WARNING: Before you rush out and buy any device w/HDMI you might want to read this.

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Nils Luehrmann, Feb 12, 2006.

  1. Nils Luehrmann

    Nils Luehrmann Producer

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    While 1920x1080 displays have been available to consumers for over a year now, the vast majority of them do not accept a 1080p input. Several manufacturer reps have claimed that the only reason their 1920x1080 displays can accept a 1080i signal, but not a 1080p signal is because this is limited to HDMI v1.3 which, has not yet been released.

    While it is true that v1.3 is not out yet, the folks at HDMI Licensing LLC say that all versions of the HDMI spec support 1080p video at 60Hz, and that it has always been and continues to be up to each manufacturer of these displays to include support for 1080p throughout the architecture of their displays. Without knowing for sure, it appears that manufacturers have decided the cost to support 1080p signals is currently too high, and that the lack of 1080p support wont have much of an effect sales.

    So far, they may be right in regards to sales, as 1920x1080 displays have been selling well above industry expectations. Unfortunately though, I suspect many of the consumers who have bought these displays were either not told about the lack of 1080p support and thus assumed it would, and/or were told by eager-to-please sales clerks that once HDMI v1.3 is released, that they will be able to do an easy firmware update and this will “unlock” 1080p support. All indications are that not only would that not be the case, but there is even some doubt that previous HDMI versions can be easily updated with firmware and may in fact need a hardware update that may or may not even be possible for some models.

    To complicate things further, the new HD audio codecs, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD will only be carried digitally in their native form over HDMI 1.3. So this also means those looking to buy new pre-amp processors or receivers will want to be sure their device has HDMI v1.3 or later, which will hopefully start showing up before the end of summer.

    This is going to be particularly interesting, as Toshiba currently has plans to release HD DVD with HDMI v1.2a and not v1.3. If this is the case, this may explain some of the comments Toshiba reps made at CES saying that it's most likely that the initial HD DVD releases will have current standard DTS and Dolby Digital soundtracks. They went on to say that HD DVD players will have the ability to "transcode" the new high-res Dolby and DTS formats to PCM, which can then be carried over the current HDMI spec and should be compatible with a number of current HDMI compatible surround processors and AVRs. In addition, six channel analog outputs will be provided on the players, which could be used with the analog multi-channel pass-through connectors found on many current AVRs and surround processors.

    BOTTOM LINE: While most interpolators are superb and do a very good job of converting progressive signals to interlaced and vise versa, ideally you want to prevent any unnecessary modifications to a signal as each time a signal is converted you risk adding processing artifacts into the image.

    With that in mind, I would strongly recommend extreme caution when considering a purchase of a 1920x1080 display that does not accept a 1080p signal and even those that due, you may still want to hold off until HDMI v1.3 becomes available in the event there are any problematic issues regarding firmware and/or hardware updates. This is particularly true for those looking to buy HDMI audio processors, receivers, and switchers.

    Of course, it is all in the eye of the beholder and everyone has their own particular standards of what is and is not acceptable. I recently spent a good deal of time playing around with Sony’s new 60” 1920x1080 SXRD RPTV, which did a remarkable job of interpolating a 1080i signal and displaying it progressively, and I would find it difficult to imagine that a native 1080p signal would look all that much better on that particular unit.

    What ever you decide to do, just be sure to carefully read the specs, and know what you are buying and how future proof your device really is before handing over your credit card.
     
  2. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Very interesting post, and I can agree with most of it, but I need to find out some things.

    You say that no TV's have 1080p yet, but what is the difference between that and 1080i? Meaning, how large of a screen are you going to have to have to say that upgrading from a 1080i model to a 1080p model is going to be worth it?

    Maybe on a 60", and maybe on a 40", but below that won't the difference be so small as to not be worth the extra $$$?

