You must have a cable box in line with the Tv by the way you discribe your problem. The reason it only records when on is your cable box needs power to get the picture. To solve this problem put a splitter in line with the main cable. one cable goes to your Tivo and the other to your cable box,this way Tivo allways has signal to record. If you have video inputs on your TV use that for Tivo playing and your RF input for Cable box watching. The only drawback to this is you can't record any pay per view shows or channels like HBO. Only stright cable channels. If you need to record these type of channels then plug your Tv in direct into the wall. and never turn off your cable box. The big problem with this format is your cable box has to be set to the channel you want to record and your Tivo has to be on the output channel. Hope that helps..