I don't know if this is the proper place to post this question, but I haven't found any good PC PVR forums, so this seems like the place. If there is a better place please let me know.
I have built a HTPC for use mainly as a Digital VCR and DVD player. I am using a Dazzle DVC II as the recording device to capture off of DirecTV. Currently I play back on a 51" Panasonic which claims 700 lines of resolution. I plan on upgrading to an HDTV capable TV later this year. My goal is to pick a format that fits a single show on a CDR, and will still look decent when I go to a better TV.
Currently I am doing 352x480 because I read that DirecTV content is broadcast between 300-400 lines. I tried samples at 352, 420, 640 and 720 ... and frankly I can't tell much of difference between them on the Panasonic, so I stuck with 352 for smaller file sizes. Considering the DirecTV source, should I be able to see much of a difference?
My primary question is, what resolution should I be recording at? Is it better for me to record at the actual broadcast quality now, and allow the hardware to take care of the scaling and conversion later, or is it better to record at 720 now and force the recording hardware to do the scaling/conversion? I picked the actual resolution figuring that the hardware would continue to evolve, and would probably be better a year from now in the tv/dvd/pc than in the capture card.
Also, I was wondering what resolution hits the TV if I play the file from a consumer DVD player? If the file is 352x480 does the DVD player scale it, or does it send 352 to the tv and allow it to take care of that.
Any comments, opinions, or wisdom that anyone can give would be greatly appreciated, as would any good links to non-techno explanations of how resolution works in DVD/TV/. All the stuff I have found is a lot more technical than I understand at this point, and I just get lost.