• Web content: Amazon, Disney, Jaman, Netflix, podcasts, YouTube, more
• Network connection: Ethernet (Wi-Fi optional)
• Video outputs: Component, composite, HDMI, S-Video
• Price: $299 (160GB hard drive), $599 (1TB)
TiVo may be synonymous with time-shifting cable TV, but this DVR has added so much stuff to its Video on Demand menu that you could stay entertained for months without recording a thing. No other device here offers so much for-pay and free variety: Amazon, Netflix, Disney releases, YouTube, international and independent movie rentals from Jaman, music videos, and more. About the only thing missing is much HD--Amazon, which supplies the recent big-name releases, is standard-def only.
Considering TiVo’s famously intuitive interface, I found its video-on-demand experience a tad disjointed. The interfaces of the various services vary, including whether you watch in TiVo’s Now Playing area or the service’s own subsection. When I used TiVo’s wireless adapter, progressive downloads to the hard drive ran sluggishly: The box told me that I’d be able to start watching 15 minutes after I’d bought something, but then it would plead for another hour of download time.This isn’t the ultimate Internet TV experience, but for TiVo aficionados, it’s a welcome bonus—and probably sufficient to eliminate any temptation to buy and connect another box.
Read our full review of the TiVo HD.
For additional elements of this story package, see "The Connected TV: Web Video Comes to the Living Room" (emerging technology for transferring Internet video to a TV); "Is Your Living Room Ready for Internet Video?" (setup tips); and "Netflix, Amazon, and YouTube Seek Big Break on TV" (content services).