TiVo experiments with offering DVRs on two-year contract

DVR pioneer TiVo has been working to develop new revenue models and boost the profile of its DVR set-top box solutions in the face of stiff competition from cable and satellite providers that off their own DVRs. (Although TiVo has had some success partnering with other PVR and set-top box makers.) Now TiVo is trying something new: instead of requiring customers to pay up front for a TiVo and then pay monthly fees for TV listings services, they’re offering DVRs on contract: $19.99 a month gets you a TiVo and service…so long as customers are willing to make a two-year commitment.

tivo to carry cox video on demand premiere xl

The offering includes the TiVo Premiere set-top box (introduced this past spring), which enables users to record up to 45 hours of HD programming, and also lets users tap into Netflix (if they’re subscribers), Amazon Video-on-Demand, Blockbuster, YouTube, and (soon) Pandora. Users will get the full range of TiVo features, including the ability to schedule recording from the Web or via their mobile phones, access personal media libraries on home PCs, as well as tap into social networking services like Twitter and Facebook.

The offer makes the TiVo Premiere (normally $299) available for $19.99 per month, so long as customers are willing to commit to a two-year contract. TiVo service itself normally runs $12.95 per month, with one-year and three-year plans offering a discount (and a $399 lifetime plan taking care of all future service fees). Over 24 months, TiVo’s contract offer works out to about $480 (plus taxes and fees); in comparison, buying a TiVo Premiere and paying for month-to-month service would run over $600. To sweeten the deal even more, TiVo is throwing in a complimentary six-month Netflix subscription (equivalent to the low-end $8-per-month option). However, if users cancel before the end of their two-year contract, they’re on the hook for $300 to cover the cost of the TiVo Premiere, less $7 for each month of service used. Once the contract expires, users will automatically be continued at a $20/month rate, which is considerably higher than any of TiVo’s existing service plans. After two years, contract customers might look at switching to a less expensive service plan.

Emerging Tech

Too buzzed to drive? Don’t worry — this autonomous car-bar will drive to you

It might just be the best or worst idea that we've ever heard: A self-driving robot bartender you can summon with an app, which promises to mix you the perfect drink wherever you happen to be.
Home Theater

Cutting the cord? Let us help you find the best service for live TV streaming

There's a long list of live TV streaming services available to help you cut the cord and replace your traditional TV subscription. Each is different in important ways, and this guide will help you find the best one for you.
Home Theater

Here’s why you’re not getting Netflix in HD or 4K, and how to fix it

Are you having trouble watching your favorite movies or TV shows on Netflix in HD or 4K? We explain why loading takes so long, why the picture quality fluctuates, and what you can do about it.
Movies & TV

How much does Netflix cost? Here’s a pricing breakdown of its plans

Wondering how much a Netflix subscription costs? You're not the only one. That's why we put together a quick-hit guide covering all the Netflix plans, whether you want to opt for 4K streaming or a disc-based option.
Home Theater

How much are the initials ‘LV’ worth? $700 if you put them on your earphones

If you're looking for truly wireless earbuds that make as much of a statement about the state of your finances as they do about your high-tech street cred, Louis Vuitton's Horizon earbuds fit the $995 bill.
Home Theater

What’s new on Amazon Prime Video (February 2019)

Amazon Prime Video adds new titles each month that are available for free to all Prime members. Check out our list to find all the content hitting Amazon Prime Video in January and February, from new original series to classic films.
Features

Netflix’s latest price increase heralds the end of streaming’s golden age

Netflix’s recent price rise is just the latest in a string of signs that streaming’s golden age is nearly over. As more services enter the fray, content will be further partitioned, signaling the end of streaming’s good old days.
Home Theater

What are HDMI ARC and eARC? Here’s how they can simplify your home theater

HDMI ARC is one of the coolest TV features at your disposal. But if you're like most folks, you have no idea how it works, if you even know what it is at all. Here's our primer on HDMI ARC, as well as the next generation technology, eARC.
Home Theater

Looking to cut cable? Here’s everything you need to know about Pluto TV

Pluto TV offers plenty of entertainment in a fashion similar to live internet TV services, only at no cost — you don’t even need to register. Too good to be true? Here’s everything you need to know.
Home Theater

Want to mirror your smartphone or tablet onto your TV? Here's how

A vast arsenal of devices exists to allow sending anything on your mobile device to your TV. Our in-depth guide shows you how to mirror content from your smartphone or tablet to the big screen from virtually any device available.
Deals

Need a smart speaker? Amazon knocks $50 off Sonos Beam soundbar with Alexa

If you're looking to add some oomph to your home audio setup, then through February 3, the Alexa-enabled Sonos Beam is on sale for $50 off, bringing this excellent smart sound bar down to just $349 on Amazon.
Home Theater

Walmart abandons its plans for a streaming Netflix killer

Rumored plans for a Walmart owned, Vudu-labeled Netflix streaming killer have been shelved according to a new report from CNBC. The billions it would have needed to invest in order to compete apparently gave the mega retailer cold feet.
Home Theater

Dolby’s secret recording studio app may soon exit stealth mode

In secret testing since June, Dolby's stealth recording and social network app may soon be ready to make an appearance. Dolby 234 blends unique noise-canceling tech with Instagram-like audio filters.
Home Theater

From the Roku Ultra to the Fire TV Cube, these are the best streaming devices

There are more options for media streamers than ever, so it’s more difficult to pick the best option. But that’s why we're here. Our curated list of the best streaming devices will get you online in no time.