TiVo-ing TiVo-er TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) reports Q4 and full-year 2007 earnings results on Wednesday. While the company's IP lawyers may not enjoy its name's rapid evolution from noun to gerund to adjective, I'll bet ReplayTV would welcome some trademark dilution right about now.

What analysts say:

  • Buy, sell, or waffle? Eighteen analysts slow-mo TiVo, and their opinions cover the entire spectrum: six buys, seven holds, and five sells.
  • Revenues. On average, they're looking for a 7% slide in quarterly sales to $56 million.
  • Earnings. Meanwhile, per-share losses are expected to grow 57% to $0.36.

What management says:
TiVo may not be very good at generating profits, but boy, can it ever generate press releases. Since last quarter's end, we've seen the company partner with Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) on a new project to deploy TiVo software remotely. It's also joined with Sonic Solutions (NASDAQ:SNIC) to extend TiVoToGo (already available on Microsoft Windows-equipped PCs) to the Mac. It's begun providing special interactive advertising services to CBS (NYSE:CBS). And then there's the biggie: It's hooked up with Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) to pipe movies directly into TiVo boxes over the Internet.

What management does:
Press releases aside, however, profits continue to elude this little technological wunderkind. Rolling gross margins have slid for three quarters straight, even as operating and net margins continue their two-steps-forward-one-step-back march toward breakeven.





























All data courtesy of Capital IQ, a division of Standard & Poor's. Data reflects trailing-12-month performance for the quarters ended in the named months.

One Fool says:
Over at Motley Fool Stock Advisor, co-lead analyst David Gardner still hasn't entirely given up on TiVo, despite the stock's persistent underperformance since he recommended it nearly four years ago. As noted by fellow Fool Anders Bylund in our January duel, TiVo could yet turn the above margin trends upside down if it succeeds in transforming its business into an "asset-lite" model based on licensing its technology to other box-makers, and in raking in court-ordered royalties. Continued court victories over EchoStar (NASDAQ:DISH) suggest that it's got a good chance.

Recognizing this possibility, and acknowledging "the strength of TiVo's brand," David does, however, fear that brand "may not have the zing it once did." But does he think that's reason enough to sell the stock? Claim a free, 30-day trial of Stock Advisor, read David's December semiannual review of all his recommendations to-date, and find out.

TiVo and Amazon are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Microsoft is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Check out either investing service free for 30 days.

Fool contributor Rich Smith does not own shares of any company named above. The Motley Fool has a full disclosure policy.