Why no subscription upgrade, Tivo?

Discussion in 'TiVo Series3 HDTV DVRs' started by Emacee, Nov 25, 2008.

  1. Emacee

    Emacee Member

    Dec 15, 2000


    Time passes. Series 3 has been discontinued and replaced with HD XL.

    I am coming up on the second anniversary of my Series 3. When I bought it, the longest term service contract was three years (which is what I got). At the time, Tivo was saying they could not make a profit on lifetime contracts. Several months later, Tivo changed it's mind and started offering lifetime contracts again ($499 for the lifetime agreement versus $399 for three years).

    I just got off the phone with Tivo. They are telling me that I can get a lifetime agreement by paying the full $499 on top of the $399 I already paid. The lifetime agreement starts at the end of my three year contract. THIS SOUNDS LIKE A REALLY BAD DEAL. I am asked to pay the same price for service on a three year old box as on a brand new box (total real "lifetime" cost is $898). They say they can not do an upgrade. I'd be glad to give them and extra $100 to make up the difference between the three year contract and the lifetime agreement. But that is not an option.

    Apparently, Tivo like many other companies is so busy chasing new customers that they don't care about retaining the loyalty and good will of existing customers. I got my Tivo Series 3 early in the product cycle and I paid a premium for being an early adopter. I knew the price would come down. Same thing with my Series 1. But charges for on-going service are different. I'd be willing to pay a bit extra to upgrade my contract to a life a term but they are not willing to give me a break here.

    Tivo is not in a position where it can rip-off long-standing customers. I realize finances are tough. Cable and satellite companies are offering knock-off DVRs for a lot less. The most effective resource Tivo has to get people to pay a premium (and go to some extra effort) to get a Tivo is word of mouth from satisfied customers. But to get that, they have to satisfy customers and not gouge us.

    I know Tivo managers read this forum. I hope you all will think about this.
  2. rainwater

    rainwater Active Member

    Sep 21, 2004
    Lifetime is not $499. Lifetime is $399 unless you have another TiVo that is MSD eligible. In that case it is only $299.
  3. thespacepope72

    thespacepope72 New Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Howdy emacee. I am in exactly the same situation you are. I think it is just plain stupid of TiVo to not offer a cheap upgrade from the 3-year prepaid ($100) to a lifetime for S3 owners like us. I will be leaving TiVo when my 3-year prepaid is up in 2010.
  4. mjpaci

    mjpaci New Member

    Jun 2, 2003
    Boston, MA
    Ok, well, maybe not nefarious, but it could have something to do with accounting practices. I am not a CPA nor do I pretend to be, but the reasons for charging "full" for a lifetime upgrade may have something to do with initially booking as a subscription and then something else...
  5. djwilso

    djwilso Member

    Dec 23, 2006
    Phoenix, AZ



    Your story sounds exactly like mine. I had a Series 1 for a very long time and then bought the Series 3 when it first came out and got the 3 year contract which will end next year in November.

    I was also very disappointed that TiVo would not allow me to change my service plan to Lifetime.

    I feel like I've been an extremely loyal TiVo customer for more than 8 years, and while I want to see the company succeed, it would really go a long way to keep me loyal by offering a path to upgrade my service plan to lifetime. It would ensure that I would purchase future hardware. As it is, I don't know that I will be continuing on indefinitely.
  6. lessd

    lessd Well-Known Member

    Jan 23, 2005
    Aw come on what co gives you a 3 year price protection, most of the early people who purchased the original Series 3 over paid compared to what you can get the unit today. TiVo gives you a 30 day price protection, giving "loyal" customers free (or almost free) service is not going to make money for TiVo. When you purchase a TiVo you get the service plan then in force, if it changes later you don't get a refund or charged more if the price went up. Some people are still paying $6.95/month for the TiVo service from the old days, TiVo not changing their price.
  7. urkel-Os

    urkel-Os Teh Cereal

    Oct 23, 2005
    Yeah, I've got to agree with lessd on this one. You pays your money and takes your choice, and as everyone knows, early adopters take it on the chin w.r.t. pricing. That's how it goes, and the best way to avoid this situation is to resist buying the shiny new thing within the first few months. Plus, you gain the advantage of learning from the early adopters' feedback. BTW, I have a hard time believing that complaining about a similar situation to a mobile phone provider (for example) would lead to a better result.
  8. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001
    They _will_ let you "change" your service to lifetime -- by paying the lifetime fee.

    Your 3 year service plan is "used up". While I can see your point of view on the issue,
    that's the reason I got lifetime in the first place on my Tivos, so I would know how much I had to pay beforehand... (and in fact they "got me" on my S3, since I got it because of the supposedly one-time-only lifetime upgrade plan.. so I paid a LOT for that S3... The Tivo HD transfer I did was a MUUUUUCH better deal IMHO, and worth it even "just" for the 2 tuners analog I'm using it [and the S3] for mostly nowadays..)

    From your argument, even someone who had paid monthly and paid enough months to be the same money as a lifetime subscription should be entitled to a free transfer to lifetime... which obviously makes no sense.
  9. thespacepope72

    thespacepope72 New Member

    Jan 25, 2005
    Do you have a lifetime subscription?

    I am certainly not saying that TiVo owes me anything. I know I paid my money and took my chances. I also know that my money will be walking at the end of my three years.

  10. Brad Bishop

    Brad Bishop Member

    Sep 11, 2001
    Atlanta, GA
    I'm in this camp:

    You paid your money and you took your chances.

    For me, I didn't bite on TiVo S3 or TiVo HD -because- there was no lifetime. Had TiVo gone out of business the lifetimers would have been left holding the bag depending on when their contract started (someone 2 months into it paid $250/month for their gamble whereas someone who as on their 5th year was enjoying gravy, anyway).

    That being said, it would certianly be nice if TiVo would allow you to upgrade to the Lifetime and pro-rate your remaining subscription.

    Still, they don't really owe you anything on this one. Given the "pay for lifetime now and we'll toss it to the end of your subscription" idea, I'd do one of two things:
    - either pick up another newer TiVo (maybe wait for a Series 4) and then just apply the lifetime to that and let the other TiVo just run out. This would at least give you the feeling of, "I got new hardware for my $700," instead of, "I'm in it for $300 and will be paying $500 more to not pay fees"-feeling.
    - just wait for the subscription to end in another year and make the call then.

    Adding $500 on top of your current $300 doesn't make a whole lot of sense in that it would take years (5) for that to get to the break-even point. That's a pretty huge gamble that your hardware will still be working and that you wouldn't have wanted to upgrade to something fancier in the meantime.

    Just my thoughts.

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