My recent 1080P LCD adventures, plus research into the nascent 120Hz technology has lead me to realize that there is a HUGE void in the existing 1080P LCD product line, namely a high quality display that is meant to be attached to an HTPC.
Ted, surely you realize that very few people actually have an "HTPC" and use it as such, and even fewer understand what the term "native resolution" of a display means. There's no HTPC void, let alone a huge one, with such an emerging technology--it's too new--folks at home are just starting to come to grips with high def in a general sense, buying their first HDTV of some sort, and more often than not their selection is based on price (which rules out 1080p) and they're relying on their cable company to hook them up anyway. If my friends and neighbors are any indication, that's initially happening over component because DVI and HDMI, in the minds of the cable companies, can be tricky to support.
For most dedicated Mac users, VGA went away years ago along with the floppy and the horse drawn buggy -- we have been using DVI-D for years, and going back to analog is anathema.
I think you're a little out of touch with this as well, at least with respect to Macs and the various types of HDTVs, of which LCD is but one subset: VGA has been the savior for many a current Mac HT user precisely, and ironically, because it's "less" of an emerging technology. It's been a very good thing that digital display manufacturers "slapped" a old VGA port on their TVs--we've had countless reports of Mac users who had all sorts of DVI-related troubles and DisplayConfigX and SwitchRes hassles who eventually solved them after a lot of pain simply by going VGA...and we've heard from others who WISHED their sets had VGA. These are "cutting edge" home theater types, since if they're posting here and trying to connect a Mac to their HDTV, they're in the distinct minority.
All of these sets are burdened with junk nobody needs, like tuners: how many people hook up an antenna or clear QAM cable directly to their TV? Most have a cable box, a satellite box, a DVR, etc. Composite video? For a multi thousand $$ 1080P set -- why?
Again, I think you're letting your enthusiasm and recent research into this cloud your judgment a little, you still have to think in terms of lowest common denominator--and folks at home still think in terms of Consumer Electronic devices, that a display is just like a stereo or dvd player that has to get connected and can be swapped in or out. Plenty of homeowners eventually ask themselves whether they need to keep paying their cable company as much as they do, and they experiment with a splitter, figuring out what their set can and can't tune in. But, I do agree completely that your logic is leading up to the fact that consumers are still waiting for someone, anyone, to tie everything together for them so they don't have to manage a jumble of competing, often contradictory CE devices, and don't have to trust a provider like a Comcast to do what's right. There's too much pent up ill will toward those companies.
Which brings us to Apple, and, well, I think Apple has already released its underwhelming "it just works" answer to connecting to an HDTV, LCD or otherwise. It's called aTV. Personally, I've never believed any of the hype surrounding new larger Apple branded displays--too expensive, too emerging a technology, too costly to ship and warehouse "in" their stores. We'll see how that plays out, but from a business standpoint I'm not sure I see the upside.
This can be addressed by Apple (or someone else, but really, I don't see who -- Sony the next best candidate is too obsessed with DRM to do it right).
You're possibly deluding yourself or viewing Apple through the RDF if you think Apple is significantly less DRM obsessed when it comes to HDCP or honoring video content protections. Sure, with respect to audio on the Apple side we've never encountered anything as dastardly as a Sony rootkit, but with video Apple hasn't yet shown us all their cards. Though, the cards they have shown can't be called encouraging wrt DRM--and they're still taking baby steps.
Here's the real problem, though: when you consider the older laptop hardware Apple uses in its most affordable models, the Macs the majority of its customers would most likely connect to one of these proposed displays (especially the woefully outdated specs of the Mac mini) and add that to its uneven DVI implementation so far, it probably augurs against Apple succeeding along the lines you speculate. They're probably smart enough to realize the folly of even trying with the specs and content delivery options still so jumbled. Maybe Leopard will bring some clarity, but so far Apple has moved forward very cautiously into this sphere, and certainly hasn't been on the leading edge of any technology.
That Apple of yore doesn't exist anymore, the company that boldly excised the floppy and boldly pushed firewire--the newer Apple decelerated and/or killed firewire development, switched to Intel and embraced the inferior USB because it made mass market sense, failed to develop its dvdplayer.app, hasn't exactly pushed Quicktime forward, failed to embrace eSATA as it should have, and I'm sure others could weigh in with numerous other examples.
The Apple we know today, when you get away from the current gadget sphere focus and step back into the HT sphere, is more reactive rather than proactive, and perhaps more distracted that we'd like to admit.
And further, I think one problem of the article you linked to is with perspective--the talk of dvi and hdmi long distance runs--frankly isn't a problem, because we'll naturally just stick a Mac or some other extender device right there at the HDTV--and rely on coax and gigabit instead which are infinitely more capable. That article is based on old CE premises, the "your sources at one end of the room and the display at the other" approach.