what do i really need 1080p for?

if my only intention of getting a plasma/or lcd is to buy a new tv, that can accept the high def signal in the future, what do i need a 1080p tv for? arent they only really useful if using a blue-ray type source? my intention is to NOT use this as part of home theater , or even to watch dvds..simply watch cable tv. that being said...looking for 46" isnt plasma the way to go? ive got a sony 36" Wega XBR and not much rivals that...so whatever i get needs to outperform it. And 720p of course is way less coin.
The way it was told to me is that no station in the country is broadcasting in 1080p, and won`t for a few years. So no matter what super duper high resolution TV you get you will only see 720p. If I am wrong I welcome the correction.

Your super 1080p is ready now to give it`s all reproducing Blu Ray DVD`s.
I thought the same. 2 years ago I bought a Sharp Aquos LCD 1080i for the bedroom and loved it. This year we went looking for a TV to replace the one in the den. The Sony Bravia LCD was nearly twice the price of the Sharp, but my wife insisted the Sony's picture was better. She was right. Not only on Blue Rays, but on standard DVD's and regular channels as well. The difference is readily visible. It seems to me that the higher the contrast ratio, and the faster the refresh rate, the better. These are my two cents, FWIW. Happy listening.
If you plan on getting Direct TV at some point, their HD package broadcasts at 1080i. This signal is a significant improvement over what you are currently seeing. I had a 36" Sony as well and can tell you that the 50" Samsung I have blows it away at 1080i. These sets are currently very affordable, so I would at least reach for the next rung up. BTW, you will be very unhappy looking at standard cable with one of these sets as the picture will look very soft and dull. If your goal is to keep basic cable, I would advise you to just keep your existing set. Off the air HD is free however. Just invest in a decent antenna and watch local channels in HD.
ok, thx for the quick replies folks...i a 2 ch guy and lack the video knowledge you all possess. is 720 p better or worse than 1080i? my cable will be comcast, never going back to direct tv (another story. as for 42-46", plasma or lcd? or is this like debating republican vs democrat? way too many views
Jaf2290- if cable is all you currently watch then save those bucks and keep what you've got....in a few years when the networks are ready for the switch, maybe you'll be ready for that upgrade...
Panasonic plasma gets my nod. LCD is too soft looking, plus motion artifacts on anything moving fast.
Check out the Sony XBR6 series, either the 32 or 37. CC and BB has them and you can get a hands on, eye full. It has all the connections you will ever need.
Actually there are some stations broadcasting in 1080i over the air. CBS seems to be doing this more than the other big networks. CSI, David Letterman and the like.. look phenominal on my 52 inch LCD Sharp Aquos 1080p..they also look great on the 42 inch Samsung 720p Plasma.

Plasma or LCD..it is your call there. I use a Plasma in the bedroom and a LCD in the great room. If your room doesn't have a lot of windows, a plasma can be had cheap with very good results! The Panasonic is a nice unit.

LCD is the way to go if you have a lot of sun coming in through nearby windows. Neither looks great with a crap signal..it is just the nature of the beast.

The better the signal the better the picture with any of these TVs. I have a Sony Wega that has been sitting unused for 1 1/2 yrs after going over to panels. It looks fine on regular cable, but has no where near the depth and colors of a good LCD or Plasma.

The Sony, Samsung and Mitsubishi LCDs are another option...great picture on these units as well.

I install these types of TVs as a side job frequently ..as well as projectors. So I get to see them in different settings. You can have the so called best plasma in the world. Put it in the wrong room and the sun glare will drive you insane!

If you're energy conscious the LCD is also the better option. A plasma uses as much energy as a refrigerator. Need less to say my plasma gets a lot of down time. lol

You also have the FTA option. Buy a HD FTA reciever and get certain HD channels for free! From what I've been told you get nearly 1000 free channels on these boxes..not all are HD of course.

Good luck
great feedback...forgive me..what signal will cable be mainly broadcasting in. and is there ever a case when 720p shows a better picture than 1080i? Thanks again everyone
720p TVs are on their way out of production. All newer models produced will be 1080p. Cable is still trying to gear up for 720p at the moment. As with all technology that moves faster than the general public, 1080i or 1080p will become a standard..it is only a matter of time.

With a 42 inch or lower 720p looks great! As you get into the 50's and above a 1080p will have the sharper picture.
I have a home theater business and have been on the working end of audio video for 8 years. No matter what-go LCD--allready 70% of the market, a lot of companies got out of the plasma market and with good reason. there is 40 years of research and development in lcd. Very soon plasma will be dead! And I dont even own one, i went dlp, which will also be dead. You do not need 1080P, sorry guys but thats the simple reality, its only even noticable if you are sitting close enough, and most of the installations they go in provide no benefit. I recently read in one of the HT nagazines i get, they of course had a tv shootout. Some were 1080p others not---a 720P plasma won the shootout, and NOT ONE of the reviewers, who were strictly looking at picture quality , even noticed. That being said, use all of those tv's in test for 12 months and run it again---LCD's would dominate no question.
I wonder who these folks are that can't see the difference between a 720P signal and a 1080i or 1080p? lol
They must be the same people that think an up converted DVD and Blu ray look the same. :-)

I use my panels for everything including surfing the web. There is a stark contrast between the two in my home. I can clearly see the difference toggling back an forth from 720p on my 52 and 1080p.
That's the cool thin about using the PC. It will up convert or down convert the resolution at will.

I suppose someone that uses a panel only for cable may not miss what can't be seen using a basic cable signal.
Lots of opinions here, not all of them accurate, so here's mine: Plasma TV's are not dead, and in fact, do some things better than LCD's and for less money. Plasmas and LCD's will both be around for quite awhile. 720P is basically the same as 1080i (P stands for progressive scan, which scans every line of resolution, whereas 1080i scans the even lines first, then the odd lines, etc). Most cable and satellite HD broadcasts are currently in 1080i. Why buy a 1080P then, if nobody is broadcasting it? Because even though you may not want a $400 Blu-ray player now, which do 1080P and look fantastic, where will their price point be this holiday season or next year? More than likely $200 or less, which means you'll probably want one then. On average, all things being equal, a 1080P flat panel will cost you about $500 more than a 720P currently. Bottom line: choose the right size TV for your room and viewing distance, set your price range, and choose the best LCD or plasma you can find. Remember, what and how you hook up to your flat panel will determine what your picture looks like as much as the type of TV itself...
I would wait until sometime around November and then give serious thought to 1080P. I own a Blu-Ray player and yes it is veru much worth it.

Unless you budget is forcing you, don't invest in 'last year's technology' as you will be locking yourself out of new possibilities.

Yes, those trying to analyze a cpmparison will say that "at such-and-such distance I found it was..."; but really, when you sit back and watch 1080P the color saturation and overall picture is really enjoyable.
If you every hook up a computer with appropriate video card to the TV, you will appreciate the difference when reading text. I agree with Gymane, Gmood1. Get the 1080p.
You can buy a cheap 720p TV now and use it as a second TV later in a year or two. By then, it would be relatively cheap.

Save money now and enjoy. Then get the 1080p/bluray in a year when it looks better.

I have both 60" 720P (master bedroom) and 60" 1080P (main system). Without a doubt, 1080p looks better with blu-ray, but not much difference w/ good quality DVD playback.
Here's an old article you may find interesting High Definition 1080p TV: Why You Should Be Concerned.