Originally Posted by wadennis
Does a HDTV provide a better picture quality on a Standard Digital Cable box. I am looking to purchase a HDTV but probably won't make the switch to HDTV until somewhere in the future. If it doesn't make a difference to SD cable then I may wait. How about watching a standard DVD player any difference or do I need a HD DVD player.
Do you live in a major TV Market? If so for about $15 you can walk into any Radio Shack and get a set of rabbit ears. I live in a suburb of Dallas and the Antenna Farm for all the locals is 30 miles away yet I get a wonderful selection of HD programing for free. I don't have HBO or The History Channel in HD because I just have analog cable, but with my Rabbit Ears I get ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, CW and MYTV in HD. Most only offer HD for News, Sporting Events and Prime Time programing. Still I giggle when I watch The Cowboys in HD via the local MYTV Affiliate on my little $10 set of Rabbit Ears while the guy next door with the $120 cable bill, but no NFL Network goes to a bar. There is a bunch of good HD programing out there and when the strike ends it will get better.
An Up-Converting DVD Player is only a good investment if it has better chips than your HDTV. In many instances that won't be the case; do you honestly think a $75 DVD player has a better set of chips than your $800 HDTV? I will say that there are good up-converting DVD Players such as those by Oppo (around $150) , that may make your DVDs look better than a regular progressive-scan DVD player. Of course most Blu-ray Players and all HD DVD Players do an excelent job at up-converting regular DVDs.
I do think you would be wise to look into HDM (High Definition Media) and the benefits that can come from Blu-ray and HD DVD. I've already seen some come in and suggest that everything is over for HD DVD and as an HD DVD supporter it pains me to say that they may be right; the Warner announcement was a crippling blow. So if you can only buy one HDM Player you might want to look into getting a Blu-ray Player. Be aware of the fact that not all BD Players know what to do with all HD Audio Formats such as TrueHD and also be aware of differing Profiles and that certain features on some disks will not play on all BD Players.
At the same time Universal and Paramount are standing firm in their commitment to remain HD DVD exclusive. So if you plan on getting everything you can in 1080p you are going to need both a Blu-ray Player and an HD DVD Player or a Dual-Format (BD & HD DVD) Player. If you love films I would advise you to look at the films you like, figure out what studios make most of those films and purchase an HDM format accordingly. On the BD side the PS3 really is your best bet and it will run you $399, it comes with Spiderman 3 on BD in the box and you can get 5 extra free BDs by mail until January 31st.
If you are like me and you watch a great deal of Paramount and Universal flicks or if you are just on a slim budget HD DVD might be the choice for you. HD DVD Players deliver great 1080p content, all HD Audio Codecs, PiP, Network Features and they up-convert regular DVDs beautifully. Right now you can get HD DVD Players starting at $129 and all current models include 300 and Bourne ID on HD DVD in the box and you can mail off for 5 free HD DVDs until February 28th. Aside from the aforementioned Rabbit ears HD DVD is the most economic way to get HD input on your HDTV right now.