TiVo officially announced, today, the eventual retail arrival of a four-tuner TiVo, the Premiere Elite. The existence of the Elite was exposed in June after being mentioned in an FCC filing; a service-provider-only version called the Premiere Q was announced earlier that month. So, yeah, not exactly a secret surprise, but it's always nice to have an actual announcement.
The main reason to care about the Elite is that it has four tuners allowing you to record four programs at once and still watch something previously recorded to its 2TB of storage--twice the room of the TiVo Premiere XL. It'll hold up to 300 hours of HD programming.
The THX-certified Elite also gives you access to on-demand streaming services from Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, BlocKbuster, and Amazon Instant Video. And, well, it does everything else the current Premiere models do, though with one exception. The Elite adds MoCA (Multimedia over Coax Alliance) networking in addition to Ethernet (wireless still requires an add-on adapter). MoCA will let you network this TiVo over your home's coaxial wiring, perfect for places where you don't have easy Ethernet access. (Though I'm guessing you'll need to buy at least one MoCA adapter to take advantage of it.)
Pricing is set for $499.99 plus the monthly ($19.99) or lifetime ($499.99) service fee, but availability was not announced, other than to say it would be out by the end of 2011 pending the approval of the FCC waiver. The Premiere Elite is an all-digital DVR and doesn't meet the FCC's analog tuning requirement. The waiver is for the commission's "digital-cable ready" rules requiring an analog tuner be included.
Note: Story updated with pricing.