Thanks, appreciate the info. I'm wondering if I should spend the $1239 for this new set.
I say go for it! If I were you, I'd take a look at the 32" Vizio first, though. It may not have the Sony name, but it's a bigger screen, has HDTV and HDMI and runs at under a grand! In fact, it's under $900 now! I know Sam's has it and, I believe, Costco too.
There is no dark side of the moon really - as a matter of fact, it's all dark
Dunno if my 2cents matter but anyhoo.... I recently just went from a 32" 4:3 SDTV to a 42" 16:9 HDTV.
The quality on my old tv with my tivo rocked. I got compliments on how clear and crisp the picture was.
With the new TV, the picture went from good to poor. Now I see all the artifacting and compression bits etc. I'm sure the size of the picture is part of that, and the quality of the TV itself. But if my experience is any indication, you shouldnt see a PQ increase, if anything it should decrease. Seems that the better quality TV will bring out the nasties you didnt notice before.
Gotta agree with rkester. Any large digital display TV (LCD, DLP, LCOS, Plasma, etc) will make the compression and HD-up-scaling artifacts of the DirecTV signal very noticible. IMO you see much less of this with the classic 3-tube bigscreen.
It's the nature of the technology. The digital displays have a fixed resolution. A pixel is a pixel and there's no gradient between them. Artifacts are clean and crisp. The 3-tube bigscreens, using a lit-up phosporous "blob", tend to blend and disperse the artifacts so they're less noticable.
That being said, you can reduce the problem by calibrating your TV, part of which involves reducing the brightness, contrast, and sharpness from the factory presets.
I'm by no means a vinyl LP nut who swears they sound better than CDs, but I have not seen a large digital TV that has a better picture (especially for Sat TV) than my 3-year-old 52" Pioneer 3-tube big screen.
Don't buy unless you can preview it with a sat signal or are guaranteed that you can return it for a 100% refund.
-Author of Software Testing...the book for new or aspiring software testers.