Tivo 1 meets Tivo 2
Sun Apr 25th 2004, 1:22am

We've had our Tivo, a Sony-branded series one (the grey unit on bottom), for about 4 years now. If you're not already a Tivo fan, surely you've at least heard the craze around this neat little life-changing device. With the Tivo 2s out for some time now, I've been wanting to upgrade and/or get one for the downstairs, but the fact is our existing box has served us so well there really hasn't been a need. Finally while shopping at Costco last weekend I saw the 140 hour units offered for $300 (after $50 mail-in rebate), and picked it up. As you can see in the pictures, for a brief period of time I hooked both up to our television so we could watch everything off the old unit while we recorded all new shows to the new unit.

Here are some observations:
  • The Tivo 2 is significantly smaller, and will fit better on my dresser.
  • The 2 is quieter, too. While there is still a fan noise coming from inside, it doesn't seem to have the annoying high-pitched electronic whine that the 1 had.
  • The user interface (scrolling around, screen updates, etc) is much, much faster.
  • The 2, a 140 hour unit can record about 40 hours at "best quality", which is twice as much as my 1, a 30 hour unit, could record at "medium quality". The better recording quality is already paying off (less pixalating) on busy programs like Law and Order.
  • You can see the back hasn't changed much, you've got your video ins and outs, phone line and power. The 2 now has USB ports, so I'll eventually get a wireless adapter and lose the phone line.
  • The Tivo software is pretty much the same, however you'll notice one minor cosmetic difference: a red "Now Playing on Tivo" page instead of a green "Now Playing List". I think the green was a little easier on the eyes.
  • The 2 has a very bright green light on the front to indicate it is powered on. This gets annoying at night--not sure what I'll do about it; it might require some black tape.
  • We're still getting used to the new remote (black). Generally, I'd say that because the new remote is longer, it's harder to use with one hand. Also, we seriously miss the "List" button that our Sony had that takes you directly to the Now Playing List, skipping the Tivo main menu (I heard that the Phillips Tivo 1s didn't have this either). Now you have to hit the Tivo button twice. But we'll see, hopefully we'll get used to it.
Overall, it's already become one of those "why didn't we do this sooner" type of deals. I've moved the 1 downstairs where we're already putting it to use. Eventually we'll consider getting another Tivo 2 for downstairs and the Home Media option, to share programs between units.