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Get a TiVo Premiere for $49.99 shipped

It's refurbished, but still one of the best deals I've seen on this 45-hour DVR.

Ben's Outlet

Tired of your cable company's crummy DVR box? The gold-standard replacement has long been, and probably always will be, TiVo.

A typical refurbished TiVo runs $79.99, but while supplies last, Ben's Outlet has the refurbished TiVo Premiere HD DVR for $49.99 shipped. That's one of the lowest prices I've seen for the hardware.

Ah, but the service -- that's where they get you. TiVo charges $14.99 per month (down from the previous $19.99 per month, at least) and requires a one-year commitment. Alternately, you can pay for $499.99 for lifetime service. (Price breaks are available if you're already a TiVo subscriber.)

Crazy, right? Yes and no. Although it's Yet Another Monthly Fee, TiVo is one of those rare items that's actually worth it -- like the iPhone and Netflix. (I expect an earful after that sentence.)

There's probably not much about the Premiere I can tell you that you don't already know, other than that its built-in Netflix client was recently updated and greatly improved.

What's more, Xfinity On Demand is on the way for Comcast subscribers, which will resolve one of the big downsides of trading your Comcast box for a TiVo: no Comcast on-demand content.

This refurb comes with a 90-day warranty. It's worth noting that if you buy one directly from TiVo for $79.99, you get a full year. That's probably $30 well spent. Either way, I definitely recommend paying as little as you can for the hardware, seeing as you'll be on the hook for the same service charges regardless.

What are your thoughts on TiVo nowadays? Still the best DVR going, or not worth the money?

Bonus deal: A good backup utility is critical. TigerDirect has Acronis True Image Home 2012 (Win) for $39.99, plus $2.29 for shipping. This $40 mail-in rebate brings your total price down to $2.28. Lots of very positive user reviews on this product.

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