Digital media maven TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) sent out a letter to shareholders Monday night. In it, the company tipped its hand regarding the future direction of its business plans. And whaddya know -- these guys are doing exactly what I thought they would and should do!

The market for digital video recorders will not last forever -- probably not beyond the next five years or so, in my estimation. But TiVo is ready for the next stage, where the winners will simply be the best at organizing the growing plethora of video on demand, downloadable and streamed videos, and new media forms we haven't even thought of yet.

"Basically, imagine being able to get anything you want to watch on your television set whenever you want it, whether recorded, downloaded or streamed," writes CEO Tom Rogers. "And imagine having search and discovery suggestions that are so personally relevant you are always guaranteed to have just what you wanted to see anytime you turn your TV on. A fantasy? Far into the future maybe? Not at all. This is essentially what TiVo offers today."

It's funny only because it is true. The latest TiVo systems have media-sharing features unrivaled by the best that Motorola (NYSE:MOT) or Cisco's (NASDAQ:CSCO) Scientific-Atlanta subsidiary can come up with. My own Motorola box can pull in some music and pictures from my PC and show them on that luscious plasma screen, but videos are beyond its ken. Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube videos have to go through my Nintendo Wii, and it takes some serious digital acrobatics to get anything more complicated than that onto the big screen in the living room.

A TiVo box could do all of these things and more. I am encouraged by management's commitment to staying at the forefront of the media-center frontier, fighting off competent but flawed contenders like the Sony (NYSE:SNE) PlayStation 3 and Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) Xbox 360. One of these competitors needs to hook up with those Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) streams someday soon -- or maybe all of them. From there, it's a short step into ubiquitous on-demand streams of whatever you want to see. These features will eventually leak down to the mobile space as well.

A Google Android phone with TiVo-powered media management? I can hear the cash registers ringing already. TiVo makes a lot more sense as a software provider than as a hardware outfit.

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