CBS's use of the term HD does not mean the High Definition spec that you are referring to. When they say"HD", they simply mean they are transferring from 35mm prints (as opposed to battered up old 16mm prints) to digital tape for broadcast distribution or possible DVD mastering.
Do you have a reference for this interpretation of what CBS is doing? Because my interpretation is completely different. I'm thinking they are remastering from 35mm to HD masters for future HD syndication, and then downconverting them for DVD distribution and current syndication.
My basis for this is as follows:
- The time it is taking for them to perform this remastering effort and that it would be completely shortsighted to do just an SD transfer when an HD transfer could be performed just as easily. Otherwise, why pull out the 35mm prints.
- They make no distinction between how they are treating other shows in the CBS syndication bible where they reference HD in comparison to Star Trek TNG, which we know is being transferred to HD masters, so if they were doing a different process why wouldn't it be noted.
- They've recently announced TAGS, I Love Lucy, and previously The Honeymooners for Blu-ray releases yet nothing has changed in the syndication bible to identify that they have gone through any additional manipulation, so it would stand to reason they already have the HD masters.
- Lastly, the quality of the prints we have on DVD. It has allows seemed to me that DVD's made for HD downconverts look better then SD direct transfers, at least if the source is up to the task, and many of the CBS DVD releases (e.g., Perry Mason, and Gunsmoke look this way to me).
So I hear what you are saying but it just doesn't make sense with my observations. Now I could be wrong because my opinion is based on observations and not on anything CBS has said directly, other than to take their word at face value in using the term HD properly. If this is your opinion then I would have to say I disagree, but if you have a reference to insider information from CBS I would be interested in seeing it.