Back in the early 2000s, TiVo emerged on the market to change how you watched TV forever.
They offered a DVR system that not only allowed you to record live TV, but you could rewind and fast-forward through it, too.
At long last, you were able to skip through commercials.
TV has come a long way since then with the emergence of streaming platforms.
However, TiVo remains an expensive service.
Here are the top 10 reasons TiVo is so expensive.
Why Is TiVo So Expensive? (Top 10 Reasons)
1. Annual Plan
Like any service, TiVo offers a variety of plans to pay for their service.
One of those plans is the annual package.
The amount that you pay depends on a few different factors.
If you only have an antenna hooked up to your TV, then the annual plan is cheaper.
If you use cable, then your annual plan is going to be more expensive.
The annual plan for TiVo with an antenna-only TV is $69.99 a year.
That may not seem like a lot, but it adds up when you include the other fees associated with TiVo.
There’s also the price of the TiVo box itself, which can range anywhere from $150 to $800.
Cable users are going to have an even pricier annual charge.
Their annual plan costs $149.99 a year.
Add this on top of your internet and cable bills, and watching TV may become too expensive for you.
TiVo’s annual plans can add a significant expense to average consumers.
2. Monthly Fees
Instead of paying an annual fee, you can choose to pay a monthly fee instead.
The monthly fee is cheaper than the annual fee upfront, but it will cost you more in the end.
Like the annual plan, those with an antenna-only TV are going to have a cheaper monthly fee than those with cable.
The monthly fee to use TiVo’s services for antenna-only TVs is $6.99 a month while for cable TV, it is $14.99 a month.
TiVo is expensive because its monthly fees are about the same as streaming services.
Netflix sits around the eight- or nine-dollar mark, whereas HBOMax charges around $15 a month.
In both those services, you’re able to fast-forward and rewind as you want.
Neither includes commercials.
However, you won’t be able to watch live TV with either of those services.
You’re also restricted to the shows that both platforms support.
You can always add more streaming services to ensure you have access to all the shows that you want to watch.
TiVo can bring all your streaming platforms together, but you may find that the additional cost isn’t worth it.
This is especially true if you’re only using TiVo for live TV—which you rarely watch.
It’s also too expensive if you don’t use TiVo that much.
The monthly fee is something you have to pay forever if you want to access TiVo’s services.
If you don’t end up using those services all that often, then you’re not getting your money’s worth.
The monthly fee is too expensive.
3. Lifetime Subscription Cost
If you don’t like the idea of using either an annual or monthly service, then you can also choose their lifetime subscription plan.
TiVo can be a little coy in offering this service.
Sometimes they stop sending out lifetime subscriptions while other times they allow it.
Even if you can find a time when TiVo is offering a life subscription, you may find it too expensive.
There are two different prices for lifetime subscriptions.
For antenna-only TV, the price is $249.99.
If you can afford that, then it may be worth the price since you’ll quickly surpass how much you’d have to pay if you were paying for the service monthly.
The problem is that you need to add the $249.00 on top of the rest of the price of TiVo.
You still need to buy the box and any installation costs if you can’t install it yourself.
For cable TV, the price is $549.99.
Again, this price is difficult for most consumers to pay upfront.
They’ll also need to buy the box which could end up being an additional $400 on top of the price.
The only redeeming factor of buying a lifetime subscription is that you can make up your money in a few years.
You only need to make sure that you will want to use TiVo for that long.
4. Termination Fees
Like most services, TiVo also has a termination fee.
They want to lock you into an agreed-upon period of service.
That ensures that they’re able to receive a certain amount of money from you to cover their costs.
The termination fee that you need to pay if you choose to break your contract early is $75 to $150.
After spending the amount that you did, adding $75 to $150 on top of it can be extremely expensive.
You may not even get all your money back.
TiVo has quite a few regulations on what qualifies for a return or refund.
If you sank around $800 into your TiVo and then broke your contract early, then you’re on the hook for another $75 to $150 without a chance of getting any of it back.
For some consumers, the termination fee is too high for them to consider buying a TiVo.
5. More Storage
When you buy TiVo, you’re given a set amount of storage that the DVR can store.
Some DVRs carry an SSD or similar style of a memory chip.
Others use the cloud.
Since you can record TV on their box, the recording needs to go somewhere.
It takes up memory space in your TiVo box.
If you have a lot of shows that you like to watch and want to keep on your TiVo to watch later—even months later—then you may find yourself losing memory space fast.
The good news is that you can upgrade your storage space with TiVo.
The bad news is that it will cost you.
Standard TiVo DVRs come with 500 GB of storage.
That’s about 75 hours of video.
If most TV shows last around an hour, and you want to record and save an entire season, you’ll run out of space fast.
A standard season on broadcast TV has around 20 episodes.
That’s 20 hours’ worth of television right there.
You’ll only be able to record and save three more seasons and a few episodes of another season of various shows.
Most people who use TiVo do so to record live TV that they’d miss otherwise, then watch it on their terms.
Once they’re done with the show, then they can delete the episode.
The problem is that they’ll never be able to rewatch the episode unless they buy the DVD for the show later.
Not everyone wants to buy the DVD of the series.
To ensure they’re able to save their favorite seasons or episodes, they may need to upgrade to a TiVo box that has more storage.
Some of the top TiVo boxes can hold up to 3 TB of storage.
That holds around 1,500 hours of video.
You’ll be able to record a ton of shows without worrying about space for a long time.
Yet, you’ll also need to pay for it.
