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Can anyone explain the circumstances / medium / content where 1080p would be noticably better than 1080i?
The fact that HDMI does anything noticably better than component video (above and beyond an audio signal) is news to me.
And yes, I know that all this information and more is available on www.avsforum.com but I would rather hear it from you.
On very karge projection rigs 120in and up you can start to see the benefit of the added pixels but anything in the ballpark of your average display of 40-60in its just bragging rights, the human eye simply cant resolve the micro pixels, but there will always be those who cant come to grips with that. Face it, HDMI benefits grandmas hooking wires up and Hollywood studios and nothing more.
You guys are correct to a point, 1080 is 1080 and it is more pronounced on larger screens but progressive signal is always superior to interlaced. Think of it this way on, a 32" crt tv a dvd will look superior to a standard cable or sat signal, even though both are 480 on a smaller screen. Only difference is dvd is a progressive signal. Same could be said for blu-ray verses hd broadcast. I will admit the gains are smaller but completely noticeable on any quality display 50" or larger. As for the op's original question, if the tv is a native 1080p display and you are using hdmi to connect the two, the problem almost certainly is with your direct tv receiver. Could be you are missing a setting somewhere or it's a software/hardware issue. Heck it could be a hdcp issue on one end or the other(I hate hdmi). If you have blu-ray player connected with hdmi and it works you can eliminate the tv and hdcp from the equation. Hope that helps.