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Comcast, Verizon raising prices for HD DVR service

The price of watching "Top Chef" on your own timetable is going up.

Comcast and Verizon are raising the monthly fees for their high-definition digital video recorder service, the technology that allows people to digitally record shows and watch them when they want.

Comcast said this month it would increase its price, from $9.95 to $12.95. Verizon's monthly price is set to shoot up from $12.99 to $15.99 -- for new customers only.

The price increases happen even as television networks are finding new ways to reach people by streaming their shows for free, selling shows as downloads over iTunes, or even allowing people access to programs through On Demand service.

Comcast said the $3 price hike was the first since it began offering DVR service in New England three years ago, and reflected enhancements, including tweaks to the user guides and new equipment with more memory.

"This price change reflects the value of the service and the investment we have made to deliver the latest in technology to our customers," said spokeswoman Shawn Feddeman.

Comcast's new price is still lower than Verizon's original price. Verizon's $3 increase for new customers will be the company's first since it began offering TV service over its fiber-optic network in Massachusetts in 2006. The company initially said the price increase would take place on or after July 13, but a spokesman said the increase had not yet been implemented and would not say when it would take effect.

"The price of a service is determined by its value in the marketplace," spokesman Phil Santoro wrote in an e-mail. "We think our FiOS products deliver great value at their current price."

Both services still offer HD DVR at lower prices than competitors. TiVo's HD DVR costs $300 and has various monthly plans that range from $12.95 a month to $16.95 a month. RCN's DVR service costs $17.95 per month.

Carolyn Y. Johnson can be reached at