Is there any Tivo that does not require a monthly fee?

Discussion in 'TiVo Coffee House - TiVo Discussion' started by tvsoda, Jan 7, 2006.

  1. DocNo

    DocNo Member

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    Well, the obvious is they wanted to ensure subscription revenue.

    I would submit, an even more likely reason - there are probably more than enough cheap people who wouldn't pay for the full service and then badmouth that "Tivo" thing as being a complete and total piece of crap. Never mind they aren't getting the full Tivo experience, it still says Tivo on the outside of the box.

    I don't blame them for dropping a cheap feature that an extreme minority of users would probably use, but could stand to severely dilute and confuse their brand. Want manual recordings with no fee's? As others pointed out there are plenty of DVD recorders with hard drives that will do exactly what you want.
     
  2. Billy66

    Billy66 Again with shoelaces

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    Don't get me wrong DocNo, I don't blame them either. We also agree that it is to ensure sub revenue.

    My point was that initially TiVo must have felt the same way as dmdeane, that nobody would want to use it that way. As such, they had those features enabled. That was their strategy. Then, something changed. People who were laready conditioned to using a VCR, found this to be a better alternative and were using it that way. So TiVo went to the expense to reverse their original decision and take those features away.

    I'm in agreement with their decision. I just think that we, as TiVo users, are being myopic when we poo poo the idea that others would be perfectly happy using it as a digital VCR.
     
  3. Shawn95GT

    Shawn95GT Tivo, in HD!

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    Agreed on both counts. As an added bonus, the hardware will have some intrinsic value if you ever want to sell it later.

    A SA Tivo is dang near free after rebate.
     
  4. jkalnin

    jkalnin Baad Spellor

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    Did you ever look into getting a PC all-in-wonder Video cards (or any with cable input) and then getting software like Snapstream?

    Then your PC is a subscription free DVR. Unfortunately you can't do much else on it while it is recording.
     
  5. bidger

    bidger Active Member

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    Re. the first sentence I admitted as much in my first post and the restated it when you asked me. Yes, it's atypical, but for anyone who using OTA for a handful of stations, IOW not paying for TV, what would their motivation be to pay for a DVR if they can find a solution for free? I used an open box TiVo with just the remote that was used for demo at the local WalMart on closeout for $50 for the unsubbed recordings, but I've also used two Lifetime subbed TiVos and yes, of course the subbed units are easier to use and offer more features. Some folks don't care about those features. I turn off Suggestions on every TiVo box I activate. Plus, I prefer the integrated boxes. When the S3 TiVo premieres, I can envision the posts here: "I never knew how important dual tuners were!", "I can record and watch in HD!", "I don't have to hook it up to a cable box to watch HBO!". Peripheral stuff is nice, but when the people who have been waiting for the hardware features have what they want, they're not going to be listening to "Live365" all that much.

    I'm also atypical as far as your VCR analogy goes. I owned very few prerecorded VHS tapes and used my Magnavox for recording TV programs that I would miss when I was working 2nd and 3rd shift. It was very easy to program and I know that because I did program someone else's VCR, Sanyo, and it was a nightmare. I also found the tapes to be a pita, not just because of having to cue and rewind, but because of price. DVD-R is a pittance compared to what I used to have to shell out for VHS blanks. Using the VCR for archiving the way I did made me a prime candidate for TiVo. After I saw the promo on DirecTV, I couldn't get one fast enough.
     
  6. Hunter Green

    Hunter Green Curmudgeon

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    I'm surprised no one has pointed out that every TIVo doesn't require a monthly fee... if you buy a lifetime subscription, and consider that to be part of the cost of the box. As has been pointed out, TiVo Inc. has to make money somehow. If you don't like that it's a recurring cost, they offer you the other option too.
     
  7. tvsoda

    tvsoda New Member

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    I've been doing some reading, and the lifetime subscription is misleading. How many people paid for a lifetime subscription on a unit that became obsolete, and were forced to buy a new unit and pay a new subscription fee.
     
