I didn't catch all of the show on the making of the hardwood floor using old growth white oak but there was enough from what I did see that was really interesting. That "$8 per square foot" number was enough to put it well outside the category fo most people I know, particularly when that is just for material. At the same time, that number is not out of line for old growth oak without the planing and prep. I'd love to have a truckload of what was too small for them to make into flooring.
The other thing to consider is that the installation cost is also $8 or more per square foot. The price for the meters--$200 minimum for the hand held one--let alone the remote with a phone hook-up does not make it an inexpensive project. It is also one that should not be attempted "on the cheap" in my opinion either.