Dave Zatz at ZatzNotFunny reported a new offer from the site www.tvyourway.com – which redirects to a page running on TiVo.com, so it is an official TiVo offer. If you comment to paying $16.95/month for 12 months, you get a 40 hour TiVo box free. This is an alternative to the other offer on their site, which is $50 for the box, and then $12.95/month for 12 months if you pre-pay for the year, or $200 for the box with a $150 rebate if you don’t prepay – same end result, more hassle. Obviously the extra $4/month is $48, so the end result of all three offers is similar. It looks like TiVo is experimenting with pricing plans to see which one gets more traction and/or to appeal to more people, such as those who balk at the up-front costs for the box.
There are a couple of unanswered questions about this offer though, and some limitations people should be aware of:
- It is not clear if the $16.95 month price drops back to $12.95/month after the 12 month commitment is up or not.
- Units purchased with this plan to NOT qualify the account for the multi-unit service discount, so you can’t add a second box for $6.95/month as you can with the other plans.
Dave doesn’t like this offer, but I don’t think it is so bad. Personally I don’t think it is a good deal – but I recommend lifetime to everyone as the best deal available, even on additional units, because of the equity and resale value. (I’ve had lifetime on all 5 TiVos I’ve owned – I still have 2 and I’ve resold 3.) If it were clear that the unit would revert to ‘normal’ monthly fees after 12 months, I think this would be a better deal – basically free financing for the price of the box without any rebate hassles.
I’ve suggested other pricing concepts in the past. With the current pricing you can get the unit for $50 with a 12 month commitment, with a $150 early termination fee. I think that, like cellphones, they could do something like a free TiVo with a 24 month commitment, and a $250 early termination fee. The longer you commit to for the service, the better the discount, but also the higher the penalty for breaking contract.