TiVo Raises Rates (In Time For The Holidays)

Dave Zatz —  November 5, 2006 — 55 Comments

Both standard monthly fees and multi-unit discount rates have gone up, effective this month. It’s still possible to lock in the previous rates if you commit to three years of service (and face a $150 early termination fee). But you better believe my SD TiVo units are not going to be around (or subscribed) for three years. Those on prepaid plans will be subject to these new pricing schemes when their plans conclude, while those currently paying month-to-month appear to be grandfathered under the former plans ($12.95/month for first unit, $6.95/month for each additional unit). TiVo’s doing a good job here confusing consumers and pricing themselves right out of the DVR market.

1. At the time of activation of a TiVo Service Only Payment Plan, you will be required to commit to the TiVo service for a minimum of one (1) year.
2. You may choose to either: (a) pay for your TiVo service on a monthly basis for three (3) years at $12.95 per month; two (2) years at $14.95 per month; or one (1) year at $19.95 per month; or (b) prepay for your TiVo service.

The MULTI-SERVICE DISCOUNT reduces the Monthly TiVo service or TiVo Plus service subscription fee by $6 per month to $6.95 per month for (3) years; $8.95 per month for (2) years; or $13.95 per month for (1) year while in compliance with all applicable Initial Qualification and General Eligibility requirements.

55 responses to TiVo Raises Rates (In Time For The Holidays)

  1. Good God!
    Is it their sole purpose in life to keep the company from being profitable? This will certainly cause some folks to shy away from Tivo. What was wrong with $12.95 @ one year commitment? Most people who are considering Tivo are on the fence at 12.95 and three years for that price is a long commitment! There is no way that people will go for $19.95 on top of their cable or satellite bill!
    Idiots!

  2. I’d been looking forward to getting a Series 3 for Chanukah. This will have me seriously considering getting a Cox HD DVR.

  3. This is horrible! I don’t know what TiVo is thinking…

  4. Hey, they lowered the price of the hardware as well…let’s not leave that out of the equation. Actually, these new plans are less confusing since it equates the retail store deals more to Tivo’s web site deals…only difference being rebate vs. upfront discount.

  5. I’m not sure that I fully understand this. What was the rate before? It seems like they aren’t raising the rate as much as requiring a longer time committment. Maybe I’m missing something though.

    I think that you’re wrong about TiVo pricing themselves out of the market. Take a closer look at the cable pricing plans and how they define a DVR. It’s an upgrade ON TOP OF other STB charges not a single fee. Compare apples to apples and you’ll see that even at $19.99 TiVo would still be a cheaper alternative.

    When Comcast installed their service I snagged a pricing sheet. According to the pricing sheet, they charge $4 for the digital converter inside of the set top box + $9.95 for DVR functionality + a $6.95 Digital programming access fee that is required to use their STB. To top it all off, they stick you with a .20 cent monthly charge for rental of their crappy remote control.

    In total it will cost you $21.10 per month to get a basic Comcast DVR. These are all charges you aren’t required to pay if you own a SD TiVo.

    If you get HDTV you have to pay an extra $5 per month on top of that. With an S3 I pay $1.50 per month for two cable cards, so there is a $3.50 fee savings for S3 users.

    If TiVo tried to bill their boxes as 3 seperate line items people would be outraged, yet no one thinks twice about quoting the $9.95 price for a cable DVR even though you have to rent other components as a separate line item in order to get to the DVR functionality. I can’t speak for other cable companies, but at least when it comes to Comcast, TiVo could raise their prices above $21 per month before they’d stop being competitive on price.

    Now the upfront fee, well that’s a different animal, but I don’t mind spending $800 to get a premium HDTV DVR experience.

  6. Actually the pre-paid bundle pricing has all come down quite a bit. It used to be $224, $369, or $469. Now it is $199, $299, or $349. The monthly price for 2-year plans dropped from $18.95 to $14.95.

