I have a HDTV I paid big money for, and I also have Charter cable. I have just a basic package, but my local stations are HD through Charter. I cannot receive OTA, due to a large mountain blocking the signal between me and the tower, even though I am 20mi from the towers, so cable is my only option to watch local programming.
I do not have a descrambler box, and my local Charter office told me that starting in February, I will have to rent a cable tuner box from them to continue receiving my local channels in HD, for they will be scrambling all local HD stations effective then. In addition to that, I will also have to pay an additional fee to have those channels in HD, on top of renting their damn box.
A friend of mine who lives in an area where he can receive OTA also has Charter. He and I both have the same TV. He showed me how different OTA looks verses Charter's HD signal of the local stations. He also showed me how the signal looks when the cable is connected straight to the TV (not using Charter's tuner box). In a nut shell, the Charter HD signal from their tuner box blows goats in picture quality. He has tried everything he could to improve the picture quality when the signal comes from the tuner box (swapping boxes, ect) and nothing helps. I asked my local office if I could just rent or buy a pass-through box only so I could use the tuner on my TV come February, rather than have their tuner box. I was told that will never be an option. I will be forced to rent their tuner box, and pay an additional fee just to see my local stations in HD.
I see satellite TV in my near future.