The TiVod Revolution - great TiVo deal, expiring soon | iLounge Backstage

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The TiVod Revolution - great TiVo deal, expiring soon

According to numerous friends - and I say this only half-jokingly - the “TiVo revolution” has been underway for years. The sales pitch is this: like other digital video recorders (DVRs), TiVo lets you stop making appointments to watch your favorite TV shows. Instead, you just turn on your TV whenever you want, and the shows are sitting there waiting for you. Think VCR, only 20+ times more powerful, with the bonus that you can also pause and rewind live TV.

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Up until now, I haven’t been won over to TiVo for only one reason: price. And I’ve either owned or used many of its competitors. Urged on by one persistent, evangelistic friend this past week, I found a really superb deal, gave in and bought one. Since I’m happy with the TiVo and the deal’s still active for a little while, I wanted to share it - and some iPod-related details - with you. Click on Read More for the story and the deal.

Though I’m not going to dive into the TiVo-versus-the-world story in depth, there are a few facts that need to be summarily noted up front. So here they are.

  • People have been buying TiVo boxes for over 5 years now. Still, the company’s installed base is something around 4 million people - it was 4.008 million as of October 31, 2005. This isn’t very impressive, a fact attributed by TiVo fans to poor marketing. I personally think that pricing is at least equally to blame.

  • But TiVo fans, like Apple fans, are very enthusiastic. According to the company, 98% of surveyed TiVo owners said they “couldn’t live without” the service. 40% said they’d sooner give up their cell phones than TiVo. Many own more than one TiVo box.

    image

  • I have tested leading alternatives to TiVo, and TiVo owners are correct: theirs is the best. The boxes run quiet, they’re easy to install, easy to use, and easy to find addictive. Key to the appeal is a proprietary, Apple-like interface that lets anyone (grandma, kids, you) program its recording features without a manual. Grandma can even tell TiVo to automatically record every TV show where Matlock’s Andy Griffith appears, just by entering the first few letters of his last name (shown right). Within 30 minutes of completing my installation, my TiVo box knew 15 TV shows I wanted to record on a recurring basis, and around 15 more (including movies) that I wanted to record as one-offs. Waking up the next morning, I found 8 of them waiting to be watched whenever I was ready. It’s awesome. And you don’t have to leave your computer (with fans, power supply, etcetera) turned on, or plugged into your TV set.

  • 49% of TiVo owners have lifetime subscriptions to the TiVo service. The rest pay a monthly service fee. I personally bought the lifetime subscription.

  • The company will stop offering lifetime subscriptions on April 15 of this year - around two weeks from now. Effective then, you’ll have to pay between $17 and $20 per month. There are strings attached, and I don’t like strings, but if you don’t mind them, go straight to TiVo’s web site and sign up for the rental plan.

  • At $1.99 per download, you’d only have to download 9 or 10 individual TV episodes per month from the iTunes Music Store before renting TiVo becomes a better value. Buying TiVo? If the box lasts 4 years at the price below, it would cost more for *4* video downloads a month than the TiVo deal here. We won’t even discuss the music video side of that equation.


    So here’s the deal, and I ask only one thing if you take advantage of it - use my e-mail address jeremy@ilounge.com as your referrer, just as I used my friend’s name when he referred me.

    image
    This is the TiVo I bought. It’s an 80-hour, TiVo-branded model that sells for

    $59

    $89* after rebate through Amazon.com, the same place I ordered from. Now Circuit City is offering the same box for $40 after rebate. The $150 rebate process is painless, and best handled through this web link. It’s much easier than filling out a form by hand, and trackable.

    When the box arrives from Amazon, which is very quick - four days in my case - or you get it elsewhere, you contact TiVo and activate it. This step must be done by phone, rather than through TiVo’s web site. The telephone number is 1-877-367-8486. This takes between 5 and 10 minutes, and the people are friendly.

    The cost of a lifetime subscription - until it disappears on April 15 - is $299.99. In other words, the total cost of the TiVo hardware and a lifetime membership is $360 plus a $10 Amazon shipping fee, which comes out to $7.70 per month over only four years of ownership. In my humble opinion, that’s a much smarter buy than TiVo’s new prepaid packages, which are:

  • $224 for 1 year of service and the hardware.

  • $369 for 2 years of service and the hardware.

  • $469 for 3 years of service and the hardware.

