HDTV question settled

Loyal readers of The Wisdom know The Cap”n has been struggling with the question of how best to bring a HD television signal into Casa Cap”n.

The choices:

a) Dish Network”s 921 HD DVR: Dish just dropped the price of the 921 DVR to $549 (from $949). It”s basically a higher-capacity (250GB), HD version of the 721 DVR currently sitting in The Cap”n”s living room. Good: Get HD with current provider (Dish); satisfies the minimum requirements (two tuners, DVR functionality), ability to integrate over-the-air local HD into DVR. Bad: $549 (and $9.99 HD programming cost) is still a big chunk of change to lay down to bring HD into the house when there”s still not a lot of stuff I want to watch in HD; strong philosophical opposition to paying Dish a $4.95 monthly “DVR fee” when their DVR doesn”t do the type of things TiVo does to justify a monthly fee and when neither of my current DVRs come with such a fee.

b) DirecTV”s HD DVR: Priced at $999, the specs (two tuners, 250GB) are otherwise comparable to the Dish 921 DVR. Good: Satisfies the minimum requirements (two tuners, DVR functionality); DirecTV will likely beat Dish to local HD service; true TiVo service (if that”s considered a plus). Bad: $999 is an even bigger chunk of change to lay down for HD; acceptance of paying TiVo fee from now until the end of time when I currently pay no such fee.

c) Voom: The satellite service that specializes in HD. Good: More HD programming; Voom finally has Food Network. Bad: Everything else – No DVR, expensive equipment and packages, probably going out of business soon.

d) Over-the-air HD: Local HD is broadcast for free, after all. Good: The HD signals are free. Bad: The thought of buying a $250 – $300 over-the-air HD tuner; I don”t watch network TV anyway; no DVRing.

e) Comcast: The “nuclear option”. I”d not even be considering them if not for the new Motorola 6412 – Comcast”s two-tuner HD DVR. But they remain the siren”s song – and you all know how that ends. Good: Cheapest way to HD – no equipment to buy, includes local HD channels; meets minimum requirements (two tuners, DVR functionality); she”s beautiful, young and of loose moral values. Bad: The Motorola box has just a 120GB drive; who knows how well the Motorola software performs; odds are regular cable channels will look like crap (most cable isn”t really digital like all satellite is); she”s actually a man who will rape you and leave you for dead on the side of the road.

And The Cap”n has made his choice …

The solution is … … … …

f) None of the above.

Yep, in the final analysis, there”s just not a compelling reason to jump at any HD solution right now. The satellite equipment is still too expensive, and I really don”t want cable. And apart from the Super Bowl and the new episodes of Gilmore Girls coming up, there”s not a lot of compelling HD to watch this winter/spring/summer. So I”ll just be keeping an eye on developments and look to have a solution in place in time for college football season in late August.

The Cap”n apologizes for any inconvenience this flirtation with HD may have caused.

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