In 1997 when I was in Ken Cranes, buying my LDs, I remember they were running a DVD and LD side by side. My thoughts were, the DVD looks like a couple clicks up in clarity from the LD and it probably wouldn't catch on... the movie was "Mars Attacks."
I was watching the LDs on a Mit 4x3 55" RPTV and the LDs looked great. Next came a Panny DVL-700 DVD/LD combi player and now I had the best of both worlds, but the player wasn't a progressive one.
Sold the TV and bought a Mit 65"711 RPTV and had it professionally calibrated by one of the best in the business. I upgraded the DVD player with one of the best ever made for the money IMO, a Panny RP-82.
I had to watch my DVD collection all over again because of the calibration, it made that much of a difference! You have to remember that the RPTVs have one of the best black and contrast levels, so my DVD's looked great.
When I bought my A1, I wasn't expecting a "WOW" factor. I have OTA HD and it comes out pretty damn good looking.
My first HD DVD was "Aeon Flux" and it was great looking, but to me, it was kind of like when I first watched a DVD at Ken Cranes.
I'm sure there are those who say you have to watch it on a Plasma, LDC, DLP to see the difference, I don't believe that. No TV out there gives the pic of a RPTV, but then again, it doesn't matter any more...they stopped making them...* see below is what I'm waiting for!
When you watch it on a professionally calibrated system, there is no "WOW" factor, just a knowing that you're looking at a disc that is the best that can be produced today.
Even watching upscaled SDs on the A1 is nice, but it's been proven (shown here on AVS) that you're not getting a better picture. It might look clearer, but it's actually missing information.
My RP-82 is for my DVDs and my A1 is only for my HDs. I just wish they would come out with more titles, but we'll just have to keep waiting!
Just to let you know, I have never seen a DVD or a HD DVD on a large projected screen in 720p or 1080i. There might be a "WOW" factor there, I don't know.
*SED is an emerging technology that shows promise but has been delayed again and again. It is also expected to be very expensive for a long time after its introduction. For those who don't know, SED is a fixed pixel, flat panel, cold direct view CRT. It has thousands of very tiny CRT's (one for each pixel) that are very small and do not require heating as tubes due. Because of its nature, SED should provide all the benefits of CRT along with all those of fixed pixel; excellent black level, sharp edges, no burn in possible, and a very thin hang on the wall profile. They will also use very little electricity and last upwards of 60,000 or more.