This box was developed for the European market, but at least it's a sign of things to come here in the United States. Pace is demonstrating what they deem "the world's first DVB-S2 H.264 high definition (HD) set-top boxes for commercial deployment" at the IBC 2005 show. The set-top box is slated for deployment by the end of the year for Premiere, a pay TV company serving Germany and Austria.
Hmm...two countries that will be glued to the World Cup coverage. Wasn't it Premiere who secured the high-def rebroadcast rights to all 64 matches? The H.264 standard is one of the MPEG-4 "flavors" that achieves a 30% better compression rate than today's MPEG-2 compression. That means you could theoretically broadcast the same amount of channels as today and still have 30% of your bandwidth left for additional channels. We should see some announcements on MPEG-4 HD boxes by year end.