Originally Posted by WilliamG
I'd like to add that it really, as others have stated, depends on what you're watching. With regard to the ED 852x480 vs HD 1920x1080, I own both a Panasonic 42" ED plasma and a Samsung 46" 1080p LCD, and for SD and DVDs, the ED destroys the HD. No comparison. Even for crappy 720p HD cable etc, the ED holds up REALLY well. However, when it comes to dedicated 1080 sources like HD-DVD and Blu-ray, the ED can not hold a candle to the beauty of the 1080 set.
With regards to the 720p vs 1080p argument, it also really depends. If you sit really close to the TV, no question you should get the 1080p set. I can make out the pixel grid on a 720p set much quicker than I can a 1080p set. I sit around 7 feet from my 46" 1080p, and I can not distinguish individual pixels at all. It's beautiful. I also use my PC on my 1080 set, so this resolution was a no-brainer. With 1080p TV prices dropping so much, I think it would be a lot smarter to buy a 1080p now or soon and not worry about the future. You never know where your TV will end up, so why not splurge a little more and be future-proof? Perhaps not future-proof in regards to broadcasts, but at least you have the flexibility of moving/selling the TV at a later date.
If all you do now, and will do in the future, is watch HD cable and watch SD-DVDs, heck, save your money and buy an ED. It's the best set for that task. No questions. I absolutely love my ED plasma, and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
The funny thing is I remember the 480p vs 720p arguments over 2 years ago just before I bought my ED plasma for $2k (when HD 1024x768 42" plasmas were still the better part $4k). I'm glad I bought my ED then, and now this year I spent another $2100 on my 46" 1080p. 720p never impressed me that much in material that was available at that time. 720p TVs will always, always need to scale, as others have said, whereas 1080p TVs won't need to scale 1080i HD or HD-DVD/Blu-ray movies.
Get an ED if you watch JUST SD-DVD, TV and HD-cable. Also the VERY best system for the Gamecube, Wii and Playstation 2/XBOX.
Get a 720p if you play 360/PS3 video games a lot, you watch HD material of ANY sort, you don't spend most of your time with SD-TV or SD-DVDs and you sit a "decent" distance back.
Get a 1080p TV if you sit closer to your TV, are positively addicted to HD in any form (PS3, XBOX360, HD-DVD, Blu-ray, HTPC) and don't view much SD material. Also a must-have for those who hook up their computers to their displays.
So there's my 2 pennies worth.