Well, the obvious is they wanted to ensure subscription revenue. I would submit, an even more likely reason - there are probably more than enough cheap people who wouldn't pay for the full service and then badmouth that "Tivo" thing as being a complete and total piece of crap. Never mind they aren't getting the full Tivo experience, it still says Tivo on the outside of the box. I don't blame them for dropping a cheap feature that an extreme minority of users would probably use, but could stand to severely dilute and confuse their brand. Want manual recordings with no fee's? As others pointed out there are plenty of DVD recorders with hard drives that will do exactly what you want.