The VCR was a revolution in television viewing. It was free to operate as long as you provided the tapes, it let you record any shows and watch them back as often as you'd like, you could fast-forward through the ads and even pass the tapes on to friends when you were done with them.
TiVo, on the other hand, requires a monthly subscription, lets you record only the shows they allow, may restrict the number of times you can watch them back, doesn't let you skip ads and certainly won't let you share recordings with friends. TiVo is trying to fill the void left by the passing of the VCR, but doing it so badly that we should be appalled.
We are not appalled. Instead, we bypass TiVo entirely and go to the internet to download our shows over BitTorrent. It's free (except for the ISP subscription you were paying anyway), you can watch any shows as often as you'd like, there are no ads and you can share them with friends (where "friends" in this case means pretty much everyone).
Mokalus of Borg
PS - I've wondered about getting a hard drive recorder sometimes.
PPS - But then I remember where TV comes from these days: the internet.