As some of you may have heard, DNNA/D&M Holdings is finally shutting down the data service for ReplayTV units. Most of the remains of ReplayTV were sold to DirecTV back in 2007, but the customers and data service remained with DNNA. DirecTV only acquired the intellectual property. Even then RTV was basically dead, the last major update was in October 2003, with minor bug fixes until late 2004. DNNA announced they were pulling out of the DVR market in December 2005, and the last of the existing stock of RTV HW was sold off by early 2006. So, while those still using their ReplayTV units may not think so, they actually kept the service running for quite a while after the product line was, for all intents and purposes, dead.
But that’s just the framing…
With the data service is being turned off on July 31st, TiVo has decided to woo the remaining ReplayTV users with a special promotion on the TiVo Premiere, running through 8/15 – or while supplies last. (They’ve probably earmarked a set number of units for the promotion, so don’t wait too long.) And the good news is it is really open to anyone, not just ReplayTV users, so if you’ve been thinking about joining the TiVo
cult family, this is a good time. There are two deals – both save $100.
The first is a TiVo Premiere for $0, with a two-year commitment to the $19.99 monthly service – which is the current going rate. Personally I’m not too keen on this deal, but if you’d rather have no money down and ongoing payments, now is the time. (OK, technically you’re only saving $99.99, the normal price of the Premiere.)
The second deal is the one I recommend – a TiVo Premiere with Product Lifetime service for $499.98. This is a savings of an even $100 off the normal rate – $99.99 for the Premiere, and $499.99 for Product Lifetime service. I think this is the better deal as you’ll break even with the $19.99/month deal in 25 months, and after that you’re effectively saving as you have nothing more to pay while the monthly subscriber continues paying.
Even better, Product Lifetime is attached to the unit, so you have equity – it is buying vs. renting. If you decide to upgrade to something else you can resell the unit on eBay, Craigslist, etc., and recoup some of what you invested. Whereas used units with no lifetime service tend to be worth nothing on the open market after a couple of years, since there is always a new model for just not much down.
I’ve owned six TiVos in total since 2002, and I currently own two. I’ve had Product Lifetime on all six, and I resold the other four as I’ve upgraded. I always recommend going with Product Lifetime whenever possible. Most people keep their TiVo longer than two years (TiVo amortizes the product lifetime revenue over five years, as an indication), so it is a better deal for most everyone.
Now, these deals are good for new TiVo subscribers, but if you’re an existing subscriber there’s no reason to jump on these deals. Remember that existing subscribers are eligible for multi-service discount (MSD) pricing of $14.99/month, or $399.99 lifetime. So the lifetime deal works out to be the same price ($0 + $499.98 = $99.99 + $399.99), and the monthly deal isn’t any better as, over the two year window, you’ll end up paying $20 more than you do buying the box up front and paying $14.99/month. So it is only a deal if you really don’t want to, or can’t, afford the $99.99 box.
But if you’re new to TiVo and you’ve been thinking of taking the plunge, I say take the lifetime deal while you can.
Zatz Not Funny got to this before I could, and there is some good discussion in the comments.