Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Dish Network's TiVo Killer? (Well, maybe a TiVo wounder...)

From Cnet's Crave comes news of Dish Network's new DTVPal DVR, a $250 (after $50 instant rebate) standalone HD PVR with 30 hours of HD or 150 hours of SD storage. The DTVPal works with over-the-air, cable or satellite sources, has a 7-day program guide, and perhaps most importantly, requires no monthly or lifetime subscription fee. The key is the user interface, but Dish has made great progress with its satellite-based PVRs over the years. (The DTVPal DVR also acts as a digital-to-analog converter, but it doesn't qualify for the $40 Federal coupon, which is why Dish is offering a $50 instant rebate.)

The question is whether or not consumers will be willing to pay for a HD PVR if they can get similar functionality from their cable or satellite providers. Probably not, since they'll still have to pay for a set-top box, but the real target for this device is consumers who want to record over-the-air video. For those users, TiVo is the primary option, and an alternative with no subsciption fees will be very tempting.
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