let's see, in the guide itself it will only show 3 days worth of stuff. but you can search either a-z or movies, sports, to find a program for about up to a week of data, depending on how many channels you tell it to get guide data for. yes the unit has to be off to download it, which is weird compared to tivo, etc. but normal in the sense of traditional turning everything off before going to bed. everything you record goes into the video menu. so if you are taping say seinfeld every day of the week thru the guide, it will show up as seinfeld 1, seinfeld 2 etc.
it's really a nice and capable unit with some quirks, eg. say you're 20 seconds delayed from live, hitting the 30second skip button wont due anything, as with tivo, replay, instead you need to ff then. a feature i like is typing in where you want to go in a program, eg 01:30:00 for an hour and a half into something. the video quality is also better imo, i use basic and get 60 hours worth on the 40gb drive.