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HDTV: DVI-I vs Component Input for LCD Displays

 
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Anyone here an expert on HDTV and LCD monitors?

I am not one, nor do I have any advanced TV set up at home yet.

Not only that, but the 21" SONY TV that I have doesn't even have COMPONENT inputs where I could plug in my Sony DVD player and watch DVDs the way they were intended, in (essentially), EDTV (Enhanced Definition TV). I connect it to my TV via S-Video. Big deal.

Which means that I have been watching the ANALOG, degraded version of every DVD that I play.

This must stop!

Enter higher resolution TV...

My interest began when I became bored with what I said above combined with the small screen area that 16:9 movies occupy when letter boxed in my 4:3 so-called "normal" TV.

Again, this must stop!

I want to buy state of the art equipment now so that I can keep it "forever".

I am looking for a 26" screen and I have opted for an LCD (AQUOS) HDTV monitor from Sharp.

I might as well go for HDTV and wait for everyone else to convert.

My cable company (Adelphia) already is providing ABC and NBC HDTV shows to my area. Oh yes, and the DISCOVER channel and something else.

Before anyone asks, I will not bother with installing antennas. That would be like harking back to 40 years ago. That's why I have CABLE TV. Eventually they will have all the network HD programming. This is just the beginning.

OK so my technical question is that since my HDTV monitor will be an LCD (whose "native language" is binary), should I make sure that the set top box from Adelphia has working DVI-I output? HDMI *is* too much to ask at this time (although the monitor that I hope to buy HAS such input)?

This is opposed to COMPONENT input for HDTV. COMPONENT is an analog signal and I think I could avoid it by using straight DVI-I.
 
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HDMI/DVI is generally preferable to component since, as you pointed out, it is a completely digital signal. The chances are that you will notice a better picture through HDMI or DVI. But if your TV only has one HDMI connector, things get a little more muddled.

If you watch a lot of DVDs, then you may want to look into one of the newer upconverting DVD players to go with your new HDTV. Normal NTSC is 480 lines interlaced (480i), and a progressive scan DVD player will output 480 lines progressive (480p). HDTV is normally broadcast at either 720p or 1080i. Aside from standard 480i and 480p, an upconverting DVD player can also output 720p or 1080i. It's not actually hi-def since there are only so many bits on the DVD for the TVs to work with, but it will generally give you a better picture than 480p or 480i. The thing is though that most of these DVD players will only output the 720p or 1080i over HDCP compliant HDMI.

So if your television only has one HDMI input, short of buying a dual-port switch, the question becomes whether to use it for your Cable/SAT, or for DVD. Luckily if you decided to put your cable through component, your picture will still be pretty damn good. You may even have difficulty telling the difference between it going through component or going through DVI/HDMI. In such an instance you would probably put your DVD through HDMI and your cable through component.

I recently boutght myself a Sony KDF-55XS955 55" rear projection LCD which happens to have two HDMI ports. Right now I'm using one of them with a Panasonic DVD-S97S upconverting player, which despite occasional macroblocking I'm pretty happy with.
 
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wow... I'm eagerly waiting for this topic.. (how come never thaught about posting in MD.. May be I thaught its meaningfull )

Alright.. I baught Sharp 32" AQUOS HDTV monitor (Not HDTV Ready).
I connected my old sony DVD player with S-Video.. really disappointed with the picture quality.. went back to forums.. read reviews.. user experiences.. found out that I need a upconvert DVD Player.. went and baught LG DVD player which also comes with HD receiver. I'm yet to connect the antenna, but hooked up the DVD Player and wow.. I'm surprised with the picture quality and sound clarity.. I just connected with component output.. I also baught $100 DVI cable, but I did not really see any difference in the picture quality.. so returned the cable.. may I will get a cheaper cable later..
And found out that, when you use component cable, there is actually Digital-analog-Digital conversion happens and most of the time you won't lose much..

Just thaught of sharing my experience...
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Saran Vel:
I also baught $100 DVI cable, but I did not really see any difference in the picture quality.. so returned the cable.. may I will get a cheaper cable later..
And found out that, when you use component cable, there is actually Digital-analog-Digital conversion happens and most of the time you won't lose much..



