Help with future HDTV and video card upgrades

I apologize for how long this is going to be…

So I’m planning on getting a LCD televion and upgrading my video card. Right now I have an old Sony tube TV and an ATI All In Wonder 9600XT. The only thing I use the TV for is outputting video files and DVDs from my computer. So the card is hooked up to the TV via S-video since that is the highest quality connector they both offer.

I would like to go fully digital with the video card and future TV so I want to do DVI. Most mid range graphics cards also offer S-video out as well as component out. I was wondering if component is better than VGA. And if component is better than VGA, does it also beat DVI? I imagine no since DVI is fully digital but I’m not too sure where component stands.

Well, here would be my ideal setup: I want a video card with two DVI outputs. I want one DVI to go to the TV which will hopefully have DVI in or HDMI in, so I can convert if necessary. I will probably end up converting since I can’t seem to find many TVs with DVI in, mostly VGA/HDMI or just HDMI. Converting will not result in any loss since both are digital, correct?

The other DVI out will be reserved for a flat panel monitor I will get in the future since right now I have a CRT. I already have a DVI>VGA converter.

The reason I ask about component is that it’s hard to find a good card with dual DVI out, so maybe I can opt for the regular VGA/DVI and use component for the TV and DVI for the future flat panel monitor.

Another thing that has been making my search difficult is broadcast formats for TV. First, it should be known that I do not watch any broadcasted TV. I have a cable box but it’s just basic channels and I don’t even watch it except for some important news I might need to keep updated on. The TV is all for movies. So, from the loads and loads of pages I’ve read I think I’ve gathered that progressive is better than interlaced, of course. But what happens when a certain TV can display certain formats like 480i/p and ‘support’ the others. Does that mean when I play something like 720i/p the signal must be converted? Does this mean quality is lost?

I am not sure but I think most DVDs are 720 (i or p?) so I would like to get a TV that displays 720p, and at leasts supports 1080i for the near future as more stuff comes out in that format. I’ve already accepted that true 1080p is not possible without buttloads of money. So, would the best TV for my needs be able to natively display 480i/p, and 720i/p, and support 1080i? Also, how much could a new midrange (like the 6600GT) graphics card output?

Or should I just scrap this whole idea and wait for Bluray/HD-DVD? I’m thinking that will be too long a wait.

I’m sorry for being so confused.

DVI is better than component, because the connection is fully digital.

Also, IIRC, DVD’s are 480p. The new Blu-Ray/HD-DVD are supposed to be 780p, I think.

As for the rest, I’m not certain.

Does this mean 720 and 768 are used only by ED television stations?

There are some video cards out there that have dial DVI out, but you are correct saying that they are likely to be the more expensive cards. My Geforce 6800 GT has dual DVI out, I think its about a $300 card right now, give or take $50. It’s just a feature you have to look for.

I am running a media center PC through a DVI out to a 42 inch plasma and it’s absolutely beautiful. I was lucky enough that the plasma happened to have a DVI input as well (Again a feature I looked for). Now if someone would just build a HDTV tuner card that isn’t limited to OTA transmission, or non scrambled cable, and I’d be totally set…