Things looked promising when DirecTV had a Tivo box (killer combo), but then they discontinued it....
When was that? And was it just DirecTV, or did Dish Network have a Tivo combo as well? The reason I ask is because I had Dish Network probably 7 years ago, and the DVR that came with it was absolutely outstanding! By far the best DVR I've ever had the pleasure of using. It was so good at finding shows with simple keyword searches, stored 100 hours worth of programing on its hard drive, prioritized your favorites, and was a smap to record things WHEN YOU WANTED it to record things. For example, I had it recording new episodes of 'The Daily Show' once per day. When I dropped Dish Network and went to cable, their DVR recorded 'The Daily Show' like 7 times per day, and there was no way to change that. Believe me I tried 'first run only', 'once daily', 'no repeats', etc... nothing worked, everyday I had 7 'Daily Shows' recorded without fail.
The Dish Network DVR I had behaved the way you guys are discribing Tivo (I've never experienced Tivo ever) box also. Like I set it up to record MotoGP racing, and a week later I checked my recordings and I had every motorcycle race that played on any channel at any time of day for that whole week in my recordings... I was blown away!!! Unfortunately that experience was short lived because back then anyway Dish Network was very unreliable during inclimate weather. As soon as a rain cloud popped up the tv went out without fail. It got so frusterating I switched back to cable within a few months.
But cable DVR's could never touch the user friendliness of that Dish Network DVR by a long shot. My parents just recently subscribed to Dish Network and I immediately told them, "you are going to LOVE their DVR"!!!!! I still miss it, and I don't even have cable, a DVR, or any of that stuff anymore. I watch all of my programing (the 'Daily Show', 'Survivor', 'Twilight Zone', 'MotoGP' and every basketball, football and hockey game I can get my hands on) over the internet. I would like to get a DVR to record that stuff though. But I wonder, can you just buy some software to turn your computer into a DVR??? Seems like it would be a no-brainer!