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What do you think of the service fees?

  • They're a great deal, and I'm happy with them!

    Votes: 13 7.2%
  • The fees are fine, I don't think they're extremely great or bad.

    Votes: 85 47.2%
  • The fees are way too high!

    Votes: 82 45.6%
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Personally, I'm repulsed by Tivo's service rates. I'm presently a directivo owner paying $5.99 a month for DVR service. I was considering purchasing a Tivo HD for $260 from circuit city, but after looking up the prices for Tivo's standalone boxes, I've decided not to buy the Tivo HD. What do you guy think? Is $16.95 a month with a 1 year contract a fair price? For me, it's definitely not. Think about what Tivo is doing with that money:

1. Giving you TV Guide updates(a valuable, necessary service, but not an expensive one). TV Guide data is available for free on the web. I could see paying maybe $2 a month at most for the assurance of quality guide data that worked across cable providers.

2. R&D for updates. To me, Tivo's software is complete more or less. It does recording extremely well, manages season passes, has all of the media options done well. The only features missing are TivoToGo and MRV, and I assume Tivo has these implemented and awaiting Cablecard approval. Other than bugfix updates, and MRV/TTG, I can't see paying much here, maybe $1-$2 a month at most.

3. Subsidizing the box. This would be perfectly acceptable with me, but the Tivo HD would have to be free, and the monthly fee would have to be slightly lower(think $9.95 a month).

As crappy as the CableCo's DVR is, I can get one for $5 a month with no up front costs, and no commitment. This deal, however much better the Tivo is, makes paying $260(street price, with discounts) for the Tivo HD more outrageous.

I love Tivo a lot. I hope that they lower their price to create market appeal. There's simply no way Tivo can gain the middle-of-the-road market unless they drop prices significantly to compete with CableCo DVRs.
 

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I'm not too worked up over Tivo's monthly service fees, but I HATE the service contract / commitments.

A few months ago I reactivated a S1 that I had sitting on the shelf for a while and had to pay the $10.95 rate (MRV discount rate) because I only wanted to commit to one years worth of service on this very old tivo box.

I can sort of understand the need for commitments to subsidize the cost of a new Tivo, but this was a box that I had paid about 5 years of service on, disconnected for about 2 months, and then reactivated because a family member wanted the Tivo in his bedroom. [yes, I know it was my fault, I should have anticipated wanting to use the Tivo and not disconnected service in the first place, but I had no idea I would have to commit to a contract to reactivate it, as I had never had to commit to a contract with any of my other tivos]

I always used to brag to people about how nice and friendly the Tivo service was without all the typical tricks (service commitments, early disconnect penalties, ...) of your usual big corporation. Tivo is catching up with them fast.
 

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Note that a service contract doesn't have to remain tied to any particular box for the length of the contract. If you know you are going to have SOME box with the Tivo service, go for the longer contract and simply move the service when the time comes.

To the OP - this topic has been beaten to death over the years.
If you can't see the value to the Tivo service, don't subscribe.

Prepaying at $299 for three years yields a net cost of about $8.31, well under your target of $9.95.

If you take a one year contract, you are essentially paying back the hardware subsidy cost.
 

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mikesown said:
Right, but this includes paying $260+ for a box. A 3 year contract at $8.31 a month is reasonable if there's no startup cost.
Fine. Include the box and it's about $15.83 a month. Still less than $16.95. :)

And awfully close to what most people pay to rent an inferior cable DVR.
 

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jfh3 said:
Note that a service contract doesn't have to remain tied to any particular box for the length of the contract. If you know you are going to have SOME box with the Tivo service, go for the longer contract and simply move the service when the time comes.
That's what I should have done, but I didn't know I could do this at the time. I just wish they would dispense with the contracts altogether; As a consumer who has been burned by cellphone contracts many times, I almost always avoid a product that requires a contract.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
jfh3 said:
Fine. Include the box and it's about $15.83 a month. Still less than $16.95. :)

And awfully close to what most people pay to rent an inferior cable DVR.
From my CableCo, a DVR is $9.95 a month. That's with NO commitments, and NO up front costs. With the Tivo, not only do you have an up front cost, but you have to pay exorbitant monthly rates. $15.83 a month is committing to 3 years of service.

Quite frankly, if the CableCo can offer it for such a low price and no commitment in comparison to Tivo, why can't Tivo do the same?

What I would like to see Tivo do is rent out Tivos like the CableCo. The Tivo might be a refurb(a customer who cancelled service, or a refurbrished broken one), but for $10 a month, I'd take it.
 

