FYI... I'm on Bright House. Here's how I use my HD Homerun Prime:
After your initial purchase, the HD Homerun Prime starts paying for itself by not having to lease a DVR from the cable company every month. The Woot price is almost half what I paid for mine. Where were you back then Woot? :p
The HD Homerun Prime plugs in via Ethernet to my router, plugs into cable via a coax cable, and plugs into a Bright House provided tuning adapter via the USB port. (On Bright House, a tuning adapter is needed to be able to access all of your available channels. Without it, the HD Homerun Prime will work but you'll only get a subset of channels). There is no direct connection from the HD Homerun Prime to any computer, all my equipment lives in a closet. The HD Homerun Prime has a cablecard inserted (also provided by Bright House for a small monthly fee) which in turn works with the tuning adapter to authenticate your account and allow you to have the channels you are entitled to view.
I then use my PC as a Media Center server on Windows 7 on my network. It records and plays back everything I want to watch. I have a dual core 3.5GHz CPU and it has no problem recording 3 HD streams simultaneously while playing back a previously recorded HD stream (4 streams at once). Then, I primarily do all my recording / watching on my Xbox 360 using the built in Media Center Extender in the living room. The Xbox 360 actually makes an excellent Media Center Extender with a smooth interface and ability to be fully controlled via a Media Center TV remote.
My guests just watch TV and recorded via the Xbox. They don't even know that in a different room there is a computer recording/playing back, and in a closet there is an HD Homerun Prime and Bright House equipment doing all its magic. It's really all pretty simple, once you've completed the initial setup.
All of the DAYS of problems I had getting everything connected, talking to each other, and working properly, were related to Bright House. YMMV. I have never had any problems with the HD Homerun Prime itself. I was persistent and patient, and ultimately all of the issues I had during setup were resolved. That was last year, so by now I would hope they have improved the process.
Would I recommend:
Yes, but only if you have a decent amount of tech savvy and a large amount of patience. Ultimately, when you get it all working, it works perfectly.
Ease of Use: **** (with MCE)
Initial Setup: ** (depends mainly on your cable provider, two stars could potentially be a generous rating)