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HDMI

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tah800

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Post Tue Dec 11, 2007 9:55 pm

HDMI

I could use a little help HDMI technology. Could we stick to a very simple explanation as too much technical jargon will go straight over my head. You know the old K-I-S-S idea. Here's what I know. These cables carry both sound and video unlike component cable where you have both sound and video in separate cables. My bell Satellite box has no HDMI out. The TGI-5 does. So will this allow me to run HDMI cable. The Bell PVR also has HDMI outs. I can pick up one of these (about 600 bucks). Will running it through the TGI-5 further improve my HD picture and sound or would running it direct from the PVR to my TV be just as good. Also does this stuff really make all that much difference or is it just more convenient by having less cable involved. If not maybe I should just get some top of the line component and audio cable. I was all set to get the TGI-4 but it has no HDMI ports. If this cable is that great maybe I should wait on the 4 or is there that great a difference in the 2 types of cable. Art
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Eddie

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Post Tue Dec 11, 2007 10:49 pm

Hi Art what outputs does your bell Satellite box have?
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weitrhino

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 10:53 am

I'm no expert, but this is a short and sweet Coke or Pepsi question to me. Component is an analog scheme where HDMI is digital. I would think a reduced signal path would be best. The TGIV could work as a video switch to enable all your sources to connect to your monitor. This is only important if you have multiple sources. I am unaware if the TGIV will upconvert to HDMI from other input sources.
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BillD

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 12:04 pm

I think most modern TVs have a couple of HDMI inputs (my Sony does), and I only have two sources (SciAtl HD cable/DVR box and Oppo DVD/SACD). I run the HDMI directly to the TV and digital outs to my TGP-III (does not have HDMI) I'd go for a pre/pro that had switching if I had more inputs, but I don't. I think it's best to leave components out of the signal path if you don't need them. The Oppo up-converts to 1080p, so I don't need any extra processing.
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stereo_dog

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 1:16 pm

The cleanest picture would be a direct path from the sat. rec. to the TV. But, remember, HDMI is also carrying Dolby signals (whatever flavor up to 7.1), by going straight to the TV, you've by-passed the processor and HT setup, fronts, center, surrounds, etc. Is that what you want? You can also use an optical cable to get the audio from the sat. rec. to the TGI-5, but it won't carry the full signal that the HDMI cable is designed to carry. My HDMI from the HD-DVD player and the Sat rec. both go through my receiver before going out to my projector. I do not notice any difference in picture quality. It also gives you full switching power, change sources on the TGI-5 and it automatically changes on the TV without switching the TV source button. Buy good cables, they do make a difference, and an HDMI cable has no way to "lock" into the input or output jack, so be careful not to dislodge it once it's in place.
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BillD

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 2:52 pm

I'm confused about what you mean by
You can also use an optical cable to get the audio from the sat. rec. to the TGI-5, but it won't carry the full signal that the HDMI cable is designed to carry

The optical/coaxial carry the entire audio portion, which I input to my pre/pro. The setup can be run with the audio signals delivered.
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stereo_dog

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 3:15 pm

I didn't think the optical cable cable could carry the full Dolby 7.1 signal, I could be wrong. Here's what I should have said:

Audio signal Digital audio bitstream.
Originally limited to 48 kHz at 20 bits. Extended to support all modern formats, except Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD and DTS HD audio streams.


HDMI 1.3 supports Dolby Digital Plus, True HD & DTS HD.


New lossless audio formats: In addition to HDMI’s current ability to support high-bandwidth uncompressed digital audio and all currently-available compressed formats (such as Dolby Digital and DTS), HDMI 1.3 adds additional support for new, lossless compressed digital audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD.

