TiVo Mulling Free Set-Top Boxes

At the Reuters Global Technology, Media, and Telecoms Summit in New York, TiVo CE Tom Rogers said that the company is considering testing a variety of new pricing plans to increase its subscriber base, including a plan which would include a free set-top box.

TiVo pioneered the digital video recorder market, and its name is still strongly associated with the ability to digitally record television programming, pause live TV, and easily skip commercials. The company currently boasts roughly 4 million subscribers, about two-thirds of which it acquired through a partnership with satellite television provider DirecTV. DirecTV has since moved to its own DVR system, and despite having been lauded for years for its features and ease of use, TiVO is now striving to maintain and increase its subscriber base even as television providers like cable operators increasingly offer non-TiVO DVRs with service packages (sometimes for free) and Media Center PCs are moving into high-end living rooms.

Rogers, who was named CEO of TiVo last July, said the company is likely to start testing new pricing plans relatively soon. A plan which included a free set-top box would probably require higher-priced and/or longer-term subscription plans in order to offset TiVo’s cost, a model not online mobile phone plans which trade more-costly service and longer contracts for discounts on actual phones.

TiVo’s subscription service currently costs about $13 per month.