    TiVo said they were going to be moving to the bundle plans going forward, including trying to get retailers to sell bundles, so it is good to see the prices on those come down.

    The service only prices were $155.40, $299, and $399. So the one year went up, 2 year stayed the same, and the three year came down.

    I look at it as encouraging longer commitments to reduce churn. I’ve always been in favor of that. When lifetime was available I always told people to buy lifetime. Then, when it went away, I recommended the 3-year pre-paid plans as the best value.

    So this doesn’t really change things for. I’d still buy them, and recommend them. I’ve never thought the 1-year deals were a good deal.

    The rebate for retail has gone up from $150 to $180 for the S2DT and DVD boxes, and $220 for the S2. So they lowered the acquisition cost for retail boxes and shifted the cost to the monthly fees.

    I don’t think this is as bad as some seem to think.

  7. This company is being run by monkeys.

    I’m sorry, I love the technology and the service and I own many Tivos (6 in all), but this whole debacle with the annual pricing, rate increases, decreased support for it’s largest customer base (satellite) and slow development calendars makes me want to hurl.

  8. Cool, my lifetime gift cards value just went up.

  9. So out of 30 changes – 21 dropped in net cost (up to $154), 1 remained the same, 5 increased just barely ($18 or less), and 3 increased noticeably ($40 or $54).

    So, what’s the problem? This is mostly a price decrease. Isn’t that a good thing?

  10. On closer inspection, I don’t think rates have really gone up. You’re just getting a free box no matter what. There’s a little confusion on Multi Service Discount, but I think you’re getting a box free with that commitment too. You just need to commit for a certain time frame to get a better deal, which is fair.

  11. Whats wrong with $12 per month or round it up to $13 per month?
    Tivo continues to baffle the financial community as well as the rest of the world… lol

  12. @Eric J

    Depending on what COX are offering in your market, you may end up with a DVR with notoriously crappy software (filespace leakage requiring hard resets, lost recordings, etc). Fear not, though, COX will soon be offering the option to upgrade those DVRs to TiVo software for $4 per month. No kidding. Read it on the COX usenet newsgroups.

  13. … well, I guess I’ll be selling my TiVo stock now (at a loss, mind you), seeing as how I won’t be buying a v3.

  14. The fact is that as a company TiVo is not doing particularly well. They’re constantly losing money. There’s really only three things that TiVo can do to eventually get to the point where the company is self-sustaining. First they can increase the subscriber base. They’ve been trying to do this for years and nothing has ever pushed them to the magic number of subscribers. Second, they can find a revenue model that produces profits with the current number of subscribers.

    The only other option is that they can sell out to somebody like Comcast.

    Obviously option 1 is the best, but I’d rather pay more for my monthly service than to see option 3 happen.

  15. BestBuy.com still states it as being 12.95 per year, they don’t mention a commitment. I wonder if you can still get the 12.95 rate directly from best buy…

  16. So after they forced an upgrade (KidZone) that effectively rendered BOTH my TiVo unusable, they now want to charge me MORE for that?

    These guys are HIGH!!

    As a loyal TiVo user (bought Series-1, upgraded to Series-2, bought TiVo+DVD), all I can say is enough is enough!!

    I’m still ticked that TiVo hasn’t got off their asses and solved the KidZone fiasco. Rendering TiVos useless in order to push features which may or may not offer a benefit (I have no kids, so its worthless to me) is pathetic.

    Not fixing the issue months later is disgusting.

    Raising rates on those same people that they’ve screwed with their worthless update is despicable!!

    Sorry TiVo, but loyalty only goes so far. It looks like I will moving on. Cable DVRs may suck (and they do), but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let TiVo shaft me as well.

  17. I just got the Tivo S3 dual channel recorder. I paid THIRTY dollars for the hardware because I ordered it directly from Tivo. They were offering the base 80 mg model for free. If you pre-paid for 3 years, the cost about $10 a month.

