I feel you on the "disappointment" regarding HD (HD DVD in my case). Not that it's bad, not that it's not better than DVD, but the difference is, IMO, nowhere near what it was made out to be.
That said, if I were buying today (and I almost was) I would seriously consider a 1080p machine. Not because of the resolution (though that's definitely nice), but because of all the other improvements going into the 1080p machines but not yet the 720p models.
The RS1 is a perfect example, >10000:1 native (non-DI) contrast is phenomenal, combine that with it being relatively
bright and surprisingly affordable. I think it's got the potential to knock the socks off even similarly priced 720p machines.
I think if you can do it, now is the time to go 1080p. I do expect cheaper 1080p machines to appear over the next year, but my gut tells me they'll be correspondingly lower performance too, ie it will be a while before you'll be able to get something with RS1 like performance for 1/2 the current RS1 price.
Originally Posted by inky blacks
Imagine how many hours of 720p at 24 fps movies you could put on a HD-DVD.
Not much more. Check out trailers on thelookandsoundofperfect.com, there's "only" a 33% increase in bitrate for 1080p (or 25% less bitrate for 720p), they're only 6/8Mbps respectively and look darn good, especially considering HD DVD is often close to 2x that (ie 12-16Mbps).
I'm not sure how to explain it, but increases in resolution don't require a linear increase in storage. It's partially due to lack of true detail, and partially due to everything being "smoother" which is easier to predict/compress.
With less compression they might look as good as the 1080 stuff. No?
Not necessarilly, by most accounts we're not losing anything to compression with currently, so more bitrate (or same on fewer pixels) wouldn't be an improvement.