Here's how I'm considering upgrading to HDTV for a relatively painless cost:
Buy the Hitachi 60" HDTV-ready projection unit, model 60SDX88B, (specs are at: [Link: hitachi.com]
Then get the new RCA DirecTV system for $700 which will pickup 3 satellites simultaneously using the new elliptical 21" dish. It will pickup the standard 480i satellite which DirecTV is currently using, the 1080i HD satellite, and the local programming satellite (I'm told my local stations will be put on sat download shortly here in Chicago; if they aren't already).
So the way I figure it, for $4300, I'll be able to get 1080i within the next month.
I'll sell off my existing 61" XBR Sony along with my Sony A4 sat. Conservatively, I'll get $1500 for that stuff. I'm left with a $2800 net price tag for HDTV.
The only downside I'm not certain of is that the 60" Hitachi is not 16:9. I don't really enjoy the 16:9 display anyway because it seems so small in a large room in comparison to my current Sony. So the final question is: if I end up with a 4:3 ratio DTV that can display 1080i HDTV over satellite, will it end up looking like a standard letterbox movie, or will it be worse? Or am I overlooking something big? Would appreciate anyone's advise.