It looks as if TiVo is finally beginning to roll out some long-promised software upgrades to its high-def DVRs, the TiVo HD and TiVo Series3. Hot on the heels of last week's 9.1 software upgrade (which enabled support for Rhapsody's subscription music service), some users are already getting an upgrade to version 9.2. In addition to improving the Amazon Unbox viewing experience, the latest upgrade is said to add support for connecting external eSATA hard drives, thus expanding the number of recordable hours of TV--a feature promised when those DVRs were first released. TiVo's remaining mum on the subject for now--you'll find more info perusing user forums than on TiVo's site, which currently has just a placeholder page--but we're expecting to hear an official announcement in the very near future.
To date, the external storage option has been available only as an unsupported hack. I'm hoping the "official" version will work with any generic eSATA external drive, rather than requiring the purchase of some sort of TiVo-specific accessory. Large capacity drives are cheaper than ever--or you can save even more money by purchasing an enclosure, and dropping in an even cheaper internal hard drive instead. Alternately, you can always have the folks at Weaknees upgrade the TiVo's internal drive instead.
Once external storage is activated, the next confirmed upgrades are Multi-Room Viewing (transfer recorded shows to other TiVo DVRs in the home) and TiVo To Go (transfer recorded shows to networked PCs and portable media devices), scheduled for rollout to high-def TiVos in November. To date, both features have been limited to standard-def Series2 models only.
Expandable storage is also available on many competing high-def DVRs, including models from Dish Network and Scientific Atlanta.