I am thinking about upgrading my video system. Right now it is a vcr, an old onkyo dolby pro-logic receiver, a 25" tv and some speakers. My reading about all the new stuff has gotten me confused. So..I guess DVD send out a 480i or 480p, but there are better sources out there. What is the hierarchy of video sources? Also, what features should a tv have to utilize these sources.

Thanks for the wisdom,

well, to keep things simple:

any standard analog tv can receive up to 480i. (i is for interlaced, p is for progressive) hd-compatible tv's can accept 480p, 720p (depending on the tv), and 1080i. the number (ie 480, etc) represents the number of lines drawn on the screen in one cycle. generally, the more lines, the better the picture. 480p is used by dvd players mostly, although FOX does broadcast in 480p as well. 720p is a very high-quality picture, and some even prefer it to 1080i, since it's progressive, but few tv's supported it, and the hd industry has all but dropped in in favor of 1080i, which is what a good 90% of all hd broadcasts are.

this will help you understand interlaced vs. progressive:


good luck
DVD players can put out 480i or 480p depending on the type. Most older DVD players are 480i. You may have heard of new DVD players have Progressive Scan. This is where 480p comes from. Interlaced DVD players did not output ALL of the information on a disc, hence used "interpolation" to achieve a great pic. Progressive Scan uses all 480 lines of data with each frame. GENERALLY a better picture, but a great interpolator can make you not tell the different.

I have Satellite High Def with Dish Network. I get HBO, Showtime, and 1 pay-per-view. These are all in 1080i OR 760p format, your choice. The picture is AMAZING! You can often tell when a 480i or 480p movie is SCALED up to a 1080i format as it still does not look that great. Showtime seems to do this more than HBO, instead of transmitting in native 1080i format directly from the film. Rule of thumb for High Definition...Go with 1080i for the best pictures without lots of movement. For
sports and high action, go with the 760p as you'll have
less artifacts.

Lastly, many tv stations are broadcasting during certain hours of the day in a High Definition format of either 760p or 1080i, depending on the station... You need a good aerial antenna and HD decoder to get this signals. Have fun!
does directTV (dish) local channels have HDTV and at what format?
To Sailinfla: No, you cannot get local stations (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) in HDTV from a dish OR digital cable. It is ONLY available through the airwaves w/ an aerial antenna....
Thanks for all the great response! I really appriciate the help.