We were able to get a few minutes with TiVo's VP of Product Marketing, Jim Denney, whom we poked and prodded some additional details out of about the TiVo HD and TiVo's future plans for Series3 owners. Here's what Jim had to say:
This is the lower-end HD TiVo model we've been hearing about. There will be "no more HD TiVo models this year," so if you're not into the TiVo HD, tough noogies.
Unlike the Series3, the HD will have out of the box M-Card (multi-stream CableCARD) compatibility.
eSATA will launch deactivated. "We hope to activate it some time later," but when he would not say. Same with the external drive TiVo's obviously going to sell for the thing.
TiVoToGo and multi-room viewing "will not be released with the HD," but TiVo is actively working on restoring functionality, which will come to the Series3 shortly before HD.
TiVo is also working to ensure TiVoToGo will not be resolution-restricted, only copy-flag restricted. (Read: TiVoToGo will work for SD and HD content.)
Regarding not having THX, Jim let us know that it still meets TiVo's requirements for AV fidelity, but that part of keeping costs down meant not submitting it for the THX certification approval process.
More after the break!
In terms of interface, it's TiVo business as usual: "If you're a Series3 user, in terms of interface this [will feel exactly like] a Series3." As to whether or not TiVo will reconcile those ugly menus that sometimes render properly in HD but not SD, and vice versa: "We will look to see what we can modify to bring [our menus] into the pure HD realm, and what we can't."
The HD won't replace the Series2 units, which will continue to be sold. It's intended to be "HD operating at a compelling price point, and that's what this is."
The HD won't launch with a lifetime service transfer promo, but that doesn't necessarily mean it won't happen.
Pre-orders ship "very early August," but limited supplies of units will make their way to store shelves in the mean time.
Finally, HD, like Series3, will have H.264 AVC and VC1 support for downloads like Unbox, etc. and, we presume, enhanced TiVoToComeBack support some time in the future.