Networking photos, Hulu etc) or you just care about skipping commercials when you watch Modern Marvels or Pawn Stars. The new Tivo Series 4 is neither. There are two Series 4 models : the Premiere with a 320-GB hard drive for $300, and the $500 Premiere XL with 1 TB, THX-certification and a backlit remote. The big feature is a new interface and the additional services available through it: Blockbuster, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and streaming music from Rhapsody or Live 365. That's all well and good but the interface and services aren't available as upgrades for existing Tivo owners and they really fall short compared to a full HTPC. I'm not sure why a person who rents their DVR from Comcast would buy this or why a person who knows better wouldn't buy a computer and HDMI cable. Click here for a closer look at the interface and features.

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