All of this is why I built a Windows Media Center system.
Cableco is eliminating analog (and therefore my beloved ReplayTVs are now doorstops) and going to all digital, so I did some math and it comes out this way: after I build a HTPC and put a Ceton tuner in it and add a couple of XBox units for extenders, my breakeven point vs. paying the cableco to rent their hardware is 30 months.
In addition, Windows Media Center is very flexible and extensible. For example, I've got it skipping commercials, just like my ReplayTVs.
The fact that I don't have to deal with the utter crap that the cableco puts out for STB is a huge bonus.
Oh--and as it turned out, I didn't *have* to get the Ceton tuner card at all. I could havea stuck with simple clear QAM tuners. My cableco, a small one that competes directly with TWC in my area (I love having multiple wired cablecos competing for my business), has chosen to put its old standard analog lineup of 70 channels--what I was getting and recording before--onto clear QAM as their digital transition strategy.
But I'll use the Ceton tuner and a cablecard because of the other part of their strategy: they're also delivering the HD versions of those same standard channels as part of the standard lineup pricing. That's right--if you get the channel at all, you also get the HD version of it. No extra charge for a bogus higher tier. The only requirement is that you use their cableCARD.
Using digital tuners built into my TVs and into my Media Center setup, I now have exactly what I used to have: each TV can watch TV as usual, by flipping channels directly, or can switch over to watch recorded TV. And I now have 6 inbound streams available to record. And I now have HD, which I didn't have before.