I updated my original
Insight HD post because the minimum cost is higher. Insight will not let you take just the HD box ($2.00), you also have to take the digital box ($7.95).
Here is my evaluation of the HD pack:
774 - Bravo HD+ is mostly arts (plays, performance) and Salt Lake City Olympic reruns, in top HD quality.
775 - ESPN HD has virtually no real HD programming, other that one weekend college and pro football game and their Playmakers drama/soap opera. It is a simulcast of regular ESPN SD 4x3 channel, stretched to fill a 16x9 frame. I refuse to watch stretched material. What happened to the $30 million for 60 HD cameras? Are they all going in the new studio in Bristol? Where are they already. That phony "NBA in HD" banner at the season opener was BS -- stretched SD is all they showed. More BS is all the commercials that are on that are supposed to look 16x9 HD to 3x4 SD viewers, but are lame little postage stamps in the middle of real HD screens, like my 4x3, 36" Sony XBR 1080i.
776 - Discovery HD Theater has all HD all the time. Very nice to watch some shows on insects in HD. Not such a big deal to watch home renovation in HD. They have original programming too, and do not upconvert non-HD shows from the regular Discover channel. Top HD quality.
777 - HD Net also has all HD material. They will show a variety of shows, some educational, some HD loops to fill time, some original programming, occasional HD sports. Some is upconverted (Hogan's Heroes), but it is very little--I hardly ever see any non-native HD. Top HD quality.
778 - HD Net Movies are upconverted. Certiainly none were filmed in HD. Nevertheless, the pictures are cleaned up and there are fewer film artifacts than your normal SD presentation, it seems. Comparing the upconverted material to native HD makes you appreciate the difference. I don't know if this is any better than a digital picture. Decent picture, but not real HD quality.
You guys who hunt and peck for the maybe-once-a-month over-the-air movie upconvert should consider HDNet Movies, 24-hours a day of the stuff. The movies are shown several times, like a premium channel.
The new Insight HD box with built-in PVR (for recording in HD) is rolling out Monday, December 1. Call Cory at Insight, 431-0300 x.250, and he will waive the installation fee for those who already have the old boxes. Maybe he can help the newbies too, I don't know.
I may drop the HD pack, but seeing how I paid for the original install and considering how much I dislike commercials, it may be around awhile longer. IT'S ALL COMMERCIAL FREE,
except for ESPN. There are a couple of shows I am looking forward to, like the martial arts special on Discovery HD Theater in a week or two, and the John Wooden college basketball classic this Saturday, with Louisville v. Iowa, and Indiana v. Xavier. That'll be my first basketball in HD, which should be awesome. College basketball was a major reason I got the HD service. I don't know when ESPN will start showing any.