What would you pay for lifetime?

Since TiVo just dropped lifetime because, at $299, it was too good of a deal to be economical for them, I’m curious how much people would be willing to spend on lifetime if TiVo were to re-introduce it at a higher price. Note, this is ‘service-only’ – the price of lifetime without a bundled unit, to make it apples to apples with the current (and soon to be departed) lifetime.
The poll.

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  • smashedagainst

    Greedy bastards.

  • pabell

    Tivo told me that they will keep the life time subscription, until March 12. I saw a few companies that will take your box (if broken) and transfer the lifetime subscription you currently have to it. and I agree Greedy bastards

  • thatdog

    Even the current $299 doesn’t seem like a great deal to me as long as it is binding to a specific piece of hardware. That’s money down the drain when I upgrade to a Series 3!

  • velvet_frogg

    Don’t buy a series 3 then when it comes out?

    I mean, I only bought a new one b/c my series 1 hadn’t ever worked properly with the sat. dish reciever. Of course I didn’t know I could probably have covered the entire front with black cloth or whatever it was the series 2 book suggested and now I’m left wondering if I had done that, would it have worked.

    Oh well.

  • pasketti

    What’s the current monthly fee?

  • tskirvin

    I paid $199 for my lifetime service, and it seemed about right.

  • chlaal

    To answer this properly I would want to know what the monthly fee is and what the average lifetime of a TiVo box is. If the lifetime fee is $480 and the monthly fee is $10 (just using numbers that make the math easy), that means the lifetime subscription is basically the cost of four years; if the average box dies after three years, it’s no bargain, but if the box can last ten years, it’s a great deal. That’s how I look at it.

  • notspam

    I used to be mildly interested in the lifetime subscription but then I had TWO series II boxes not even last a year.

  • rogueonion_8

    I have two Series 2 and I don’t want to buy a lifetime because I am upgrading to a Series 3 as well. The reason why I will be upgrating and probably the previous guys reason for the HDTV compatibility.

  • rogueonion_8

    $12.95 for one. $6.95 for each additional.

  • trinnit

    My box has 5 years on it and seems to not be an exception. The most common failure is the hard drive and those are replaceable.

  • megazone

    If you have a unit with lifetime and you have it repaired by an authorized service center, if they replace it (they usually do), then the lifetime is transfered. Same thing if you purchased it at Best Buy, etc, with an extended warranty and they replace it under warranty.

    But if you go to a random 3rd party, or just buy a new one yourself, then the policy is not to transfer the lifetime.

    And I strongly disagree on them being greedy. I’ve said, for quite a while now, that the lifetime was a *very* good deal, and I expected it to go away. If you look at the financials, lifetime was just not worth it for TiVo, and potentially an overall loss. They were lucky to see $100 on just an operational basis, and in reality less than that, and that’s before the corporare overheard. Lifetime hadn’t changed since 2002. They aren’t being greedy at all, they’re trying to be profitable and remain in business.

  • megazone

    Not really. I’ve owned 5 TiVos, and still own 2, I’ve resold the other 3. All have lifetime.

    Lifetime is equity in the box – it is the rent vs buy argument. I liked lifetime because, when I felt it was time for something new, I could see the old box and it was worth that much more.

    A used 40 hour TiVo without lifetime is just about *worthless*. You could get new units for $50, and refurbs for free. It makes it hard to sell a generic used box for anything. But lifetime adds intrinsic value to the box. Last fall I sold a used 40 hour box for $250 – because it had lifetime – and I’d used it for 3 years or so. Not only was I ahead because lifetime is the cost of *2* years of monthly, so I got 1 year ‘free’, but I then recouped a lot of the cost when I resold the box.

    That’s why I’m sad to see it go. And why if they’d raised the price to $499, even $599, I would’ve still bought lifetime – because that would just make the resale value that much higher anyway.

  • megazone

    Well, that was a while ago. My first lifetime, in February 2002, was $199. I remember just a few months later it was $249 for my second and thiurd

    Hmm, let me check… March 3, 2002 then March 24, 2002 and finally December 14, 2002. So I guess sometime in March the price went up. My next was February 5, 2004 – and that was $299.

  • megazone

    The current monthly service-only fee is $12.95, or %6.95 for additional units. TiVo amortizes the lifetime fee over four years, so you can consider the official expected service life to be 4 years.

    However, my original Series2, from February 2002, is still in use – more than four years along. This box was upgraded a couple of times, first just after I got it, and then last month the friend who owns it updated the drive again. I purchased a Series1, also in February 2002, and immediately swapped in two large drives – and that unit, as far as I know, is still in use. And I got it used, so it is more like 5 years old. My second S2 was from December 2002, and that one is still in use – 3.25 years later. I didn’t upgrade it, but I sold it to a friend last fall and I think he has.

    People still have working S1 boxes from 1999.

  • sinsofdesire

    i just added a new tivo unit today and it gave me the option of lifetime, however i didn’t do it. it was a unit i had purchased from someone in the forum and i had wanted to do a month of normal subscription first before the lifetime to make sure that it worked perfectly. so what you are saying is that if we want a chance at lifetime we have to do it now? will it remain a lifetime subscription, etc?

  • megazone

    Lifetime will be available for sure until 3/15. It will be no longer available at some point after that.

    Any unit signed up for lifetime before the cut-off will remain on lifetime forever.

  • sinsofdesire

    thanks, i just signed up!

  • pabell

    Tivo Unit $200 didnt send in the rebate
    Life time $299 – expect my box not to die until year 5 I have had it for 3 months.

    If my box dies thats $499 down the drain. Heck keep the life time and raise it to $399 Id still pay that.

  • megazone

    If something happens to a box with lifetime you can have it repaired by an authorized service center and the lifetime is preserved even if they replace it. And most failures are drives, which aren’t hard to replace yourself to fix the unit.

  • wickerdotus

    Depending on what the mothly fee is when the Series3 comes out, this will be a huge factor in determining if I go with a Windows Vista machine or not.

    I plan on evaluating what the overall cost will be over a 3 year period. Which ever comes in cheaper (with a bias toward the Windows machine due to the additional functionality as a PC) will get the purchase.

  • chlaal

    I know all that. Heck, I’m still using my first and only TiVo, which I got in early 2002. But a couple of anecdotes don’t qualify as data, and the folks whose TiVos died after just a year or two probably aren’t posting on this forum. So I’d prefer to see actual statistics.

    Although, in case it’s not clear, I’m speaking hypothetically; I know those stats would be difficult or impossible to actually gather, and probably more work than is worth it. I’m just saying that *ideally* I’d prefer to have access to all that information before I can decide what price I personally think makes sense for a lifetime subscription.

  • sentineljones

    Looking back on it now, when I bought my series2 about 4 years ago, I wish I would have bought the lifetime. At the time of purchase, I didn’t know enough about my TiVo to realize a) how much I would end up using it b) that I could easily replace/upgrade the harddrive and c) that it would last this long. I figured the box would last for a year or so – when in reality it would have taken what, just 24 months to break even?

    My TiVo has actually been one of the most worry and maintenance free things I’ve bought in the last few years – which is surprising to me as an IT person because the TiVo really is basically a PC.