  8. dgh

    dgh New Member

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    No one I know. My friends have 9 TiVos on which they bought lifetime at least 5 and half years ago and all are doing fine. (Plus there are some newer ones.) Plus, the current ebay value of our ancient lifetime services hover around something close to what we paid, so if/when any of us do upgrade, the cost for 5-6 or more years of service will be pretty close to nothing per month. I can understand how it seems misleading - before you allow for resale, it sounds more expensive than it really is ;)
     
  9. DocNo

    DocNo Member

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    How is it misleading? My original 14 hour Phillips Tivo is chugging along just fine, thank you.

    To me, the lifetime is the biggest advantage of the Tivo! Monthly fees SUCK! You NEVER quit paying them - why do you think all these companies are trying to herd everything in that direction? Because it's a good deal for us? Ha!

    My first Tivo paid for it's lifetime in a little over a year (they were $150 back then). Heck, my second lifetime on my second Tivo pays for itself in two months vs. paying a monthly fee forever. Now that they offer a discount for a second and beyond Tivo, there is less an incentive... partly because I am now on my third Tivo and at half it will take over 4 years to recoup the cost, and partly because I will probably get an S3 if/when they ship and at that point I really won't need four tuners recording stuff. Dunno, I still may hedge and put a lifetime on it. If I do decide to get rid of it, right now I can easily recover it by selling it on ebay.

    But honestly, I really am shocked by people who think lifetime is a bad deal - all you have to do is crunch some numbers and you will see that the monthly is the TERRIBLE deal over the long run. Great for Tivo shareholders, but bad for me the individual.

    If you couldn't replace the hard drive in Tivo as easily as you could, that would dramatically shift the value proposition - but you can, so it's trivial to keep a tivo running pretty much forever (unless you fry something - all my Tivo's are plugged into UPS's...)
     
  10. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I say this as someone with two lifetime Tivos (though admittedly one was a 'luck' purchase off of eBay, I didn't expect it to have lifetime), and am drooling for the S3..

    I completely disagree with that statement. Just the fact that with a "digital VCR" (sic) you can watch something previously recorded while recording is a HUUUGE step over an actual VCR. (I usually had one VCR more than I needed to record, so I could watch something previously recorded while still recording, except during sweeps when there were LOTS of things on at the same time).

    Heck, even when using my non-Tivo hard-drive/DVD recorder with just DVDs (yes, due to a fault in it -- I'd love a Tivo/DVD recorder where I could edit the recordings), it's still better than videotapes even though I have a pile of unlabelled DVDs..

    Even with Tivos, I still know when the shows I want are on..
     
  11. dgh

    dgh New Member

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    The TiVo owners I know can't even narrow it down to a day of the week. :)
     
  12. dmdeane

    dmdeane sedentary adventurer

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    I don't, and I've heard from scores of other TiVo users on this forum who don't. In the early years of this forum a recurring theme on many threads was how we stopped knowing or caring when and where our favorite shows were on. We'd get into conversations about TV shows with non-TiVo users, and suddenly realize that we didn't know the time or the channel of the show. This seemed to be a fairly typical reaction of new TiVo users.
     
  13. jsmeeker

    jsmeeker Notable Member TCF Club

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    For me, it's a mixed bag. Some I know pretty well. These are usually prime time network shows. Since a given episode typically airs only once and because I have a single, Series 1 standalone, I have to know when these shows are on to work around conflicts. Sometimes I can't, so I have to make a choice of what I would rather have TiVo record. Other shows, I really don't know when exactly they come on. A given episode may air many times over the course of several days. I don't care WHICH one TiVo grabs, nor do I usually know when the initial airing occurs. Lots of times, these shows change times and days.. This is a MAJOR strength of TiVo. But I do know which channel most of my shows air on. You have to if you use Season Passes, since they are channel specific.
     
  14. Hunter Green

    Hunter Green Curmudgeon

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    All it has to do is outlast the break-even period (divide lifetime cost by monthly cost for number of months required), which they almost invariably do.

    But that's still a red herring. The monthly cost approach doesn't make you any more immune to the march of technological advances than does the lifetime. Like I said, if you want a no-monthly-fee TiVo, you consider the lifetime fee part of the cost of the box. Is the cost of the box worth the life you'll get from it? You can evaluate that the same as you do any cell-phone, car, TV, or box of Rice Krispies that you're considering buying. If it is, it is; if it isn't, it isn't. Simple as that.

