You misunderstood my reply. They AREN'T out of business, but they also aren't checking subscriptions. A 5504 or 5508 (there's no 5505) can not be used as any kind of recorder without being able to conect to their subscription server. And, it has nothing to do with any kind of previous subscription, lifetime or not. The subscription is kept by the subscription server, not the unit, but the subscription server isn't currently checking for active subscriptions. So, you should have no problem setting it up and activating it to be used either as a DVR/PVR or for manual recordings only. It can control an external set top box, but you need an IR Blaster to do that, which you can easily purchase somewhere. You might want to start with the User's Guide, posted here
which explains how to connect up an external set top box.
And, yes, there is software to allow you to use it without the subscription server. It is called WiRNS and it can be found here
. But, since the subscription server is still running, you really wouldn't need that unless you want to use some of the features of it.