I bought the thing back a couple years ago. When I got it, it was a great way to record shows and skip the commercials. I was able to get a Tivo with a DVD burner so if it fit on a DVD I could burn it and keep it. If it was bigger than a DVD I could span two discs and still keep it. It let me set up what they call a Season Pass and record every episode of a show as long as I had space which was nice because I'd be able to walk away and let it do its thing.
I got it knowing that they had no commercials, no spam ads on there, and basically let me do my own thing. So I got a lifetime subscription and went with it.
Six months later I got a Windows XP Media Center computer. Basically this was what Tivo promised and did NOT deliver on. The reason is that the Media Center Edition (MCE) has everything Tivo has without any pesky advertisements from Microsoft within the software as well as other ease of use aspects.
Knowing that MCE was out there and just a computer on your network that let you watch your TV anywhere on your network, Tivo had to act. Tivo was a closed computer - more like a Cable Company set top box than a Computer that you could get things in and out of. They added something called Tivo To Go that let you get your shows off of Tivo and let you watch them on a machine with a key. Better than nothing but still annoying, slow, and very clunky.
So basically I have a Tivo that I don't use much and would not recommend to anyone but your stereotypical Grandma user, and a MCE computer that I use heavily. When Tivo Dies, I'll happily toss it in the trash. When MCE dies, I'll build another immediately. Microsoft did it right, and I'm using a version two versions back. You get all that wonderful MCE software free with Windows 7 so you don't have to fight with installs, its pretty much just there in Windows 7 Professional and above. Tivo just gets slower and filled with spam ads while you fast forward and now they're whining with an ad in their main menu talking about genuine Tivo.
No thanks, Tivo, I've moved on and so has the rest of the market. You're so 1996.