Wow. Initially this seems like a really bad idea. The announcement lacked a lot of important details. After further research it doesn't look quite so bad, but I'm not looking forward to trying to explain this to people who are considering buying one.
- It's disappointing that they're killing lifetime service but supposedly they couldn't continue to offer it at a reasonable price.
- The new pricing is an option where you get the hardware "free" but have to sign up for 1-3 years of monthly payments (or 1-3 years of pre-paid service) after which you can revert to the "old" monthly fee.
- The Multi System Discount ($7/month if you already own a "full-price" TiVo) will continue to be available but not until after the end of your initial service commitment.
- TiVos will still be available from other retailers without the pre-paid concept so you can still buy a TiVo and pay the $13 or $7 monthly fee.