I live in Britain, so of course 99% of this stuff won't apply to me, however i have a cousin in SF who currently gets Comcast HD DVR and comcasts most speedy internet package. He is also lucky that when in his house, the house was built with gigabit ethernet cables EVERYWHERE . So when his family were thinking about buying some equipment for over the air HD i recommended the "HD home run" which is a networked HD Over-the-air reciever so no my cousin can get his comcast HD in his living room, but can get his Over the Air HD, anywhere with a computer! Also, so you have help people in the UK. The UK Digital transition will start becoming finalised (by that i mean standard non digital signals get switched off) in 2008 and ends in 2012. There are three options for UK people. 1: Sattelite from SKY (owned by Newscorp like DirecTV but uses different technology and better DVR software since tivo doesnt exist in the UK). 2. Freeview: Think of the name, just pure digital and free tv channel goodness, some freeview channels will be offered in 1080i or 720p flavours when the digital transition ends. 2: Cable from the UK's ONE cable company: Virgin Media, CableCard doesnt exist in the UK so you are stuck with the cable company DVR (built by scientific atlanta so but the software is so much better than US scientific atlanta) if you want DVR service but they offer standard def, Hi-def and of course on demand services. Cable is probably the best solution for UK people if you can get it and afford it since Virgin Media uses a FIOS type Fibre network to deliver internet, phone and cable (oh, and virgin media owns a small MVNO) so its got all the fibre advantages. However, SKY offers more HD channels and their HD box is said to have a better channel upconverter than virgin media, also, if you subscribe to SKY's DSL service, within the next year or two they will network these boxes like tivo to get on-demand. Another digital tv provider also exists in the UK-BT-Vision. This is essentially tivo series 2 for freeview. Standard freeview channels with DVR plus over-DSL on demand, kinda like U-verse, only they don't actually offer any OTA channels. For freeview DVR there is a new OTA DVR standard called "Freeview Playabck" which is a sign of a minimum level of quality on OTA DVR boxes in terms of Hardware, Software and "future-proofing" to last through the swith-off"
Keep up the great podcast
In 2009 the analog TV signal will go dark and you'll either need cable/satellite or a digital TV tuner to receive broadcast television.
In the next episode I'll try to line out what people need to worry about in an easy way, so you can pass this episode along to friends and family.
So I realize this is a US-specific topic, but it's a pretty big one. I'll try to summarize similar issues elsewhere at the end.