Sorry I can't communicate well.
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BillD

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 5:47 pm

Well, certainly the cable has the bandwidth to carry a 7.1 channel format. I guess it comes down to what can decode it. Rght now, only DVD supports output in 7.1, and my Oppo can decode that in 8-channel mode. I don't think the Oppo outputs in HDMI 1.3.
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tah800

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Post Wed Dec 12, 2007 9:52 pm

HDMI

So If I get the PVR in place of my regular HD satellite box which does have the HDMI and the TG-5. My best deal would be to run it from the PVR through the processor and on to the TV. Now this would require around a 3 grand output to put this in place. My question still is does this HDMI sound better than lets say a high end component cable and audio cable. If it doesn't I would keep my Hi Def satellite receiver and get let's say a TG-4 for about 1600 instead of 3000. Again my question. DOES THIS STUFF SOUND BETTER. Probably only someone who has this cable in place could give a valid opinion. Art
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Toy Maker

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Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 1:08 am

From my understanding ( I could be full of shit here ) HDMI is nothing more than a more convient form of connecting the same wires, using (1) smaller plug.

Again, I could be wrong, but I do not think you "gain" anything using the HDMI cables, except, less wires, and less mess.


http://forum.ecoustics.com/bbs/messages ... 22868.html


DVI vs. HDMI vs. Component Video -- Which is Better?
Posted by Admin on Monday, February 14, 2005 - 03:15 am: [ Submit News ] [ Reply ]

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As DVI and HDMI connections become more and more widely used, we are often asked: which is better, DVI (or HDMI) or component video? The answer, as it happens, is not cut-and-dried.

First, to clear away one element that can be confusing: DVI and HDMI are exactly the same as one another, image-quality-wise. The principal differences are that HDMI carries audio as well as video, and uses a different type of connector, but both use the same encoding scheme, and that's why a DVI source can be connected to an HDMI monitor, or vice versa, with a DVI/HDMI cable, with no intervening converter box.

The upshot of this article--in case you're not inclined to read all the details--is that it's very hard to predict whether a digital DVI or HDMI connection will produce a better or worse image than an analog component video connection. There will often be significant differences between the digital and the analog signals, but those differences are not inherent in the connection type and instead depend upon the characteristics of the source device (e.g., your DVD player) and the display device (e.g., your TV set). Why that is, however, requires a bit more discussion.

What are DVI, HDMI and Component Video?

DVI/HDMI and Component Video are all video standards which support a variety of resolutions, but which deliver the signal from the source to the display in very different ways. The principal important difference is that DVI/HDMI deliver the signal in a digital format, much the same way that a file is delivered from one computer to another along a network, while Component Video is an analog format, delivering the signal not as a bitstream, but as a set of continuously varying voltages representing (albeit indirectly, as we'll get to in a moment) the red, green and blue components of the signal.

Both DVI/HDMI and Component Video deliver signals as discrete red, green, and blue color components, together with sync information which allows the display to determine when a new line, or a new frame, begins. The DVI/HDMI standard delivers these along three data channels in a format called T.M.D.S., which stands for "Transmission Minimized Differential Signaling." Big words aside, the T.M.D.S. format basically involves a blue channel to which horizontal and vertical sync are added, and separate green and red channels.

Component Video is delivered, similarly, with the color information split up three ways. However, component video uses a "color-difference" type signal, which consists of Luminance (the "Y", or "green," channel, representing the total brightness of the image), Red Minus Luminance (the "Pr," or "Red," channel), and Blue Minus Luminance (the "Pb," or "Blue," channel). The sync pulses for both horizontal and vertical are delivered on the Y channel. The display calculates the values of red, green and blue from the Y, Pb, and Pr signals.

Both signal types, then, are fundamentally quite similar; they break up the image in similar ways, and deliver the same type of information to the display, albeit in different forms. How they differ, as we'll see, will depend to a great extent upon the particular characteristics of the source and display devices, and can depend upon cabling as well.

Isn't Digital Just Better?

It is often supposed by writers on this subject that "digital is better." Digital signal transfer, it is assumed, is error-free, while analog signals are always subject to some amount of degradation and information loss. There is an element of truth to this argument, but it tends to fly in the face of real-world considerations. First, there is no reason why any perceptible degradation of an analog component video signal should occur even over rather substantial distances; the maximum runs in home theater installations do not present a challenge for analog cabling built to professional standards. Second, it is a flawed assumption to suppose that digital signal handling is always error-free. DVI and HDMI signals aren't subject to error correction; once information is lost, it's lost for good. That is not a consideration with well-made cable over short distances, but can easily become a factor at distance.

So What Does Determine Image Quality?

