The New York Times > Arts > Television > Steal This Show: "It all started with the digital video recorder. First popularized by TiVo and ReplayTV about five years ago, the DVR gave consumers a new degree of control: instead of being at the mercy of the broadcast schedule or VCR's, they could now be their own television programmers, scheduling shows at their convenience, pausing live television and skipping easily past commercials. Smith Barney estimates that though only a little more than 6 million Americans now use DVR's, by 2010 nearly half of American television households, or 58 million homes, will have them.
Meanwhile, the file-sharing networks that are the scourge of the music industry began to have their way with television. Two factors slowed the spread: television isn't as expensive as recorded music, and its digitized files are significantly larger and harder to maneuver than their music equivalents. But hacking the cable box or stealing pay-cable channels like HBO is a longstanding tradition. 'There is a sense of entitlement that once it hits the airwaves it's free,' said Brandon Burgess, NBC Universal's executive vice president for digital media, international channels and business development.
Until recently, it was hard for average viewers to act on that sense. But these days all it takes is a broadband connection and a program like BitTorrent."