"Someone Has to Pay for TV. But Who? And How?" is an article in today's New York Times that has possibly the coolest PVR-related illustration to date:
It's a pretty standard "the sky is falling because no one watches ads anymore" article. It covers the current state of declining TV ad sales (TiVo reports its users skip 70% of commercials) and it covers experiments with online digital delivery of shows for a small price (like NBC shows in the iTunes Store and CBS selling direct). The article also mentions the Philips patent application for a feature that would disable the fast forward button and channel change button when ads are played, which is certainly a step backwards.
The success of show sales on things like the iTunes store definitely points towards the future of TV: make shows good enough that people willingly pay for it (sans ads). Of course, cable outfits like HBO and Showtime have been doing this for decades so it will be interesting to see how the major networks compete in the future. I'm still hopeful the networks can create great programming worthy of purchase and adapt to this new world instead of the alternative: relying on lawsuits to block any technology that doesn't fit their current business model in a perpetual war between them and their own customers.