    You can do the math yourself, but it suffices to say that this deal is as good as I could find - the one I’ve been waiting 5 years to see. You’ll need to ask the TiVo rep for it, and you’ll get it without a hassle. Call before April 15th, or you’re stuck paying monthly fees.

    It should also be noted that Circuit City is offering a second $40 TiVo - one with half the storage (40-hour).

    Why prefer 80 hours of recording to 40? Two reasons. First, that’s 80 hours on low quality. You’ll want to use at least “medium” quality (nearly indistinguishable from TV), which limits an 80-hour TiVo to 57 hours of recording. A 40-hour TiVo gets only 28 hours, and of course less on higher quality settings. Second, the price difference is too small not to do it. (* Note: Amazon raised its price following publication of this article; see the link to Best Buy in the comments below.)

    imageWhat about the iPod stuff? Good news. I heard this weekend that the Mac- and iPod-compatible versions of TiVo to Go - a free, official way to watch TiVo content off the TiVo - are nearing completion, which may be the closest we come to the Mac mini-esque DVR solution we’ve all been hoping for in vain. My guess is that - like Elgato Systems’ Eye TV2 - you’ll probably have to leave your computer running iPod-ready conversion tasks in the background for hours, but on the bright side, unlike Eye TV2, TiVo doesn’t require your computer to be on or near a cable TV line during recording; you can just use a wireless adapter to transfer files from TiVo to your computer when convenient.

    Windows users? The PC-compatible version of TiVo to Go (shown below) is already done and available for free online, though it doesn’t yet handle the iPod conversion part itself. For now, a program called TV Harmony AutoPilot will convert TiVo files into iPod ones, assuming you can’t wait.

    image

    So why the TiVo Revolution half-joke at the beginning? Frankly, 4 million people does not a revolution make, and though my friends have been TiVo fanatics for years, the company’s $600-and-up price tags have killed a lot of the buzz these otherwise awesome devices deserved. As a direct consequence, lots of people are instead using inferior DVR options - provided for a monthly rental fee by their cable or satellite providers - and there’s little prospect of iPod compatibility from many of them.

    Having made a great product, TiVo clearly needs some support right now. With this temporarily attractive price level, and the promise of iPod-ready video files in the very near future, I think the time is right for iPod fans to come to the rescue. What do you guys think?

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    Comments

    1

    >>  Frankly, 4 million people does not a revolution make

    Oh really?

    Posted by sammy on March 27, 2006 at 8:00 PM (CST)

    2

    One of the biggest questions in the TiVo community (aside from “Where are those $%#! Series 3 boxes?”) is, “Why, in the year 2006, does TiVo not support WPA for wireless network connections?” I like my TiVo, and I’d love to get it away from my wired network. But there’s NO way I’m downgrading wireless network security to accommodate the little box.

    Posted by Christian on March 27, 2006 at 8:26 PM (CST)

    3

    jeremy - you’re a high tech guy. why waste the money on a DVR that is not HDTV?

    as a service to your readers you should let them know their $2,500 50” plasma is limited to standard definition as soon as the tivo is connected!

    Posted by steve on March 27, 2006 at 8:38 PM (CST)

    4

    I’ve been a TiVo user for several years. We have two of them in our house. One of which is an HDTV version (HR10-250). However, we are DirecTV subscribers. Since DirecTV omits any of those home media options, I seriously doubt this iPod system would apply to us. I should also mention that DirecTV is no longer selling TiVo brand DVRs. They are selling their own brand DVRs now. They aren’t as nice as the TiVo either. DirecTV still supports the TiVo boxes, but for how long… who knows. I’m not sure the reasoning behind DirecTV’s abandoning TiVo, and I’m not very pleased by it either. However, I have seen the new DirecTV DVRs and they aren’t too bad.

    Posted by Jason on March 27, 2006 at 9:11 PM (CST)

    5

    That sounds nice.  Maybe I could convince the family to splurge.  I tried MythTV on my Linux box, and it was just too slow, and I couldn’t get recording to work.  Since I use it for other things it would have only been the cost of a TV card, about a hundred dollars.  I’m not sure I’d use the TiVo though, but I’m sure that I would even I don’t know now.

    Posted by Dan (papayaninja) on March 27, 2006 at 9:16 PM (CST)

    6

    Sammy: Yes, really.

    Christian: That’s a good question. I know that WPA has been flakey on occasion with own non-TiVo wireless network; my suspicion is that the TiVo guys are working kinks out of it before rolling software support out.

