In reading comments about the use of DVD rentals I am reminded of the fact that the DVD in its usual form is far from dead in that there are a huge number of DVD players out there and consumers are not in a position to upgrade to Apple TVs and TiVos just like that. So the DVD will continue to be important for some time. The question remains, however, about the viability of the Hi-Def formats, given that the players are more expensive and likely to become outmoded by download rentals in the near future.
Of course, the bandwidth required to download Hi-Def files may put undue strain on the internet pipelines. However, such things have been overcome before so why not again?
The attraction of Hi-Def is certainly there for the taking once you have seen a Beyoncé video on a 46 inch plasma screen TV. Maybe is was Beyoncé herself that stunned but I think the quality of the video also played a part! But such videos are made under controlled conditions with superb lighting and careful direction. Outside broadcasts of a rugby game on a misty February afternoon might not be worth the additional technology. Close ups of bloody cauliflower ears don't need to be shown in Hi-Def!