Would You Pay $800 For a DVR?

Digeo, after 10 years of toil, is getting ready to charge into the retail market with a premium-priced, shiny black HD DVR – and wants to give TiVo a run for its money.

This comes about a year after Digeo badly misjudged its ability to develop retail products. The company, majority owned by Paul Allen, laid off 80 of its 160 employees and killed plans for a multi-room DVR and a “home cinema” edition.

Digeo now is getting ready to offer the dual-tuner Moxi HD DVR, with 500 GB of storage (enough for 75 hours of HD programming) and support for multistream CableCard.

The company officially plans to launch the product at a Jan. 8 press conference at CES in Las Vegas. But the box is already apparently on sale at Amazon.com, as noted in a post by blogger Dave Zatz. Asking price: $799.99.

It’s a questionable move. After all, the standalone-DVR leader, Tivo, has been watching its customer base shrink. And TiVo lists an HD DVR for $299.

So what’s Digeo thinking? The big selling point, aside from its oft-touted "Emmy Award-winning" interface, is that unlike TiVo (or MSOs for that matter) it won’t charge a monthly fee – nor will subject its customers to ads. Zapping ads is one of the features people love about DVRs, but TiVo has been gradually pasting commercials onto its menus (the latest: ads that will pop up when you click "pause"). 

"We won’t nickel and dime your TV experience," Digeo sniffs on its site promoting the Moxi HD DVR.

Well, right, except for the 16,000 nickels it wants up front.