Thanks for the info guys.
Yes set top box(Motorola Qip2500-3) has a svideo output not currently used.
I remember having a macrovision "black box" from the VHS days to make back ups of Disney VHS for my kids. It somewhat worked.
With Tivo and DVR equipment, digital rights management and all the laws, I thought that one may not have the ability to record "cable tv" programming unless maybe you were using their equipment and fees.
I also noticed this unit; Magnavox MDR515H/F7 500GB HDD and DVD-R with Digital Tuner http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=15080509&findingMethod=rr
that seems to be much more comprehensive.
I also noticed it's $225. How long will it take to pay for itself vs. a monthly DVR service.
OK. Thanks for the heads up.