A word on what equipment I use to view content. I've got the 46 inch version of the JVC LT40FN97 40" 1080p Flat Panel LCD TV
. Here's a great review
of the 46 inch set, which [something I didn't know when I bought it] is considered to have about the best picture available.
I have not hooked up any external speakers, because of the cost as well as how my room is laid out. The onboard sound, including quasi-surround, is OK, but not spectacular. Having the wireless headphones helps.
I have Comcast cable, with all the movie channels. I use two different converter boxes, both Motorola. One is the hi-def box with dual tuner DVR capability. I view this converter box through either video 3 in [component cables] or HDMI 2 in. HDMI gives a subtle but discernible improved picture over the component cables, but HDMI will not allow me to use my wireless headphones. Thus, I have redundancy with the component in, when I need to use headphones.
The other set top box supports "digital" cable, but not hi-def. It is dedicated to my Humax DRT800 DVD-R/RW Recorder/TiVo Series2 DVR Combo
. The TIVO box is not hi-def, but short of spending $800 for a TIVO HD box, it's the best I can do. The box does have a DVD player/recorder which, when set for progressive scan, gives as good a picture for DVDs as my [supposedly] DVD and VHS Recorder/player Combo with Up-conversion
DVD play quality is OK, but definitely not HD quality. I can view it either through video 2 [regular AV cables], or through HDMI 1. The HDMI picture is significantly better quality than the AV cables, but again, I can't listen with the headphones on the HDMI input. Maybe one day, finances willing, I'll get the Blueray or HD-DVD players. We'll see....
Finally, when perversity strikes, or when I'm recording three other programs [2 on the HD DVR, and 1 on the TIVO], I can watch over the air HD, enabled to a certain extent with this Radio Shack Antenna
. For some reason, reception can be hit and miss, but this antenna, with something like 12 powered position settings [remote to change the settings included], maximizes reception. If I want basic cable, I also have the capability to watch the basic channels [2-98] with a co-ax line directly into the set.