HDMI vs. component cable

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by gojays_1, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. gojays_1

    gojays_1 Stunt Coordinator

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    Hello all,

    My cable service provider says that the digital box that I will be gettting may or may not support HDMI connections. He said that the component connection (which they supply cables for) is sufficient to receive High Defintion picture. He said that they don't guarantee the HDMI connection and that it's pushed on consumers by retailers to sell $100 HDMI cables.
    Is this correct? What use is HDMI then?

    Any info appreciated.
     
  2. Jeff Gatie

    Jeff Gatie Lead Actor

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    The component connection is more than adequate for broadcast/cable HDTV. HDMI is mainly used to enforce the copy protection scheme built into the HDMI standard. For this reason, pre-recorded HD material (upconverted DVD, HD-DVD, BluRay) requires an HDMI connection.
     
  3. John Garcia

    John Garcia Executive Producer

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    Component is fine for CATV because it only supports 1080i at this time. At 720p/1080i, component and HDMI look pretty much the same anyway. The benefit is using a single cable for both audio and video, though as they mentioned, it may not be fully supported in both cases, most likely audio will have issues depending on the version of HDMI.
     
  4. Screamin

    Screamin Extra

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    I have Rogers cable and an HD/PVR. They told me the same thing when I bought it - that it "might not" be supported. Mine worked fine plugged directly into the TV. I think what they mean is that the cable company doesn't want people calling them for technical support - hence the "not supported" comment.
     
  5. gojays_1

    gojays_1 Stunt Coordinator

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    Thanks for your quick replies.

    I have Cogeco, which is owned by Rogers, and that is the same thing they told me, Wayne. I'm sure that's exactly why they don't support it.
     
  6. Sami Kallio

    Sami Kallio Screenwriter

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    Picture Quality is about the same whether you use HDMI or component, but HDMI is convenient (picture and sound) and it has it's things like said in the thread (copy protection etc).

    If your cable box doesn't support HDMI, no big deal, you just have to use component and audio cables. You're not losing on quality.
     
  7. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Remember that in theory analog component video and digital HDMI are fully capable of passing HD without any problem and in an idealized situation would be equal.

    In reality, input/output implementation varies, so you may find one or the other is preferred.
     
  8. SQMonte

    SQMonte Stunt Coordinator

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    Yeah, I think the HDMI thing is being overhyped and exploited big time. The main thing that I like about it is that it carries digital audio and video all in one neat little cable. But rest assured, I'd never pay the ridiculous prices places are charging for them. I paid $17 for mine from monoprice.com[​IMG]
     
  9. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well... HDMI is believed to be better than component by people like Joe Kane (Author of Digital Video Essentials). He has been doing a lot of studies and found that there is a variety of subtle artifact issues that disappear when going to DVI or HDMI instead of component cables. He credits the analog->digital conversion the TV has to do when using component cables that is avoided using the digital cables.

    And the price? Well, a favorite cable builder around here is BlueJeansCables.

    6ft component cable: $57 + audio cable
    6ft HDMI cable $21

    So the HDMI solution is slightly superior to component and half the price.

    I think this makes HDMI a superior option.
     
  10. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Well, I beg to differ with Joe, but he's being very simplistic. There are many many things to consider, and it really comes down to implementation. There are lots of times when going analog can be better than going digital. DVI for instance is an 8-bit bottleneck, so it can be advantageous to go analog out. HDMI is 8-bit for RGB as well, but can go to 10 or 12 bit for component and that can be advantageous. The bottom line is that analog transmission (component or RGB) is fully capable of transmitting whatever resolution or bitdepth you need, just as digital can be. However, implementation varies, so it's really best to test in your own system which works best, if any.

    I am always uncomfortable with anyone suggesting that one or the other is de-facto superior because it simply is not true. One may say with a whole lot of qualifiers that one is more likely to be superior than the other, but it's not a very helpful suggestion because you're going to need several paragraphs of qualifiers.

    The potential is there for all-digital transmission to be cleaner and simpler, but having seen enough consumer devices that have poor implementation of digital interfaces or terrible digital signal paths, or digital interfaces that clip, or digital paths that do the wrong color decoding, etc etc etc, I will continue to reject the suggestions that any particular method is inherently superior. It simply is not a fair characterization.
     
