The RPTV is just fine. I like mine just fine. $999 for 811 and a HDTV, or at least $999 for HDTV plus $149, (or $99, or $199, depends on who you listen to, call Dish to find out for sure!) for the 811.
It all depends on what makes you happy, if HDTV in a box is ok then it will work. In the end you get what you pay for, but I personally think the 40" TV is great, RCA has had some problems of late, I've read at other places that 1 and 5 Thompson TV's will need a major service call. Which according to Consumer reports, thats the worse of all brands. But, ALL TV's, not just RCA have to be repaired from time to time, it really comes down to how lucky you are. (you just have a higher chance of it with RCA)
Of course, I don't know if Dish still offers it to current customers, you would have to call them to make sure. Back in Feb. when I ordered mine, there was nothing that said it was for current customers, but it was. So you will have to call.
In the end, if your not crazy about having the most expensive set, HDTV in a Box is a good way for you to get started in the world of HD.
I got the package as a second HDTV for my house. My other system is a Phillips. The PQ is pretty comparable on the two, both are using 811's and the DVI connection. Honestly, I paid more for the phillips and got the same quality as the RCA that Dish is providing. Both are RPTV's too. I cannot stand CRT's, so I chose the RP model.
Why doesn't Dish partner with Sears or Radio Shack to offer a bundled deal with the purchase of ANY new HDTV above a certain price point? It seems to me that this would make better business sense since E* could stick with the business they know best and let the retailers handle the rest. The only downside I can think of off the top of my head is that E* would lose whatever markup there was on those HDTV sets. The tradeoff would seem to be worthwhile as they would no longer have the headaches associated with selling those Thompson-made TVs. I wonder how receptive Sears would be to the idea, given their current relationship with VOOM?