Two comments here. First, as a mod I have to remind those assembled that it's ok to express a differing opinion but let's remember that no one likes to feel attacked. Please keep it civil.
Now as to the lease model... I understand that to the average consumer a DVR is an appliance and if any of your other appliances broke you would not expect to be treated this way. The difference is that DIRECTV hardware is heavily subsidized. You get a lot of things for free or below cost when you sign that commitment. Your relationship with the microwave's manufacturer ends when you buy the microwave, and the price you pay is a fair profit for all involved. With DIRECTV (or DISH) hardware, you get a lot of equipment and a lot of labor for free and the costs are tied into the service you pay for.
I personally don't like this model. I'd rather pay cash for my satellite system, cash for my phone, cash for everything rather than get put into a subsidized deal. But, I don't have a choice. I've been told that in certain cases DIRECTV does make higher-risk customers pay more for their hardware, but they still have to sign a commitment. If I paid cash for my phone, I'd still have the same monthly bill, even though I'm not subsidizing free hardware.
As for the matter of dealing with licensed third parties, I think it's great that there are options out there so you can get what you want.
DIRECTV is hardly alone in providing a pool of equipment from different manufacturers; most providers are small enough that a single manufacturer covers all needs, but even so... if I went to my local Time Warner Cable I would have no choice whether I got a 5-year-old Motorola POS DVR or the latest new hotness. Of course, saying "everyone else does it" isn't an excuse, but perhaps everyone does it because the overarching majority simply don't care what manufacturer or model they get.
Do you know the actual cost to Directv for an hd dvr or a Genie? I'm thinking when the customer pays an up front fee of $199 for an hd dvr, they have paid most of the cost to Directv for it. I'm sure the same goes for the Genie.