Due to the MPAA and accomplices overzealous destruction of fair use, they have convinced the electronic manufacturers to only provide the 720p and 1080i over HDCP compliant HDMI or DVI. This closes what they refer to as the "analog hole". Since they can't as easily place copy controls over an analog signal, their solution was to coerce the manufacturers into only providing the high quality signals over the digital path. You can still probably find a couple (probably discontinued) upconverting DVD players that haven't closed the analog hole, but they will be getting harder and harder to find. So basically, in order to achieve the benefits of your upconverting DVD player you will have to go over HDCP compliant HDMI or DVI. The most you'll be able to get out of component is 480i and 480p.
 
Saran Vel
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:


The most you'll be able to get out of component is 480i and 480p.



Hmm... I doubt it though.. for some DVDs(Mostly indian movies), I saw my DVD player sending 720p, I say this because, my TV displays that it receives 720p.

 
Tony Alicea
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Thanks Jason and Saran...

If I buy the AQUOS that I have in mind, it has one HDMI and one DVI-I inputs. Plus two HD Component. Plus composite...

I did not know about up-converting DVD players, hmm...

Although if I connect my (non-up converting) DVD player via component inputs to the new HDTV monitor, I expect to see a big difference since right now I am just seeing the analog downgraded image of the DVD, via S-Video on a regular TV.

I'll check on the up-converting DVD players.

Meanwhile, if the DVI-I cable is that expensive, I'll opt for Component inputs. The monitor will have two of those. So I could connect the HD component output of the HD Cable box (Scientific Atlanta Explorer 3250HD I was told) to the monitor, and the DVD player to the other component input. That still leaves the HDMI and DVI-I open for future use like an up-converting DVD player.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Tony Alicea:
Meanwhile, if the DVI-I cable is that expensive, I'll opt for Component inputs.



Stay away from the Monster HDMI or DVI cables that you'll find in most stores. They are *way* too overpriced and you're not really getting much for all that money. Instead, purchase your cables on the Internet. I've heard people on AVS Forum say that these guys are pretty good, though you could probably find something decent for even cheaper. I would search around AVS Forum and see what you can dig up as far as recommendations for decent cheap cables.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Saran Vel:


Hmm... I doubt it though.. for some DVDs(Mostly indian movies), I saw my DVD player sending 720p, I say this because, my TV displays that it receives 720p.



If you've got an upconverting DVD player that hasn't closed the so-called "analog hole" yet, that's great. I'm just saying that they are getting harder and harder to find, at least in the US. It's possible that yours is not the latest model the manufacturer offers and I wouldn't be surprised if it has DVI as opposed to HDMI (HDMI has pretty much replaced DVI).

Off the top of my head, the more popular upconverting players in the US are made by Panasonic, Sony, Samsung, Zenith, and Denon. I'm not sure if LG has one yet, and there are probably some other off brands such as Momitsu. AFAIK, most of these guys (Momitsu may be an exception) are now only sending 720p and 1080i over HDMI in their latest upconverting models. I know for a fact that the Panasonic and Sony upconverters do this, and I seem to remember hearing that the latest Denon also does this (or will do this).
 
Saran Vel
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Originally posted by Tony Alicea:
[QB]
If I buy the AQUOS that I have in mind, it has one HDMI and one DVI-I inputs. Plus two HD Component. Plus composite...



My AQUOS has only one component input(Blue, Green, Yellow cords), 1 DVI and 1 HDMI. Also some AQUOS models (like mine)comes with separate AV box, which I found it useful.

Also, I found one strange thing in these Sharp models. When you use DVI input, for sound they have a provision for only 3.5mm stereo input (the one you use for walkman), which I'm not sure how good the sound quality will be. I called sharp support, and it looks like they are going with an assumption that people who buy these expensive TVs will be having their own sound system. Thts kind of interesting to know.

Other than that, my LG upconverting DVD works fine and I guess this is kind of unique product, which I could not find in any place other than Circuit City.

Thanks Jason for the cable links, and yes Monster cables are not really worth for the money you pay. You would not find any difference by using cheaper cables until you have a 'microscopic' eyes..
 
Saran Vel
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Originally posted by Jason Menard:


I wouldn't be surprised if it has DVI as opposed to HDMI (HDMI has pretty much replaced DVI).



Yes you are right. It has only DVI output. But I did not find any good DVD player with HDMI output though. The reviews of existing DVD players(Including sony) is not that encouraging. Guess, HDMI is yet to get matured.
 
Tony Alicea
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Hi Jason: KDF-55XS955

What a handsome unit!

Maybe you can answer one of my few remaining questions about the whole HDTV/Cable TV since your unit has CableCard capability.

