TiVo yesterday announced a new pricing plan for its Series2 DVR that essentially adopts a cell phone model: You can get the hardware for free if you commit to a monthly service plan for one, two, or three years. Starting next week, TiVo will begin offering its 80-hour Series box to customers who sign up for one of the following three subscription plans:
Those rates are in comparison to TiVo's current subscription pricing: $12.95 per month or $299 for the life of the box. (It's important to note that the new pricing structure will not affect current TiVo subscribers, who remain locked in to their current rates.) TiVo had been experimenting with deep discounts on its hardware and varying subscription models for the past several months, and the move to the free hardware model had been rumored for weeks.
Initially, the revised subscription plan will be available only for units purchased from TiVo.com or via the company's toll-free number. Again borrowing from the cell phone model, customers will have to pay a hefty kill fee to opt out of the subscription early.
In recent days, TiVo has announced the creation of a family-friendly KidZone function and a deal with Verizon Wireless to allow subscribers to program their DVRs from their cell phones. The company remained mum on details regarding its as-yet-unannounced Series 3 box, indicating only that it would be coming out in the second half of the year. Rumored to be CableCard-ready and tricked out with dual HD tuners, that's the one we're waiting for.
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