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mikesown said:
From my CableCo, a DVR is $9.95 a month. That's with NO commitments, and NO up front costs. With the Tivo, not only do you have an up front cost, but you have to pay exorbitant monthly rates. $15.83 a month is committing to 3 years of service.

Quite frankly, if the CableCo can offer it for such a low price and no commitment in comparison to Tivo, why can't Tivo do the same?
Because the cable company spreads its DVR fee over the entire bill. The cable company also has an advantage as the only provider of cable TV to your home.

I agree about the commitment periods from TiVo, that should ONLY be for new, subsidized hardware. Everything else should be month-to-month.

Plus I think it was a big mistake of them to get rid of Lifetime. :)
 

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mikesown said:
Quite frankly, if the CableCo can offer it for such a low price and no commitment in comparison to Tivo, why can't Tivo do the same?
Please tell me why Comcast would not rent a DVR to me unless I pay them additional $60/month.
 

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MickeS said:
Because the cable company spreads its DVR fee over the entire bill. The cable company also has an advantage as the only provider of cable TV to your home.

I agree about the commitment periods from TiVo, that should ONLY be for new, subsidized hardware. Everything else should be month-to-month.

Plus I think it was a big mistake of them to get rid of Lifetime. :)
Their big mistake was even offering Lifetime. That makes no sense from a business perspective. A person pays a fee and you never receive any income from them again and you still have to provide them service? That's a good way to bankrupt a company.
 

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Option 4:

- The service is so good and the box so great I feel that I am cheating Tivo. The fee should be higher.

:D

Edited to add grin before I get flamed.
 

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aaronwt said:
Their big mistake was even offering Lifetime. That makes no sense from a business perspective. A person pays a fee and you never receive any income from them again and you still have to provide them service? That's a good way to bankrupt a company.
It made sense when they were still trying to break into the market. In 2000 I bought a Sony Series 1 and then paid $199 to put a lifetime subscription on it knowing I'd have a break even point in about two years. Being that I don't really like recurring costs, I'm not sure I would have even tried TiVo without the option. Now that they are well established you are more likely than not to know someone who already has TiVo so it is easier to attract new customers. I do wish they still offered new lifetime subs, but I can live without it as well.
 

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The fees are way too high. That's why TIVO can get the mass of subscribers they are looking for.

If the per "household" fee was $10, then I could see it. Folks could get a few S3s and be very happy about it. Remember, with the S3, you still have to pay for two cable cards. So for three, that's 6 cable cards at about $1.50 a piece. That's $9 bucks for the cable cards and $10 for, in my example, "household" service. So, at $19 a month, that gets a bit pricey. Even with 1 S3, at TIVO's current pricing, that's about $18 with cable cards.

That's what made Directv with Tivo so great. About $5 for the entire household, no matter how many Directivos you had. Also, each box had an extra receiver fee of $5. Still very reasonable.

Directv and Tivo need to come together again, and soon!
 

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mikesown said:
1. Giving you TV Guide updates(a valuable, necessary service, but not an expensive one). TV Guide data is available for free on the web. I could see paying maybe $2 a month at most for the assurance of quality guide data that worked across cable providers.

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The data TiVo sends out is different then what you can view free on the web. That free content is for personal use only. TiVo has to pay a fee for every user for rights to the guide data.
 

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vman41 said:
Isn't that another way of saying that the monthly fees are way too high?
Maybe, but I didn't want to pay any monthly fee, and now I've no idea what the monthly fees are. Its difficult to comment if I've no experience of paying them.
 

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There are plenty of cheap Tivo options if you don't need HD recording. You can get a Series-2 Tivo for $99 right now with a $149 rebate towards service.

The big hook right now is HD. Tivo knows that people will pay a premium for HD service with their Tivos and I'm rather shocked that it's taken them this long to offer a somewhat 'affordable' option for HD recording for those who want a Tivo.

Tivo also knows that they have a service that's viewed as 'better' than the cable company offerings so they don't seem to feel the need to compete with them on price. For the record, Comcast and others are increasing their box rental charges to spread out cable card costs to all consumers. In my market they are up to $12 a month but in many other areas they have gone to $12.99-$19.99 for an HD DVR rental.

I have a feeling that Tivo is going to sell as many $299 Tivo HD units as they can and then begin dropping the price. I wouldn't be surprised to see a $149 or $99 HD unit in stores by next spring. Either that or Tivo starts to bundle in a year or two of service at the $299 price.

$299 for Tivo HD and $299 for a 3 year service agreement is NOT more economical than renting a cable box for 90% of consumers and Tivo knows this, but they are probably interested in testing the demand right now with these prices.
 
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