The way I am reading some of the posts here, it is not possible to get HD to distant LCD tvs without the something such as one of the genfen extenders?
Depends upon the distance, and whether you're using HDMI or component. It also depends upon the quality of the cables, especially for component.
For component, there are much cheaper solutions than the Gefen ones; they make nice stuff, but it's pricey. Look at one of the previous posts for some suggestions.
For HDMI, some people have reported successful 30ft+ runs.
At least with HDMI, it will either work, or not. Component is more subtle, and it depends upon how critical you are about the picture quality.
So, if you're talking 20 ft, you don't need anything but cable. If you're talking 100 ft, you most likely need an extender. In between, try it and see. My rule-of-thumb is 20 ft for component, but you can probably easily get away with 30 or more.