Apparently a new FCC regulation is allowing the cable cos. to drop the clear qam locals from the basic digital tier. So it looks like you will have to have a cable box or cable card in order to receive HD digital service for the local channels. And of course an additional fee will be charged after a reported 2 year grace period. Another good reason to have an OTA antenna to receive local and regional channels in HD. But I guess it is time to go ahead and get a cable card and tuning adapter for the TiVo, as supposedly analog cable is eventually going away as well.
They aren't allowed to remove the locals from clear QAM unless they provide them over IP according to the new FCC regulation (Boxee lobbied hard for this and won). There's no way Charter could move this fast. I think it would be years before Charter could implement such a system.