Firewire versus Component inputs

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Steve Carlo, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. Steve Carlo

    Steve Carlo Stunt Coordinator

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    Hi,

    My local cable company (Cablevision) provides HD cable boxes. They have the following outputs:
    Firewire
    USB
    HDMI/DVI
    Component
    co-ax (STD def)

    My Mitsubishi WS555-11 has the following inputs which I could use:
    Firewire
    Component
    some DTV inputs (not too sure what the difference here is)

    I am trying to decide whether I should go with the Firewire or Component inputs for 1080i HD signal from the box.

    Any thoughts of if there is any difference at all?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Bob McElfresh

    Bob McElfresh Producer

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    Well Joe Kane (the author of Digital Video Essentials) swears by a digital connection instead of analog (component). Too often he is seeing artifacts in the HD video caused by:

    - Digital source of HD video converting things to analog
    - Television reading analog from component cables and re-converting to digital for internal use

    So you should use either DVI, HDMI or FireWire.

    DVI carries video, but no audio. You will need to run separate audio cables to your television or reciever.

    HDMI is the same video as DVI - but it carries audio and video on the same cable.

    Firewire - ... I dont have much opinion/experience with this one.

    My advice: go with HDMI.
     
  3. Steve Carlo

    Steve Carlo Stunt Coordinator

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    Thank you. But I only have the input choice of firewire or component High Def (DTS).

    The DTS does seem to be doing the job pretty well and the cable box has a digital audio out so I can plumb it straight into my amp whenever I want. Unusual that the TV doesn't have a digital audio input, as it has a digital audio output (which is active for OTA high def broadcasts).
     
  4. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    The FireWire will bypass your cable box's digital-video decoder and use the one in your TV, making the box basically a pass-through. It seems like a sensible thing to do, just to reduce the number of wires you have to run.
     
  5. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    I have similar questions:

    At what point (i.e. tv size) do you notice a difference between HDMI and Component? My brother just bought a 32" HDTV and he is using the HDMI cable. I assume there's more of a noticeable difference on a larger screen, but at 32", is there any real difference?

    My cable company doesn't have HDMI boxes, but when they do, I'm getting one. I assume with my 55" HDTV, I'll notice a difference by switching to HDMI?

    Finally, my current box has a DVI out, but my TV only has HDMI inputs. Do they make a DVI -> HDMI cable, and if so, is it worth investing in one right now? or should I just wait for the HDMI boxes to come out?

    Thanks
     
  6. ChristopherDAC

    ChristopherDAC Producer

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    Honestly, I don't know if you'll ever notice the difference between HDMI and component interfaces, at the same resolution and refresh rate, in terms of video quality; but HDMI can give you more choices in that respect, such as 1080p and various computer resolutions. Also, with HDMI you don't need a whole mess of cables, just one.

    Since the only difference between the HDMI and DVI signal formats is that HDMI can carry audio in addition to video, there is no reason why you shouldn't get one of the relatively inexpensive DVI-to-HDMI adaptor plugs or cables, and do your own component/digital comparison with your existing box.
     
  7. MarkHastings

    MarkHastings Executive Producer

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    Thanks. Maybe I will invest in a connector for the time being.I did notice (on my brothers tv) that the HDMI carried the audio digitally. Since the volume on HD programming is extremely low (when using analog connections) it seemed really worth the investment into HDMI.

    Of course, I go optically into my reciever for audio, but it would be nice to switch to an HD channel and not have to turn on the reciever.
     
  8. Tim_Stack

    Tim_Stack Second Unit

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    Be careful with the FireWire connection. I have a Motorolla HD-Cable Box (and DVR) - and none of the cable menu options are available when you use this connection. So, you can change the channels but you can't use the guide or any other of those features.
     
  9. Winston L

    Winston L Extra

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    I tried the firewire on my Scientific Atlanta HD DVR (from Time Warner) into my WS-55511 and got nothing. The manual for the DVR says the firewire outputs might not be active. Seemed to be the case.

    Currently looking for splitter/switcher recommendations to put XBox 360 and HD DVR on same component input. More details here: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htf/...d.php?t=235206
     

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