TiVo’s New Pricing Plans

The big news out of today’s conference call is the implementation of the long rumored pricing structure modifications. As expected, TiVo has dropped the upfront hardware fee and is charging for service only. Additionally, resellers such as new partner Radio Shack can handle service orders. The caveats? Monthly fees have gone up and Lifetime service has been mothballed.

So here’s the deal… an 80 hour TiVo will be bundled with these payment plans starting next week:

  • The price for a TiVo box and a one-year service commitment is $19.95 a
    month or $224 prepaid
  • The price for a TiVo box and a two-year service commitment is $18.95 a
    month or $369 prepaid
  • The price for a TiVo box and a three-year service commitment is $16.95 a
    month or $469 prepaid

It’s still early and I’m sure more information will trickle out over the next week or so as TiVo documents this transition. My initial questions…

  • What is the monthly cost to reactivate a box or to activate a used box?
  • Do multi-unit discounts apply to new boxes?
  • Will the 80 hour TiVo unit be the only model available at this time?
  • If other models are available, what costs and service plans do they have?
  • Will the hardware warranty be extended to cover the service agreement or will there be an insurance option?

I did think the current pricing model and rebate runaround needed to be tweaked, but this is not what I had expected or would have suggested. I’ll let the announcement soak in and get some questions answered before passing judgment. Then again, I’m not the one who will be passing final judgment anyway — the market will decide.

20 thoughts on “TiVo’s New Pricing Plans”

  1. It seems pretty clear that the “service only” plans will remain but I’d suspect they will go up in price at least a buck. As for the multi service discount I don’t think they will take that away from people who already have it, it probably would also be unpopular to remove it as an option (it’s sold a lot of 2nd TiVos)

  2. Also, I did a date search on the press release and I still don’t know any more specifically than “next week” when Product Lifetime will no longer be available. Doe they mean Sunday 3/12 or Monday 3/13, or one week from the press release (Wesnesday 3/15) or at the end of the week?

    C’mon TiVo if your going to give us a really short notice on something cant you at least be specific?

  3. On the TCF, Stephen and Pony are fielding questions. The threads are moving quickly and I’m trying to keep up while in class.

    It appears these new pricing options are in addition to the current pricing options, with the exception of them dropping Lifetime and multi-unit discounts going forward. That answers several of my questions. Though it raises a new one? once the $150 rebate expires shortly, will it be renewed with something similar or will we be pushed towards these new pricing options? I wonder if the various plans (new and old) will be confusing to potential customers and if it will impact their purchasing decision versus say a cable company DVR which has just one low monthly fee.

    It sounds like next Wednesday is the drop dead date for multi-unit discounts and Lifetime subscriptions. So if you want to get in, the time is now.

  4. This prompted me to buy lifetime on one of my TiVos. I was considering it last week, so I suppose now is as good a time as any.

    I hope the secondary TiVo price doesn’t go up much. I really like having it at the price it is now.

  5. The more I read and percolate, the more I feel the problem here isn’t the pricing… it’s the sheer number of plans being offered: 6 new ones, plus the existing hardware fees, rebates, and monthly fee to choose from… not to mention only some plans are eligible for multi-unit discounts. I’m afraid this will overwhelm potential customers (assuming retail reps can even explain it properly) who will throw their hands in the air and decide to pay the cable company 10 bucks a month for a DVR. Oh yeah… killing Lifetime will probably upset a number of current customers who “grew up” with that option.

  6. I really don’t think it was a good idea for TiVo to get rid of the lifetime subscription plan. I personally never took advantage of this option however, it was nice to know that it was there. Also, whenever I had one of my friends get a TiVo I would always tell them about this option and how it was truly cost effective if you were planning on keeping their TiVo for a long time. Just my $.02….

  7. One of the things I picked up on a past con call was that fewer than 20% of subscribers opted for lifetime, and that percentage was declining – especially after the multi-unit discount was introduced. I think there were more lifetime subs early on – especially when it was just $200, then $250, and over time more and more subscribers have been going monthly. So with new units, I doubt the loss of lifetime will be a big deal for TiVo.

    I will miss it since I liked paying once for the unit and having the equity if I resold it, etc. I wouldn’t mind seeing a unit+lifetime option for $549-$599 added to the new tier. That’s about what a 4-year plan would go for, and TiVo has always said the units had an expected four year service life.

