TiVo, after eight years in the red, has been inching towards profitability, with cost-cutting the key this quarter. But, everyone wants a piece of time-delay digital video recording. Cablecos, DirecTV, and Echostar’s DISH Network sell house branded recorders direct into their customer bases, and other retailed DVRs plus Microsoft’s Media Center PCs challenge TiVo as well. Now The Penguin looms over the market.

I saw Mythbuntu at Linuxfest NW in April. It’s MythTV package (more here) with LiveCD boot capability, and now it’s in late alpha with documentation and support ramping up. What I saw in April was as good as any other DVR, with a user interface far more friendly than many DVRs I’ve used and picture quality matching anything on the market.

This, close on heels of a new Ubuntu-based media editing package, offers fascinating new enticements for folks to take a serious look at Linux. After all, if you can use your existing tuner-equipped PC and load Mythbuntu from a LiveCD without any installation or alteration to your operating system, might that be something to download and try for free?

Given that Apple TV has turned out to be barely profitable, I don’t see much challenge from Cupertino on DVRs.

How would you like to watch TV today? Join the discussion.