I’d been hoping for a hardware refresh of perhaps an even smaller form factor, with a more secure power jack, and WiFi to hit RCN’s wishlist (and my kitchen TV). Alas, the only imminent adjustment is in the pricing department. Details remain light, so I’m left to speculate that the $6 monthly service fee will be reduced… or removed. While I’m fairly confident the fee is set to change, it’s not yet clear what will happen to hardware pricing. In a past era, as Replay TV flipped service fees requirements on and off, hardware pricing scaled (as did consumer confusion). So it TiVo were to totally drop the Mini service fees, I could see the little STB itself moving up from $100 to say $180.
Of course, TiVo’s retail customer count remains fairly stagnant at 2004 levels, with defections generally outpacing new sales. So a shift in strategy seems like a wise choice. And reducing or removing a questionable service fee, as the Mini receives most of its data and video from an already subscribed hub DVR, is a great place to start. Further, the more Minis (or incoming virtual apps) attached to a Roamio or outrageously large TiVo Media Server, the less likely a customer would quit the DVR pioneer.