The record/playback features are active when you have a Sky subscription. You can pay £10/month for them to activate theses facilities without a full Sky TV subscription. However if you chose the cheapest Sky TV subs you then get free broadband and telephone calls so it would make sense to take that route.
If you don't want Sky then the best way to proceed is to buy a Freesat PVR for about £220. You would loose a few channels compared to using the Sky box with its expired Sky Viewing Card.
So the answer isn't straight forward if you still want to record programmes!
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