Reality Check Before the Purchase!

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by Gregory Suarez, May 26, 2007.

  1. Gregory Suarez

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    Hey everyone!

    I would first like to thank everyone who has helped me over the last several days make some kind of sense out of all of the new HD technology. Home theater used to be a fun hobby for me back when I got my first DVD player almost 10 years ago to the day. Now it's just confusing and frustrating.

    I am about to make some purchases and I would like to run a reality check by everyone so I can feel confident that I did my due dilligence in researching this stuff. Please correct me if I am off-base with anything in the following statement:

    I have pre-ordered the upcoming Onkyo TX-SR805 with HDMI 1.3 and built-in decoders for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD MA. Only HDMI 1.3 (as opposed to 1.1 or 1.2) has the bandwidth to pass 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and 5.1 DTS-HD MA signals as a raw bitstream to be decoded by an outside decoder. The Toshiba HD-XA2 HD-DVD player has an HDMI 1.3 output, which means that it will pass the uncompressed 5.1 Dolby TrueHD bitstream to the Onkyo to be decoded. I own a 20GB PlayStation 3 I use for Blu-ray (which I have upgraded to v1.8). It has an HDMI 1.3 output, however it will not pass the DTS-HD MA bitstream. My understanding is that it theoretically could - since it uses HDMI 1.3 - if Sony releases a firmware update to "unlock" this functionality. However, the PS3 will still pass the "core" 5.1 DTS-HD signal via HDMI as well as the uncompressed PCM 5.1 tracks (on Sony and Buena Vista BRDs) via HDMI and the Onkyo will decode and play those with no problem.

    As for video, if I get a TV with 1080p, but only HDMI 1.1 or 1.2, the only benefit of 1.3 that I am missing is the enhanced color capability. However, from what I've read, going from 1.2 to 1.3 makes little difference in video quality. The Toshiba HD-XA2 and Sony PS3 will both output perfectly fine 1080p signals via HDMI.

    Now, does all of this make sense? Am I missing anything relevant that I need to consider before I pull the trigger and go into debt? Will have any regrets down the road (i.e., "If only I had bought THAT player instead of THIS player!").

    Thanks so much for your help!
     
  2. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    You've picked the most future proof receiver and players currently available, period. I can't see how you could have done any better.
     
  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I read on a thread somewhere that there are low end HDMI cables that only pass 1.1 or 1.2 versions. Is that right?

    If so, you'd need to make sure that the HDMI cables you have can accommodate the new 1.3 version.
     
  4. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Producer

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    There is also coding on some discs that will allow only in-player processing thus not allowing output of the raw TruHD or DTSHD bitstream from the player to the reciever. This is why I wasn't so fussy about getting 1.3 on my reciever.

    All HD DVD titles with "advanced encoding" require decoding of DDHD and DTSHD in the player and disallow transfer of the raw bitstream to an external decoder, and virtually every HD DVD title released so far has the advanced encoding. Upside of this is that every currently available HD DVD player will do this decoding and send it to the receiver as multichannel linear PCM via the HDMI connection, which would give the same results as if the decoding were happening in the receiver. So far no HD DVD or BD player will output a raw DDHD or DTSHD bitstream anyway, though this may occur in the future either with new players or with firmware updates to existing ones.

    Right now decoding of these formats in the receiver is of no practical use but may be a good thing to have in the future.
     

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