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Bought a Panasonic TH-42PHD8UK 2.5 years ago, and installed the optional HDMI board. Worked great for a while, except for occasional HDCP hiccups with my SA Explorer 8300HD from Time Warner Cable NYC.

Later I added an Oppo DV-980H and a cheap HDMI switcher so that the upconverting DVD player could share the single HDMI input with the plasma. Worked for a few weeks, and then got very finnicky with constant HDCP error messages that I learned to work around with cumbersome on/off procedures. That was about a year ago.

Starting a few weeks ago, however, HDMI has just shut down completely. I've ditched the switcher and tried different cables plugging my components directly into the plasma, but now I get an HDCP error whenever I try to watch tv over the 8300HD. Nothing will make it go away. Same is true for the OPPO when I plug it into the HDMI input - it just goes to a black screen and won't do anything.

Based on the above, it seems like the plasma itself is as fault. I'm now at a loss as how to proceed. The options I can think of are as follows:

1. Buy a new HDMI board for the plasma for $150 or so, and hope that it works.

2. Call in a repairman - never have had to do this for a tv before and have no idea how this works or how much it costs.

3. Just ditch the plasma and buy a new one. Sound extravagant, but it seems that Panasonic now sells a 42" 720p plasma with multiple HDMI inputs (the TH-42PX80U) for less than $1,000. Would this make all my HDMI switching problems go away? And is this the model to get if I only want 42" or does it make sense to go for a 1080p model?

4. Switch permanently to the component input. My HK AVR 320 receiver will switch between two component inputs, and I believe this will eliminate all HDCP errors. Frankly, I don't notice the difference between component and HDMI, but the downsides seem to be that the Oppo will no longer upconvert DVDs, and I won't be able to plug in future camcorders etc. as the HD world moves away from component. My receiver is also in a pretty tight spot, and I'm not sure I have enough depth in my cabinet (an expensive built-in) for the component plugs.

Any advice? I find this whole situation depressing and confusing!