My friend, it's not just the "cost" that's the issue. Most folks here spend more on hard drives than the average joe spends on TV in 5 years...
It's the "features" that justify the additional cost. However.....let's talk about this for a second. You say:
If I spend $1000 on hardware (which I already have), I see that as additional 18% over the cost of service ($1000/$5580). Is it worth 18% above what I already pay to distribute to multiple rooms, gain a DLNA client, get a more stable device, gain online scheduling, get the encrypted HD channels I pay for in the "other" rooms? For me, the answer is a resounding "yes".
Let's take a basic example of 5 viewing areas, with one of them being the main and 4 additional viewing areas. Let's talk about Moxi first (since you were the one who brought it up.
Main unit - $499 (I'm doing apples to apples, so just a 2 tuner unit, which is typical in cable/fios boxes).
Moxi mate - $299 (need 4 of them)
Total cost = $1695.
Now, just what DO you get for this $1700?? From a functional perspective, it's a DVR, a multi room DVR for sure, but basically a DVR. Sure they have online scheduling, widgets and tickers, and all kinds of funky things, but the basic function is TV viewing.
Now, what if you wanted to watch DVDs in those 5 viewing areas?? 5 DVD players?
What if you wanted to watch video files in those areas? 5 digital media players?
or 5 Digital media players that can potentially handle both videos and DVDs (and maybe photos etc)? What would that cost? Another $200 a unit, maybe? Blu Ray in all 5 areas?? 5 BD players?
That's another $1000. And even then your overall "experience" isn't optimal, since there's no single integrated UI, and your display device/receiver still has to switch between different sources, you have to calibrate your display for different inputs, manage audio from different inputs, a whole basket of remotes and what not...
Is this scenario any different with Tivo? Nope. Exact same crap. And it's the same exact crap, if you have the cable/fios boxes EXCEPT you haven't shelled out $1700 to begin with. Unless you find a deal, the boxes will probably be around $15-$20 per box per month. That's $75-$100 a month just for the freakin boxes on top of your programming cost.
Which would end up costing you the same as Moxi in about 18 months
Now, is that a "good" solution? Hell no.
The whole point of "technological innovation"
is to make things easier and hopefully cheaper. Enter HTPC.
We're in a blissful HTPC era where you can build a HD/BD capable HTPC for peanuts. I'll say you can probably build a good "main" HTPC for around $500. And for the other 4 viewing areas get extenders! which are fairly cheap! Problem solved? Hell no. Now, the extenders will do TV, quite nicely, but they throw up when it comes to anything other than TV and pictures. Gotta go through all sorts of hoops to get video files playing, and transcoding for DVDs and what not. I still (to this day) have never understood Microsoft's infinite wisdom in crippling the extenders. I do not know WTF they are smoking over there, or may be it's the air in Redmond that makes em a bit stupid.
So, the solution? Build 5 HTPCs?? Well, apart from the fact that it's gonna cost $2500 now, now, you have no central guide support and centralized recording support that you did with the extenders.WHAT? Yup. Microsoft in more of their infinite wisdom have crippled Media Center, so that one MC can't talk to another one and share tuners and guide. Somebody REALLY needs to beat them up.
So, what's the solution?? There is NO solution.