The problem is that at one point Tivo was king. When the HRs first came out, they were crap in comparison. But the HRs have evolved so much that it would take a LOT to make a Tivo that was better. But all we see is basically the same old UI, on old hardware, with less features. A buffoon for leasing one? Not my words, but.....
I don't really need a history lesson on Tivo, since I owned the original big black box. And better is a relative term. Some people, even very smart ones, just want a box that can do the basics and do them well. So your point of view really is only valid for someone like you, who apparently uses many of those what some considered worthless features on the HRXX series. I was one of the first HR20 owners as well, and I know all about the crap that DTV can dump on its customer base from the get-go. It almost seems to have happened again with the THR22, in fact, since I have yet to be able to download the FW update without the machine choking. But that's a DTV issue, not a THR22 issue.
Give you one good example of why the Tivo box may be more useful to someone. When I used it today to watch an NFL game, using the FF function was much smoother, you could actually watch it at 1X without missing pieces of video. Try that with any of the HRXX models. Does not work, it snips it's way through, so for sports fans, it is pretty much worthless for replays.
That may be more valuable than all the so-called features that come on the HR boxes. And I just got the HR23 (for 3D capability mainly), so I am not averse to leasing the DTV HD DVRs.
Anyway, you missed the point. For some people, it's not about how much more advanced the Tivo HD DVR is compared to the HRXX series, it's will it deliver what the basic Tivo service delivered? If so, I'd wager there will be some large number of owners who would be considered pretty sharp who nonetheless have leased the THR22. Some might even be smarter than you, and to them, fussing and obsessing over what are basically fancy VCRs is not worth their time. They just want to record some shows, get a few Series Links, and enjoy their DVR. That's how Tivo fits in, based on my experience using both boxes (and now, at the same time).