Video doesn't just translate directly from source material to displays, for a variety of reasons. Very few displays operate at the native resolutions of common source material, so when you're viewing material in 480p, 720p, or 1080i, there is, of necessity, some scaling going on. Meanwhile, the signals representing colors have to be accurately rendered, which is dependent on black level and "delta," the relationship between signal level and actual as-rendered color level. Original signal formats don't correspond well to display hardware; for example, DVD recordings have 480 lines, but non-square pixels. What all of this means is that there is signal processing to go on along the signal chain.

The argument often made for the DVI or HDMI signal formats is the "pure digital" argument--that by taking a digital recording, such as a DVD or a digital satellite signal, and rendering it straight into digital form as a DVI or HDMI signal, and then delivering that digital signal straight to the display, there is a sort of a perfect no-loss-and-no-alteration-of-information signal chain. If the display itself is a native digital display (e.g. an LCD or Plasma display), the argument goes, the signal never has to undergo digital-to-analog conversion and therefore is less altered along the way.

That might be true, were it not for the fact that digital signals are encoded in different ways and have to be converted, and that these signals have to be scaled and processed to be displayed. Consequently, there are always conversions going on, and these conversions aren't always easy going. "Digital to digital" conversion is no more a guarantee of signal quality than "digital to analog," and in practice may be substantially worse. Whether it's better or worse will depend upon the circuitry involved--and that is something which isn't usually practical to figure out. As a general rule, with consumer equipment, one simply doesn't know how signals are processed, and one doesn't know how that processing varies by input. Analog and digital inputs must either be scaled through separate circuits, or one must be converted to the other to use the same scaler. How is that done? In general, you won't find an answer to that anywhere in your instruction manual, and even if you did, it'd be hard to judge which is the better scaler without viewing the actual video output. It's fair to say, in general, that even in very high-end consumer gear, the quality of circuits for signal processing and scaling is quite variable.

Additionally, it's not uncommon to find that the display characteristics of different inputs have been set up differently. Black level, for example, may vary considerably from the digital to the analog inputs, and depending on how sophisticated your setup options on your display are, that may not be an easy thing to recalibrate.

The Role of Cable and Connection Quality

Cable quality, in general, should not be a significant factor in the DVI/HDMI versus Component Video comparison, as long as the cables in question are of high quality. There are, however, ways in which cable quality issues can come into play.

Analog component video is an extremely robust signal type; we have had our customers run analog component, without any need for boosters, relays or other special equipment, up to 200 feet without any signal quality issues at all. However, at long lengths, cable quality can be a consideration--in particular, impedance needs to be strictly controlled to a tight tolerance (ideally, 75 +/- 1.5 ohms) to prevent problems with signal reflection which can cause ghosting or ringing.

DVI and HDMI, unfortunately, are not so robust. The problem here is the same as the virtue of analog component: tight control over impedance. When the professional video industry went to digital signals, it settled upon a standard--SDI, serial digital video--which was designed to be run in coaxial cables, where impedance can be controlled very tightly, and consequently, uncompressed, full-blown HD signals can be run hundreds of feet with no loss of information in SDI. For reasons known only to the designers of the DVI and HDMI standards, this very sound design principle was ignored; instead of coaxial cable, the DVI and HDMI signals are run balanced, through twisted-pair cable. The best twisted pair cables control impedance to about +/- 10%. When a digital signal is run through a cable, the edges of the bits (represented by sudden transitions in voltage) round off, and the rounding increases dramatically with distance. Meanwhile, poor control over impedance results in signal reflections--portions of the signal bounce off of the display end of the line, propagate back down the cable, and return, interfering with later information in the same bitstream. At some point, the data become unrecoverable, and with no error correction available, there's no way to restore the lost information.

DVI and HDMI connections, for this reason, are subject to the "digital cliff" phenomenon. Up to some length, a DVI or HDMI cable will perform just fine; the rounding and reflections will not compromise the ability of the display device to reconstruct the original bitstream, and no information will be lost. As we make the cable longer and longer, the difficulty of reconstructing the bitstream increases. At some point, unrecoverable bit errors start to occur; these are colloquially described in the home theater community as "sparklies," because the bit errors manifest themselves as pixel dropouts which make the image sparkle. If we make the cable just a bit longer, so much information is lost that the display becomes unable to reconstitute enough information to even render an image; the bitstream has fallen off the digital cliff, so called because of the abruptness of the failure. A cable design that works perfectly at 20 feet may get "sparkly" at 25, and stop working entirely at 30.