    As for the general consumer, I don't think they have the slightest idea about the new HD formats, and are only getting a new TV because they found out that this new widescreen stuff looks so cool! [​IMG] They will probably find out by accident that their new widescreen TV shows a picture closer to what they saw in the theaters.

    For those of them that get a new TV with HDMI, once again, unless some major publicity is going to be done, it will probably be another accident that they get an HD player and discover that one HDMI cable with take care of both the sound and the picture. (the average Joe with no receiver).

    Sorry, but I had to laugh when you mentioned Toshiba and their new HD specs. Who gives a rat's ass if you want BR?

    Am I falsely assuming that if I buy a 1080p BR disk, and hook it up, via HDMI to my TV (that maxes out at 1080i), that my picture is going to go the 'down the crapper' route, and I may as well stick to component?

    ...and one more I am concerned about. My receiver will accept the 6-channel analog audio, so will that be the same as using an HDMI cable (in a new HDMI receiver, of course), or again, will I not get the full lossless audio? For the topper, I have analog 7.1 audio, so will these new players provide the 2 extra rears?

    Not bitching mind you, but I think that I am not alone with these thoughts.

    Glenn
     
  3. RAF

    RAF Lead Actor

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    Which is one reason why I chose the HP MD5880n 1080p display over all the others. It accepts native 1080p/60 at its HDMI inputs. Also, I run only the video through my set, choosing to send all audio through my Lexicon MC-8 pre/pro. I also use an external scaler (DVDO iScan VP30) and if it ever becomes an issue that some of the newer sound formats only are available through HDMI 1.3 (or whatever), at that time I'll upgrade the VP30 (which also handles audio if I want it to) to the DVDO model that will handle HDMI 1.3 audio issues. I'm willing to bet that these new scalers will be released by the time that HD sound codecs choose to only go the digital route via HDMI 1.3. In that case the scaler will strip the audio from the HDMI input and send it on to my Lexicon.

    It's not possible to completely future-proof all your equipment but with a little judicious planning you can at least stem the tide. And by the time you get painted into a corner it's probably time for a new set anyway. However, I completely agree that there is not only a lot of misinformation out there, but it is becoming harder than ever for the average consumer to keep up with all this in order to get the best picture and sound. I wish I had a dime for each person out there who believes that when they are watching the DVDs on their brand new HDTV that they are watching HD images (WMVHD excepted, of course). I could retire with all the money I'd make.

    Hey, wait a minute - I'm already retired!

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Aaron_Brez

    Aaron_Brez Supporting Actor

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    Glenn,

    There's nothing in BD, HD DVD, or AACS/HDCP to prevent audio at full-rez over analog, so it's up to the player itself-- read the specs on the analog outs and what they will support. I suspect most or all will support full-rez on decoded lossless sound formats, though Toshiba's specs seem to indicate that DD HD will be only two-channel (?!?) on their first player.

    I haven't yet seen a player announced with 7.1 outs, only 5.1, which seems to me to be kind of short-sighted... but since I don't think there's been any software announced which produces 7.1, perhaps they are merely being pragmatically cheap. [​IMG]
     
  5. Ken_F

    Ken_F Stunt Coordinator

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    Keep in mind that the point of the new lossless audio formats is to allow the consumer to experience audio that is bit-for-bit identical to the studio master. Virtually all studio masters are 5.1. Studio remixes to 7.1 will be rare.
     
  6. Daniel_TS

    Daniel_TS Stunt Coordinator

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    If it is true, it seems well-designed video-oriented players have to integrate audio decoders; and audio-oriented players can output non-decoded DD+, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD bit streams to A/V receivers with appropriate decoders.
     
  7. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    The same as the difference between 480I and 480P.

    While the display may be "progressive" like all flat-panel displays are, if it only accepts a max of 1080I input then it will do the job of deinterlacing...for better or worse.

    If it does good 3-2 pulldown for film-based images, the result might look the same. But I think that's an exception to the rule...most displays out there are NOT doing 3-2 pulldown for 1080I film material...just for 480I stuff.

