with you cablebox off, hold down info and guide until the hd setup wizard starts, configure the settings to what you want......i have only 1080, and the two 480p's in green.....then turn on your tv, and hit settings on the remote twice, go to format picture, then select pass through for components, or auto hdmi/dvi for hdmi hookup....hope that helps!
Just realize when you the above you distort the picture a bit. The reason for the bars on the sides is because the signal is transmitted in a 4.3 aspect ratio, Hdtv is 16.9. If it's HD it will open automaticlly. If not, you get the bars on the sides.
HD TVs are still not "cheap" although they are getting that way. People replacing their old tvs are now doing so with HDTVs because they are only a little bit more in price then a non-hd tv. So as new people get HDTVs and HD Boxes this question will be asked. Of course the provider should explain this information after the install, when showing the customer how to work the equipment.
Not really. The main reason is because most dealers don't carry analog sets anymore. Walmart is one of the very few chains were they still carry a small number of sets. Best Buy and Circuit City don't even carry them anymore.