Frequent PVRblog commenter MegaZone has posted his response to rumors of TiVo's death (short version: they're greatly exaggerated). We've covered the TiVo deathwatch a little, and MegaZone makes some pretty good arguments that things are going to be OK.
On the financial situation:
Fiscal 2005 just ended, 2006 is to be about profitability. They will be cutting back on rebates and promotions (so you might want to buy now, before the current rebate program ends). They paid off their long term securities debts at an accelerated pace in 2005, leaving them without that burden for 2006 and beyond. They came out with the 'night light' S2 units in 2005, investing in engineering to reduce production costs of the HW.
On TiVo's lack of HDTV offerings:
So it is really the early adopters pissing and moaning that because TiVo isn't giving them what they want right away that they must be 'out of touch' and a dying company. Which is just asinine. If TiVo can deliver HD products in fiscal 2006, as they've said, that should be well in time to still catch the market on the start of the growth curve. In the meantime their SD products suit the vast majority of users just fine.
First of all, DirecTV has no plans to drop TiVo support. The existing agreement allows them to support users indefinitely, and they'd be stupid to turn off ~2million systems. They're not that dumb. Even if they did stop selling new units, and even that isn't clear - TiVo says that when/if the NDS units ship they will do what is needed to remain a competitor - TiVo gets revenue from the existing users. But even if they did lose that, DTV is less than 10% of their revenue. They may be nearly 2/3 of the total subscriber base, but TiVo gets just over $1 a month per user.
Frankly, the whole "TiVo-will-die" thing is getting a little old for me. I would like to see some dates from the critics about the estimated time of death; if they don't get their act together by 2006 they'll die? 2007? Tuesday?
Also, I assume the hacker community would come up with new guide data for the stand-alone units fairly quickly, so what would TiVo's death actually mean to me as a customer? The only thing I can think of is I'd have $13 more a month, so maybe I should be rooting for their demise...