I'm sure that the MPAA appreciates your sentiments.
I remember hearing similar comments about the pointlessness of DVDs in 1997. Since the vast majority of viewers were (and still are) watching their movies on VHS tape, DD 5.1 and DTS recievers weren't widely available for home use, and the movie collector's market was already satisfied by laserdiscs.
Most importantly, unlike VHS tapes, you couldn't record onto DVDs, which most people saw as a deal breaker for DVD. And there was DIVX out there as an alternate format too (backed by the MPAA), and most studios were not producingtheir movies on DVD.
So the future of DVD didn't look too good at the time.
But today the story is different.
Personally, I don't think that Sinclair, the cable companies, and the MPAA's combined efforts to ignore/control HDTV will kill it.
But their lack of support has, and will continue to delay HDTV's adoption.
Although HDTV looks fantastic on a big screen, everyone forgets that they are all reading this post on a HDTV capable display.
I believe that the larger success of HDTV will be through the internet and PCs because as the media bandwidth increases HD movie transfers/streaming will become possible.
Of course this is the MPAA's greatest fear. That there will appear a HD Napster to allow worldwide digital distribution of THEIR movies in perfect HD format.
And so they are going to extreme methods to keep the genie in the bottle. Including making deals with the broadcasters, cable companies, and consumer electronics manufacturers to limit themselves to SDTV resolution products, and allow proprietary digital encryption to lock down DTV displays.
But there is always some uppity (enterprising) small manufacturer who will innovate, when the giants drop the ball. And even though the MPAA may have many industry leaders and the FCC in their pocket, the larger market for digital displays will remain the computer industry, which will not stop competing with better technology and higher resolution regardless of Hollywood's fears of potential media piracy.
So higher resolution, lower cost displays ARE coming, and HDTV isn't just going away just because special interests want to control the DTV market.
Outside of the FCC, there are people in government who understand that having the U.S. develop and push ahead HDTV products and services will provide industry and technology opportunities, just as the space race has done over the last four decades.
And now it is not the time to concede that 480i/p is the best that we need at home, just as mono audio, B&W TV, and vinyl records were pronounced just fine when better technologies were offered.
There is a hard enough fight ahead for HDTV to succeed at becoming tomorrow's TV standard without conceeding to lessor technologies/capabilities now.
[This message has been edited by Dean McManis (edited 05-06-2001).]