The 3TB TiVo boxes are some of their top-tier pieces of equipment.
You can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to $800 on that TiVo box.
For some consumers, that price isn’t worth having extra storage.
6. Quality Of Equipment
One of the advantages of TiVo being expensive is that it allows them to invest in their hardware.
TiVo uses high-quality materials in the production of their DVRs.
They don’t shy away from buying some of the best electronics to ensure their TiVo DVRs last for years.
Some consumers are still using their original TiVo boxes to this day.
The problem with high-quality equipment is that it’s reflected in the price.
Consumers are going to need to pay for the investment that TiVo is making on their behalf.
The good news is that the DVR will last longer than similar devices.
The consumer will be able to get their money’s worth out of it.
There are several DVRs on the market, mostly provided by cable companies, but TiVo offers a service wholly its own.
That puts them in a unique spot amid their competition in the market.
They’re able to price themselves on the expensive side because their DVR does things that cable company DVRs can’t.
Consumers want those services because they deem them beneficial during their viewing of entertainment.
However, they also need to compete with streaming services.
Those who solely use streaming services do so because they want to cut their cable bill.
Most streaming services, aside from Hulu, come without any ads.
There’s no need for some of the special features that TiVo provides because the streaming services take care of it through their own platforms.
That means TiVo also needs to be wary of being too pricey.
That’s why TiVo’s equipment is expensive, but their monthly and annual plans are closer to market value.
8. Bundle Of Services
Most consumers make the mistake of thinking that TiVo is only a DVR.
That isn’t the case.
They give you a DVR, but their DVR is capable of offering services that the cable companies can’t.
Since TiVo is bundling their services into their DVR, they charge a high amount.
Consumers who don’t understand TiVo may see the high price as something that’s too high.
In fact, it’s right at market value because no one else offers that service.
To understand it further, you need to compare TiVo with a cable company’s DVR.
A cable company’s DVR will allow you to record your TV.
It may have limited functionality.
For example, you may only be able to record an episode that airs that day instead of setting it to record several days ahead of its air date.
Maybe the DVR only allows you to watch recorded episodes.
TiVo does more than only recording TV.
You can also use it to access digital DVDs.
It has a selection of DVDs that you can view for free because it’s part of your plan with TiVo.
TiVo also has a unique guide system that shows you new episodes as early as two weeks ahead.
That allows you to record your television earlier than other standard cable DVRs.
TiVo is expensive because you’re receiving more than a single service from it.
You’re paying for a bundle of services.
9. Need To Pay For Other Subscriptions Separately
One of the latest innovations of TiVo is its TiVo Stream 4k.
It integrates its services with an Android TV.
It also uses SlingTV as its primary streaming source.
The problem is that the shows you want to watch may not be on SlingTV.
That means you also have to pay for other streaming services that you need to connect to your TiVo.
You may even need to pay for additional cable service to make up for the channels that SlingTV doesn’t provide.
After spending $800, you still need to pay more to actually watch the TV that you want to record.
With all those streaming services adding up, TiVo Stream 4K may be too expensive for what it’s worth.
10. You Need More Than One
If you have more than one TV in your home, then you’re going to need more than TiVo DVR.
TiVo only supports one TV at a time.
It connects to the TV and cable box that attaches to the TV.
If you’re someone who owns several TVs and you want to be able to record shows and movies on all of them, then you’re going to need multiple DVRs to do so.
One example is a home in which one individual has their TV and another individual has their own TV.
They each need their own DVRs to record the kinds of shows that they enjoy watching.
While TiVo can record two shows at the same time, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to record several shows that air at the same time.
A single TiVo DVR can’t handle that.
You’ll need two or three DVRs to handle the number of TV shows that you want to record.
That adds up.
If a single DVR costs you $400 to $800, then you’ll double that price for a second DVR.
You’ll also need separate subscriptions for each DVR.
Every DVR needs its own subscription or else it won’t work.
You also can’t send episodes from one DVR to the other.
That monthly fee of $6.99 then jumps to $12.99 for antenna-only TV users.
It jumps from $15 to $30 for those with cable.
That number only increases the more DVRs that you need to purchase.
This can make TiVo very expensive to have.
Is TiVo Worth It?
Due to its expense, you may wonder if owning a TiVo DVR is worth it.
After all, streaming services have made TiVo DVRs obsolete in some ways.
Many users find that TiVo is still worth it because DVRs from cable companies aren’t as good.
They don’t last that long and frequently fall into disrepair.
That isn’t the case with TiVo DVRs.
They continue to operate and function well.
Besides lasting longer, users find that TiVo DVRs are better at skipping through commercials since not all cable companies allow you to do that.
The search function is also better.
However, it isn’t ideal for those who use only streaming services for their entertainment.
Most streaming services don’t use ads, so you won’t need to skip through anything with TiVo.
You also don’t need to record any TV because they’re usually not live.
You can rewind, fast-forward, and watch episodes again as you please.
The one instance in which having a TiVo DVR can be useful for streaming platforms is when the service cancels a show.
They may pull the show from their platform, and you’ll never be able to watch old episodes again.
Using TiVo to record those episodes allows you to watch them whenever you want even if they’re taken off of the streaming platform.
TiVo is expensive because it offers several services that standard cable company DVRs can’t provide.
They also use high-quality materials to make their DVRs last longer.
Finally, they have an abundance of fees that can increase the cost of owning a TiVo, especially if you have multiple TiVo devices.
Consider the reasons above to determine if buying a TiVo is worth the expense for your needs.