By using this setup will I still be able to get 1080i on my TV for HD channels or it will drop to 480i ?
yes, of course
using the splitter will not convert anything
Also is there any setting in 30xs955 which can force all incoming signals to display in 1080i ?
using an external scaler, or using a PC as a scaler
the Sony is setup pretty well
it will display 480p or 960i for 480i sources
and 480p for 480p and then 1080i for 720p or 1080i
Can this be used like a PC monitor? If so, what resolution(s)? I was considering the Samsung Slimfit, but I kept reading that it had low resolution and the Sony was better.
the resolution has nothing to do with what resolution inputs it takes
and no CRT HDTVs are not replacements for PC monitors IMO
the only progressive resolution this TVs displays is 480p
which is 4x3 and only 720x480p or 640x480p
everything else is displayed at an interlaced resolution of 1080i
which means flicker since only half of the horizontal lines are displayed at once
What is the difference between this set and the XBR (besides the $$$)?
the XBR only comes in 34"
it has firewire, twin view, and adjustable DRC