    Steve: Simple - my stance on early adoption has evolved a lot over the years, and though I’ve spent the last few years discussing exactly that point (“wait for HD TiVo”) with friends, I have to admit, I just don’t care any more. There literally is no HD content I’m yet willing to pay the cable fees for, and so I don’t need a device to record it.

    Yes, I could focus on readers with $2,500 plasmas (which incidentally I would not have purchased, personally), or I could focus on “the rest of us.” For all of the industry’s efforts, around 15% of people say they’re somewhat or very likely to get HDTV, which suggests that 85% of people, more than a simple majority, would not care about HDTiVo.

    Speaking for myself, I purchased my first HDTV in 2001, and my second one late last year. Neither one is currently using HD cable or over-the-air; I’m not interested enough in today’s HD content to pay extra for it. So investing in HDTV as an early adopter was a mistake for me, and holding off for a HDTV DVR has also been a mistake. Until the content catches up and HD service prices come down further, I’ll probably continue to feel this way.

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 27, 2006 at 9:26 PM (CST)

    7

    Count me as one of the 98% of Tivo owners who couldn’t imagine life without it.  I have young kids (6 and under) and our life was too hectic to be on a schedule for TV, so we would end up missing large chunks of shows we wanted to watch.  Now, we can take our time and watch everything when we’re ready. 

    I’ve personally never used any other brands of DVRs, but I definitely can’t imagine easier software to use.  My son, who was not quite 4 at the time we got our Tivo, could find his shows and watch them with ease, including the skip back and skip ahead features.  My wife was the hardest to convince when we took the plunge, but she’s probably the biggest advocate now.  We don’t end up watching more TV, just a lot better TV.  And it can not be beat for sports!!

    Posted by Rod Dunn on March 27, 2006 at 11:02 PM (CST)

    8

    There are tens of millions of HDTV owners and tens of millions more will buy this year, as plasma and flat panel LCD prices go down by double-digits.

    It’s true however that a small proportion of HDTV owners are getting HDTV content.  There’s a good chance you can get over the air (OTA) HDTV channels for the price of a $20 antenna.

    Otherwise, your cable system should offer it without you having to sign up for fancy digital cable packages.  I pay about $25 including all the taxes to Comcast for their basic cable package which includes a rental of an HDTV tuner.  Get all the local HDTV channels (Lost looks spectacular) as well as ESPN HD, Discovery HD and a couple of HD-specific channels.

    On Tivo, one of the major complaints is the slowdown in interface over time.  They seemed not to have changed the HW or SW design in all these years so when you get a lot of Season Passes and your unit becomes a few years old, adding a recording could take minutes.

    This is something noted by competitors, including MS when they demo Media Center Edition or IPTV.

    Posted by wco81 in West Coast on March 28, 2006 at 12:32 AM (CST)

    9

    I love my TiVo. We rarely watch live TV. Until recently, I had 2 units.  Unfortunately one has recently, reluctantly been replaced with the cable company’s DVR.

    TiVo is far better than the cable DVR. Searching for programming is much easier.  Wish lists, fast forward auto correct, even the often lame TiVo suggestions are a few favorite features cable DVR doesn’t have.

    There is one huge (for me) drawback. You have to go through Guided Setup to get it going when you first set it up.  Although you can use your home network for daily calls to download programming info, you have to use a land line for Guided Setup.  I haven’t had a land line for over 5 years, so I have to drag the TiVo to work or a friend’s house-which is a much bigger deal than you might think.  After that it can be hooked up to my network.

    I hope they get that worked out because it’s very frustrating. But it didn’t stop me from buying one.

    Posted by Lisa on March 28, 2006 at 12:56 AM (CST)

    10

    The numbers I’ve seen suggest that there are approximately 15 million HDTV owners - around a third the installed base of the iPod.

    I agree wholeheartedly on the TiVo processing speed issue. But it’s no reason to buy a Microsoft XP MCE.

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 28, 2006 at 2:57 AM (CST)

    11

    So how does TiVo handle programming changes, etc?
    One of the most annoying things about my DVR is having to reprogram recordings every couple months because the networks keep messing with their program schedules.

    Posted by Paul on March 28, 2006 at 5:13 AM (CST)

    12

    This is for Lisa:

    You don’t have to use a land line for guided setup anymore.  As long as you use a TIVO approved wired ethernet adapter - you can setup over your broadband connection.  I did it.  Nice and fast setup.

