Thanks guys, that answers my questions.
I knew how tuners and DVRs worked for the most part, and I assumed that a cable box just took in the cable and output a video signal... but it just seemed too much like a step backwards so I had to be sure. I guess if someone wants to buy a DVR or DVD Recorder (with no tuner... like most of the ones wal-mart sells) these days they have to make sure they have multiple cable boxes (or possibly a box with multiple tuners) if they want to watch one channel and record another. That's pretty lame IMO. I'm just surprised that that is the direction the technology has gone.
As far as the monitor vs TV thing. Are there any significant differences in overall brightness, contrast or viewing angles?
Also, I haven't seen an LCD TV hooked up to a PC. Does a TV generally give a sharp picture with a straight VGA or HDMI signal from a PC? Are there any real draw backs to doing this other than the lower resolution? How about color reproduction? Some TN panel monitors actually have very accurate colors now.
Sorry for all the questions. I've looked around the net a bit and I keep finding the general "I like biggar screen with the 1080 PEEES so TV is bettar" comments.