Short version: after about 6 hours of trial and error, we have a working install.
Longer version: Took advantage of work already done by Varazir and geppi (in the VM-Help forum). In the course of six hours, we saw both the lvmdriver error and the pink screen of death. Couldn't get the USB install to work but did get an ISO built that successfully installed ESXi on the box. Noticed Hauppauge hardware info in the psid listing that makes me want to retry attempting to access the PVR-250 card via ESXi.
In any case, notes are in the wiki. I'll work on adding graphics. Enjoy!