March 09, 2006

TiVo Canceling Lifetime Service Plan

Here's one way to ensure that we'll never upgrade to the latest TiVo DVR boxes - change the service plan so that we'd be contractually bound to pay the company about $20 a month just to continue watching the TV we already pay for on the cable, while gaining TiVo's standard functions (pause, slo-mo, skip and store). When my wife and I got our Series 1 recorder, I paid for the lifetime service fee, and won't ever have to give TiVo another check, should I choose to do so. But with the lifetime service plan only being assigned to the lifetime of the DVR, and not the lifetime of the customer (small difference there), if I were to upgrade, I would have to pay up again. And now, following this afternoon's announcement, the lifetime service plan is gone - as TiVo has opted to move all plans to include monthly fees.

TiVo has struggled to find a consistent, growing revenue stream. I can see how they would want to get more money from new customers, but what this has done is eliminate my plan to upgrade to a series 2 when it comes down the hand-me-down line, should a friend go to a series 3 following their introduction. Were I able to upgrade and buy another lifetime service plan, I would do so, but now that option has been taken away. Were I to accept the second box and move the Series 1 recorder to a second room, I'd still need to pay monthly service fees on the second TiVo, and that's just not interesting.

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