Retailers try a new pitch–free TiVo | CNET News.com: Well after TiVo gave away boxes late last year in response to Comcast’s DVR push in the Bay Area, many thought it was only a matter of time before you began to see the strategy for TiVo/retailers shift to one entirely based on subscription and advertising revenue and not on the actual hardware units themselves.
It appears that CompUSA and Good Guys are rolling out a campaign (when rebates are used) that results in free TiVo boxes — a good move if you ask me. Of course you do have to buy $499 worth of non Apple crap from them in order to qualify — so perhaps free is a little misleading.
My opinion has always been that TiVo should focus less on making money from the boxes today and more on building market share with the end goal of monetizing an army of viewers to be implemented at a later point. Techdirt raised the question should TiVo be Free a long time ago back in August of 2003. The model that the cable providers are now pursuing is basically a free offer — this is also how the cell phone industry hooks people.