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Sony SVR-3000

Hard disk video recorder

Item # 158SVR3000

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Our take on the Sony SVR-3000

It's inevitable: you're watching a great movie, and the phone rings right in the middle of the scene that explains everything. Or you get held up in traffic and miss the first twenty minutes of your favorite show. Wouldn't it be great if you could pause that important scene, or start playing that show from the beginning? Now you can, thanks to Sony's hard disk recorder with the TiVo™ service. Finally, you can watch TV on your terms!

It's inevitable: you're watching a great movie, and the phone rings right in the middle of the scene that explains everything. Or you get held up in traffic and miss the first twenty minutes of your favorite show. Wouldn't it be great if you could pause that important scene, or start playing that show from the beginning? Now you can, thanks to Sony's hard disk recorder with the TiVo™ service. Finally, you can watch TV on your terms!

Not only does the SVR-3000 let you pause, rewind, and create instant replays of live TV — its program guide and Season Pass™ feature can also find and record your favorite shows whenever they're on. Use the Thumbs Up™ and Thumbs Down™ buttons to rate live or recorded shows, and TiVo will make suggestions based on your preferences. Plus, playback is as easy as recording: just press the List button on the remote to see your recorded shows organized by title and date for quick, easy searching.

Essentially a hard drive like the one inside your computer, the SVR-3000 boasts an immense 80 gigabytes of memory. Sony helps you get your gigs' worth with 4 levels of MPEG2 recording (from "Basic" to "Best"), giving you anywhere from 24 to 80 hours of capacity. Use Basic quality for day-to-day recording, and save Best quality for specials, concerts, and premiere movies.

Once a day, the SVR-3000's built-in modem automatically dials into the TiVo service to update the 2 weeks of program info in the TV Live Guide; the daily call takes place at low-traffic times like 3 a.m. (Note: Long distance charges may apply.) A TiVo subscription is required; it costs only $12.95/month, or a one-time $299 product lifetime payment.


  • record, play, slow motion, rewind, fast forward, pause (both live and pre-recorded television)
  • one-touch menu access and selection
  • TiVo organizes your recorded programs — press a button and your selection begins to play
  • Program Search (by show name, channel, or time)
  • Season Pass™ feature automatically finds and records all episodes of your favorite shows
  • use the Thumbs Up™ and Thumbs Down™ buttons to rate programs; TiVo Suggestions™ will recommend other programs you might like
  • Auto Transfer for automatic dubbing to a Sony VCR (programs may be dubbed to other VCR brands manually)
  • multibrand remote (controls most TVs and A/V receivers)
  • 2 A/V outputs (2 composite, 2 S-video)
  • 1 A/V input (composite and S-video)
  • RF in/out
  • 16-15/16"W x 3-1/16"H x 14"D
  • warranty: 1 year parts, 90 days labor
  • Note: TiVo recorders make a daily call for programming updates; long distance charges may apply.
  • TiVo service not available in Puerto Rico or Canada

Consumer Alert: This component has only an analog broadcast tuner and will require a converter box after February 17, 2009, to receive over-the-air broadcasts with an antenna because of the Nation's transition to digital broadcasting. Analog-only TVs should continue to work as before with cable and satellite TV services, gaming consoles, VCRs, DVD players, and similar products. For more information, call the Federal Communications Commission at 1-888-225-5322 (TTY: 1-888-835-5322) or visit the Commission's digital television website at:

What's in the Box:

  • Silver-colored SVR-3000 Digital Network Recorder
  • RMT-V303 wireless remote control
  • 2 "AA" batteries
  • 5' Stereo RCA audio and composite video cable
  • 25' RJ-11 telephone cord
  • RJ-11 phone splitter
  • 64" S-Video cable
  • 10' Serial Control cable (stereo minijack to 9-pin male RS-232 serial port connector)
  • 81" IR blaster cable (mono minijack on one end and dual IR emitters on the other end)
  • 2 Pieces of double-sided tape (to secure IR blasters)
  • Installation Guide
  • Easy Set-Up Guide
  • TiVo Viewer's Guide
  • Owner Registration Card/Questionnaire
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Hands-on research

Product Research

TiVo Programming

Remote Control
Inputs and Outputs Notes


Overview: The SVR-3000 is an 80GB hard-drive Digital Video Recorder (DVR) that allows you to receive and record over the air NTSC television broadcasts, satellite broadcasts, and cable TV. It cannot be used to record Digital TV or other non-NTSC signals or Dolby Digital and, due to Macrovision support, cannot be used to record copy-protected DVDs or video tapes.  MPEG-II compression is used. A guided setup program helps you configure the DVR for maximum usage of its features.

Watching Live TV: While watching live TV, the DVR simultaneously records the program onto the hard drive. This allows you to pause live TV for up to 30 minutes and resume watching the program from where you left off. You can also rewind or fast forward through the saved portion of the program at three different speeds, or playback in slow motion or one frame at a time in either direction. If you miss a line of dialog or want to view something again, the Instant Replay feature will instantly show the previous eight seconds of the program. Once you've viewed a recorded portion, you can instantly advance the program to catch up with the live broadcast. If you change channels, the saved portion of the previous channel is lost, and a new recording begins on the new channel. Note: You cannot watch live TV while another channel is being recorded, unless you have split your cable/antenna signal to a VCR or TV as well as the SVR-3000.

