DVI, Firewire, Analog debate

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Dominic Scolaro, Dec 27, 2002.

  1. Dominic Scolaro

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    We seem to be in a dead zone right now regarding HDTV interconnection. Information on these interfaces seems to be scattered all over the place somewhat unclear.

    In this thread, I'm hoping to compile under one roof, information (opinions and links) on DVI and Firewire, so I can make an informed decision on a big screen rptv purchase. What I buy now cannot be replaced for several years (so says the boss).

    I'll leave out my TV prospects and usage details for now since I don't really want to talk about which brand has this or that or which TV is "best". I'd like to keep it general in nature.

    One thing I can say is that the ability to record HD material is un-important to me, although I don't like the prospect of not being able to record if I so choose.

    If you have a minute I'd really be interested in your opinion regarding the importance/unimportance of DVI and/or Firewire vs. analog connections (component).

    Thanks.
     
  2. Lew Crippen

    Lew Crippen Executive Producer

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    I have a direct view (CRT) Sony with component and DVI (single) inputs. But I’ve not been able to make a comparison as my DirecttV STB (Hughes E86) does not have a DVI output.

    However I do know that DirectTV requires DVI outputs for all new STBs that are designed to work with their satellite system. That would tell me that at least one company believes the future to be in DVI.

    On the other hand, the new Dish STBs (about to be released) have firewire outputs in addition to component outputs. I have no clue as to whether this is due to a belief on Dish’s part that firewire is the future, or they just want to distinguish themselves from DirectTV.

    Many of the display manufactures (Sony, Toshiba) are equipping their new sets with DVI inputs, but Panasonic so far is sticking with component inputs.

    In theory, a DVI or firewire interface might provide a better picture. But that advantage might not be able to be realized in practice.
     
  3. Dominic Scolaro

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    I'm personally not so much concerned with whether one looks better than the other as I am in whether component inputs will be made obsolete and unusable in a 2 - 3 year time horizon. I'm not buying another TV in 2 - 3 years.

    If I do go with something that has DVI or 1394, which one do I go with? It seems that nobody has the answer and it's all a crap shoot. I just read another thread somewhere that is making me completely reconsider purchasing anything at all in the forseable future.

    This is one huge mess and is really damaging the development of HDTV as far as I can see. IMHO broadcasters and manufacturers were given twice as much time as they should have been given to get this thing straight. If they're told 6 years, they'll take 6 years. If they were told 3 years, the same amount of work would have taken 3 years and we'd all be settled in at this point.
     
  4. Cliff Sprungl

    Cliff Sprungl Auditioning

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  5. Jan Strnad

    Jan Strnad Screenwriter

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    Waiting is a good thing if you can do it! [​IMG]
    Jan
     
  6. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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    For a fixed pixel display, DVI is a must for 'best' picture quality.
    For interaction between all your future components, firewire [second version] is a must.
    Isn't technology wonderful?
     
  7. Dominic Scolaro

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    Thanks for the link. As soon as I get an extra 4 hours or so to read through all 78 pages of the legal jargon I'll give it a look [​IMG] . Anyone have a summary?
    And again, I'm not as concerned with the quality of the picture right now as I am with the idea that the component interface may not support future transmission methods rendering a set that I buy now useless in 2 - 3 years.
    Even if Firewire or DVI take over, will sets with component ONLY still be able to recieve an HD feed? This is the part that I don't understand. Will Firewire or DVI interfaces be the only way to de-scramble an HD signal in the future?
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    As someone who bought a Panny very recently, ie no DVI/firewire, I don't worry about it since I don't feel the content providers will obsolete or force lower quality on analog component for anything except premium content like pay-per-view, premium channels and HD-DVD whenever that happens. I don't care about such content/sources, except HD-DVD, but by the time HD-DVD becomes an affordable reality, I'm sure I'll be ready for an upgrade anyway. And I can't see how they can restrict OTA HD broadcasts.
    Finally, even if this becomes a real issue for me down the line, I believe somebody will come up w/ a workaround like a DVI-to-analog-HD black box for those of us stuck w/out DVI (or firewire). Yeah, such a workaround might not happen quickly and might meet legal challenges, but I think it'll happen if there's a market for it. ALSO, even if you buy a TV w/ DVI, you still have to make sure it's DVI/HDCP or whatever copy-protection protocol they finally settle on.
    To me, it doesn't make much sense to buy CE technology that you do not really need (or cannot actually use) anytime soon. Yeah, if it costs little to nothing extra, then fine, but I would not exclude a TV that costs several hundred bucks less just because it doesn't have DVI. Of course, if you do care about premium content, then that would certainly be different.
    As for DVI being better quality-wise, yes, in theory. BUT will ANY of the current DVI-capable, CRT-based TVs actually give better quality via DVI instead of component? I seriously doubt it. For all we know, it could actually be worse since the TV could have a DVI-to-analog converter that's worse than the analog output from the source component you will use SOME DAY for the TV. Afterall, why would TV makers use very good parts and design for the DVI input when hardly anyone would use it in the very near future? Again, I'm only talking about CRT-based TVs.
    _Man_
     
  9. Josh Wolfman

    Josh Wolfman Stunt Coordinator

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    I have heard that "Holywood" likes DVI better cause they can scramble the digital signal making it more difficult to make a digital copy. Firewire is more difficult to scramble. Don't know which one will prevail but I went with the Sony 36XBR800- best picture in my opinion.
     
  10. Dominic Scolaro

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    Man-Fai, I have Panny HD ready tube tv (CT-32HX40) with component and no DVI/Firewire. So my thinking is that it wouldn't make sense for me to upgrade to a RPTV without DVI/Firewire at this point, but I'm not completely sure.

