There may be an easy solution, but let me double check before you take the chance.
I bought a Tivo a free months ago, activated it with my credit card (made a one year commitment). They said I could cancel the one year subscription within 30 days. Well, I decided I didn't like the PQ and a few other annoyances enough to justify paying the monthly fee, so after 3 weeks, I cancelled the subscription.
My Tivo no longer had access to programming info (like what's on, what time, a description etc) but I found that it now acted like a simple digital VCR. I could program it record a certain time, certain channel, certain quality setting, one, weekly, everyday etc. Just like a standard VCR. This was about 3 weeks after I cancelled.
That was probably2-3 months ago, so I double anything has changed. I'll check and see if it's still in that state, and if so I'll give you model/firmware number of the Tivo.
Its a simple solution, and only costs as much as a regular Tivo (but you can't use that big rebate they are usually offering.)
The other non-subscription DRVs cost 3 times as much, and Tivo with lifetime subscription costs 2 and half times as much as the standard 40 hour Tivo, so this is a cheap way out for a digital VCR.