Watching Pre-recorded Programs: While watching a pre-recorded program, you can pause, rewind or fast forward (one of three speeds), watch in slow motion or frame-by-frame in either direction, Instant replay, or advance instantly to the end of the program. You can even begin to watch a program from the beginning even if it hasn't completely finished recording. If you decide to stop viewing the program to watch another program or turn off the system, you can resume playback from the point where you left off. Unlike a VCR, you can watch a pre-recorded program at the same time another program is being recorded.

High Speed Picture Search: You can search forward or backward through a program in one of three speeds: 3x, 18x or 60x normal speed.

Recording Time: You can record up to 80 hours of programming on the unit's hard drive. The total recording time depends on the Recording Quality you select--the higher the Recording Quality, the less total recording time you will have:

Recording Quality Total Recording Time Suggested Use
Basic Quality Up to 80 hours News
Medium Quality Up to 52 hours Daytime Talk Shows, Animation
High Quality Up to 40 hours Dramas, Films
Best Quality Up to 24 hours Sports, Action Movies

Saving to VCR: To make room for future recordings, you can archive recorded programs by dubbing them from the unit to a standard VCR. This is done in real time--no high speed dubbing is available. If you own a Sony VCR, the supplied IR Control Cable can be used to automatically start and stop the VCR during this function. Note: While Saving to VCR, you cannot watch another program at the same time. You can, however, record a program while saving a previously recorded program to VCR.

Deleting Programs: Once you have viewed a pre-recorded program, you can delete it from the memory to make room for future programs. As the memory gets close to capacity, programs will automatically be deleted to make room for future recordings. Programs can be "Saved until Deleted", however, a full memory can prevent future programs from being recorded. 

Program Banner and Status Bar: Whenever you watch a live or pre-recorded show a banner will display the program's title, running time and rating for about 5 seconds. The program banner can be switched between large, medium or small, depending upon the amount of information you want displayed. When you use playback functions such as pause, fast forward or rewind, a status bar appears indicating the position of the program you are currently in (example: Minute 14 of a 30-minute program).

TiVo Programming

TiVo Service: The "brains" of the SVR-3000 is the TiVo service, which gives you total flexibility in what you watch or record on the unit. The TiVo service provides program data for up to 14 days, plus any software updates for the unit. The current cost for TiVo service is $12.95 a month, or you may pay a one time fee of $299 to receive service for the life of the unit. (The TiVo service is currently available only in the United States and the United Kingdom. It is not available in Puerto Rico or Canada.) The subscription requires connection to a telephone line for daily programming and occasional software updates. Although the TiVo service is not required, the unit will have extremely limited functionality without it. The recorder was designed to be used exclusively with the TiVo service. No functionality is represented, warranted, or should be expected without a subscription to the TiVo service.

Daily Phone Call: To receive the latest programming information and software upgrades, the DVR will automatically make a daily phone call. This call typically takes about 5-10 minutes, and often occurs late at night. In most areas, there is a local access number. In areas where there is not a local access number, a long distance call is required for each update, and you will be billed for long distance calling. If you wish to use the phone during the unit's daily call, the unit will instantly terminate the daily call whenever another phone on the line is picked up. The unit will make several attempts to complete the call in case the daily call is interrupted, or the line isn't available at the time of the call. Note: During initial setup, the phone call to download programming is usually 20-30 minutes in length.

Parental Controls: Parental Controls allow you to set limits on movie and television ratings and to lock specific channels so that a 4-digit password is required to view them. Ratings limits can be set separately for TV programs and movies, based on the industry's rating systems.

TiVo Live Guide: While watching live TV, the TiVo Live Guide provides instant access to up to 14 days of programming. The Guide is divided into two sections. On the left is a list of channels and their current programs. The currently tuned channel is highlighted and a description of the program appears at the top of the screen. On the right is a list of upcoming programs on the highlighted channel. You can look ahead to see what programs are coming on the highlighted for up to 14 days. From this guide, you can choose which programs to record or watch.

Cable/Broadcast Lineup: Based on your zip code, the TiVo guide will provide you with the names and channels of your local broadcast stations, or the channel lineup for your local cable provider. You can choose for the TiVo guide to display all available stations or simply a few selected "Favorite" channels.

Satellite Lineup: If you receive programming from a Digital Satellite provider such as DirecTV or Dish Network, the channel lineups are listed for the provider you have. You can also list additional local channels you receive, either by antenna or through your satellite provider. The guide can display all available channels or just your Favorite Channels.

Favorite Channels: You can create a subset of channels you like most.  This allows you to browse only your Favorite Channels on the TiVo Live Guide or, if desired, browse all available channels.

