updated 11/24/2006 10:12:24 PM ET 2006-11-25T03:12:24

TiVo Series 3 HD
TiVo
$799.99
www.tivo.com

The gold standard digital video recorder, TiVo, makes a much anticipated (and delayed) leap into hi-def with the new Series 3 HD. Like all TiVos before it, the new kid on the block is super easy to set up and operate, thank’s to a dandy remote that makes child’s play out of browsing through the onscreen TV guide to mark shows or series you want to record.

But all is not rosy: Unlike prior models, you can’t connect your cable box to the Series 3. Instead, you get two CableCard service cards from your cable company, to plug into the back of the unit, enabling HD reception and recording. Another bummer: CableCard doesn’t work with “on demand” or “pay per view,” so if you’re a fan of those, you’ll have to do without.

And last but not least is the price of the box – and don’t forget you’ll need to pony up more bucks for the TiVo service for a month by month or year-based plan. Which means only the most ardent TiVo fanatic will wind up springing for what’s easily the easiest DVR on the planet. For the rest of us, the less slick HD DVRs offered by our cable companies will just have to do.

— Joe Hutsko

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