TiVo is slowly rolling out a software update to its Series3 high-def DVR. Among the improvements in the 8.1 version (as reported at tivocommunity.com): TiVoCast (video downloads); Extend Live (autoprompt for live-event recording extensions); KidZone (family-friendly content control); wireless networking improvement (WPA support added to WEP); Product Watch (download preferred advertising videos that caters to your interest); and Recently Deleted Folder (resurrect accidentally deleted content). As Dave Zatz points out, that brings the Series3 functionality in line with that of the non-HD Series2 boxes except for two big missing features: TiVo To Go and multiroom viewing, both of which will remain MIA on the Series3 for the foreseeable future. (We hear that TiVo would love to turn them on, but CableLabs--the organization that licenses the CableCard technology used in the Series3 box--considers it a potential security concern, and won't authorize the features.)
The list price of the Series3 TiVo remains at a rather stratospheric $800 (not including the monthly fee), but it can be found online for under $650. Meanwhile, the Web has been abuzz with rumors of a price cut in the near future. And while even a $500 price tag would be steep, the promise of additional on-demand content options--such as the newly added TiVoCast and the forthcoming Amazon Unbox--provides at least the potential for swaying consumers who might otherwise be tempted by the "free" high-def DVRs now offered by most cable providers.
Editors' note: CNET Networks is one of the several content partners that provide video content via the TiVoCast service.