Yesterday was a bit rough for shareholders in Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO). Early in the day, an analyst from investment bank Adams, Harkness & Hill opined that Friday's resignation of DirecTV's (NYSE:DTV) representative on TiVo's board might mean that DirecTV had sold off its 3-million-shares-plus stake in TiVo. The firm downgraded TiVo's stock based on this possibility. Investors panicked. TiVo's stock tanked.

As the day progressed, things only got worse for the world's premier purveyor of digital video recorders and DVR technology. DirecTV refused to comment while the markets were open, keeping hope alive and allowing TiVo's stock to bob over and under the -10% mark. But after market close, the satellite TV provider confirmed the analyst's suspicions.

Result: At last report, TiVo had lost nearly 15% of its market value in a single day, and was trading just 30 cents off its 52-week low. Ouch.

Investors certainly have cause to be concerned. DirecTV plays a major role in TiVo's business plan. In its Q1 earnings announcement, released just a scant two weeks ago, TiVo credited DirecTV with producing three out of every four new subscribers that TiVo signed up in the first quarter. And DirecTV was not just a big provider of subscribers -- it was the main engine of TiVo's revenue growth. While independent TiVo subscriptions jumped an amazing 84% in Q1, subscriptions garnered via DirecTV rocketed an astounding 400%.

Still, let's step back a moment and reflect. Sure, DirecTV is no longer a TiVo investor. But will this really hurt TiVo's business? DirecTV suggests otherwise, averring that "the sale does not signal a change in the companies' partnership" and "our relationship with TiVo is strong." Moreover, DirecTV is still projecting that over the course of 2004, it will double the number of its subscribers with TiVo-equipped set-top boxes to 2 million.

It could well be that DirecTV's sale means no more than the company's PR department says it does; that yesterday's news was just a continuation of a plan, handed down by DirecTV owner News Corp. (NYSE:NWS), to focus on the core satellite TV business and sell off non-core investments. Just like the March 2004 sale of DirecTV's stake in XM Satellite Radio (NASDAQ:XMSR). And just like DirecTV's sale of its stake in India's Hughes Software Systems, also announced yesterday.

If DirecTV proves true to its word, therefore, then in a year's time, I suspect yesterday's 15% plunge in TiVo's stock price will look like nothing so much as a gigantic buying opportunity offered to investors.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article.