OT?: A new "TV" for a Crazy Man?

This has to do with drastic differences between TV-oriented equipment 20+ years ago, now, and, say 5-10+ years hence.
Crazy Man has been using for many, many years, an old 19" Stereo color TV (Panasonic) with:
Output sound cabled thru an equally ancient stereo audio system.
"Digital" video input via a Charter Cable receiver. Charter offers maybe 25 (premium) "digital" and about 80 "analog" channels.
Two VCR's (one for "digital", one for "analog").
CM believes the "entertainment industry" is geared to driving various and sundry hi-tech garbage down the consumer's throats. Hence no DVD on video rig. Sez analog resolution is all he'd ever want. Believes that he *should* have been recording movies, etc to a $50 hard drive years ago, and would've if not for the "entertainment industry", which offers only devices that suit their biased fancy.
But he likes his tube, which is about to roll over and die a horrible, horrible death.
CM needs a reasonably priced replacement for his ancient TV which will maximize "modern TV" functionality subject to minimizing disruption of the functionality of existing components (i.e. VCR's, old audio system). CM could live with monaural (sp?) sound thru his ancient speakers, but he doesn't wanna listen to the $2 speakers that typically come with the "TV".
He's got $400-600 to spend for a new "TV", hopefully to last, say, 10 years minimum.
The "Fedral Gummint" has mandated HD in the near future?
At a quick glance, it kinda looks like a good asian LCD/HD TV. Does this make sense in the context described above? Will such son-of- a-tube properly render analog reception/playback-from-VCR?
Will receivers in such modern "TV"s directly tune cable? Dish? Anything? <g>
What specs (i.e. pixels) would be necessary for acceptable display, etc?
What the flying flog is SDTV? :-)
What other headaches lurk in "modern TV" equipment?
TIA, Puddin'
"Life is nothing but a competition to be the criminal rather than the victim." - Bertrand Russell

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