    —*Rob

    Posted by Rob Usdin on March 28, 2006 at 6:55 AM (CST)

    13

    I don’t know. I just installed a Dish Network DVR which has a 100 hour capacity. This, after owning a 508 PVR for years. I think the software and features have come a long way. In fact, they almost rival TIVO. I can set recordings based on criteria. I can record all instances of shows, no matter what time. Oh, and did I mention? The reciever was FREE?? I pay a 4.99 DVR fee, that’s it.

    You can’t catagorically rip all satellite and cable providers when some actually give you great technology at great prices. I’ll stay away from TIVO based on price alone. I’ll have iPod compatibility with the Dish Network system soon enough. in fact, they are the first come out with their own portable player.

    John

    Posted by JWj on March 28, 2006 at 7:34 AM (CST)

    14

    Entertainment Weekly seems to think TiVo is a revolution.  Look at this week’s cover.  Perhaps we can agree that TiVo was the flagship of the DVR revolution?

    $17 - $20/mo. going forward is accurate, but only part of the story.  Those prices are if you want free TiVo hardware.  If you want to pay for TiVo hardware (retailer, eBay, friend, etc.), the fee remains $13/mo. for the 1st and $7/mo. for add’l units.

    The lifetime deal is even sweeter when you realize that once you have a TiVo on lifetime, you can add additional units you buy for only $7/mo.  Trust me, you’ll want more once you are assimilated into TiVo.

    Paul—TiVo handles programming changes almost flawlessly.  If a program moves from MON at 8:30 to WED at 9:00, TiVo will pick it up (unless you have a conflict with another recording on WED at 9:00).

    Since 2000, my mantra has been “Live TV is for suckers.”

    Posted by jpa2825 on March 28, 2006 at 10:15 AM (CST)

    15

    Lifetime service is no longer available unless you currently have an old TiVo box.

    Posted by kevin on March 28, 2006 at 10:48 AM (CST)

    16

    Lifetime service is available until April 15 if you use the deal mentioned above. That’s the point of the article.

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 28, 2006 at 12:40 PM (CST)

    17

    Jeremy, how do you figure it is 59 dollars, I was just on the Amazon site looking at the TiVo and it is 89 dollars after the rebate.

    Posted by Brad on March 28, 2006 at 5:33 PM (CST)

    18

    Rob, that’s only if you receive your TiVo with the updated software ver. 7.2 pre-installed.  Mine had version 5.2-which has to be set up with a land line.  I had to use the phone to get the updated software. I guess I just got an old machine or something (I got it this past December). 

    I’m so glad they finally worked this out! It makes much more sense, and will really make it a lot easier on new customers.

    Posted by Lisa on March 28, 2006 at 6:22 PM (CST)

    19

    4 Million people does not make a revolution so sammy I’m sorry but you might want to check a dictionary I mean I’m not sure how many people live in the U.S. but I’m sure its a lot more than 4 million

    Posted by Spencer Mead on March 28, 2006 at 9:19 PM (CST)

    20

    I’m not a happy Tivo customer.

    If I were you, I would not expect a rebate check from Tivo.  I’ve been waiting for 4 months.  I phoned again tonight to follow-up on my $150 rebate only to find that they will have to re-issue a rebate check and I can expect it in 15 days.  LOL

    It seems when Tivo screws up a rebate, they wait until a customer phones to begin the re-process to cut a rebate check. Tvio is in a TERRIBLE financial situation.  It shows in their rebate process.  I’m thinking about returning my unit to Costco and requesting a pro-rated refund for my pre-paid “Lifetime” Service.

    Posted by Mark on March 28, 2006 at 10:16 PM (CST)

    21

    Looks like the price has gone up since my original post. Here’s a link to Best Buy, which for the time being has the TiVo at a better price than Amazon. It’s still eligible for the $150 rebate, and lifetime service.

    Mark: Did you pre-register for the rebate on TiVo’s web site?

    Also - continued referrals with my e-mail address above are very much appreciated. Thanks guys!

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 28, 2006 at 10:33 PM (CST)

    22

    Circuit City has a decent deal on the 80 hour Series 2 box - 39.99 after discounts and mail in rebate.
    Also, be aware that when you sign up for the lifetime service, it is only lifetime for that one box - unless it becomes defective, you cannot transfer the lifetime service to another box when, for instance, a newer model is released.

