What are we selling anyway? The answer comes back "service," not "product."
Recent video innovations have consistently been tied to content services: Echostar's Dishplayer (satellite, WebTV, plus digital video recording), Sony and TiVo, the Sony media machine and Playstation II, Sony and Cablevision, the Thomson/Microsoft TAK, the Wink-enabled TVs. Even the baseline Guide Plus+ electronic programming guide is becoming a content aggregator instead of just a guide.
Free off-air HDTV programming is less than impressive. If you want the good stuff now, you have to buy into satellite or, in limited areas, cable HD programming options, again service basedleaving manufacturers to subsidize improvements to the free, off-air broadcasts.