I don't think it's obvious that there are lots of HD capable players out now, such as the sort of stuff Dixons is quietly using to run lose lovely HD Plasma displays, quietly letting us assume that we need a Sky-HD box early next year for. I thought now is a good time to recap on the big leaps of player technology, since many have HD capable displays and hundreds more will have them over the next few months... This losely ties on with the "HD-ready" standard for displays, but that is only concerned with the display and it supporting the DVI/HDCP or HDMI connector standards. I thought I'd clarify my understanding of what "HD" and "HDTV" capable means in terms of source formats a player may or may not handle... Any thoughts and experience are appreciated. HD formats: 1. US HDTV Desc: Many of us may have clips in this format from HD bitstream recordings by viewers in the USA. This is also transferrable in digital format to/from the JVC HD VCR models over firewire (but not the JVC D-Theater encrypted pre-recorded titles that they appear to have stopped releasing). Tech: MPEG2@HL 1080i/60 720p/60 TS format, often relatively low bitrate is has been broadcast in the US for years. 2. EURO HDTV Desc: i.e. The sort of format Sky-HD might use? I think Euro1080 uses it and we might be recording this stuff off-air soon??? I think Australia have terrestrial HD tv, i.e. a HD version of Freeview. Tech: MPEG2@HL 1080i/50 720p/50 TS format. Tech: MPEG2@HL 1080i/50 720p/50 ??? format with h.264 extensions (might be addopted my many broadcasters) 3. US DVD; standard-def played upscaled to 720p/50 or 1080i/60 Tech: DVD-Video 480i on-disc CSS protection Region1. Desc: You might have lots of these and want to watch them. Ok, so it's not an HD source, but can in theory newer players can provide better de-interlacing and scaling than many plasma displays do in many cases, like why people currently use external Video Scaler boxes, like the Lumagen or Iscan. 4. PAL DVD; UK/Euro standard-def played upscaled to 720p/50 or 1080i/50 or /60 with decent frame rate conversion?? Tech: DVD-Video 576i on-disc CSS protection Region2/4. Desc: You might have lots of these and want to watch them. Some solutions don't play 50Hz (euro) rate stuff very well and skip and judder. 5. WM9-HD DRM playback at 720p or 1080i/60 Tech: Microsoft with on-disc or networked digital-rights-management. Desc: Several titles available to buy now. 6. Blu-ray HD-DVD Tech: New physical format, WM9 or MPEG2@HL with v.264 extensions. 7. HD-DVD Tech: Enhanced physical format, WM9 or MPEG2@HL with v.264 extensions. Physical formats: Some networked players don't have DVD drives, but some can play US HDTV straight off of DVD-R's... I guess in a year of so when HD-DVD's become available that that'll become important then too, but right now it's a format war I'm reluctant to buy in to. Connections: a) Component analog - can be very high quality. VGA analog - can be very high quality, carries RGBS which is needed by most high-end CRT projectors, like mine. b) DVI c) DVI with HDCP - will be needed for digital output of upscaled DVD's to HDCP capable displays (or unofficial converter boxes?) d) HDMI - same as DVI with HDCP, except has tighter standard for digital video levels and HDMI v1.1 can carry uncompressed audio too. e) S-Video, Composite and SCART - Not capable of HD but might be useful for downscaling the output before that big flat panel arrives! Lets get a list of players together and what we know they can do with regards to the above features we're gonna want. Again, your thoughts and experience appreciated. Rob.