One Bazillion TiVo Deals. And Counting.

Dave Zatz —  January 23, 2013 — 36 Comments

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TiVo’s launched a veritable smorgasbord of promos this month. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of increasing their bottom line and subscriber count during a traditionally soft post-holiday retail season. And additional customers would surely bolster their burgeoning analytics business (and look good for the February earnings call). Or maybe the goal is to reduce inventory ahead of potentially new DVR hardware. Regardless, we can’t recall a time that we’ve seen such a large number of simultaneous deals out of TiVo.

New customers can pick up any Premiere DVR model for $50 off, with service clocking in at $15 a month. Alternatively, one could pick up a refurb 500GB TiVo Premiere for $0 down, with a two year subscription requirement running $20/month. Former subscribers, or those with inactive DVRs, are being encouraged to breathe new life into those mothballed units with Lifetime Service:

As a former TiVo customer, you’re eligible for an exclusive offer: For just $49 you can sign up for a special One-Time Service Extension plan and never pay another cent for TiVo service. Take advantage of this amazing, limited-time offer today!

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Existing Series 2 and Series 3 patrons who haven’t yet made the jump to Premiere can also get in on some action via a number of “upgrade” offers (1, 2, 3), including a 4-tuner TiVo Premiere with Lifetime Service for $550 or dual tuner TiVo Premiere with Lifetime that runs $400. Additionally, as part of the upgrade process, it seems some are still given the opportunity to keep their older unit in service via a $99 PLS.

Nothing catch your fancy? Or maybe you don’t qualify? You should probably ring TiVo up and ask what they can do for you, as one forum member was offered a free accessory of his choosing along with his DVR purchase.

Whether or not any of these deals are compelling is for you to decide. As, frankly, the number of mathematical permutations in play make my head hurt. And who knows when TiVo’s next platform will arrive. Having said that, my knee jerk recommendation would be to instantly grab any Lifetime Service plans offered at $49 or $99.

36 responses to One Bazillion TiVo Deals. And Counting.

  1. Still not enough to get me to upgrade from my S3 at $6/month.

    Hopefully it means they’re clearing inventory for new hardware in the next quarter.

  2. If only they offered something new that worked on cable in Canada.

  3. My theory is that TiVo is really close to reporting some decent retail subscriber metrics this quarter so why not use some of their cash on hand to bolster the retail subs a little more before the end of their quarter (Jan 31). The Tebow national ads must have had some impact and Q4 is traditionally their strongest quarter probably attributed to holiday adds.

    It costs them essentially nothing to add back a churned customer and that customer is now a target for advertisements, On Demand, and additional products (Mini, Stream, Series 5).

  4. Lol @ Sam. You are more transparent than saran wrap.

  5. @derogatory_user_name,
    Care to elaborate? It’s not a secret that I’m a TiVo investor and I’m generally bullish on the company.

  6. TiVo should take a page from the premium cable channels and give away free service for a week/end/month. How many TiVo boxes are sitting in a garage somewhere because a subscriber cancelled and now it’s worthless? Turn on all of the abandoned TiVo’s for a month, promote it and watch subscribers come crawling back when it comes time for their service to end. They can brand it as a rekindling of your romance with the DVR for a Valentines day package.

  7. “my knee jerk recommendation would be to instantly grab any Lifetime Service plans offered at $49 or $99″

    It is indeed damn tempting…

    The refurb Premiere with lifetime becomes a free replacement for my non-lifetime TiVo HD in under 3 years. Decisions, decisions…

  8. These deals are only marginally enticing to an owner of an older life-timed unit.

    Previously, you could get a refurb 2-tuner 320GB premiere + wireless adapter + lifetime for $70 + $0 + $400 (MSD rate) = $470.

    Now It’s a refurb 2-tuner 500GB premiere + wireless adapter + lifetime for $300 + $0 + $100 (must have S2 TSN) = $400.

