I agree with you, Rory, I never thought much about a driver's role in having to interpret complex or messy or inconsistent hardware signals and convert them into a consistent API for talking with the rest of the system.
I'm new to the DVR world, but I just got a Moxi with Moxi Mate installed (available through Charter in the St. Louis market).
The Moxi is a 160 GB DVR, and the Moxi Mate operation sounds a lot like how this video describes a "media extender".
The moxi with mate allows you to control/record from either TV, and play back from either unit. The current setup can't stream HD to the Mate unit, but an upgrade is planned for that functionality (for those lucky people with HDTVs in TWO rooms).
Basically I'm trying to say that this kind of multi-room setup is the only practical way to use a DVR. If the extender functionality of the XBox 360 works as described, its going to be a very popular unit.
My comments on browser tabs-- they solve two problems:
1: Grouping separate browser windows in a way that the user has control over.
2: Opening related links BEHIND the current browser window to read later.
#1 is probably a "bigger deal" from a software architecture standpoint, but #2 is the thing I like the most about browser tabs. Browsing down blogs.msdn.com, and opening up interesting links in new tabs lets me continue down the list as I go, with IE "open
in new window", I have to minimize the newly opened window if I don't want to read it right away. Tabs really match the way I do my browsing.