  11. gojays_1

    gojays_1 Stunt Coordinator

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  12. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    Joe=Joe Kane
     
  13. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well I apologize if I gave the impression that Joe Kane claimed that digital is "always" superior to analog. He was commenting on a podcast that the test-patterns with an analog connection show issues that are absent when switching to a digital connection. This is a problem for him because he is trying to create HD test patterns that help calibrate the display and dont show problems based on the connection type.

    Any mis-representation of his comment are entirely my fault. [​IMG]
     
  14. Tireur

    Tireur Auditioning

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    I would prefer HDMI over Component in any case that you can use an HDMI cable instead of a component cable myself. The image quality across an HDMI or digital signal is going to be unchanged regardless of cable quality. Although I've seen that image quality across component or analog signal can vary according to the quality of the cable. However you will see no difference in picture quality from a generic HDMI cable to a name brand one given that as long as the digital information is passed along you will have the best picture possible.

    Also HDMI has the largest bandwidth to allow for uncompressed picture quality and digital audio.

    I think the cable company is just trying to get out of updating their equipment to support HDMI.
     
  15. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    No, I don't think you were mis-representing him, there's no need to apologize. I remember that podcast, though it's been a little while. I felt he himself was being a little bit reductionist in the podcast, but I can certainly understand it. In terms of crude advice I wouldn't particularly disagree, but where one has the time and space to go into more detail I think things get slightly more complex and "messy", unfortuantely.
     
  16. joseph westcott

    joseph westcott Second Unit

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    Yea, your cable company is trying to get out of service issues since their HDMI connections are hit and miss with other components when it comes to HDCP hand shaking.

    Motorola based components seems to be the biggest complaint in this regard.

    HDMI is superior in bandwidth over component an DVI connections and can eliminate contouring artifacts in many digital displays and provide better color depth.

    I would tell your cable company to stuff it and go satellite. Less compression and more HD programming available. Plus, the added benefit of switching over usually results in lots of extras that you would have to pay for as a current user of cable. Make sure they give you a box for every room you want service. DishNetwork is notorious for trying to daisy chain via RG6 and the audio an video quality suffer. Also reduces your PVR storage timespace.

    P.S. Joe Kane is recognized globally as a trailblazer in audio and video quality standards for motion pictures and display manufacturers. He consults extensively and has developed several formats for calibrating diplays and audio equipment. Digital Video Essentials is his handywork and I would recommend that no one who is serious about their audiovideo should be without a copy of it.
     
  17. SQMonte

    SQMonte Stunt Coordinator

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    I just rcvd and wired my HT setup today, during the process I decided to see if I could notice any obvious improvement or reduction in picture and sound quality between HDMI and Component RCA's.

    I couldn't see any difference to be honest. I ended up using DVI --> HDMI from cable box to TV(optical digital audio to receiver) and HDMI from DVD player to TV only because it allowed me to use less cables.

    I just wish the Motorola cable boxes had an HDMI instead of DVI connection.
     
  18. gojays_1

    gojays_1 Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi All,

    I'd like you all to hear the good news first. We have a second son! Cole Patrick was born on Friday at about 7:pm. Mother and baby are doing fine.

    As to other matters, I just got our Digital receiver/DVR box in the mail early last Friday. It's the Motorola 64-12. The point about the HDMI vs. component issue appears to be moot as it does not have HDMI connection anyway. It does have a DVI though.

    MY question is I cannot find the Digital Coax Connection for audio out on the receiver. The guy at Cogeco said it should have one. It does have the optical but I already bought the coax cable.I cannot find any info on the stupid manual and I get different answers to my questions at Cogeco depending on who I speak to.

    There are a couple of connections that it could be: one labelled SPDIF and another just labelled 'Y'.

    Any ideas if either of those could be the digital coax audio connection that I'm looking for?

    Any help appreciated.
     
  19. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Digital coax is almost always colored orange. I looked up the 64-12 on Motorola's site and it looks like it should be the one on top just to the left of the two yellow ones. Couldn't make out any markings (Y-SPDIF-etc.) on anything, though.
     
  20. ChrisWiggles

    ChrisWiggles Producer

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    The motorola site specs it as having digital coax out. It looks like in the picture that middle top connector that is orange should be the coax SPDIF out.
     

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