I reinstalled my mother-in-law's TiVo last night. It's one of those things that sons-in-law do to win babysitting points.

Now that TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) is announcing layoffs, maybe I should start going around the country to hook up tech-slow mothers-in-law to the service. As a TiVo fan, subscriber, and shareholder, the last thing I want is for the DVR pioneer to start handing out pink slips. But yes, that's exactly what's happening.

"On November 18, 2008, we commenced a plan to reduce our operational expenses, primarily through a reduction in headcount, as we manage through the challenges presented by a difficult economic climate and a rapidly evolving retail consumer market," the company explained in its 8-K filing last night.

The company isn't revealing how many employees it will let go, but it won't be many. The move will result in a pretax charge of just $1 million during the current quarter.

But it still stings. TiVo seemed to be on a roll. It's been surprising Wall Street with back-to-back profitable quarters. The company has also been inking deals to make its home theater boxes more useful.

Did you catch this week's deal, which lets hungry couch potatoes order Domino's Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) pies from their TiVo-tethered televisions? That's just one of the many recent partnerships that TiVo has picked up.

For those scoring at home, here are a few of the things you can now do with a TiVo:

The rub, sadly, is that all of these initiatives haven't created a whole lot of demand for TiVo. It has been losing more subs from its expired pact with DirecTV (NYSE:DTV) than it is gaining on its own.

In a soft economy in which worried consumers are likely to spend more time at home, TiVo is one of the few consumer-facing companies that should be thriving in this environment. But it isn't. Even if TiVo thrilled investors with an unexpected profit in its latest quarter, it came on a 5% decline in service and technology revenue.

How can a company so cool be so stagnant?

Other "thumbs-up" reads to kill time until the earnings report:

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.