I just recently (yesterday) got an early xmas present from my wife: an HDTV. I have comcast cable, and do not yet have the HD converter box, so I didn't think I would be able to see any HD channels.
The TV is "Digital Cable Ready," and it discovered a bunch of digital channels on its own, including all the HD channels. (And I'll mention what I've heard every other person I know who got HDTV: you will actually watch just about anything just because it looks so good in HD.) The thing is, the channel numbers don't match the channel numbers published by Comcast. So my TV displays Comcast channel 807 (which is the local NBC affiliate) as 84.2. Here are the other ones I figured out:
Name Comcast channel My TV Channel WGBH PBS 802 82.1 ABC 805 84.1 NBC 807 84.2 CBS 804 85.2 FOX 825 85.1 UPN 838 83.5
So it doesn't really have any predictable pattern. They seem to just map whatever those dot-separated numbers are into nice mnemonics (the Fox affiliate is UHF channel 25, for example). I spent a while clicking through each channel, trying to figure out what the show was, then checking Yahoo TV listings to see what channel it was.
But here is the fun part; there were all these other digital channels that I couldn't figure out. They were showing movies that I couldn't find in the TV listings for the time I was watching. Furthermore, these were clearly movies from pay channels I don't have (like Showtime.) I don't have my converter box hooked up yet for HD, and I don't have the cable card (which is what I will need to see my HBO in HD. I was stumped.
Then I flipped to this one station (90.10), and I saw a movie that looked like it was being fast-forwarded, with no sound. That's weird. Then the movie stopped fast-forwarding, played for a minute, then started fast-forwarding again. Then it dawned on me: I was watching somebody else's on-demand movie, and they were fast-forwarding!
So you can watch all the pay, in-demand movies you want, IF you have a DRC TV and you don't mind watching whatever random movies you're neighbors are watching!