Tuesday, September 06, 2005

TiVo cash rebate

TiVo is running a $150 cash rebate for all TiVo boxes.  Over the weekend, Amazon, a certified TiVo seller was selling the 40 hour TiVo box for $99, which meant that you could have received $50 in cash if you had purchased the box; unfortunately, just yesterday Amazon changed the price of the 40 hour box for $199, meaning that the net cost to you is a $40.

Now, in order to qualify for the $150 rebate you need to sign up for a one year commitment with TiVo at $12.99 per month or alternatively you can sign up for a “lifetime subscription” for $299 (note that “lifetime” refers to the lifetime of the piece of TiVo hardware — if you upgrade, the membership is not for your lifetime).

Something new is this page on TiVo that instantly gives you a $150 rebate is you pre-pay for a full year of TiVo service with the purchase of a TiVo box (note that the page I link to is for the 40 hour TiVo box with the one year pre-pay).

Here’s something important to note if you are going to get a TiVo box — you need one-time access to a land-based phone line for the initial TiVo installation.  This is especially important for someone like me that does not have a land-based phone at home.  Assuming that you can plug your box in at work, a neighbor’s house, etc. for a few hours, you can then purchase a USB ethernet adapter to plug in an ethernet cable or a USB-based wireless 802.11 receiver into your Series 2 TiVo box and receive all further updates in that manner.  As a side note to all this, there is this guide on configuring your TiVo from the start without a land based phone line, but obviously I haven’t tried it, so I have no idea if it works — based on research it seems like this works well with TiVo Series 2 boxes using the 4.0 software, but not necessarily for DirecTiVo boxes.

Why is TiVo doing this?  Both Dish and Comcast are pushing hard on their own brands of DVR services.  Additionally, DirecTV will be launching their own DVR service in October, which may significantly effect the number of TiVo subscribers, especially as the Comcast DVR, Dish DVR, and DirecTV DVR services all cost around $5.99 per month as compared to the $12.95 per month for TiVo.

This certainly makes TiVo more attractive to me from a price perspective, but I am still worried about of the monthly fees.  I’ll let you know if I decide to take the plunge.

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