As you no doubt know, TiVo announced a new subscription-based pricing plan earlier this week, and as part of the announcement, discontinued the $299 Product Lifetime pricing plan, declaring that it "was too far in favor of good value to make sense for us financially." However, as TiVo's Stephen Mack has now explained, the subscription plans apply only to TiVo boxes purchased from tivo.com. If you buy from a retailer, you purchase what the company now calls "service-only pricing." Why does that matter? Well, as of now, you can still buy a TiVo Series 2 box without a service plan for as little as $39 (after a service-plan rebate). Then, when you go online to sign up for service-only pricing, you can still sign up for the Product Lifetime plan for $299. Total cost: $338 (after rebate), which covers you for the lifetime of your TiVo box. Keep the box for 10 years (if you can pull it off -- and don't mind not having HD support), and that's all you'll pay. Compare that to the new pricing plan, which lets you prepay for a three-year plan for $469, and it sounds like a pretty sweet deal, even if you only keep your TiVo box for a couple of years. But act quickly: word is that the Product Lifetime plan will vanish by next Wednesday. (Oh, and if you already have a TiVo box -- and plan on keeping it for a while -- you can still upgrade to the lifetime plan, but only until Wednesday, so you'd better make up your mind fast!)

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