TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) defeated EchoStar (Nasdaq: SATS) and DISH Network (Nasdaq: DISH) in the courtroom last week, but emerging victorious over the cynics will take a little more effort.

TiVo posted better-than-expected results last night, but no one is shooting confetti out of a bazooka. Service and technology revenue clocked in at $45.3 million, representing a 7% drop from a year ago as well as a small sequential dip. The DVR pioneer posted a quarterly loss of $0.09 a share.

The results came a little short on the top, but it was all business on the way down to a narrower deficit than analysts were targeting. In other words, TiVo scored a mullet.

Unfortunately for TiVo, subscriptions also appear to be as timely as the throwback hairdo. The company closed out the final quarter of fiscal 2010 with 2.6 million subscribers, 131,000 fewer than it had three months earlier. TiVo surrendered 730,000 net subs during the year.

There is never a shortage of healthy alliances. Whether it's licensing its technology through satellite television and cable providers such as DirecTV (NYSE: DTV) and Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA), gunning for the retail level with its marketing alliance with Best Buy (NYSE: BBY), or teaming up with international partners, TiVo's growing story is a contrast to its shrinking fundamentals.

Oh, and those scoring at home may as well know that TiVo is targeting yet another sequential dip in service revenue and a wider loss for the current quarter.

If we go by the buoyant share price following last week's legal victory, we can say that investors appear to be more excited about TiVo's enforceable patents than about its moribund financial snapshot. I can't say I blame this view, since TiVo's future may very well come down to technology.

Just as TiVo's new boxes are more Web-savvy, there is a lot more "on demand" content available through television screens. As consumers are able to command digital content on their terms, it remains to be seen how brisk demand will be for time-shifting DVRs, as that becomes less and less necessary.

As long as the DVR-subscriber count continues to shrink, TiVo's patent portfolio will be its best asset.

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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz thinks life is too short to not fly past unwanted commercials on TV. He owns shares in TiVo and is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.