The set-top box provided by (typically leased from) the cable/satellite company is typically more than just a digital TV tuner...it may be required in order to 'unlock' the content (the content may be encrypted to prevent people from stealing cable), enable interactive content like TV Guide, and provide company-specific services such as Time Warner Cable displaying incoming phone calls on-screen. The digital tuner enables you to watch over-the-air stations (all will go digital in the US starting in February) and may enable you to watch some digital cable stations, but usually the company-provided box is still required. (Unless your TV and service support CableCARD.)
If I purchase a newer TV with a digital tuner will I be able to receive digital TV from cable, satelite or phone systems without having to get a set top box? If I need a set top box, what is the purpose of the digital tuner......in other words can I not receive channels as easily as I did with a simple cable ready TV. Is the purpose of these set top boxes from various companies simply a rip off that is not needed......Please help need info.