Actually you don't have to be part of the digital tier to take advantage of HDTV. I subscribe to limited basic (which is only local channels) and I was able to add on the HDTV, which is really only the box rental for $5 more a month.
The first CSR I talked to, told me that I needed the basic digital package. I then called back a few days later and talked to another CSR which checked a bit further and found that you can order HDTV without Digital package.
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