For TiVo subscribers who want four-channel DVR, but don't want to pay for a huge hard drive, the TiVo Premiere 4 is a cheaper option at $250.
Like the $400 TiVo Premiere XL4, the Premiere 4 can record up to four channels at once. But the cheaper model has only a 500 GB hard drive, good for about 75 hours of HD recording--the same as the basic $150 TiVo Premiere. The XL4 has a 2 TB drive for up to 300 hours in HD.
The TiVo Premiere 4 also lacks the THX certification and Dolby 5.1 support found in its more expensive sibling, and comes with a standard TiVo remote instead of the backlit TiVo Glo Premium remote.
The cost of service is the same as all other TiVo boxes: $15 per month for at least one year, or $500 for the life of the box. Lifetime service applies to the box, not the subscriber; so if you want to upgrade you'll have to buy a new service agreement.
The Tivo Premiere 4 will also support the company's whole-home DVR extenders once they're available. As of May, the boxes were set for a fall launch, but TiVo hasn't announced pricing or release details.
TiVo isn't the only DVR service with four-channel recording. AT&T U-Verse DVRs and DirecTV's Home Media Center HD DVRs also record up to four shows at once, and Dish's Hopper can record the four major primetime networks simultaneously while also recording two other channels. But TiVo's more advanced on the connected TV front, with support for Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Instant Video, YouTube, and Pandora, plus a unified interface for finding shows across all those services.