As you can plainly see, this TiVo box doesn't look much different from any other TiVo box. In fact, aside from some slight aesthetic tweaks and the ever-so-slight rear port switchup, everything here is standard issue -- including the remote and 7.2 software release. So yeah, the dual tuners are pretty much the only functional difference once you get the thing booted. TiVo is pretty up front about what it can tune and how: one cable box, max. Which means if your cable company only offers digital cable (like ours), you'll only be able to use a single tuner with that single cable box. If you want to record anything else you'll have to set up an old school antenna and tune in via RF. (TiVo called to let us know this thing won't tune RF -- yick.) If you have digital and analog on the same line, you should be fine recording digital and basic cable simultaneously -- but we don't have that. Luckily we happened to be on the road while reviewing this device, which allowed us to test the two tuners with analog cable. We understand that some people can tune basic and digital simultaneously -- if so, this box still works out well for you if you, as long as you're not trying to get around scheduling conflicts on digital cable.
Integrated Ethernet in 2006. Welcome to the future.
Basically, so far as we could tell, everything was in its place with the Series2 DT. TiVo ToGo and all the multimedia functions were still right where they were supposed to be, the options were the same, everything felt right at home. This, of course, had to do with the fact that as we mentioned, this device is a standard software release 7.2 TiVo. There were two working differences, so far as we could tell. First: when in the on-screen program info popup, there's now a new icon (see above), which you can use to see what's up with the second tuner. Second: pressing the live TV button while watching live TV now switches between tuners instantly. Seriously that's it, that's all that separates this from a regular TiVo box. For the TiVo uninitiated, new users might not even realize that this device was special.
So what'd we think? Well, it worked exactly as advertised, and that second tuner was totally seamless. So the question isn't how good was the Series2 DT -- it's really no better than any other TiVo on the market right now, this isn't like a tossup between a Series2 and a Series3 or Media Center PC. The question you is: how much is that second tuner worth to you? After $150 rebate and service activation, is $199.99 for the 180-hour, or $99.99 for the 80-hour too much?
Well, if you didn't have dual tuners (or two TiVos), you'd never be able to record Everybody Loves Raymond reruns at the same time as getting your Judy fix.
Then again, all TiVos still excel at what they were originally invented to do: pause live TV so as to capture awkward facial positions.