TiVo went up against EchoStar in a patent infrigement lawsuit and won, with a jury awarding TiVo $73 million in damages. Why the lawsuit? When EchoStar put together its own digital video recorder for its Dish Network, TiVo cried foul, saying that its patent for a "multimedia time warping system" was violated by EchoStar's DVR.
It's a good thing for that other satellite TV provider, DirecTV, that it cut a deal with TiVo the other day, where DirecTV extended the TiVo contract in exchange for patent protection. Other DVR purveyors might need that kind of waiver, too, since TiVo's patent is quite broad, basically stating that it enables viewers to digitally record a TV show while watching another. This could mean that TiVo could collect licensing fees for any DVR, driving up costs to the consumer. Either that, or we could all just get TiVos. Yeah. Big victory for TiVo.