All Your TV has a great piece running now called Is 'Transitional Fair Use' The Wave Of The Future?. In it, they touch on HBO's recent moves to curtail the consumer rights on recordings, where recorded episodes can't be saved forever, and will have a mandated delete date. I'm guessing HBO thinks a large drive TiVo with a whole season of Six Feet Under would cut into DVD sales of that season, but I tend to view shows on DVD for the extras so I think they're overdoing it if that's the case.
The phrase "transitional fair use" is one to watch because it sounds like an acceptable compromise between viewers and networks when in reality networks would like to roll back the basic freedoms you legally enjoy today. What if you go on vacation for a couple weeks in the summer? What if you're busy at work for a few weeks before you can tend to the backlog of HBO shows saved? It'll be interesting to watch HBO try and balance the needs of their business while at the same time keeping viewers happy. It's a disturbing trend for those of us that just want to enjoy TV on our own time and it's a shame to see HBO leading the way down this dark path [thanks, Steve]