Originally Posted by alpha21
-So the only other option is the H21?
That's pretty much the only thing D* is shipping. Local installers may have HR20's, but there's no guarantee.
-If there is no OTA tuner in the H21, how do I get local HD channels?
1) If you're local market is up on D*, you can get them via satellite.
2) Wait a few weeks and the AM21 will be available. That is an OTA tuner box for the HR21 - it plugs into the USB port on the back.
are they part of the HD package I'm already getting (with the TS-160), only I can't view them because they're on a different bird?
They're MPEG4 - your receiver can't receive them. If your market is available on D* and you subscribe to your local package and the HD pack, you'll automatically get the HD channels.
-will I get every channel that I'm currently receiving (ESPN, ESPN2, HBO, SHO, HDNet, HDNetM, Disc, Univ, TNT, CBSE, FOXE)?
Those and many more - however, the ones you listed will still be MPEG2 for the time being.
-do I need to upgrade my HD package at all? what channels will I be missing if I don't upgrade HD package?
You only have to upgrade your HD package if you want the extra pack, which includes 5 channels, including HDNet Movies, MGMHD, UniversalHD, MHD and one other channel I can't remember at the moment. If you're receiving them now without paying for the extra pack, they'll go away when you upgrade. However, every other channel (except for the 5 "extra" channels) is included in the base HD fee you're already paying.
So, if you only pay the bas $10 HD fee, you'll lose HDnet Movies and Universal HD (that you receive now), but gain other networks like SciFi, USA, Food Network, Animal Planet, Cartoon Network and a bunch of others. To keep HDNet and Universal HD (and gain MGMHD, etc.), you'll need to pay an extra $5. So, you'll pay $15 total.
I really like the TS-160, not sure if the H21 is for me, and is the lack of OTA tuner a deal breaker?
The HR21 is fine. The OTA add on tuner will be available within the next month or so. It will be $59.