I should have mentioned that CR rated the PHP 5071HD as very good on criteria like HD pq, DVD playback, and sound quality and an Excellent mark on ease of use of remote (if that is an issue); It was only on SD signals that it rated as good. So I would think it to be much better than so-so. I like this round of CR reviews as it specifically uses SD signal pq as a criteria and is the only reference I have found to do that.
I also read the reviews here, especially actual user/owner opinions. And there are conflicting opinions no matter where I look. That seems to be par for the course and while it gets frustrating, it gets one thinking. Sometimes, I think I am over-researching this to death but as this is such a major purchase, I try to get feedback from as many soureces as possible. All I can think of is when I have 2 models in mind, I will march down to BB and ask them to display the picture from a SD source. Because in the end, it is a matter or personal taste. I would like to avoid any potential pitfalls though, and I guess that is why I spend so much time on forums like these and reading electronics mags.
MY HDTV needs are sure to be different. If I had to rank my habits it would look like this: 1) avid gamer 2)blu-ray, dvd playback 3) casual tv viewing. I have gone back and forth between wanting 1080P or not. I am deciding that since I spend so much time on PS3 and am closer to screen, 1080P is way to go. I also do not have budget/space for high end plasmas and am looking at LCD. I currently like the Sony Bravia kdl40xbr2. I am also looking at Sharp Aquos and Samsung LN series. I am leaning towards the SOny, although I am wanting to see how the new Sony kdl 40s3000 (to be released in 4/07?) pans out. The sony has a lot of great reviews on several different sites/mags. There have been some issues with this sony including clouding and even with PS3 users which is obviously a concern for me and why I wait for the new line to come out. And no matter what I read, I will be testing things out for my own eyes before I sign on dotted line.
I'll be the 1st to tell you I'm no expert on this; I think it is great that you have narrowed your choices down to two. It means you're getting close to HD bliss!! I think it comes down to knowing what your needs are and then testing it out. I just wish more reviewers would rate SD as part of their review as I don;t think that all novices (like myself) are always aware that their tv may run the risk of inferior SD playback.
But anyway, that's my story and I'm sticking to it...James