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TiVo Inc. likes to brag that the company has shaped the nation's vocabulary, at least in discussions of personal video recorders.

Consumers use TiVo as a generic noun, replacing PVR, much as Kleenex replaced tissues.

In fact, says TiVo, consumers even use it as a verb, as in "Let's TiVo this movie and watch it later."

But language continually evolves. And depending on TiVo's fate in the merger between Littleton-based EchoStar Communications Corp. and El Segundo, Calif.-based DirecTV, the business world could find an entirely new use for the word TiVo.

TiVo and Microsoft's UltimateTV, which supply DirecTV customers for $10 per month, face an uncertain future in the event of a merger of the satellite-TV giants, because EchoStar provides its own PVRs to customers at no monthly charge.

Some experts see no place for TiVo and UltimateTV in a world controlled by EchoStar. Ultimately, companies that merge to create operational efficiencies might be said to "TiVo" the vendors who no longer fit into the new strategy, dispatching them from the process very TiVo-ously.

Asked recently how a merger might affect distribution of PVRs, EchoStar Chairman Charlie Ergen said the new company would honor the contracts with TiVo and UltimateTV, giving customers a choice between PVRs that cost $10 and PVRs that cost nothing.

"I don't believe TiVo will have a place in Charlie Ergen's world, unless TiVo is acquired by Charlie Ergen," said Sean Badding, an industry analyst for The Carmel Group.

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