Alpha testing is that which comes before, for those who recognise the term better, 'Beta testing'.
It's the really raw, bleeding-edge version of the code: things are not guaranteed not to delete all your recorded shows, and set fire to your curtains.
If you choose to use the SVN code in production, please understand that you can't expect the level of support that you can get from production-release code (even though it may be pre-1.0).
If you're not prepared to dive in and help *find* the problems when you run across them, much less fix them and submit a patch, you probably shouldn't be using CVS code on a production machine.
And, if you *are* prepared to do so, here are some tips on how to do it in a fashion which will maximize the help you'll get:
- tips go here