Ask Engadget: best alternative to a cable company-issued set-top box?

We know you've got questions, and if you're brave enough to ask the world for answers, here's the outlet to do so. This week's Ask Engadget question is coming to us from Ozair, who is no longer down with forking out monthly for a subpar DVR experience. If you're looking to send in an inquiry of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.

"With the unveiling of (pricey) Google TV, what are the other, cheaper alternatives to setting up HDTV via a cable box rather than renting out Optimum / Cablevision's outdated and laggy set-top box? TiVo? Any other standalone DVRs? Something I'm not considering?"

For those of you who've purchased a standalone DVR + CableCARD setup (or possibly even an HTPC + CableCARD setup), how are you enjoying it? Let this fellow know your optimal arrangement down in comments below -- make it quick, it's not like he can afford to miss this year's burning of the Yule Log in HD.