To be precise, for me on star-choice ( canada ), almost every HD channel are free.
Well, as long as you have the channel in normal definition they give you the HD channel for free.
there are only 3 channels who are not include and HDNET is one of them.
so you can buy the extra package of HD channel for 5$ a month more or you can take only HDNET for 2.99$ a month.
and , it is true that you don't need an HD television to see a HD channel, as long as your have the HD source you are ok.
of course the image is not as good as it should be but it works !!