  18. As a fan of tivo, and wish i had it, i decided to go with the cablevision dvr instead. If your sat/cable company offers tivo then get it. But honestly the cablevision dvr is just as good. For 10 bucks a month (no other charges besides a remote control charge) i get a 100 hr SD dvr and 24 HD dvr (hd at no extra charge) it works just fine. All my shows tape. isnt that what its all about?

  19. Mr Magic… I think that was an S2 dual tuner for $30, not an S3.

    I guess these rate rises will be the push I need to shut off my second S2 and just leave my old lifetimed box active. The non-subscribed one will just become a dumb terminal for MRV now that I’ve got the Comcast Dual HD DVR…

  20. GadgetGav I thought a Series2 shut down altogether if you didn’t have a subscription for it, I’m not so sure you will continue to be able to use it as an MRV media extender.

  21. I bought a Panasonic DVR that automatically works with my cable to do everything I want.
    Why would ANYONE buy TiVo??????

  22. What will happen if you do a 3 year commitment and TiVo goes out of business in say, 2 years? I hope it doesn’t happen but everything they do lately has me wondering.

  23. *whistles while watching his DirecTivo*

  24. so very confused.

    So is this just for new service? I currently pay 12.95 a month (and have for over 3 years) am I being forced to pay this new fee and sign a contract to get better rates?

  25. one word:
    ReplayTV

  26. I own a Tivo right now, but purchased it when you could by the ‘lifetime plan’. I won’t own another Tivo unless I can get the same type of plan. If I’m going to be paying a monthly fee, every month, for the lifetime of the hardware unit, then there’s no reason to purchase the hardware. None. Instead, I will just ‘rent’ the DVR from my local cable company.

    IMHO Tivo should make a premium on the hardware, so folks can own it, and bring back the lifetime plans.

  27. Even $12.95 is too much. I mean what are they giving me ? just guide data which costs an END USER $10 a year. they are providing me with NOTHING else so what the hell am I paying for ? what we need is someone to hack the boxes to get the guide data from an alternate source since guide data is the ONLY reason to dial out. I paid $450 for this 35hr tivo 4 years ago. I am not paying anyone anything else. I dont rent. Period. (lifetime) I also think it should be illegal for them to limit lifetime to the box and not to ME the one who paid for it. When this box dies I stop using tivo even as good as it is.

  28. Way pay anyone for DVR?

    You can buy a ‘dvd recorder’ with a hard drive which effectively time-shifts and records as hd, sd or lower resolutions without having to pay any monthly fees.

    Yes, you have to manually setup recordings (think VCR) and type in the name of of the show, but that’s a small price to pay IMHO.

  29. hmm, I interviewed at TiVo for a customer retention job a couple months back… Perhaps I didn’t get the job because I’m actually in the boat that they should be lowering sub costs, not raising them!

    I also at the same time interviewed for a job where they’re effectively trying to deliver more content through the service, which is good, but you should be able to get a base TiVo system without that for a nominal monthly fee (if any – especially if you do go out and buy an $800 S3)…

  30. I should say, that I think overall, this isn’t going to hurt TiVo but I don’t see higher rates pulling in new customers either. I’m still holding my shares for a bit.. :)

  31. Folks, you DO NOT NEED a Tivo subscription to enjoy Tivo. I’ve had a Tivo for two years, and the only thing that is missing is the wish list. Now they want to charge $20/month for that gem? Granted, the wish list feature is great, but not at $20/month. We record 10+ hours of stuff every week with no problem, and it’s not that hard really, it takes a few seconds to look in the current TV guide or whatever you want.

  32. I always get a kick out of the “[OTHER PRODUCT] will record for you if you just [DO MORE WORK], why would anyone buy TiVo?” crowd.

    You know, a used Yugo will get you from point A to point B, why would anyone ever by a Mercedes?

    It is the same thing right? Getting from A to B is all that matters, right?