    I went lifetime because I knew my TiVo would (and easily did) outlast the breakeven point, but if I hadn't, I wouldn't be upset about paying every month for a service as fine as what TiVo gives. I'm not allergic to monthly costs. (Though I must admit, that's what's keeping me from getting into satellite radio.)
     
  15. cheer

    cheer Registered Offender

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    Well I suppose everyone handled/applied VCRs differently.

    To me a dumb DVR does have advantages. First, tapes. Tapes were a PITA. I would get behind on tape labelling and forget what was on each tape. Then I'd lose one, or forget which order the shows were broadcast in. Then there was storage -- sometimes my wife likes to hold off on watching a series until we have a season's worth and then marathon them. So I'd end up with shelves full of tapes, especially if one episode didn't record because the tape got eaten: we'd have to wait until it was rebroadcasted.

    Gah.

    OTOH, I also see a huge value add from the Tivo software, and would hate to have to make do with a dumb DVR.

    Based on that webcast of Tivo's CEO, it sounds like they may be moving in the opposite direction...offering an option to pay an increased monthly fee with no hardware cost. I can see why people might be attracted to this, as there are plenty of people who can afford, say, $16.99/mo that might not be able to lay out hardware costs up front, let alone a lifetime sub. Of course, the math shows that the lifetime sub is the way to go...
     
  16. Shawn95GT

    Shawn95GT Tivo, in HD!

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    I've seen commercials for the $16.99 deal. At first I thought 'glad I got the lifetime, monthly went up', but then I realized it was a leased Tivo deal.
     
  17. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

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    I guess you never have more shows on than you want to watch/record at the same time. (I think it's tomorrow, hopefully not tonight, where there are *4* things on at once that are interesting. I think I'll probably end up skipping one, watching one live maybe.)

    Even with SPs, when there are more things on than I can record, sometimes I prioritize manually (decide to Tivo or use my non-Tivo recorder) in an order other than the original SP settings. So I still know when shows are on.. and usually check the To Do list on both of my Tivos once a day.

    If I had *8* tuners (to be able to pad EVERYTHING a few minutes on both ends), then I could probably start forgetting when stuff was on.. eventually.. 4 tuners (2 series 3s.. droool) would come closer.
     
  18. dmdeane

    dmdeane sedentary adventurer

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    Not that often, no. But I have had up to four TiVos recording at the same time, so it does happen. Most of my show conflicts aren't on major networks anyway, and have frequent repeats so I can simply use Season Pass Manager to repriorize to allow the more frequently shown show to be recorded at a lower priority.

    I still don't remember when or where the majority of my shows are recorded, however. Once I reprioritize the Season Passes or I learn which shows should have Season Passes on different TiVos so as to avoid likely conflicts, I quickly forget the time/day/channel information again. It's nuisance information I don't want clutterng my short term memory.

    I seldom check my Season Passes or To Do List more than once or twice a month, unless there is something new on I want to catch, or when a new TV season begins, or sports (usually NFL on Fox) are likely to cause scheduling problems, etc., and even then I never need to check more than once a week.
     
  19. dmdeane

    dmdeane sedentary adventurer

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    It's not really leased, though, is it? It's more like a cell phone contract where they give you the hardware, and you are locked into a contract for a specified period of time (with, presumably, a penalty fee to discourage leaving the contract before it expires). I forget if this has been mentioned, but what happens to the monthly fee after the contract expires? Or if you already have a lifetime sub?

    I wonder if this deal is being worked out now in preparation for the Series 3 rollout. I'd have to imagine that the Series 3 box will be expensive; maybe not as expensive as some are speculating, but still considerably more than current price of Series 2 boxes. This kind of a "pay higher monthly fee now and get free hardware with this x-year service contract" would be perfect for many consumers who would otherwise be in sticker shock over the price of the new Series 3 TiVo.

    Just speculating, but it does make a lot of sense.
     
  20. dmdeane

    dmdeane sedentary adventurer

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    Sorry, there are several overlapping conversations going on here, I should have been clearer. I was explaining why atypical users of your type aren't who TiVo needs to be catering to in order to survive as a company. You know this, but the OP and others reading this may not.
     

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