TiVo’s Not-So-Lifetime Service: Where do TiVos go to die?

2 minutes, 19 seconds Read

In the 12+ years that I have been using TiVo, I’ve never really had a problem with the company until yesterday.  

I am the owner of three Product Lifetime Services (PLS), and I wanted to get one of their new Roamio models so that I could use my TiVo not just as DVR, but to also replace my cable box (and thus, not be charged for renting out a cable box every month by Comcast/Time-Warner).

My plan was to transfer two of my three lifetime services from two TiVo Series 2 boxes (which cannot be used as cable boxes) over to the new Roamios I planned on purchasing.

When I called in to TiVo customer support to inquire how I would be able to transfer my lifetime service to a new Roamio box, I was informed by the customer service agent that I couldn’t; that “lifetime” according to TiVo, was for the lifetime of the machine, and not the user.


That makes sense when you think about the plan, but I’m certain that promoting it the service as “lifetime” has confused and angered more than one loyal Tivo user expecting to move their fairly expensive “lifetime service” from an older TiVo to a newer one. Basically, if you have an old TiVo with PLS, or it dies, you’re stuck with it.

Lifetime service isn’t cheap; one has to pony up anywhere from $400 to $500 for just one license. So with my three lifetime services, I’ve paid no less than $1300 for my three TiVos. I explained to the agent that I have made a significant investment to TiVo, was a loyal TiVo user for over a dozen years, and even owned some of their stock.

No dice. She wasn’t budging.

I’m someone that knows that if you push hard enough, companies will make concessions to their users. Rarely do I come across a company that won’t make an exception. I knew that I wasn’t going to get anywhere, so I gave up.

So what to do with an older TiVo DVR with lifetime service prepaid? Your only choice is to sell it. Luckily, there’s a market for working boxes with lifetime subscription already paid. A popular TiVo site, Weaknees, sells refurbished Tivos with lifetime service for hundreds of dollars, but you probably won’t get that much.

There’s an niched aftermarket for those that want to use TiVo in their RVs.

I checked out eBay, but the selling price was inconsistent on the couple listings I followed — Series 2 boxes sold anywhere from as low as $26 to as high as $200. If you want recoup some of the money you spent on a TiVo + PLS, then I suggest posting it on Craigslist – I was able to sell my TiVos for ~$140 per unit. Good luck.


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  1. avatar
    John Edwards says:

    Boy, you just saved me a lot of time on this.
    I too wanted to upgrade my device. It seems like Tivo had a promotion sometime back that offered the transfer of service but it’s no where on their web site now! Gee I love my Tivo but I really can’t afford to give them another grand right now… Maybe all just buy a year at a time for now, because I don’t need another monthly bill to contend with either… maybe all just get a used one with lifetime service??? Seems like they might be a gamble but dang man, what are you left to do? Anyway… Thanks JE

    1. avatar
      mary says:

      I also have a Series II with lifetime subscription that I was planning to put up on craigslist this week- let me know if you’re looking, was planning to advertise for $50.

  2. avatar
    Rene LaPree says:

    Weak Knees rebuilt mine, older unit, and my lifetime service still on it Hardly cost anything if I remember correctly. I have 3 with lifetime so I will just keep going back to Weak Knees.

  3. avatar
    Butch says:

    Weaknees is a great resource for keeping your TiVo alive. They will send parts and simple instructions for power supplies or fans. They can also replace internal systems while maintaining your lifetime subscription. We were early with TiVo and have several. All now have huge hard drive upgrades.

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