    To break away from my "general" nature of this topic for a moment, I have two reasons for wanting to upgrade...

    1) I own nearly 200 DVD's and REALLY want to view them on a BIG screen.

    2) The local Costco has the Pioneer SD643HD5 in stock for $2,599 and I'm drooling heavily over it. I like everything about it EXCEPT that it does not have DVI/Firewire inputs. The new Elite's have two DVI inputs so maybe future generations of the 643 will too.

    That said, I've been trying to get details on the whole DVI/Firewire thing so I can decide on whether to purchase now or wait a year or so. My Panny looks fantastic but it's just too small.
     
  11. Brian L

    Brian L Cinematographer

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    Dominic,

    Pretty much went down the path you are now traveling.....bought a Pioneer 533 (the 643's litle brother). I don't think analog HD is going away any time soon.

    That said, if you buy that set, set it up correctly, and feed it quality DVDs, you will be left with an outstanding picture to the point where you will be wondering how it could possibly be any better.

    Now, I do agree that HD can and does blow DVD into the weeds, but you will be amazed at how good DVD can look.

    BL
     
  12. Gordon Groff

    Gordon Groff Second Unit

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    FWIW, The Sound and Vision chart of RPTV's shows that of all the manufacturers of RPTV's only Hitachi and RCA Sceniums have BOTH Firewire and DVI inputs. This may be an important feature for those looking to buy now before the "standard" is set. I'm buying in March, so maybe by then, more of the dust will settle.

    Gordon
    HT Wannabe
     
  13. Dan Ponze

    Dan Ponze Stunt Coordinator

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    That's correct Gordon. I actually didn't know the RCA had them both but it should be noted that only the XWX Hitachi has them both. Lesser models only have DVI. I don't understand why they don't just put both on all the sets.
    * edit . I must have been sleeping when I wrote the original post. Sorry.
     
  14. Jeff Drumm

    Jeff Drumm Extra

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    Dan, the lesser Hitachis have DVI/HDCP, not IEEE 1394.

    --
    - Jeff.
     
  15. Ed St. Clair

    Ed St. Clair Producer

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  16. Allan Jayne

    Allan Jayne Cinematographer

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    Although I am not sure of the DVI format, I have read that there are several discrete "resolutions" including 640x480, 720x480, and the HDTV resolutions 1280x720 and 1920x1080.
    For hooking up two pieces of equipment with an analog connections, only the scan line count (including the I or P) (and the frame rate) has to match, as in 480p or 1080i.
    For digital, both the horizontal and vertical pixel counts (and the frame rate) must match.
    In my opinion, if the only common choices between the DVD player and the TV are DVI 640x480p and 480p (analog) component video, I suspect the component video will be better, even for a fixed pixel display if it has upwards of 720 pixels across. Digital video at 640x480 will never preserve DVD's approx. 720 pixels across while 480p analog video will, at least some of the time, depending on equipment quality.
    An example: The iScan Ultra de-interlacer offers a choice of 720x480 and 640x480 DVI output to be compatible with TV sets that might accept one but not the other.
    Video hints:
    http://members.aol.com/ajaynejr/video.htm
     
  17. Dominic Scolaro

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    I just read part of the agreement. Section 3.6 seems to imply that 1394 AND DVI are now required on all STB's (as of 12/31/02), and that DTV displays will require DVI or HDMI or Y,Pb,Pr, and that HDTV displays will require DVI or HDMI. I didn't see anything saying that 1394 will be required on displays, but I didn't read the whole thing.

    This sounds to me like HDTV will not be supported on the component (Y,Pb,Pr) interface, to provide for copywrite protection.

    If someone else can take a look at that section I'd like to get your read on it.
     
  18. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I don't know, but today's NY Times article--if they can be trusted to interpret these things--made it sound like 1394 will only be needed for recording HD signals, so an HDTV display shouldn't need 1394. The STB and the HD recorder are the ones that need 1394.
    The NYT article wasn't too clear about existing displays that don't have DVI. It sorta sounds like if you have component input, you will continue to get HD that way as long as the STB has component out. IMO, that would be a somewhat (but not overly) optimistic understanding of that article given the general feel of it and what details were included.
    If this interpretation is correct, then I guess they will also force HD recorders to only record HD signals via 1394, not component. Certainly, if they are really only trying to do copy protection, not viewing restriction, they should be doing it between the STB and recorder and not obsolete existing HDTVs. Just force all recording device to use 1394. Of course, serious pirates will still eventually find a way around it as usual.
    Here's the article link that was posted elsewhere in HTF:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2003/01/02/te...html?tntemail0
    _Man_
     
  19. Dominic Scolaro

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    (The link wants me to register and I didn't feel like doing that right now)

    What you say makes a lot of sense. The Hitachi and the Mits with the built in tuners have 1394 and the TV's without tuners don't have 1394. That may actually be to interface to something else rather than to be the primary interface to the display.
     
  20. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I guess their greatest fear is piracy in the digital domain where you can get perfect dupes. With analog component, you still need to convert back to digital and recompress the signal, so it won't be as good as direct digital copying.

    Also, since only "early adopters" have HD equipment w/ analog HD output (and such equipment is relatively limited), they might not worry about the existing stuff as much. Certainly, they have to consider the backlash if they try to force down-rez of HD or other types of restrictions on analog component.

    The NYT article pointed out that their recent agreement was driven by consumer concerns about technology incompatibility and obsolecense, so I'd think they will want to minimize such concerns, which is a good thing for those of us who already own HDTVs w/out DVI. Maybe they'll phase out analog HD connectivity over the next couple years so that only DVI and 1395 are supported in new equipment by 2006. But that would be fine for most of us as long as our TVs don't out-last our STBs.

    _Man_
     

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