Presumably, Tivo have some sort of hardware reference design on which they developed their software. Why don't they just release this design into the public domain. That way any enterprising company (or person) could take up the challenge and manufacture the units. Tivo could then just sell software packages in the same way that microsoft sell Windows. I can go out and buy a blank computer and a copy of Windows and I'm up and running in no time, or I can buy one with it pre-installed. There's no real reason that I can see, why Tivo couldn't be the same, except that Tivo not only get a sale for the software but subscription fees too.