AVS Special Member
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Central Illinois
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You've pretty much given the best answer for your particular equipment. Output quality can differ within a device and inputs can handle incoming signals differently, depending on the particular unit involved.
Looks like, with your particular setup, component is as good as digital. It won't change over time and you're not giving up anything by not using a digital connection with Direct TV.
If you were using one of the new HD dvd formats, using the component connection would prohibit you from upscaling regular DVDs. This is only done via digital connection.
Also, there is a possibility that full resolution on the high def dvds could be restricted to a digital connection, but it is not today.
I'd say if the pq of your setup looks equal, use the connection that provides the most stability.