    As for there being too many plans – I to expect TiVo to start dropping the other options and limiting the plans available for units sold on their site to just the new plans. And I see it as three plans, each with two payment options. Users will have to select 1, 2, or 3 year plans – and then decide to pay monthly or up front. I don’t think it’d be so bad. It is simpler than getting a cell phone, and the majority of people have dealt with with that just fine. :-)

  8. Okay I read thru the pricing at TCF and all I can say is this is going to drive consumers away. $17-20 is way to high for a monthly cost for potential consumers. Also most people would want 2 Tivos at least and if they think the average consumer in todays economy is going to pay close to $40 a month for 2 units (not even including the extra for cable bill), then they are just stupid. Yes, you can buy your own unit and pay $12.95 and then $6.95 for each addtl unit but doesn’t that defeat the whole purpose of their new pricing plan.

  9. Question…. I’m going to be buying a used lifetime subscription TiVo off of craiglist… Do you think the lifetime subscription will still work? Or since I will be a “new customer”, I will not be able to use it? I’m new to TiVo, and don’t really know how the whole thing works. Any comments would be appreciated.

  10. Ian, the lifetime subscription stay with the unit, so if you’ve bought a used TiVo with lifetime subscription it will stay lifetime for you.

    The boxes with lifetime are about to get a bit more valuable.

  11. This represents a significant price increase for the TiVo service/box combo.

    At retail I will be surprised if I can walk into BB next week and not pay MORE for a box even though I can then subscribe at the old monthly price. Is it plausible that I could get a box at BB for $69 and pay $12.95/mo, but I’ve got to pay $0 + $19.95 through TiVo?

  12. I find this new price structuring to be a bummer. I am tottering on the fence right now- drop a $13.00/mo bill that I really don’t need right now so I can manually record (will take less time than the endless hours I’ve spent on networking problems), I’ll still have TIVO desktop for my music and my TO Do list doesn’t seem to work quite right anyway VERSUS one last hurrah/try/splurge/further investment with the new tivo adapter (only if it is fully refundable- if of course I don’t win the raffle which I have a good feeling about).

    ANYWAY- I am so sick of monthly bills. even the small ones add up and seem like excess. And most ARE NOT small. COmcast wanted to charge me $60.00/mo for internet service. Come on Comcast! Come on Tivo! Stay reasonable!


  13. TiVo just shot themselves in the foot!
    Why would anyone pay $20 a month for a box that doesn’t do half as much as a cable company box that costs $10/mo. and provides a dual HDTV tuner, (that if it breaks you just call Comcast and get another one)?
    On the only positive note… the value of the units with lifetime already on them should skyrocket! That is, until TiVo goes out of business and the boxes become worthless…Oh well…I didn’t expect my units to last forever! Looks like it will be time for a HTPC.

  14. Wow! TiVo’s dropping their lifetime subscription? Are they trying to push us to ReplayTV or LG’s new LRM-519?

  15. Steve what are you smoking? I’m not happy about this eaither but a TiVo does WAY more than a generic DVR from your cable company. LEts see I can transfer shows between TiVo’s, I can transfer shows from my TiVo to my Pc, oh yeah I can transfer shows from my PC to my TiVo as well. I can play games on, view photos on and listen to my music on my TV using TiVo. Oh and the TiVo interface as well as product stability is a bajillion times better than any cable company DVR I’ve ever seen.

  16. I have a Series 2 with Lifetime that I’ve owned for the past three and a half years. Since upgrading to HD, I’ve been looking for a HD DVR alternative, half-waiting for Series 3 to appear.

    With the demise of Lifetime, I know for certain I will not be buying a Series 3 unit. So that means I’m seriously looking at alternatives for replacing my TiVo now — whether it’s the cable company DVR or homebrew DVR (MythTV, MCE, or MacMini plus Elgato EyeTV). I’m anxious to join the world of HD DVR’s and now that I know TiVo isn’t in the running, it’s time to move on. I also will no longer recommend TiVo to family and friends.

    This latest pricing plan is by far the stupidest decision TiVo has ever made.

  17. If this does happen TiVo just lost a long time customer. I have had my Series 1 for more than 6 years and the Series 2 for a couple years now; both with lifetime subscriptions. I guess it’s time to look into a full blown media PC that I can change any way I’d like. I figure that’s about $800 for the two units and life time subs. Darn, I was really looking forward to the that Series 3.

  18. I am so upset, I used to tell everybody I LOVE my Tivo, then I see what has happened to priceing. Man oh man what is wrong. Maybe they should have made special wireless equiptment to work only with tivo, because most of us will never use it. $10.00 per month to Time Warner Cable seems much better deal, My kids will not be getting TIVO for christmas. And I doubt our neighbors will either, Wasn’t Tivo happy to keep adding boxes in our houses and replaceing the lifetime boxes with new ones.

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