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This have been my beef for years. I actually argued with a service tech about it. "Why am I paying money each month for you to do nothing? Is there a magic switch pulled on your end, or is it just my box being able to record?"
There are ways around this, but they can be expensive, and aren't as simple as just scheduling a recording in your channel guide, but all I know is high end video and audio editing stuff. I don't know if there is a ghetto way around this.