Somebody talk me out of this?

I”m about ready to pull the trigger on an HDTV setup for Wisdom Manor. Of course, I already have the TV (44″ LG DLP), but there is no High-Def signal going to it.

Sure, San Andreas looks great in Progressive Scan, and Dish Network does a good job spitting out digital images, but when you get right down to it, we”re not tapping the full potential of this beast.

Loyal readers of The Wisdom will recall that I thought about signing up for Comcast HD service a couple of months ago but quickly came to my senses. But since that time, a couple of things have changed:

• Comcast is now shipping their two-tuner HD DVR (The Motorola DCT6412, if you care).

• Dish Network has dropped the price of their DishPlayer 921 HD DVR to $549 (from $999) and you can now actually buy it! (for some reason, they had refused to actually set it and only made it available through installers before). The box is pretty sweet, as it also includes an off-air tuner that lets you get local “free” digital signals and run them through the DVR.

Comcast shipping the two-tuner model brings their offering up to the bare minimum (two tuner HD DVR), and since they offer an equipment lease, the cost of entry is pretty low (about $75 in install charges, $9.95 a month for the DVR and HD package, total of about $80 a month in programming charges).

But the Comcast box is only 120 GB, meaning about 12 hours of HD recording or 90 hours of SD. And I have no idea what their UI is like or how the unit performs in general. And that”s not even mentioning the fact that it”s cable. If I remember correctly, not all cable channels are digital, right? If so, I have to figure the non-digital ones would look like pure crap on the HDTV.

The Dish deal, obviously, would cost me $549, plus $9.95 a month for the HD programming and $4.95 a month for this “DVR fee” they have on some units now. I”m tempted to tell them to screw off just on the principle of charging a “DVR fee” on the 921 when I don”t pay the fee on my 721 (considering Dish doesn”t include TiVo-like advanced features, what – exactly – are they charging me this fee for?)

Yet I find myself still close to calling Dish and ordering a DishPlayer 921.

Am I too loyal to Dish Network and satellite TV in general? Any Comcast people out there want to step up and push me back to cable? Does it make more sense for me to get the Comcast HD DVR and then bolt on a standalone TiVo or something?


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