TiVo Introduces A $50 Over-The-Air DVR For The Post-Aereo Era

Harry McCracken:

This new antenna-only TiVo--which competes with Simple TV and Tablo, two DVRs from startups--is a bit of an experiment. It'll only be available at 430 Best Buy stores beginning in September, and from BestBuy.com starting in October. As always with TiVo, there's also a charge for the service that provides the TV schedule and otherwise manages the box: $15 a month, with a one-year commitment.

Tom Rogers, TiVo's CEO, says that he was struck by how big a story Aereo's legal battle and ultimate downfall turned out to be: "I was surprised how much non-legal press, broad consumer press, that story was getting in terms of over-the-air channels and having some recording ability for them." About 30% of TiVo customers already used it only with an antenna; the company figured that even more cord cutters might be interested in a low-priced TiVo designed especially for them.

The problem with TiVo isn't the start up cost ($199 for the box isn't unreasonable), but it's the monthly fees. With a 1 year contract, it's $14.99/mo. Tablo is $50/year. TiVo needs to have a $9.99/mo option and not charge an additional monthly fee for TiVo Mini (currently $5.99/mo).