Recently, Digeo began selling its new Moxi CableCard DVR at Amazon for a whopping $800. That got us thinking about the whole DVR category, and how the real prices of the products are often hidden with subsidies (from cable or satellite companies) or service fees (such as with TiVo).
If you're looking for a digital video recorder, your choices are limited by how you receive your TV signal--satellite, over-the-air antenna, or cable--and how much you're willing to pay a month. Satellite subscribers are shoehorned by their provider--Dish offers the excellent ViP722 (with the SlingLoaded ViP922 due later this year), and DirecTV offers the DirecTV Plus HD DVR HR21. Antenna-only folks were the most limited: previously, the only choice was TiVo (which, again, requires a monthly or lifetime fee for service), but the availability of the DTV Pal DVR offers the promise of a no-fee DVR with support for digital and HD TV signals--just pay for the hardware, and you're done. (CNET is currently evaluating the DTV Pal DVR, and will have a review later this month.)
For cable subscribers, things can be a bit more varied--and almost certainly more expensive. Nearly all cable companies now offer their subscribers an HD DVR option. They'll tout it as "free" (in that you don't have to buy the hardware), but your bill will undoubtedly include a rental charge for the hardware (and the remote!), as well as a "DVR service fee." Want to get a real TiVo instead? That may cut the rental charge and DVR service fee from your monthly cable bill, but then you're stuck paying a service fee straight to TiVo ($13 a month, $129 a year, or a flat $400 fee for the lifetime of the box). Meanwhile, your cable company still gets in on the action; they may still charge you for CableCard rental fees (needed for the TiVo to receive digital and premium channels), plus the normal service fee on top of that (the channel charges that make up the bulk of your bill). Going with the lifetime fee (just because it's easy), that brings the real-world cost of the cheapest high-def TiVo, the TiVo HD, to around $700.
Enter the Digeo Moxi.… Read more