Well, the "800 lb gorilla" argument isn't entirely
without merit, either: while often greatly exaggerated or simplified it is a significant factor holding back introduction of removable-media HDTV recorders in North America. Its probably a 50/50 mix of "800lb gorilla" and "nobody wants a $600 (more likely $900) recorder anymore".
The topic has been beaten to death on this and other forums, but once again: USA trends and services dominate the North American market. The USA has a huge cable/satellite penetration factor unmatched anywhere else in the world: Americans have little to no interest (or incentive) to record off-air broadcasts. American cable/satellite providers are influenced by Hollywood pressure to some degree, but mostly they operate in their own self-interest (as any commercial enterprise must do). When TiVO debuted it was a consumer sensation, and cable/satellite companies took note: they developed their own TiVO-like recorders embedded in their decoder boxes. While not nearly as elegant as a TiVO, these integrated PVRs have 80% of the most-wanted features and seem vastly cheaper at first because there's no upfront cost. Hookup is a non-issue because the recorder is built into the cable/satellite box and fully supported by your provider.
TiVO, OTOH, has an apparent higher upfront cost and requires a separate monthly subscription or "lifetime" package. It also requires your cable company to send out a tech to install a "CableCard" approved by their system (a CableCard is a essentially decoder box miniaturized onto a credit-card-sized electronic board). Cable companies really hate these things, and will often send incompetent techs out to screw up the installation in hopes you'll be disenchanted with the TiVO and give it up. While most TiVOs are of course eventually set up correctly, enough consumers are dissuaded from TiVO and switch to the decoder box PVR to make these shenanigans worthwhile. If you have satellite instead of cable, its even more difficult. So, yes, in a sense there is an "800 lb gorilla" whose name is "our addiction to non-broadcast program services".
When TiVO was at its early peak of success, the system was licensed by several DVD recorder mfrs and a handful of TiVOs with built-in DVD/HDD recording were offered. The timing was poor, both TiVO and DVD recorders were still in their early overpriced phase, and the machines bombed. That failure was not forgotten and still haunts any mfr considering selling a high-end (i.e. expensive) recorder. TiVO eventually regrouped with better pricing and rode the wave of HDTV, but DVD recorders fell out of favor and became a funky profitless commodity product hardly anyone wants. The proliferation of "cheap" subscription HDTV recorders weaned the public off the idea of making permanent disc recordings, most people only want to timeshift, so the market for a pricey HDTV-capable disc recorder in North America is too small for mfrs to bother. In other parts of the world, TV broadcasting and consumption patterns are noticeably different than US, which makes $600-900 disc recorders more attractive. Consumers in Australia, Japan and New Zealand can now buy HDTV-capable BluRay/HDD recorders for about $1000, but these will never fly in the US or Canada.
With all the uncertainties of US cable/satellite integration and the TiVO history to guide them, electronics mfrs are in no rush to return to the US/Canada generic recorder market. TiVO is now the only remaining successful challenger to proprietary cable/satellite recorders, and it seems no one wants to throw money away chasing that small market- the field has been ceded to TiVO. The fact that TiVO is "allowed" to peddle devices capable of HDTV "piracy" does not
mean "there is no 800 lb Hollywood gorilla": the gorilla most certainly exists and is not at all pleased with TiVOs connectivity features. But the gorilla reasons the percentage of consumers smart enough or motivated enough to connect a TiVO to their PC is so small it isn't worth making too obvious a scene over it. After all, the gorilla got 90% of what it wants already: consumer video disc recorders could not be more dead in North America. Offer your average American consumer a choice between $300 video recorder or a $300 game console, and they'll pick the game console every time. Heck, they'd take a dead fish over the typical DVD recorder. As Kelson noted, an updated North American recorder that could burn AVCHD or BD discs would be at least twice the price and twice as complicated to use.