Dave Zatz Speculates that Series 3 TiVos Will be Out September 1st at a Price of $800 Each

Zatz Not Funny. . .?Blog Archive ? TiVo Series 3 HD Pricing and Timing Dave Zatz is out today with speculation that the new TiVo Series 3 (you know that new CableCARD supported multi-tuner high def workhorse you’ve been drooling over for the past two years) will be out on September 1, at $800 a pop.

Keep in mind that this is all Dave’s speculation of course, but he is basing his speculation on TiVo’s rules for an upcoming American Idol (or is it American Idle?) contest being run over the next 11 weeks. According to the contest rules, TiVo is putting the “average retail value” of a Series 3 TiVo with lifetime service at $1,500. Which brings up an interesting point. After dropping lifetime service officially on their last earnings conference call (and getting a lot of negative feedback at places like Slashdot over it) will TiVo once again make a lifetime option available for Series 3 TiVos? Or will this be a special promotion only box with lifetime service?

Personally I can sense a brilliant marketing plan for TiVo when they launch Series 3 to pump up sales. Here’s what you do. At launch, you announce that for a limited time Series 3 TiVos will be available with lifetime service at $1,500 a pop. This way you get all those people back who said on Slashdot that they’d be dropping TiVo without lifetime service. By making it for say 60 days only or something you force them into buying one right away vs. waiting — good for sales.

TiVo doesn’t make as much on these customers of course, but these are there most loyal evangelists who will love to crow to everyone else about how they got lifetime service when everyone else has to pay. This way you don’t lose these customers but you still get to have most of the people who buy it later paying the higher total cost of ownership.

Of course if at some point TiVo sees Series 3 sales lagging they can always turn the lifetime option back on for a limited 2 week period or something.

Just a thought.

Also Robert Aitchison offers up his analysis on what TiVo’s new pricing means for Series 2 models. His conclusion: “if you are buying a TiVo today (literally, I mean today) go out and get a TiVo and get lifetime. It will save you a ton of cash. If you wait until next week I would opt for the three year pre-paid plan, but remember that in three years you will need to switch to the normal monthly plan or they will very likely start charging you $16.95 per month after the three year period is up.”