    I know that the hardware needs to subsidized to a point, but where is the deal that gets me into HD hardware and lets me transfer my lifetime service from a SD unit?

  9. “Now It’s a refurb 2-tuner 500GB premiere + wireless adapter + lifetime for $300 + $0 + $100 (must have S2 TSN) = $400.”

    (my bolding)

    So I’m guessing I didn’t read the fine print properly. If I’ve got a non-lifetime TiVo HD, I’m out of luck for that offer?

  10. I bought and activated my Tivo Premiere during the fall 2011 $10 per month Over-The-Air only promotion. I just got off the phone and the CSR would only offer me the $399 upgrade to lifetime. I’ll stick to the tenner a month plan.

  11. “TiVo should take a page from the premium cable channels and give away free service for a week/end/month. How many TiVo boxes are sitting in a garage somewhere because a subscriber cancelled and now it’s worthless? Turn on all of the abandoned TiVo’s for a month, promote it and watch subscribers come crawling back when it comes time for their service to end.”
    I don’t think that would actually work. Setting up a TiVo is a big deal. You not only have to dig into your A/V cabinet, rearrange your wiring, etc, but also get and install a cablecard, which requires a truck roll in many cases.

    Since TiVo is making money on the hardware at normal prices anyway, and their costs for service over the internet must come extremely close to zero, they should sell the premiere 4 for its normal price of $199 with $100 lifetime. Now THAT would be an attractive limited time offer.

  12. Sam, while I have no intel, gut feeling, or preference I suppose it’s also possible holiday sales sucked and Tebow was ineffective so this could be an approach to get those numbers up ahead of earnings.

    Chucky, I don’t think you need Lifetime. It’s worth a call. Maybe two if the first rep doesn’t help you. Regarding your three year amortization, you have to factor in saving money versus being once again being a generation behind as I assume we’re in an 18 month window where new a new DVR platform will arrive. Of course, a Lifetimed Premiere would have a resale value. I may call back and try to get my current Premiere (versus XL4) on the new Lifetime promo or just cancel ahead of the Mini as Verizon is always willing to give out free boxes (by extending my contract).

    Rodalpho, TiVo’s got a lot of cash on hand. Always wondered why they didn’t periodically run amazing deals like that to get people on board or upgraded and feeling good. But that $400 2 tuner Lifetimed Premiere is still pretty attractive.

  13. “Chucky, I don’t think you need Lifetime. It’s worth a call. Maybe two if the first rep doesn’t help you.”

    Good advice.

    “Regarding your three year amortization, you have to factor in saving money versus being once again being a generation behind as I assume we’re in an 18 month window where new a new DVR platform will arrive.”

    Yeah. But even over 2 years, it’d only cost me net $120, if that’s when I jumped up to S5.

    All I really want out of S4 is DIAL-like remote launching ability.

    It becomes a question of optimism on the S5, and whether a useful iOS app is worth somewhere between $200 and zero.

    My initial impression is that I should lean toward biting on that lifetimed Premiere, assuming they’ll have me, but I’ll take a few days to ponder, assuming the deal will still be around.

    ——-

    My personal use-case scenario aside, I really do like that TiVo is offering a Krazy Kavalcade of offers. I’ve always asserted they need to be everywhere the customer is, and complexity of pricing/marketing/channels was their friend.

    When you think of Alviso, you should think of a very happy Al Harrington in Weekapaug

  14. I don’t see why their bankroll really matters. If you presuppose that they make money selling premiere hardware at normal pricing, and all indications are that they do, and if you presuppose that they their costs to send you TV listings are vanishingly close to zero, which it certainly also true, there’s no reason why they wouldn’t change their pricing to be more attractive. They’ll make money on every one sold. Win/win.