    Posted by Kevin on March 28, 2006 at 11:01 PM (CST)

    23

    Here’s a link to the Circuit City TiVo deal - Kevin’s right, the 80’s now there at a great price.

    There have been stories of people paying $80 to transfer the lifetime service from one box to another, right Kevin?

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 29, 2006 at 12:12 AM (CST)

    24

    One thing no one mentioned is commercials. Is it true that TiVo now has pop-up ads instead of allowing you to FF the commercials? (I’m trying to decide between TiVo and my cable co’s DVR)

    Posted by Tina Chaddick on March 29, 2006 at 4:08 AM (CST)

    25

    Jeremy,

    I am just curious on the referral that you are requesting, which item are you planning on getting from the TiVo rewards program?

    Posted by Marc on March 29, 2006 at 9:00 AM (CST)

    26

    I read somewhere that if you purchased lifetime prior to January 2000, you get a ONE TIME only transfer of your lifetime service to another Tivo DVR. Apparently this was put in place because the contract before 2000 was a little unclear that lifetime service was tied to the unit and several customers felt wronged.

    I’ve also heard roumours of a longtime subscriber transfer of service, but understand that this is a very rare instance and I’m unclear as to the definition of a ‘longtime subscriber’.

    Posted by Kevin on March 29, 2006 at 10:08 AM (CST)

    27

    I read somewhere that if you purchased lifetime prior to January 2000, you get a ONE TIME only transfer of your lifetime service to another Tivo DVR. Apparently this was done because the contract before 2000 was unclear that lifetime service was tied to the unit and several customers felt wronged.

    I’ve also read of a service transfer for ‘longtime subscribers’ but understand that it is a rare occurance. Plus the term ‘longtime subscriber’ is a bit vague.

    Posted by Kevin on March 29, 2006 at 10:11 AM (CST)

    28

    oops, sorry about the D.P.
    Page 2 got me…

    Posted by Kevin on March 29, 2006 at 10:12 AM (CST)

    29

    oh and Jeremy, they wouldn’t let me enter your email addy for a referral since I already own a DirecTiVo box, but if you request credit for my activation, I will acknowledge you as the referral (after all, This thread is how my wife and I justified purchasing lifetime service).
    Request from this addy: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    What reward are you after?

    Posted by Kevin on March 29, 2006 at 10:18 AM (CST)

    30

    A footnote really, but TiVo pulled out of the UK about 4 years ago. I have an unmodified Series 1 unit which I could not be without, runs perfectly with my digital cable service, and has a lifetime service. TiVo still honour this by allowing my unit to dial up (on landline) the EPG download.

    Is this about to come to an end, thus turning my PVR into a large paperweight?

    IIRC TiVo marketed the unit here solely on it’s ability to pause live TV. Woohoo. I do this almost never. Of greater interest to the masses would have been its ability to book a season pass, thus rendering the still loathsome task of programming the VCR into oblivion. An opportunity missed.

    Posted by Steve (zapod) on March 29, 2006 at 10:51 AM (CST)

    31

    Tina, I’ve never seen a pop-up ad.  Just regular commercials, easily skipped with FF.

    They do have ads and promos sometimes that can be accessed through the menu.  Most of them are for promotions-view an ad, enter a contest.  But you choose those-you must deliberately select them.

    Posted by Lisa on March 29, 2006 at 12:18 PM (CST)

    32

    Jeremy- I pre-registered for the rebate and it did no good.  It still took Tivo 4 weeks to register that I even had submitted a rebate request.  I put the supporting documents (receipt, ups code, form) in a typed zip-barcoded envelope to speed the process the same day and dropped it off to the main post office at the Los Angeles Airport.  Tivo would have received it in days.

    Jeremy-  Thanks for a great website btw.  I bought the Tivo hoping I could watch programs on my iPod.  I have not had luck doing this so far.

    Posted by Mark on March 29, 2006 at 12:19 PM (CST)

    33

    “Lifetime service is available until April 15 if you use the deal mentioned above. That’s the point of the article.”

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz on March 28, 2006 at 9:40 AM (PST) 

    Jeremy, who do we mention it TO, and under what authority can I claim it (i.e., since your article is the only evidence that this lifetime deal exists, how does one validate it?)?  Are you referring to the phone number one calls for activation?  Is there a name for this specific deal, other than “...the one Jeremy mentioned in his article…”  :)

    Thanks.

