Thanks everyone. The OTA is ideal, but I haven't figured out the best way to do it while I'm asleep! So, will try it, just to see how much hard drive space it eats up in HD.
I rearranged things and now have Svideo and audio out from the Moto comcast box (Is that the best "out" you can get from comcast -- I was eyeing the HDMI, component, etc ports but as far as I can tell, the DVD recorder IN options seem limited to RCA and/or Svideo. So... I connected DVD recorder directly to TV via HDMI (to retain Viera functions), and connected comcast directly to the TV via HDMI as well. Comcast to DVD-recorder via Svideo. The upconversion is actually pretty good. Comcast compresses the signal, but the local CBS seems good so I will probably use that for convenient time-shifted watching.
For stuff I want to record and keep, like the puppet musical performances that compresss nicely for ipod, I will use the mac + eyetv. I'm pretty sure the eyetv 250 (external box that takes care of the processing rather than using the computer to crunch) can be set up to record remotely (I haven't played with that much, since the idea of keeping the computer on all night isn't too great with a laptop, but I will experiment with it. Maybe it'll work with the lid closed if using an external monitor... I have a turbo USB gizmo that theoretically reduces the re-processing time for ipod 'food'.
Let's hope Craig's crew is doing some experimenting too -- we are all very psyched that he'll be back on the air live and in HD soon! Ideally, with improved lighting in that studio - I've heard they already have HD cameras, they're just going to be sending out a better signal now. (finally!) . Dont think he needs a big place - I suspect Craig's appeal is based largely on the fact that he speaks TO /THROUGH the camera to the viewers, and the studio audience is there for moral support and to provide the "laughtrack" .
I read that Shadoe Stevens is taping a program on Saturday (without Craig)-- maybe a test run for the equipment?