Unlike analog VCRs, Philips’s HDR312 personal TV receiver uses TiVo technology to store compressed audio-video data to a computer hard disk. When you’re ready to watch a preselected program, the HDR312 retrieves it upon command from a list of shows you’ve recorded.
Among the most revolutionary aspects of the Philips/TiVo server is the ability to pause live broadcasts and either resume a program where you left off or return to the program in real time. For example, while watching live sporting events, you can replay the last eight seconds of the action. You can then return to the live broadcast at any time. Using the palm-size remote, you can rewind and fast-forward pretaped programs, skipping through recorded commercials if you choose.
Philips supplies all the necessary cables for setting up the HDR312, including a 50-foot phone line and splitter. You don’t need a separate phone line; simply connect the splitter to the wall, connect your phone and receiver cable to the splitter, and you’re in business. The phone line is vital, however, for downloading TV listings; recording shows; and receiving TiVo’s Suggestions feature, which suggests programs you might enjoy based on your previous selections, and TiVolution Magazine, which offers recommendations on the best programs to watch. After the initial download, the receiver spends about five minutes updating your programming data each night.
TiVo’s onscreen setup guide includes easy step-by-step instructions. TiVo charges $12.95 a month for its weekly listing service, TiVolution Magazine, and its Suggestions feature, or you can pay a one-time service charge of $299.
Once you’ve selected a program to record, you have four choices of picture quality: basic, medium, high, or best. The higher settings take up more storage space, which translates into fewer hours of available record time.
- 225 channels featuring movies, sports, and pay-per-view programming
- Up to 30 hours of storage capacity
- 8-second instant replay feature
- Pause, fast-forward, and rewind
- Jump-to-live button on remote