TiVo Goes HD

TiVo — the company that put “digital video recorder” on the map and became a verb just like Google — has announced a new model this week. It’s designed from the ground up to handle HDTV program recording, and this beast has the specs to prove it. For example, it has a 250 GB hard drive, which is reportedly enough to store 32 hours of HD programming. (Or 300 hours of standard definition content, if you prefer.) It will have not one but two tuners, so it will be able to record two shows at the same time; could any other feature contribute more to domestic harmony than that?

The Series3 HD Digital Media Recorder carries a hefty price tag, too: $800. It will be available later this month.

This is an important step forward. Sure, you can configure your own Media Center PC to do the same and more for less money, if you’re a propellor head. But this brings HD time-shifting to the average home, or at least the average home with a fair amount of disposable income or available credit. A backlog of recorded prime time shows in HD is the best way I can think of to get more people watching the higher-resolution HDTV images. And just like the spread of the original TiVo, the new model will help grow the HDTV market.