Hardware isn't going to matter as such. Your guest OS will be presented with "virtual" hardware supplied by your virtualisation software. This means that the only tuner card that you may be able to use will be a USB one. Do note that you won't have any sort of decent graphics as the gfx card as presented virtually is very basic. As for your DHCP question. You can just create 2 virtual networks. One internal that is a "virtual" only network and the external one that can connect to what ever network your laptop is on. This is all done within the virtual mchine config.
I am currently running VMware. It's nice and simple and quite slick. I have also used VirtualBox. Both do the same job. Both are free to use. The thing I like most about vmware is there is a hypervisor only version. This means u can get a bare bones machine, install the hypervisor on it and run Virtual machines without any OS overheads like windows. This maybe useful down the track for your dev environment. Basically it would allow you to start tinkering on your laptop and then move to bigger better faster hardware if needed. VirtualBox can do this also but needs a OS installed to run.
VMware Server is the windws/linux server app.
VMware ESXi is the hypervisor OS
WMware player will allow you to run virtual machines but not create them.
Hope this helps.