I'd put money on they track the TSNs sold through the VIP program.
TiVo would send shipping order, its number tied to a VIP purchase,.
The shipper would send the TSN of the shipped DMR back to TiVo, which they would cross reference to the shipping order and VIP order, so when you activate and trasnsfer, it will be that DVR.
Series 2 234 Hr Lifetime.
Window XP and Ubuntu Linux on my PCs.
Watching more and more in HD direct now.