It is a little confusing trying to figure out my cable box settings, as well as trying to figure out what is the best configurations, but I'll try to explain what I see and what I can set:
Cable Box -
It says in the setup for the Scientific Atlantic HD DVR that if I choose 16:9 widescreen in the setup, then the the TV is set to only receive programming in 1080i format, even on non-HD channels. This is what I have it set for right now.
It then says to choose a General Settings picture mode, and since it is conencted with Component cables, it recomends "Pass-Through" mode, saying it allows non-HD channels to be displayed using their native picture formats. Most of the time this means it is in 480i or 480p.
Now, if I select "Upconvert 1" on my cable box, it will upconvert most of the signals to 1080i. Choosing Upconvert 2 will cause most of the signals to be in 780p format. Pass through, as mentioned earlier, is in the native resolution.
When I changed the Virtual HD setting to 540p, then it seemed that most of the signals went to that. Meaning, even the HD Channels like ESPNHD, INHD 1 and 2, the Discovery Channel HD, etc. would say in the top right corner "YPBPR, Cable 2, 1080i format" but then in the Information bar on the bottom (that you get when you hit the INFO button on the Hitachi remote)it said "HD540p".
So, I guess I need to figure out what is the best option.
1 - Am I losing anything when I am getting the 1080i format through the HD channels but the TV is set for Virtual HD mode at 540p?
2 - What is the difference between the "Upconvert" 1080i mode on my cable box vs. using the "Pass-Through" mode to get the native signal?
3 - Is 1080i the best I can get, or is the 720p or 540p mode better for SD channels? And am I stuck with the Virtual HD for all my channels in 540p if I set it up as you suggested and will that hurt my HD channels and/or DVDs?
Thanks again for the help!