  15. Indications are the lower end models are still subsidized, while the XL4 isn’t or just minimally. Not sure what it costs to keep the data center going, guide data flowing, and customer support staff around, but TiVo’s built their retail business model around the service fees. Which is why we can expect the Mini to arrive with similar. Unless they read all our comments and reconsider.

  16. Ahh, I thought they made a profit on the entire line. Well that invalidates my post. :)

  17. Connecting the dots from their latest conference call commentary makes me believe that the XL4 is un-subsidized, Premiere 4 is slightly subsidized, and the Premiere is subsidized. With the $50 off, who knows… :)

  18. I have a lifetimed Series 2 and a month-to-month Premiere ($45 on Woot.com last year!). Anyone think there’s a chance of squeezing a $100 lifetime out of a TiVo rep for my existing Premiere under these deals?

  19. Worth a shot, it’s a toll-free number. But I’d be very surprised if you were successful.

  20. I called twice and spoke to 2 different people and was eventually transfered to the cancel service folks. I was offered $99 lifetime on 1 of my TiVoHD’s. They had nothing available for my Premiere or my second TiVoHD.

    The $49 offer is only good to specific TSN’s. The people with those TSN’s should have been emailed. These TSN’s have to have cancelled service on them before January 2010.

    I argued that it didn’t seem fair to those of us who have been paying them money for the last 3 years to get the shaft. While people who gave up on TiVo, and went to a competitor, get a $49 lifetime. It didn’t matter, they just kept saying I didn’t qualify.

  21. Bummer. That’s what I figured though. Can’t blame them for trying to make money, but it’d be nice to throw long time subscribers a bone.

  22. @derogatory_user_name,
    Care to elaborate? It’s not a secret that I’m a TiVo investor and I’m generally bullish on the company.

    LOL @Sam, everyone knows you’re also their biggest fanboi now, ever since ZeoTivo disappeared from TCF.

  23. First time poster here. I have a 320GB Premiere that I bought refurbed from Tivo two years ago. I just called and asked if I can be included on one of these deals. The CSR lowered my monthly service to $9.95 from $12.95. While I am aware that this is far from being as good a deal as some of the current deals, I appreciated the effort and recognize that I’m saving money. I definitely enjoy my Tivo enough to spend $10 a month.

  24. Hm, my Premiere is costing me $15+$4 a month. Not sure why I didn’t get the “new” MSD pricing. Verizon’s normal DVR is $17/mo… the interface may be more clunky, but it’s got all the on demand – which would save me money instead of paying for Amazon Instant when something gets missed. Also, they’re willing to give me the multi-room DVR hub for three months free (normally $20) – no contract extension or anything. Think I’ll take them up on that offer and kill the Premiere then reevaluate when the Mini comes out. And based on these offers, I’ll keep the Premiere around in the closet in should another PLS deal arise.

  25. @slowbiscuit,

    Biggest fanboy… I’m flattered! I think I know a couple of TCF’ers that like the product (and company) probably as much as I. There are a lot of things about TiVo that drive me crazy but it still beats any generic cable operator DVR by a mile. OTT apps… That’s another story.

  26. Fanboy or not, Sam is thoughtful and well connected. So I appreciate his contributions here. All perspectives are welcome as long as we keep it civil – thanks.

  27. Thanks Dave. I’m curious as to your perspective on the Verizon multi-room offering. I had the DVR plus two satellite boxes for a few weeks. The remote wasn’t great and the multi-room occasionally had issues. Lack of pause and rewind on the extender is an issue. After your 3-month free promotion the cost for three boxes will be $40/mo so it will be interesting to compare the total cost of a Premiere with two Minis once TiVo releases those details.

  28. The upcoming Verizon multi-room offering is what I’m really looking forward to. I’ve previously had a Verizon set-top – with the bulky, overly buttonified remote we know and don’t love. And while the UI is speedier than TiVo in many areas, more clicks are required so it’s a net win for TiVo. And I’m only getting the hub, no other units. I assume this spring or summer I’ll reevaluate it all in light of the new stuff from TiVo and Verizon. Maybe Aereo too, if they’re still around. Speaking of which, another reason to hang onto my 2 tuner Premiere is its ability to do OTA should I ever find a usable antenna and need it.

