View Full Version : What Can I do with a Tivo without subscription?

07-06-2005, 04:15 PM
If I have a Tivo without subscription can I use it as a normal VCR. I.E. Record programmes at a selected time and channel etc. or can I only use it for pausing live TV?

I look forward to your comments.
Phil Green

07-06-2005, 04:19 PM
Yes (I think :)) and yes, but that's it. Plus you'll get some nag screens recommending that you subscribe.

07-06-2005, 04:36 PM
General Questions

Can I get away with not buying a subscription?

While you don't strictly have to buy the subscription, without it TiVo is fairly useless. All you can do is pause and rewind live TV, you cannot even do manual recordings of programmes. Unless you really know what you're doing, I would strongly recommend you take out either the monthly or lifetime subscription.

From http://www.tivofaq.co.uk/


07-06-2005, 06:15 PM
Ooh! That F.A.Q. is out of date!

I get the feeling it refers to an earlier software version.

You can set up Manual Recordings on an unsubbed TiVo, though, as there's no Guide Data, these have uninspiring titles in Now Playing -
"Manual Recording BBC2 9:00pm Monday"
"Manual Recording BBC1 6:00pm Sunday"
"Manual Recording ITV2 11:30pm Friday"
"Manual Recording C4 7:00pm Friday"
you get the picture.

More usefully, you can set up repeating Manual Recordings - Weekly, Daily, Mon-Fri.

Note that also, as you have no Suggestions, you have no idea when your disk is full.

07-08-2005, 05:44 PM
I found that before my TiVo was activated it wouldn't let me record programs over 30 mins though! I have seen others report the same things too.

Much better with a subscription though. You can always just sign up for a month and cancel it if you don't like. :rolleyes:

07-09-2005, 07:04 AM
I found that before my TiVo was activated it wouldn't let me record programs over 30 mins though! I have seen others report the same things too.One of my TiVos was unsubbed for a year.
I could, and did, set Manual Recordings of varying lengths.
I saw no such restriction.

I suspect that before you subscribed, you had the old software (1.5?? :confused: ) and
that the software updated to the current version (2.5) at the same time as you subbed
(i.e. if you hadn't have subscribed, the software would have updated, and the Manual Recording length restriction would have disappeared.)

07-09-2005, 08:58 AM
I *think* it may have only been a 30 min limit if you pressed record while watching a program!!?? I can't remember what versions i had :)

07-10-2005, 03:58 AM
yes, the 30 min limit is if you press record while watching live tv.

Just buy the sub, you wont regret it.

07-10-2005, 04:17 AM
Ooh! That F.A.Q. is out of date!

I get the feeling it refers to an earlier software version.

You can set up Manual Recordings on an unsubbed TiVo, though, as there's no Guide DataNo, the same software version - but before it has gone into what's known as 'boat-anchor' mode.

I think that's triggered by doing a daily call (or n daily calls?) while the machine is unsubbed - not sure, but I guess someone will know :)

If you re-image a drive from an image that was taken from a subbed machine then, as long as you don't do any (n?) daily calls, you will be able to make manual recordings.

I have to agree with dogsbody though: get a sub - you will NOT regret it :up::up::up::D

07-11-2005, 06:42 AM
I have an unsubbed TiVo (as backup on Sky FTA, along with a subbed one on ntl).

It makes daily calls via Turbonet card, (I think it sets the clock), and allows me unlimited use of the manual record feature. I use a little prog which allows me to record programs on a click from Digiguide (sub required), or you can use the manual recording plugin to TivoWeb, or through the menus on an unconnected TiVo.

To confirm.... There are no restrictions on recording length/channels/etc.

07-11-2005, 08:04 AM
It makes daily calls via Turbonet card
Oh! I think I am about to have my model of TiVo subs adjusted. Daily calls to what, if you don't have a subscription?

07-11-2005, 09:36 AM
Even if you have no sub the TiVo will attempt a daily call every day - just to check :)

Otherwise, how could it ever find out that you had just bought a sub....? ;)

07-11-2005, 11:56 AM
Even if you have no sub the TiVo will attempt a daily call every day - just to check :)I seem to recall (from over a year ago! :rolleyes: ) that it only dialed in once a week.

