Despite the fact that competing DVRs from cable and satellite companies have made great headway in the past few years, we're still fans of TiVo's intuitive interface and constantly improving feature set. However, the knock against TiVo is that it's expensive--you have to buy the box and pay a $13 monthly fee, while a DVR from your cable company usually costs less than $10 a month with no up-front cost.
As of late, TiVo has been offering a lifetime subscription plan as a promotion that was slated to end in February, but the eagle-eyed TiVo fans over at Gizmo Lovers noticed that the offer has been extended to July 2, and Dave Zatz writes that he's received word that the lifetime subscription deal is here to stay. The lifetime subscription plan costs $400, plus the cost of the TiVo box itself.
The real question is whether the lifetime plan is a good deal. The key thing to remember is that TiVo's lifetime subscription plans are for the lifetime of the box, so if your TiVo dies or you want to upgrade to a new model, your lifetime subscription is tied to the device. (In some cases, TiVo has allowed customers to transfer their lifetime subscriptions for an additional fee.)
Acting as a new subscriber, we were able to get a TiVo HD plus a lifetime subscription for $700, and a TiVo HD plus a three-year subscription for $600 from the TiVo Web site. So unless you plan on using your TiVo HD box for more than three years you're probably better off skipping the lifetime subscription plan.
With switched digital video on the horizon and the possibility that TiVo will release a newer, SDV-compatible (without the dongle) DVR in the future, chances are you might feel some upgrade-itis around the three-year mark and won't want to feel obligated to stick to your old TiVo box. Still, the lifetime plan seems to be popular with TiVo fans and it's only giving buyers another option, so it's good news for TiVo lovers who want to lock into their service.