First of all, thank you dearly for the patience and understanding you have presented on these forums. If more insiders were willing to disclose information like this, the gaming world would be a far better place.
I apologize for my ignorance in the HDTV spectrum, as I've spent the last three weeks researching my newfound technology purchase. It's been a crazy ride and I can imagine that the board members probably understand twice as much as I have learned. Who knows, they may beat you to the answers.
Question 1. My television is a Samsung LN-S4095D 40" 1080p LCD HDTV. It supports 1080p component cable resolutions as well as two HDMI slots. While I would love to use the HDMI cable, would there be any noticeable difference between a 1080p component cable (visually, obviously, I'm aware that the audio is different) and HDMI? I would suspect there would be with analog versus digital cables, but I've heard the contrary.
Question 2. I don't have an HDMI receiver. I really don't care for one, either. However, I do have a 5.1 dolby digital audio system I purchased several years ago. The audio system has a single optical in. The Xbox 360 has an optical out slot, but it's located on the component/composite out piece and not on the console itself. My question is, can I send the HDMI signal (the video, muting the TV) to the television and send the audio (from the connected included piece for component/composite) to my audio receiver without any conflicts?
Otherwise, my option is to connect the HDMI (heaven permitting it's fine with dolby digital) via the television and hope the optical out port on the television will send the full 5.1 experience from the 360 to the television and into the receiver.
I appreciate your patience for this inquiring mind.