No easy answer as to what source is best.
I have cable & had to be polite but firm in order to get their guys out multiple times until the most knowledgable & forthright knew how their system was old of balance. It affected the potential or the entire neighborhood; not just me. Various problems may be to blame. Defective cable box, poor connections, etc, the list goes on.
Nowadays, I'd give Dish Network the edge for potential. I rely on my cable for internet high speed. Give me a good alternative & I'd drop cable like a hot potato.
LCDs may have greater POTENTIAL lifetime, but plasmas should last 20 years or so, so why be concerned?
How do you know what your problem is? It'd be nice to have an electronics guru as a next door neighbor. You can do some comparison like component vs. HDMI connectors to see what does better for you. That Sony of yours is not any puny off brander. You need to get very close to its potential out of it. If you're made of money, replace it & send it to me. But you already do have high quality.
Yes, your difficulty is being very remote from your satellite provider. It is not insignificant for you to get one of their guys out & be forthright as to if the satellite service is up to potential. It will cost a service call, but I'd consider it necessary to know. A close friend of mine got satellite for TV & computer when moving to a rural area, but recently dumped them as impossibly bad.
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