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TiVo tries a 'limited test' of free-on-contract DVRs

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Our keen eyed friend Dave Zatz spotted an offer that popped up on TiVo's homepage over the weekend, offering customers the opportunity to obtain a TiVo Premiere DVR for zero dollars down, with the caveat that they would be locked into paying $19.99 a month for service for the next two years. That's a slight bump over the regular $12.95 per month (currently offered at $9.95) service fee, but nothing unreasonable if you do the math. Getting a $299 box for an extended $240 payment over two years sounds nice there is one gotcha here -- after the two years, customers are automatically resubscribed at the $19.99 rate, not the standard $12.95 fee. Once you've figured out the amortized rates and break even points (cancellation means paying $300 for the DVR minus $7 for each month that's already gone by) move fast if interested, as TiVo's PR team told Yahoo! News the deal was a "test" that would end within a week, but it still presents an interesting question. Does the possibility of buying a DVR like we buy our cellphones make TiVo's hardware more or less attractive in your eyes?

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