It would be nice if the TiVo Desktop includes a working CODEC so we don't have to pay additional for SONIC's or any other crummy offerings. We download TiVo desktop and then find out that it doesn't work unless we go out and pay for a grab bag of CODECs that may or may not work.
I wouldn't even mind having to pay for the TiVo desktop if it included complete sofeware to view TiVo transfers. This policy is like buying a new car and then discovering that you have to pay extra for tires, or whatever.
Most users these days already have a working codec, because they'll have DVD playback software - same MPEG-2 codec. I don't see the difference between TiVo charging for the desktop which includes a codec (which they'd have to do, because they would have to pay license fees for each copy downloaded) and paying someone else for the codec. They provide links to codecs to purchase.
Since most users don't need one, the free desktop without codec is the best solution for them.