    Lorraine

    P.S., i’ll be happy to give you referring credit…

    Posted by Lorraine on March 30, 2006 at 3:18 PM (CST)

    34

    Kevin: Apparently DirectTV activations aren’t eligible. But thanks for thinking of me.

    Steve: Yeah, the live TV pause thing is just poor marketing. The power of TiVo is all in its recording.

    Mark: Have you contacted their customer service, etc? Also, re watching programs on the iPod, have you tried the link in the article above?

    Lorraine: Mention it to the Customer Service representative at the telephone number in the article (1-877-367-8486). They know it exists - it’s the “until April 15 Lifetime Service” deal. :-) And thanks.

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on March 30, 2006 at 5:48 PM (CST)

    35

    Jeremy,

    With the basic cable services, at least for Comcast, the network channels, CBS, NBC, ABC, and Fox are available, without charge, if your TV has a HD tuner.  Most popular programming, LOST, 24, etc. is on those channels, in HD.  I’m betting most DVR recordings (by the general public) happen on those channels and if you have a HD tv, why settle for crappy analog broadcasting if you have a HD tv; seems a waste.

    I loved my Tivo, but one, it didn’t do HD.  Two, these noted Tivo models only have a single tuner which for most means only record & watch one channel.  I know many other DVRs, like the Comcast, have two tuners, which means you can record two shows concurrently, or record one and watch another.  Three, you own your hardware, so if it breaks you are responsible to fix it or replace it; more $$$.  The cable providers rent you the box for 9.99 or so a month and if something goes wrong, they replace it at no cost.  Technology improves pretty fast too. 

    Those are the three reasons i’ve found most are leaving Tivo, which i think is unfortunate.  The new software on DVRs is catching up with Tivo too, though not quite as slick. 

    I miss the…bloop bloooop blooooooop

    Posted by Dave on March 30, 2006 at 7:33 PM (CST)

    36

    actually jeremy, my wife and i bought a standalone series 2 box to go alongside our r10 directv unit with dual tuners based on this thread alone. The lifetime service applies to the series 2 box we purchased at Circuit City and I have you to thank for referring me since I thought the deal was off after the 16th of March. So send on that request for credit, and thanks again!
    I hope more people get inspired after reading this.
    Believe me, TiVo could use the help and they do make a fantastic product.

    Posted by Kevin on March 30, 2006 at 11:05 PM (CST)

    37

    I don’t have a phone line as my cell phone does more than enough for receiving phone calls…and as it is now, you need a land line to setup and initially program the box. Now one might say, well go to a friend’s house and set it up. Great, cause most of my friends use VOIP or their cell phone. So still a no go.

    Not to mention the outrageous pricing on the service as a whole. I can rent seasons of shows and movies from Netflix for a bargain compared to what Tivo offers. Let alone the glut of torrents that I normally download and convert to iPod format.

    So no thanks Tivo. Good luck.

    Posted by HalcyonGT on March 31, 2006 at 1:14 PM (CST)

    38

    This is great to hear about all of this TiVo development with iPod capability. I love this article. Now I do not have a 5G yet myself I still have 1G mini which is fine for me right now but when I do upgrade I want my TiVo on my iPod I do not wish to pay for my tv episodes. The only thing that sucks here is that all three tivo boxes in my house are DIRECTV TIVO and that is not compatible with Tivo to go. So this just sucks.

    Posted by Kyle on March 31, 2006 at 11:34 PM (CST)

    39

    Kyle: I’ve got a DirecTivo as well, but I think this article makes a great argument to get a standalone box and the lifetime subscription. It does kind of suck to pay for both the TiVo and the DirecTV services, but if your TiVo box lasts longer than 3 years, the subsciption is worthwhile. I’ve justified the additional expense on top of the DTV DVR fees as paying for the extra features the TiVo box allows (TiVo2Go, Online Scheduling, etc).
    Of course one could always just buy a slingbox, but that’s a different article entirely…

    Posted by Kevin on April 1, 2006 at 5:45 PM (CST)

    40

    Soe mpoints:

    The old pricing schemes are still there, except Lifetime, beaning you can go pay full price for a box, or count on the retail rebated price, or buy a used box, and still have the option of 12.95/6.95 MSD monthly service only fees, plus there is some prepaid servce only options.

    $49 is the AR price for 40Hr boxes, $89 for 80 Hr boxes.

    There are options to network a TiVo and maintain “modern” network WPA security.

