OK, here is another really "noobish" question, but here we go:
Say you have a 4:3 HDTV Monitor (I.E. a Sony 32HS510, Philips 32PT8320, etc.) and an HTPC.
I want to try and get a really fine picture, but have it in 4:3. If I watch a widescreen DVD in fullscreen, my player will put the black bars on top and bottom anyway, so my desktop will need to be 4:3 still anyway (I can also set it up so that I have another seperate resolution just for widescreen dvd playback I suppose).
My question is, can you use the upper resolutions, but use them at 31.5KHz scan rate? If you do this, for instance say you give it a resolution of 1440x1080i @ 31.5KHz scan rate, will it display a 4:3 non-compressed image? (assuming the TV goes into vertical compression mode if it is fed a 33.75KHz scan rate)
Or, are you stuck to strictly 480i/480p @ 31.5KHz if you want to display a 4:3 image without triggering the vertical compression?
Another question along these lines - if you are using a Sony HS or XBR series television and you turn the vertical compression off via the service menu, feed the TV a resolution of 1440x1080 @ 33.75KHz, will the image looked squashed, or will it look like it is supposed to?
I'm still trying to decide what I want to do!
Based on answers to all of these questions I think I will be able to knock out a lot of my questions concerning resolution stuff and just get down to selecting models based on price/performance