I was lucky and had the opportunity to buy the original silhouette for $20 from a scrapbooking store that went out of business. They didn't really use it because they had a Cameo and a Cricut. I then also purchased the "subscription" because it was the best deal - I pay $16 a month and get $150 worth of "credit" to buy the images each month. I did the math once - I think it ended up being like 14 cents per image that way. I love it, but I still love my spellbinder dies, etc. I don't see either of them going away, as I think you get 2 different results.
I think it would be nice to have a Cameo, but I'm very satisfied with the original machine. If you ever get the opportunity to purchase a used one for a great price, I highly recommend it.