    Older pre 7.2 units may be set up over a wired network, but only if the stars are aligned right.

    TiVo has no popups which prevent FFWing commercials.

    Posted by GaryT on April 3, 2006 at 10:10 PM (CDT)

    41

    Jeremy - Props for a great TiVo article. I live in Philly and the Comcast HD signal on my 42” Sony almost makes regular TV unwatchable in comparison - once you get used to it, it’s hard to go back. I’m guessing that TiVo prices have dropped to make way for next generation HD recorders.  If you’re an HD fan I think it might be wise to wait. If not it’s a bargain.

    Posted by Paul on April 4, 2006 at 12:43 AM (CDT)

    42

    Sky+ / Sky+ HD > TiVo > American TV tchnology. Why are you guys so far behind, you’re such a big and powerful country!

    In terms of TV and mobile telecommunications:
    Asia Tech > UK Tech > USA Tech

    Posted by Jack Bauer on April 4, 2006 at 6:13 AM (CDT)

    43

    Call me cautious, but prior to buying the box from Amazon I called the TiVo phone number you provided to ask about the “lifetime subscription available until April 15th” and was told that the TiVo hardware must have been purchased before Mar. 16th in order to be eligible for the lifetime subscription (she called it a 30-day grace period).

    If I activate prior to filing for the rebate do they have any way of really knowing when I purchased the unit?

    Posted by Mike B on April 5, 2006 at 12:56 PM (CDT)

    44

    Mike: My understanding was that the deadline for signing up for the lifetime service was the 15th of April, but only if you activate by phone (the option for lifetime service and all language fefering to it no longer appears on the website).
    I purchased my Series 2 box on 3/28/06 at Circuit City, and the “service upgrade” took until yesterday (4/4) to show up on my tivo account online. Maybe my service rep. was more “gracious” than the one you talked to?
    The only thing my representitive did say was that it was important to call to activate service BEFORE April 15th.
    Hope this helps…

    Posted by Kevin on April 5, 2006 at 1:15 PM (CDT)

    45

    80hr Tivo receiver (from Samsung) 
    = $90 after rebates

    Monthly Tivo service with Directv
    = $5 per month

    Rewinding live tv to see a nice shot of Brooke Burke on Wild On!
    = Priceless

    Seriously, I’m surprised there are still people out there living without Tivo.  NO, there are no pop ups.  Yes, you can fast forward through all the commercials in between an episode of Lost. 

    Let’s just I’ve got friends that regularly sit on my couch all weekend long catching up on shows they’ve missed.  It’s that cool.

    At $5 a month, why go lifetime?  That’s only $60 a year.

    cj

    Posted by cellphonejunkie on April 5, 2006 at 4:19 PM (CDT)

    46

    Any TiVo hardware purchased before the 15th of April can be activated before the 15th of April under the Lifetime plan. iLounge’s Jerrod Hofferth activated his brand new unit, bought in April, two or three days ago.

    CJ: Because not everyone wants satellite. And because DirecTV will be going with another company shortly, so who knows what’s going on with that.

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on April 6, 2006 at 1:52 AM (CDT)

    47

    It seems that there is a heated debate about the HDTV element. Well, heres my 2 cents.

    My dad (the A/V freak that he is) has a 720P DLP projector (fitting this into our NYC apartement was quite a challenge), and let me tell you, high def looks mighty good. We ahve a HD-DVR through time warner, who we also get our HD from. While the capacity is small (only 20 hours of HD), it looks purdy. Also, since we live in NY there is an abundance of HD channels. my dad wouldnt even consider a tivo b/c it didnt have HD.

    well thats what i ahve to say

    Posted by Matt on April 6, 2006 at 7:10 PM (CDT)

    48

    With TiVo: is the $300 plan good for the lifetime of the unit? Or a true user lifetime plan?

    Posted by flatline response on April 8, 2006 at 4:57 AM (CDT)

    49

    See previous comments - “lifetime of the unit,” but the unit’s lifetime is 4-6 years without repair/replacement of the hard disk, which is the only major component that has issues. Replace that, and you can keep using the same unit.

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on April 8, 2006 at 11:44 AM (CDT)

    50

    Every Tivo has a reformat option, so when you feel that “slow” that you described, just wipe the machine and it’ll load up like new.  We’ve had one box for three years now, and just last year picked up a second device.  It really takes the stress out of Television, as you can follow a series like a fanatic without sacrificing too much in scheduling.

