What's the Ethernet port for on the back? "Future use"?
This is from a post I also made on the The Green Button.
You will notice there are acutally two USB ports and an ethernet port. One USB is a USB "A" plug, which is typically used for an incoming USB connection, while the other is a USB "B" plug, normally for an outgoing USB connection. I would assume the USB "B" is for connecting the tuner straight to a Media Center computer.
The ethernet and USB "A" plug are a little more tricky. If I had to guess (and this is only a GUESS), I would say it's for networked tuning support similar to an HDHomerun; the ethenet port for wired access, obviously, and the USB port for an add-on wireless device. Remember, most people that currently have DirecTV have the cables running from the dish to their living room or bedrooms, not to their home office. For someone who will have their Media Center computer in the living room connected directly to the TV, they will simply connect the HDPC-20 via USB. For those that want to have the computer in the office and use an Extender, they will be able to place the HDPC-20 behind the TV in the living room using the existing DirecTV cabling and then connect it to their home network for the home office PC to control. I use a similar setup with my HDHomerun and cable (clear QAM) currently.
Also, something else that makes me think (hope) it is for network tuning is the fact that the original OCUR test devices had ethernet tuning capabilities. It was even mentioned in the AnandTech review that it would be removed in the first models to be added back in at a later time. That hasn't happened yet on the digital cable tuners, but they run into less of a problem with coax coming into the house. Many homes have cable coax outlets in every room already. DirecTV typically runs straight from the dish to the device, and currently that device is in the living room for the great majority of DirecTV subscribers.
I can't post a URL on this board yet, but you can see the original OCUR with ethernet and mention of it's removal by searching for "ocur ethernet anandtech" on Google.