Wednesday, June 9, 2004

TiVo just got a lot more interesting

While we’re on the subject of great deals at, here’s another: the Toshiba SD-H400 is now less than $300. It’s a combination TiVo series 2 and DVD player. I got one for Christmas, and it’s a wonderful combination. The DVD picture and sound quality are spectacular (far better than my original DVD player), and the TiVo series 2 is phenomenal — but only if you use TiVo’s Home Media Option (ordinarily an additional $99 on top of TiVo’s subscription fee).

Well guess what? TiVo announced today that Home Media Option is now bundled with the service, at no additional cost. For either $12.95/month or $299 lifetime, you get all of the normal TiVo functionality, along with the ability to stream MP3s over your home network (stored on your computer, played through your stereo), display digital photos on your TV (my kids’ favorite thing to do), schedule recordings over the web, and watch recordings in different rooms (with multiple TiVos in the house). Me? I guess I’m a bit of a sap for paying $99 when it’s now free, but trust me: it’s worth it. When you can pull up a menu of your music on your TV, click the artist you want to listen to, and then just like that, it’s on your stereo, it’s pretty cool.

Why are they doing this? Because they also announced an upcoming service where they’re adding Internet-based content to TiVo boxes; the more TiVos that are connected to your network, the more valuable their service will be. Smart.

So what are you waiting for? Get the Toshiba and treat yourself to a world of digital goodness. You can thank me later.

(Don’t forget: TiVo to Go is coming. Why not be ready for it?)

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