    Posted by Matthew C Egan on April 9, 2006 at 12:26 AM (CDT)

    51

    Thanks for the article and the info on the lifetime deal. Now I’m really torn. I’ve had my Series 1 (with Lifetime service) since 2000 and was just getting ready to purchase a Series 2 when I heard about the Series 3. I thought, having waited this long, that I should naturally wait for the Series 3. However, I really don’t like the idea of paying monthly. I wish I knew what the pricing plans for the S3 are going to be so that I could get in on the S2 Lifetime offer if the S3 is going to be too expensive! Any thoughts? (By the way, I’m one of those who puts the TiVo right up there with the cell phone and the microwave…as an absolute must-have!)

    Posted by Michael A on April 9, 2006 at 8:58 PM (CDT)

    52

    Michael: It’s regretably too late to purchase a lifetime subscription “gift card” directly from TiVo (offered up until the original lifetime subscription cut-off date of March 16th). However, some people have been listing this card on ebay for a decent price (although it is frequently listed higher than the retail $299 due to it’s inevitable demand from being no longer available).
    Jeremy, help me out here, but couldn’t one apply this “gift” lifetime service membership to one of the newer boxes once they are released? Or is there a catch that I’m missing?

    Posted by Kevin on April 10, 2006 at 11:15 AM (CDT)

    53

    I personally went with the Series 2 rather than waiting on Series 3 - the idea of paying recurring fees for service doesn’t appeal to me, and the Series 2 does everything I need. Pricing for the Series 3 will most likely be more expensive, and obviously there is a presumption that there will not be a lifetime subscription available for it, so…

    Regarding the gift cards, I have been told by a friend (who purchased the last 5 or 6 cards from his local Best Buy) that the cards will enable people to procure lifetime subscriptions past the April 15 deadline, but it is unclear as to whether they’ll work on Series 2.5 or Series 3 boxes. There’s a lot of speculation on this point at the moment, but no concrete information, other than Tivo Community discussions suggesting that the cards will work on future revs.

    Posted by Jeremy Horwitz in East Amherst, NY, USA on April 10, 2006 at 1:43 PM (CDT)

    54

    Kevin & Jeremy: Thanks for your thoughts. I ended up going out and getting a Series 2. The 80-hour was $70 after rebate at both Circuit City and Fry’s, but I was able to get a 140-hour for just $17.50 more ($87.50 after rebate) at Fry’s, (it was an “open box” item). I had no problems registering it for the Lifetime Service, so if anyone is still worried about that, don’t (as long as you do it by April 15, of course).

    Thanks again, Jeremy for sharing this deal. I gave them your email address as the person who referred me.

    By the way, does anyone else feel like TiVo is shooting themselves in the foot by eliminating the Lifetime Service option and cutting themselves off from all those consumers like us who have no interest in taking on a recurring monthly charge? I talk to so many people who say “Why would I pay monthly for a VCR?” (sic) Oh well, just my thought as a TiVo lover…and stockholder. ;)

    Posted by Michael A on April 10, 2006 at 10:50 PM (CDT)

    55

    TiVo is too expensive for what it does.  For 10 bucks a month, I get a DVR that can record two shows at once and is built into my cable box, so no need to have an extra box.

    Posted by jared on April 11, 2006 at 9:22 PM (CDT)

    56

    Tivo is a BIG MISTAKE.  DO NOT COUNT ON A REBATE.  Four months later and no rebate check.  When I called Customer Service and obtained a case number.  Kelsa, a customer service investigator, basically told me tough luck.  I signed up for lifetime service. She was unable to give a refund because it was past 30days.  Tivo is in financial ruin.  I bought my Tivo based upon the promise of a $150 rebate.  I even told her she could reverse the $150 rebate to the credit card that I charged my lifetime service.  She was unable to do that or cancel my service and provide a refund.

    One unhappy customer can tell millions.

    Posted by Mark on April 11, 2006 at 9:59 PM (CDT)

    57

    Jared: It depends on how you look at it. If I’d been paying $10 a month for the six years that I’ve had my first TiVo I would have paid about $750 so far…and I’d still be paying that $10 a month. That’s a lot more than my TiVo cost, including Lifetime Service, and it’s still going strong. [Of course this argument won’t apply after 4/15 when the lifetime option is gone.]

    Posted by Michael A on April 11, 2006 at 9:59 PM (CDT)

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