    Why would anyone ever buy a PlayStation3 or an XBox 360? My old Atari 2600 plays games just fine!

  33. Mark,

    The update currently in Open Beta is, in part, to resolve the 7.3.1 performance issues. Did you miss the Open Beta announcements?

  34. Mirathi – What about ReplayTV, other than the fact that they stopped updating their software several years ago, stopped making new hardware shortly thereafter, and finally stopped selling hardware completely early this year?

    ReplayTV is effectively out of DVR hardware business. And where is the ReplayPC software, wasn’t that supposed to have shipped by now? Hmm, the site says November 2006 now. We’ll see.

  35. Rob,

    I’m guessing you either have a Pioneer or Toshiba TiVo box, or an old Series1.

    The Series1 boxes work without a sub as a manual recorder. And the Pioneer and Toshiba units include TiVo Basic, which provides basic functionality out of the box.

    All other Series2 (and Series3) TiVos are doorstops without a subscription. No recording.

  36. @Wilford Martin
    Saying that a DVD recorder can provide the same functionality as TiVo (or any DVR) is ridiculous. Have you ever used a DVR? Can you pause live TV with a DVD recorder? Set up a Season Pass? Record two channels at once? The list goes on and on.

  37. I’ve been a loyal Tivo user for the last few years (owning a Series 1 and Series 2 Tivo). I was planning on buying a Series 3 when I get back (I’m currently deployed to Afghanistan). Not anymore. I always found it somewhat galling that Tivo charged a fee for programming info that’s available for free, but I put up with it because Tivo had features that made the cost (barely) worth it. But ti is the last straw for me. I’ll stick with my Series 2 for now, but clearly it’s time to move on.

  38. Chris,

    The programming data is not free for commercial use, TiVo must pay for it. While some websites make the data available, it is only for personal use and not by a product like TiVo. If too many users used a site for, say, MythTV, the site would probably start blocking that usage.

  39. I ended up getting the DVR service, and box rental from my cable provider instead of TiVo — which I would have preferred because of the outrageuos monthly fee and contract terms.

    How I viewed Tivo was:
    - $150-$300 initial investment in hardware. (if it breaks have warranty coverage and repair time issues)
    - $20/month for service.
    - very high $ termination fee

    How I viewed the Cable provider DVR:
    - no intial hardware investment (and it if works I take it back and get a new one the same day)
    -$6/month for service + $ 8/month for box rental
    Total Investment $14.00.
    -And if I decide to get ride of it no termination fees.

    Looks like an easy comparison to me. I know TiVo has more features, but how much are you willing to pay for them?

    If TiVo thinks they are hurting from poor revenue now, lets check in 12 months to see how many people don’t renew the service, and how much the new subscriber numbers drop.

  40. Does the TIVO service have to be activated once the hardware is hooked up or is there a grace period where you have service before setting up your account and activating it?

  41. New TiVo boxes come with a short trial period.

  42. I’m Sales For Comcast. Yes it’s steep About $22.95 a month now for DVR plan. Ridiculous!, but competitive thanks to Tivo’s increases. They make you subscribe to a minimum of Digital Classic, and there’s a $20 install fee, but there are no, $800 buy your equipment fees which equates to what? An extra $3 bucks a month if you make it five years on the box. There are no cancellation fees like Tivo and if you get this Tivo Box guess who now has to pay the cable company and extra $6 a month for two cable cards to make it HD? Yes you…. My suggestion… if you own tivo, great, I have 2 series 2 with lifetime subs on them. If you don’t, don’t bother, I’m going Cable if and when my unit fails on me.

  43. If Comcast ever gets around to rolling out the TiVo software, then maybe it is an option. I’d rather pay for a TiVo S3 than use Motorola’s or SA’s cable DVR software – in fact, I did.

    And the TiVo lets me access music & photos, and HME applications. As well as TiVoCast.

    If they enable TTG & MRV, those will be additional advantages.

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

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