  29. TiVo’s on Woot today. So they’re definitely pushing hard to unload inventory or boost subscribers. Maybe both. Having said that, all my data points indicate there will not be an imminent retail DVR refresh, certainly nothing in the 1st half of this year. I do expect we’ll hear word on the 6 tuner Pace TiVo DVR for MSO partners (overseas?), but us retail folk will continue to wait.

  30. “I argued that it didn’t seem fair to those of us who have been paying them money for the last 3 years to get the shaft. While people who gave up on TiVo, and went to a competitor, get a $49 lifetime. It didn’t matter, they just kept saying I didn’t qualify.”

    TiVo has long had issues with this. The convoluted MSD inheritance process is another example. I had two S2 TiVos, one with Lifetime, and one with a MSD at $6.95…replaced both with TivoHDs when the dual tuner S2 boxes became useless on my cable system.

    They rewarded me for upgrading by canceling my MSD on the monthly box and raising the rate to $14.95 (or whatever full freight was at the time) without notice. Why? Because the S2 with lifetime (the MSD “parent” unit) stopped calling in. Well duh, I paid you $500 to replace it with a lifetime TivoHD.

    It takes a special kind of customer service ineptitude to take away a loyalty discount because someone’s bought too many new things from you, doesn’t it?

  31. Disappointing to hear Dave, it is definitely time for a refresh. Maybe they are waiting until the HDUI is actually finished before releasing their next box?

    As I said on twitter, my mom is currently asking to upgrade to a 4 tuner model and Mini since she has conflicts and hates managing two boxes. At this point if the Mini came out tomorrow I would still wait for the new hardware. I just can’t justify buying hardware that is 3 years old at this point. I would just give her my Elite and replace it with the new 4 or hopefully 6 tuner XL model.

  32. I do expect we’ll hear word on the 6 tuner Pace TiVo DVR for MSO partners (overseas?), but us retail folk will continue to wait.

    The Pace TiVo box is overdue but Tom Rogers confirmed in November that TiVo-Pace will deploy this year to a number of US MSOs. The Mediacom PR last September specifically mentioned the Pace box, Mediacom also intends to offer the 6-tuner, DOCSIS 3.0-capable Pace XG1 gateway with the TiVo experience when it becomes available.

  33. The three deals for existing series 2 and series 3 owners all have now expired – just as I decided to get a Premiere 4 with lifetime to replace my Series 3 with lifetime.

    Is there a page on the Tivo site that lists all the special deals for current owners? All I can find is the $50 off the unit and $100 off of lifetime, which isn’t as good as the deals you had links to. I’d like to keep an eye on the Tivo site in case there are better prices for current owners in the future.

  34. I read this entry on the 28th as well. I did receive an email for an upgrade for a specific TSN, but the offer only called out the Premier 4, whereas 30% of what I record is still OTA HD goodness – some on channels that I can not get via cable. I was too late to do a little research before taking advantage of that deal.

    I received another email today from TiVo which offered all the different Premier units at a discount. If I read it right, I could get the 2 Tuner Premier (which still has the OTA tuners, correct?) for $99, with a $399 Lifetime. I would have to keep one of my other units live (which one?). I assume this box would also allow me to receive Xfinity OnDemand here in Minnesota. I read now that the disk upgrade process is also now working on the Premieres… Might be time… Offer good until February 5th.

  35. Nicholas Peterson February 3, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Doesn’t really compel me to buy one, I’d love 4 tuners, but the premiere hd interface is still abysmally slow years after release. Even if they announce new hardware I’d probably wait to see what the new Xbox brings to the table, or if apple announces a tv this year.

  36. 4 tuner and I would jump on it.

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