In practice, it's very hard to say when a DVI or HDMI signal will fail. We have found well-made DVI cables to be quite reliable up to 50 feet, but HDMI cable, with its smaller profile, is a bit more of a puzzle. Because the ability to reconstitute the bitstream varies depending on the quality of the circuitry in the source and display devices, it's not uncommon for a cable to work fine at 30, 40, or 50 feet on one source/display combination, and not work at all on another.

The Upshot: It Depends

So, which is better, DVI or component? HDMI or component? The answer--unsatisfying, perhaps, but true--is that it depends. It depends upon your source and display devices, and there's no good way, in principle, to say in advance whether the digital or the analog connection will render a better picture. You may even find, say, that your DVD player looks better through its DVI or HDMI output, while your satellite or cable box looks better through its component output, on the same display. In this case, there's no real substitute for simply plugging it in and giving it a try both ways.
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garcianc

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Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 6:23 pm

BillD wrote:Well, certainly the cable has the bandwidth to carry a 7.1 channel format. I guess it comes down to what can decode it. Rght now, only DVD supports output in 7.1, and my Oppo can decode that in 8-channel mode. I don't think the Oppo outputs in HDMI 1.3.

BillD and ToyMaker are correct. Unless you have a HiDef (HD DVD or BluRay) player that outputs Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD, and uses HDMI 1.3, you get the same thing out of a DVI connection for the video and a toslink connection for audio. Toslink can carry Dolby Digital-EX, DTS-ES, etc., but it cannot carry the raw Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD signals without transcoding. Don't worry, there is very little content out there for those formats, so you are not missing much.
I am holding out on buying a HiDef DVD player until someone makes one (Oppo?) with an onboard decoder for the new formats and 9-channel analog outputs. IMHO, that's the smart bet unless you want to spend thousands on a "bleeding-edge" pre/pro that can deal with HDMI 1.3 and decode those fancy new formats.
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edit: I meant to say 10-channels.
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Metalbent

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Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 8:11 pm

garcianc wrote:BillD and ToyMaker are correct. Unless you have a HiDef (HD DVD or BluRay) player that outputs Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD, and uses HDMI 1.3, you get the same thing out of a DVI connection for the video and a toslink connection for audio. Toslink can carry Dolby Digital-EX, DTS-ES, etc., but it cannot carry the raw Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD signals without transcoding. Don't worry, there is very little content out there for those formats, so you are not missing much.
I am holding out on buying a HiDef DVD player until someone makes one (Oppo?) with an onboard decoder for the new formats and 9-channel analog outputs. IMHO, that's the smart bet unless you want to spend thousands on a "bleeding-edge" pre/pro that can deal with HDMI 1.3 and decode those fancy new formats.
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edit: I meant to say 10-channels.


I agree, 7.1 doesn't have much content out now for standard dvd's. Not sure about the hi-def players but who is going to win the war, hd-dvd or blue-ray? You have to have both to get all movies, some only come out on hd-dvd and others only on blue-ray.
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OBI56

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Post Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:55 pm

Ive started to see a few HD players that play both formats (HD-DVD and BluRay), but those are still at the higher end of the price spectrum, Maybe I'm just cheap, but I'm waiting for the prices to come down before even looking at them, but at least now I have the technical information about the whole HDMI cabling thing covered in here to look at when I'm ready.

Thanks
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tah800

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Post Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:06 am

HDMI

Thxs for that Article by Toymaker(not sure what your name is) Those callnames really drive me crazy. I can't believe how prefectly it answered my question. It really drives home the old saying that your system is only as good as your weakest component. Probably in this case your original signal or your T.V. Art
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TNRabbit

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Post Fri Dec 14, 2007 12:51 am

HDMI is a marketing tool to sell more, newer, incredibly expensive cables to unsuspecting noobs. O:)
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