    I think that a visible improvement will be obvious when comparing the two kinds of deinterlacing for film material...and it's always best to have a display that can accept its own native resolution and refresh...a 1080 panel display should accept 1080P. No question. I wouldn't buy one that didn't.
     
  8. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    I'm hoping Dolby TrueHD. It's the better solution.
     
  9. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Well, like I said in another thread, a Sony rep told me it WILL accept a 1080p signal, it just converts it to 1080i and then the TV re-displays it at its native 1080p. New generations of the TV won't have this bass-ackwards approach.
     
  10. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    But sound quality would be identical to DTS-HD lossless and given the lack of Dolby TrueHD processing in early players, how is going with DTS on early releases a compromise?
     
  11. Shawn Perron

    Shawn Perron Supporting Actor

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    Plus DTS-HD means a guaranteed minimum of DTS sound for those of us without a receiver that can decode the new formats.
     
  12. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Exactly!
     
  13. Shawn Perron

    Shawn Perron Supporting Actor

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  14. Michael Osadciw

    Michael Osadciw Screenwriter

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    Real Name:
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    If you have a DTS 24/96 decoder, this extention file is probably in the bistream. I agree with David and Shawn; the DTS method seems to be the better solution at this point. It all makes sense on paper while there is less sense to Dolby's method in terms of backwards compatability (I think because of the forward compatability limitations of the AC-3 technology). Theirs seems more compromised, so I'm not sure why Peter (or others) would seem to prefer it at this point. As I've always said before: the true test is when it comes to market. Let's see how these audio formats do.

    Peter: the Sony rep is incorrect (like most of them are). Being tied into this industry for over 10 years I've found that the knowledge of most reps are questionable. Remember, the Rep's job is to SELL not to educate. Sometimes companies will have a product trainer who will go to stores to educate, although even in that case there have only been a few star performers. Even though it makes sense to think that a Rep should love and care about the product and know everything that is in the industry and what the affect is on their product that is representing - sadly that is not the case.

    So regarding this Sony's Rep response to you, the SXRD sets (50" and 60") that are on the market will only accept up to 1080i. I hooked up my Sencore VP401 video generator and output a 1080p signal and the television couldn't take it. Ditto for those Samsung 1080p sets.

    As an FYI if anyone is curious, the Sony displays all the lines of 1080x1920 while the Samsung does not. Due to the "wobbulation" of the 1080x960 mirrors and probably because of their diamond shape, there is a reduction in resolution for both 1080i and 720p. 480p passes ok.

    Mike
     
  15. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    Mike,

    great comments.

    BTW, do you have that 1080P sony set?
     
  16. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

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    Because MLP is tried & true. Plus the Dolby method allows for DD+ encoding at 640Kbps, enabling all legacy decoders to work with a robust downconverted bitstream.

    Dolby also allows for dynamic compression (handy at night) and other management technologies that DTS does not. It also allows for better efficiency so program providers are more likely to include it without having to compromise video bitrates.
     
  17. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    I KNEW the advent of HD wouldn't end the DTS/DD debate. [​IMG]
     
  18. DaViD Boulet

    DaViD Boulet Lead Actor

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    [​IMG]

    At least in this case being lossless we're not talking about sound-quality (subjective) but just various features and advantages of the two protocols in terms of backwards compatibility etc (more objective).

    [​IMG]
     
  19. RobertR

    RobertR Lead Actor

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    Wanna bet that it never will be talked about, David? [​IMG]
     
  20. Scott_D_S

    Scott_D_S Auditioning

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    Ok - now I am totally confused (as the newbie that I am) -

    so for my $4000 - should I get the Sony 60" that says it is 1080p but doesn't accept a 1080p signal - or should I go for the HP 58" that does accept the 1080 signal?

    Of course, this is all speculative, because the missus loves the look of the Sony TV.... :) But I'll see what I can do....
     

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