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Actually, you don't need to be a bionic man if the set is big enough or you are standing close enough. Under 60", I don't think you can see the difference if you view it from 20 ft away. For me, I only want it for the "cool" factor. I almost bought one last year and probably will get one next year.

The ATSC standard only specifies up to 1080i. There is no broadcasting standard for 1080p. For old analog set, like my 6 year old CRT rear projection set, it scans 540 lines per 1/60 second. It is interlaced to 1080 lines with every two scans. Most newer sets, such as my 10 months old DLP, are digital. There isn't really an "interlaced" concept. They are all progressive because every pixel will have a color value in the video memory buffer. Up until last year, most production volume HD panels are 720p. They can receive 1080i signals but they still display them in 720p. (I'll skipping some details, as many sets actually have more than 720 lines of pixels.) That is more than the 540 scans I get on my old CRT projection set, but my old set can display 1080 lines, whereas my new 720p DLP can only display 768 lines.

To produce 1080 lines, the vendors who uses digital technology (such as Plasma, LCD, DLP) can only do 1080p. They will upconvert 1080i to 1080p. Since their existence, there has been talked about 1080 source. I don't see that happening soon, as it will take bandwidths, additional investment, and all. It is more likely that 1080p source may appear in stuff like HD DVD or Blue-ray disc players.

The resolution line is not the only factor to consider for picture quality. You need to consider viewing angles, contrast ratio, brightness, response time, color fidelity, etc. I think my 720p Sammy looks way better than 1080i Toshiba. Now, if I can afford a LED backlight, 1080p direct view LCD panel, I'd be happy. Dreaming about things I don't need but want desperately is a bad habit, isn't it?
 
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