Originally Posted by jmallory
I don't know how bad Comcast HD is going to look on a $500 "HD" flat panel TV set, either you are looking at a Vizio class TV (that don't look great to begin with) and/or you are dealing with a small screen size. But I do know one thing, Comcast HD will certainly look "better" on that TV than SD and that may be enough for that particular class of customer.
As I sit here at my computer, I watch a Toshiba 20-inch set that I got as a "no-box return" for $250 from Circuit City, sitting about three feet away on my table. Fed with the component output from my Comcast DVR box, the difference in picture quality was just night-and-day apparent the day that Comcast tossed its HD PQ down the toilet.
I've seen both Panasonic and Sony 26-inch sets on sale for $500 at Fry's Electronics lately -- I picked up a Panasonic 26-incher that was on sale for that price, about a month ago. Technically, that's got a bit smaller "SD image size" than the usual 27-inch SD CRT, but physically, it's right in the ballpark for anyone with anything from a 20-inch to a 27-inch CRT. It's got plenty of size to judge picture quality from, and it goes to show how you can get major-brand quality at that $500 price point. Stuff like Visio is even less than that.
A quick check at WallyMart shows the least expensive HDTV at $233. Lowest 26-incher is $299. Lowest 32-incher is $568. Shoot, even a 37-incher for $668. Anybody can get into any one of these and get real HDTV just like that. And yes, I'd think that any one of these could show the difference between Comcast's uncompromised local channels and the kind of garbage I've been seeing on HGTV HD. It really doesn't take any kind of higher-quality set to see that your screen is full of blocky, pixellated junk instead of high-quality, sharp HD video.
I can't really speak for how other folks might care about "HD Lite" picture quality, but I think I'm with you -- there's really very little hope for anyone who cares about cable television picture quality. I think the best indicator is how truly awful Comcast's "digital cable" picture quality is, and how Comcast has been able to take wheelbarrows full of money home from people who haven't complained one bit about it.
I guess the industry is making things perfectly clear, starting with the "SD stretchers" like History Channel HD and others: "Just fill the wide screen with something, call it 'HDTV,' and start barging the money home." We might as well all give up and start watching YouTube.