Well, circumstances are forcing a decision around whether to upgrade to the TiVo Premier. For some time, existing TiVo owners with Lifetime service have been eligible for special upgrade pricing. Instead of replacing your existing unit, the upgrade gave you product Lifetime on the new Premier for just $199 plus the cost of the new hardware (your existing TiVo stays active). The regular Premier box runs $270 and the Premier XL costs $450 with this offer. I spoke to a TiVo CSR this morning and tomorrow, May 19th will be the last day for this offer (I get the impression that it is NOT being replaced by something better). Also, it cannot be combined with any of the other offers out there such as the free slide remote or the $199 refurbished Premier XL. It appears that if I want to purchase Product Lifetime service after the 19th, its going to cost $500 (yikes!!). Monthly rates also appear to be rising. Existing owners can see this deal by logging into the TiVo website.
I started to give the Premier a second look yesterday when our friends over at Zatz Not Funny outlined the benefits of the latest TiVo Premier update. What’s most interesting is that TiVo appears to be laying the ground work for additional streaming functionality in the Premier. They also are appear to be retrofitting some of the better parts of the much maligned High Def interface back into the classic one.
Existing Lifetime Owners:
Buy a new Premier today $270 + Product Lifetime $199 = $469*
Buy a new Premier XL today $450 + Product Lifetime $199 = $649
Buy a refurbed Premier $99 + Product Lifetime $500 = $599
Buy a refurbished Primer $199 + Product Lifetime $500 = $699
Well, option one seems to be the clear winner. Another option would be to commit to one year of monthly service at $12.95 with the refurbished Premier XL. That would cost $155 for one year of service which makes the Lifetime option look so much more attractive. Regardless of the monthly fee being $13 or $20, I don’t think the costs justify what you get. When you consider that Netflix or Hulu Plus costs $8 a month, it feels like TiVo is a little out of touch with the market. If only there was a way to move the Lifetime off my Series3. I also have to remember that I will have to probably pay FIOS to come out to install the CableCARD. The upside of that is that I could go from the two S-cards to one M-card, ultimately saving me some $$$. I could also wait for version 1.9 of the the FIOS DVR. So, to upgrade or not, that is the question. I’m going to sleep on it.
Update: TiVo posted the new offers today for existing customers with Product Lifetime service. It will cost $399 to add it to a new Premier ($200 increase). However, TiVo reduced the cost of the hardware from $270 to $99. So, in reality, it’s just $30 more. I’m sure you can still call today and get the old offer as the CSR I spoke to yesterday said it would still be available. I’ll post later as to what conclusion I came to.
Additional: You can combine the $399 Lifetime with refurbished Premiers. A refurbished Premier is $80 and the XL is $200. This makes the regular model refurb + Lifetime just $10 more than the original offer.