Sean, the difference between your local action 20 years ago and HD is that HD doesn't provide [what most of the population perceives as] something BRAND NEW, never before possible. Oh sure, there's the possibility of wide-screen and awesome video and audio, but that's an IMPROVEMENT over what folks have been using for 50 years, not something as revolutionary to the masses as the general deployment of PCs was. Would your user group have been SO successful and enthusiasm so great if it was, say, a "Pentium Processor" that was being worshiped instead? And just how long did it take for the world to throw away those old 486s when the Pentium came out? I believe it's going to be us enthusiasts for awhile: it always that way. It's pure economics.
I'm not in the advertising business, and in fact, I despise it, but I believe that's going to be the answer to wide-spread deployment. Due to the many-year-slow-rollout of HDTV, broadcasters are still being drug along into this "improvement" reluctantly. Why is it that they aren't pushing HDTV on non-HDTV channels? Seems like they'd have an interest in generating customer interest in HDTV...to gain popularity with the masses...to move the big advertising dollars from analogue to digital TV...to help pay for their infrastructure cost increases coming from being forced into HD to begin with.
I am actually one of those "HD Ready" TV owners without a STB, so I can tell you exactly how we [some of us, at least] think: It was a huge financial justification to upgrade from spending $800 on a nice looking 35" analogue TV to three and a half grand on a 61" Rear projection that will support STBs. I never even CONSIDERED looking at a HD ready TV until I learned that I could buy the TV now (well, then, actually), wait a while till the prices of the STB's dropped (and hopefully recover from the big hit in the wallet in the mean time), before diving into the STB. When I hear, now, that DISH offers 3 channels of HDTV, does that dazzle me? Actually not. To me, that's still not enough to throw out the old stuff and invest in the new (while the old is still operational, that is...the reason I was in the market for the 36" was my 12 year old 27" was sick, otherwise I'd probably not have taken the leap yet. The deciding factor between a 36" SD and the larger HD was actually a push from another electronic achievement: my first DVD player!).
Why does kyungkim's programmer know about "progressive dvd players"? Because he/she sees them advertised everywhere. Prices dropping to points where someone in that income level can afford one too. More people will buy these, only to find out that they'll need new screens to watch them on. One technology will push the other.
I don't know about electronics retail: do the Best Buy's of the world reap greater profits from the "new" technology, or the "old"? That's where their interests are going to predominately be, and their advertising emphasis.
If the new technology was actually cheaper than the old (besides a lot of us having to change our pants), retailers and manufacturers would have an easier time of gaining mass support. I've got to suspect though, that the Best Buy's of the world realize that it's a minority of their customers who walk in their doors who are looking to spend the kind of dollars on HDTV gear, with it's relative high price point compared to the old stuff. Not everyone is going to get a second (or third) job to pay for a wide-screen mits, when they can settle for the cheap 19" set (at a price previously only attainable on a 13" set!).