You could use a PC running SageTV as a PVR server and then buy Sage HD-300s (that cost $150) for each TV. This would allow you to PVR all of your OTA shows, watch downloaded content like Torrents and also watch Hulu, Netflix, etc via a service called PlayOn. There is a bit of up front cost but you would be saving substantially on your monthly bills. You can also watch all of the shows on your PCs as well.
But generally laptops are not as good for a PVR as you want a large fast hard drive(s) to hold all of your content, particularly if they are being accessed by several people at once.
I'm at kind of a "proving it can work" stage with my wife right now. Most of our available cash is tied up in home improvements right now (another reason to cut the cable cost), so I can't spend money on new equipment at the moment. That's why I'm using Boxee on my PC instead of a Boxee Box right now.
If I go with my daughter's old Acer Aspire as a permanent PVR down the road, I'll probably get an external hard drive for storage. I've seen Western Digital 2TB desktop external drives as cheap as $85 at Target.
I don't know much about SageTV. With my PC hooked up to the TV, would I still need to get a separate box to play it on that TV?
After I get the wife's buy-in for the idea, I might spring for a Boxee Box or a roku, etc.
But I'm still looking at getting the wife to go along with a switch to OTA. Any other major objections I should be aware of?