Well in DirecTV, if you don't have the HD package, you can't tell which channels are HD. When you buy it though, like half of your channels get renamed to append "HD" somewhere in the channel title. All the channels stay the same number and stuff though...just better quality.
Higurashi has mini arcs (they call them chapters) that span like 4 or 5 episodes. Keeps it short, but not too short. Each arc is completely different from other arcs. Pretty good if you like micro series kind of things.