Search By Title: The TiVo service allows you to find and record programs by their title. You can search through "All Programs" or limit your search to a particular category or genre. Using the arrow keys on the remote or the unit's front panel, you can select from a grid of letters to begin spelling the title of the program you're looking for. As you enter more letters, the list of programs changes until the name of the program you're searching for appears. Once the program has been selected, you can view upcoming episodes, choose which episodes to record, or get a Season Pass. 

Season Pass: If you have a favorite program you want to record frequently, the Season Pass feature can automatically record all episodes of that program when it is broadcast, even if the date or time slot changes. Once you have a Season Pass, you can choose the recording quality and the maximum number of episodes to keep (up to 5). You can record first-run episodes only or all episodes including repeats. You can select how long to keep the program--from "Space Needed" to a selected number of days to "Until I Delete." You can start recording up to 10 minutes before a program begins. You can also set a recording to continue for up to three hours after it's scheduled to end in case of overtime sports contests or a delay in the start of the broadcast. Once you have several programs on a Season Pass, the Season Pass Manager allows you to set priorities on each program in case there are any space or time conflicts between shows.

WishLists: A WishList is a powerful search tool that can locate upcoming programs. You can create a WishList by category or with key words, by an actor's name or director's name. Wishlists using key words can search for something very specific--for example, a WishList with key word "Giants" and the category of "Football" would locate all Giants football games, but not Giants baseball games. If you have a favorite actor/actress and want to locate all broadcasts of movies/TV shows with that actor, you can create an Actor Wishlist. A similar search can be done with a favorite director. Wishlists can be browsed (alerting you when they are broadcast), or automatically recorded.

Conflicts: Each time a new program is selected for recording, TiVo checks the current schedule of programs to be recorded for any time conflicts. When a conflict arises, you will be given the choice of recording the newly selected program or to cancel the selection. When time conflicts exist between Season Passes, the program with the highest priority will be recorded.

To Do List: You can see which programs are scheduled to be recorded by looking at TiVo's To Do List. Under this menu, you can also view recording history to find out which programs were deleted, which were not recorded, and which will not be recorded and the reasons why. This will allow you to potentially avoid missing a program because of a scheduling conflict.

TiVo Suggestions: TiVo will suggest shows that you may like based on prior viewing habits.  By using the thumbs up and down buttons on the remote you can personalize the suggestions by teaching the unit your likes and dislikes.

TiVo Menus: Most of the functions of this unit are accessed through on-screen menus. The TiVo Central Menu gives you the following choices of sub-menus:

  • Now Playing List: Lists all programs that have been recorded. From this sub-menu you can select a program to watch, delete a program (to regain recording time) or to save a program to a VCR.
  • Watch Live TV: Exits out of the menu to live TV programming
  • TiVolution Magazine: Updated every day, TiVolution Magazine provides a guide to the best upcoming shows.
  • Network Showcases: Shows events and programs coming up from various networks
  • Pick Programs to Record: Allows you to search for programs by name or category, browse by channel or time, manually record (allows you to select a future date, channel, start and stop time and record quality).
  • Messages & Setup:  Allows you to view any messages sent by the TiVo Service and to change your set up parameters (in case you move, get a new service provider or components, or if you want to change recording quality settings.)

Remote Control

Remote Control (RMT-V303): The supplied infrared remote controls this unit, plus basic controls of many brands of TVs (power, volume, mute) and A/V receivers (volume, mute). The unit is pre-coded for most brands of TVs and receivers. By using the supplied control cables (Serial or IR), the unit can control compatible cable boxes and satellite receivers. When Saving (a program) to VCR, the IR control cable can be used with Sony VCRs for automatic recording to the VCR.

Learning Functions: If the brand of your TV or A/V receiver is not on the list of codes, the unit's remote can learn the codes from the TV or receiver's remote control for TV Power, Volume Up/Down, and Mute.

Inputs and Outputs Notes

Rear panel:

  • Serial Control Out: Minijack for use with supplied Serial Control cable to connect to DirecTV receivers allowing the unit to change channels and control the receiver. ( If your receiver does not have a serial port you can use this unit's IR blaster to control the receiver.)
  • IR Control Out: Minijack for use with supplied IR Control cable to connect the supplied IR blaster to either or both a satellite set-top box or a cable box that doesn't have a serial control input. This can also be used to control a Sony VCR only so that the unit can automatically save programs to the VCR.
  • USB: Two full-size USB jacks for future use.
  • Phone Line: RJ-11 jack to connect unit to a phone line for accessing the TiVo Service (a 25' phone cord is supplied).
  • Line Out: Two pairs of RCA stereo audio, 2 composite video and 2 S-Video outputs to connect the unit to a TV, VCR, audio receiver, etc.
  • Line In: Stereo audio RCA, composite video and S-Video input to connect a cable box or satellite receiver to the unit.
  • RF Input and Output: Threaded coax jacks for use with televisions, cable boxes, etc. that don't have A/V jacks.
  • Channel 3/4 switch: When using the RF output jack, you can select the channel to view the unit on.



  • Power consumption: 29 watts
  • Operating Temperature: 70 to 113 degrees F
  • Operating Humidity: 5 to 80 percent
  • Hard Drive Size: 80 GB

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