Many of those 'step up' features that are usually turned off anyway (or should be) are blocked out in the firmware for the less expensive models. The features are there, but not enabled.
It's called marketing. Same guts, different models.
Abundant OTA television is what makes this country different from all others. Lets keep it this way. If you like Wi-Fi so much, OTA fits right in. After all, it is wireless.