Or maybe it was sulking... :p

07-12-2005, 06:46 AM
To confirm, it definitely does a daily call, and "hangs up" almost immediately.
I think it sets the clock, but am not sure...
I know it no longer sets the clock when you make a "test call".

I do get a nag screen the first time I use it every day, (but that's only once a week or so for me when there is a clash).

I used to set the clock back in time (to a year with the same day<->date mapping, which would remove the nags) but using the digiguide plugin means I only use the TiVo GUI for viewing, so I can live with it.

03-13-2006, 04:40 AM
Sorry to resurrect an old thread but thought it better than starting a new one. After more than 4 largely happy years with my TiVo (despite paying out for more than two lifetime subs by opting for monthly), I've cancelled my sub and switched to Sky+. I've decided to give the TiVo to my parents but don't intend on subbing it as they only watch a few regular shows at fixed times so manual repeating recordings should suffice. I've been using it unsubbed the past week with the phone line disconnected.

There's been a few conflicting views on how to best use an unsubbed machine. I wanted to just get some clarification on whether it's best to leave the machine connected to the phone line or not, and if not, how to ensure the clock stays set, especially with regard to daylight savings. Any other advice appreciated too (except being told to resubscribe :p ).

03-14-2006, 06:59 AM
My vote:- Leave it plugged in, then you can forget about it;
it will dial in once a week to set the clock.

Another option is to teach your parents how to make a Daily Call, or, I suppose, you could remember to do it whenever you call round to them.

Or leave it and see how much the clock drifts.

04-09-2006, 03:41 PM
Does anyone know if that works without a subscription?

04-09-2006, 03:45 PM
Does anyone know if that works without a subscription?
In the nicest possible way have you actually read the thread that you have just posted in!?

04-09-2006, 04:02 PM
Wow, you're kind and very helpful...NOT!!!

I guess now that I re-read it, I see that someone posted that all you can do is pause & rewind and do manual recordings.

Sorry for annoying you so much, that you couldn't simply say "No, Home Media options do not work without a subscription."

04-09-2006, 04:05 PM
LOL, I wasn't being horrible at all, mearly pointing you to the thread you posted in which seemed to answer your question :-) Chill!!

OG Quantum
06-09-2006, 05:09 PM
I recently got a second tivo that has NEVER been subbed. I have networked it to make manual recordings of clashes using the modified Sanderton module. It makes its daily call over the internet. Is it safe to leave it to make daily calls or will it reach a point and stop manual recordings?
Slightly off topic but when I got home the last two days the tivo has a black screen and no green line on the time bar suggesting its not recording the live buffer in live tv. When I press aux I can see the freeview box feed fine. When I go back to tivo live tv i see a black screen. If i disconnect the scart lead to the freeview box I get the blue screen with tivo guy saying check connections. When I reconnect I get the black screen again. A reboot fixes this. Any ideas?

06-09-2006, 06:03 PM
Is this The Thread That Will Not Die.

Basically there are a lot of confused messages above. A UK TiVo can be left dialling up unsubbed forever and nothing bad will happen.

Posting off-topic in a thread whch dates from a year ago might be considered eccentric. :)

OG Quantum
06-10-2006, 02:06 PM
thanks for the simple and direct reply on the "on-topic" part. I will start a new thread for the off-topic part :)


<insert quote about the virtues of being called eccentric>

03-23-2007, 03:21 AM
I`ve read this threa several times and am still unclear if with Software version 2.5.x the TiVo should be able to perform Manual recordings WITHOUT making any calls to TiVo to set the clock.

Can someone simply answer this, as I only want to use the unit as digital VCR for a couple of Cable shows that repeat weekly, so 10 for guide data is too much !

If the conclusion is the unit is in "boat anchor mode", how do you "if you know what you`re doing" make manual recorings ?


Raisltin Majere
03-23-2007, 07:14 AM
Yes it will make manual recordings without any calls to set the time.

How accurate the timings of those recordings are is another matter.

03-26-2007, 01:28 AM
I established the problem. I did subscribe for a couple of days to get the latest software version, but then disconnected from the phone line, so the unit didn`t know the account was closed - therefore it thought it should be getting data and stopped all functions !
Sorted now with a daily call, and the clock is reset too (great as the clocks changed over the weekend)
Looks like the TiVo server allows clock correction even without an account.