This is all as promised back in March, when the scrappy Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick said it planned $50 million in marketing expenditures to woo more subscribers. In addition to the rebates, which will reduce the 40-hour model to a mere $99, TiVo boxes will soon be available in Costco
What timing. The rebates and ads will increase TiVo awareness with people who might be considering DVR technology, and of course, such a cheap price could indeed spark more widespread adoption of the TiVo-branded device.
The timing's also good because the price cuts make it more attractive for current TiVo fanatics to load up on more boxes. Last week's FCC decision will allow TiVo users to transfer entertainment media from box to box, a move that many have pointed out will work out well for families or people with vacation homes. (On a recent trip to my family's mountain retreat, I was ready to chuck some remotes when I remembered I couldn't pause the live movie I was watching there.)
TiVo watchers -- and shareholders -- know that somebody opines on the death of TiVo on what seems like a weekly basis. Its recent loss of DirecTV
And of course, too many price cuts and marketing dollars to fuel subscriber increases take a bite out of TiVo's sales and profitability.
So an investment in TiVo remains risky, considering these competitive concerns and its failure to secure deals with the big cable companies. However, I still think TiVo has a few tricks left up its sleeve that differentiate it from the encroaching pack of imitators.
Though its rivals have indeed whipped up "me-too" technology, over recent months it's become clear that it's about more than recording and pausing live TV. TiVo's major gift is its forward thinking in envisioning the future of television entertainment -- interactivity and viewer control -- and delivering product upgrades based on that vision.
Great plans or desperate measures? Have you seen any of the new TiVo ads, and if so, what do you think of them? Would you invest in TiVo now, or do you think it's all downhill from here? Talk to other Fools about these issues and more on the TiVo discussion board.
Alyce Lomax does not own shares of any of the companies mentioned, though she does rely on her TiVo for her weekend TV entertainment.