So what's the deal with digital cable? I'm not sure. If you're paying extra for it, you have to wonder what's so great about it.
I Take Care of My Kids!
Digital cable reminds me of something Chris Rock once said in one of his routines. It was a joke about how people sometimes say "I take care of my kids", and his response goes something like "What do you want a prize? you're supposed to take care of your kids!".
The same goes for digital cable. If your carrier actually makes all your channels digital then they'll probably say something like "subscribe to digital cable and get a superior looking picture". Thanks a lot! with the money we pay for cable shouldn't we already be getting the best possible picture without having to pay extra for it.
HDTV = Overrated
Don't get me wrong, watching TV in HD is great but you have to spend even more money to get the HD set top box and then only a small fraction of channels are in HD. HD may be cutting edge for televisions but there isn't even that much HD programming out there. Why not broadcast everything in HD. I know there may be technical limitations right now but I think it has more to do with organizations like the MPAA and copyright issues then it does technical feasibility.
On Demand TV:
This is the future and one of the best features of digital cable, that is if it's available in your area. Want to tune into a movie or show on your own watch? On Demand programming allows you to do this and you can even pause/fast-forward the program. It's just like having a PVR. I think this is the wave of the future - watch what you want when you want. Now just get this in HD.
The Guide: The guide is also a nice to have feature. It let's you see the programming schedule for the current day and beyond, but it isn't a showstopper.
Time Shifting: I probably wouldn't use this feature myself but for some people it's nice that they can watch their favorite show even if they missed it during the original air time. This is the function of time shifting services on digital cable. Higher channels will play the same shows that were on earlier so people have one or more chances to catch their show.
Is It Worth It?
So is it worth it to pay more money for digital cable? If the cost is insignificant and you like the aforementioned features then it might be. Otherwise I say who cares and wait until it's actually worth your time and money.