Interesting. I have used various models over the years, and I never ran into that problem. I currently have a 501, 512, ViP211, ViP211k, and ViP722k, and they all still work when they are deactivated. Note: I never had the ViP211's activated as DVR's.This varies widely from model to model. My 508 is pretty much toast and I disconnected it before deactivating it. It will tune a handful of "channels" but the recorded content cannot be accessed.