After having watched Inherit The Wind on TCM I wondered what was going on. I was able to watch it on my Sony VW600es and it actually looked very good. It the first film I've ever seen on TCM that actually looked like HD. I decided to take a look at this thread, which I haven't looked at in months. It appears my eyes weren't playing tricks on me after all. ITW even had strong contrast to go along with the detail.
Some historical perspective - when Turner started running the movies from long ago, the channel was called TNT. I was able to watch it with a 10' satellite dish on C Band. The tv was a 25" Sony CRT and the picture was crisp and sharp. Sad to say, these same B&W movies viewed today on a 50" Kuro look soft.