HD video playback is totally doable. However, there are a few things you need to ensure you do in Quartz Composer (if you want to use that) for HD playback via Syphon.
#1) With the Apple Movie Importer patch, ensure you use Asynchronous mode (select the Movie Importer patch in the editor, hit Apple – 2, to get to settings, and enable the check box).
That ensures that the Movie playback is buffered and reads ahead of time, rather than “just in time”.
#2) What codec are you using? What frame rate movie?
#3) Are you using the QC Syphon Server (Public release 2) with the Image Input , or are you capturing the scene?
#4) Are you running Quartz Composer editor in 32, or 64 bit mode? Due to some nuances in Quicktime, 32 bit mode will be faster for movie playback and VRam usage. To do this get info on the Quartz Composer.app, and select “Open in 32 bit”.
Let us know.