purchased a couple OTA HDTV USB sticks to try with Vista. the Artec T14A was cheap, but it repeatedly blue screens Vista with a driver error. supposedly an updated driver is in the works. also picked up the Pinnacle PCTV HD Pro Stick ... and it seems to work fine with Vista MCE. NOTE it looks like Pinnacle plans to provide updated drivers sometime in 2/07.
the next step was to try and get a signal ... which sucks, because i live in a small valley about 25 miles from the nearest antenna. to find out where the antennas are, i used antennaweb.org. my area should be able to pick up about 19 channels, with 3 actually broadcasting in digital. this service gives you an idea of what type of antenna you should purchase to receive the channels, as well as what direction to point the antenna. out of the gate, it tells me i need the most powerful outdoor antennas which come in lengths of about 14 feet. wasn't ready to commit to that, so i picked up a couple indoor antennas.
started out just trying the single dipole antenna that came with the Pinnacle USB stick. surprisingly, it picked up a couple channels, but none in HD. next, i tried an RCA 45db amplified antenna. it only picked up a couple channels too, with one being HD. finally, i tried a Terk Amplified antenna which is supposed to reach up to 45 miles. it picked up 7 channels, with 2 of them being digital. so now i'm going to spy on my neighbors houses to see if any of them have installed a gigantic outdoor antenna ...