Free TiVo trial

Tivo has been struggling for ages now to try and get their adoption rate to hit the hockey stick trajectory of quadractic growth.* They've relied primarily on wacky TV ads. Tivo is something the average Joe can't grok unless he's seen it in action. I'd like to see them try some trial model which gets boxes into more homes, perhaps with a free trial period after which the software locks up until the customer pays for the unit. Every electronics store would have trial units ready for customers to take home with them for a really low fee, say $50 plus a credit card number as a deposit. They'd get it for a month or two, say, with full functionality. If they keep it, they get the $50 back as a discount against the full purchase price, and if they decide not to keep it after the trial period they have to return it to the store to get half their $50 back, and the unit would go back into circulation as a trial unit. Heck, they could pre-load these trial units with some complete seasons of some popular TV shows just to increase the likelihood of adoption. After you've saved a lot of your favorite shows on a trial unit, you'd be loathe to return it. A program like this could be rolled out gradually to minimize capital costs, or perhaps they could convince a well-capitalized but fighting-extinction company like Blockbuster to front some of the costs as a way to drive store traffic in exchange for a rev share on any completed sales.
I've rarely met a person who installed and used a Tivo and said it didn't change their life. Tivo is in danger of seeing their service commoditized to the point where they're driven out of the market by better capitalized competitors who embed Tivo-like functionality in other devices at lower cost. [Aside: In the consumer electronics space, the device which I'd buy in a heartbeat right now is a combo DVD-Recorder PVR device, preferably one that could handle hi-def signals. Pioneer just announced two such units which sound pretty close. Look for one on my Amazon wishlist soon.]
Unfortunately, unless they own a patent on their technology, Tivo might have a difficult time licensing their functionality out broadly in a platform play. ReplayTV tried that, but they didn't have anything so valuable that it couldn' t be reverse engineered cheaply. The Pioneer deal is a good start, and it's still worth a try. Surviving by being simply a box manufacturer is certainly not a winning strategy. Don't get me wrong--I love my hacked Tivo, but my business spider sense foresees a difficult future for TiVo (that capital V thing is too hard to type). They should be trying to solve the adoption problem instead of building random functionality that just makes their device more difficult for Joe Consumer to grok.
What do people think?
*Everyone says exponential growth, but as Kevin Kelly points out in New Rules for the New Economy almost everyone means quadractic growth or polynomial growth, or some number n raised to the power of 2 or some other fixed integer; true exponential growth means some number raised to a growing power n, which is insanely fast growth and rarely occurs in the business world.