I understand that, if your cable TV company supports it, like mine does, you can do away with the HD STB (set top box) of the company.

My question is, how do I connect my VCR (with which I will not do without) if I opt for the CableCard connection to the cable outlet (assuming I get an HDTV with a tuner as opposed to a HDTV monitor only)?

With a monitor and their STB, it's straightforward since they provide composite outs which I would use to connect the VCR inputs. And the monitor that I am thinking about has composite inputs which I would connect to the VCR out.

But if using a CableCard connection, I have no idea how the VCR could be connected so that is sees all the channels and records on its own a different channel from what I am viewing. In old, analog definition of course.

Do you know?
 
Tony Alicea
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Saran:

Only ONE component input? Are you sure? Which is your model from below? Do you have an AQUOS widescreen LCD HDTV monitor?

LC-32GA5U Monitor: http://www.sharpusa.com/products/ModelLanding/0,1058,1416,00.html

LC-32G4U Monitor: http://www.sharpusa.com/products/ModelLanding/0,1058,1318,00.html
 
Tony Alicea
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Originally posted by Saran Vel:


When you use DVI input, for sound they have a provision for only 3.5mm stereo input (the one you use for walkman), which I'm not sure how good the sound quality will be.



As long as it's two channels stereo it doesn't matter the size of the plug.

DVI-I is only video. HDMI has that digital video plus the audio.
 
Saran Vel
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I got..
LC-32G4U Monitor: http://www.sharpusa.com/products/ModelLanding/0,1058,1318,00.html

and sorry.. you are right.. there is 2 componrnt inputs actually.. my bad.
 
Saran Vel
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Originally posted by Tony Alicea:
[QB]

As long as it's two channels stereo it doesn't matter the size of the plug.

[QB]



happy to know this.. thanks Tony..
 
Jason Menard
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TA: Hi Jason: KDF-55XS955 What a handsome unit!

Thanks! I love it. I still can't get over football in Hi-Def!

I understand that, if your cable TV company supports it, like mine does, you can do away with the HD STB (set top box) of the company.

This is true to an extent. Currently manufactured CableCards are unidirectional, as opposed to bidirectional like your typical digital cable stb. What this means is that you can't use any interactive features through CableCard that might otherwise be available through a digital stb.

My question is, how do I connect my VCR (with which I will not do without) if I opt for the CableCard connection to the cable outlet (assuming I get an HDTV with a tuner as opposed to a HDTV monitor only)?

Near as I can tell from reading my TV's user manual, it doesn't look like you can hook up to a VCR with CableCard. You would probably have to split your cable, with one IN to the CableCard and the other to the VCR.

With a monitor and their STB, it's straightforward since they provide composite outs which I would use to connect the VCR inputs.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but you still wouldn't be able to record one scrambled station while watching another, correct? I mean you still really only have one tuner capable of descrambling a signal, which is the STB.

But if using a CableCard connection, I have no idea how the VCR could be connected so that is sees all the channels and records on its own a different channel from what I am viewing.

Again, while there's not a problem with basic non-scrambled stations (since you can just split your cable into two feeds, one for the CableCard and one for the VCR), you would still have the same problem with scrambled stations as you would a STB. You would only be able to record or watch one scrambled station at a time.

Tivo has plans for a solution to this however. I hear that they are planning a CableCard Tivo with dual tuners. This should be similar to the DirecTV boxes that have the dual tuner Tivo capability. I've actually got the latter and can't live without it. Unfortunately I don't have the Hi-Def version. I'm waiting as DirecTV is going to be rolling out a new compression scheme when they start broadcasting local stations in HDTV, which would require me to get a new DirecTV box anyway. I broke down and got COMCAST limited basic just so I can get the broadcast stations in Hi-Def, so now I have both DirecTV and COMCAST, although I look forward to dumping the cable TV again some time in the future.
 
Tony Alicea
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I'm almost sold on the Sharp AQUOS LC-26GA4U.

The only question that I have is: Does the DVI-I input support HDCP? That's important for me since I downloaded the manual of the cable box that I will get from the cable company (Adelphia) when I get their HD cable TV service.

The box cannot be connected to the TV via its DVI-I output if the DVI-I input on the TV does not support HDCP.

I sent an email to Sharp to the address that they give for these type of questions and the guy could not answer it. He told me to call a phone number. I did and the recording said they were too busy at the time; that I should look at their website. Well, their website does not say one thing versus the other and that's why I emailed them in the 1st place.

The quality of the set keeps me interested though...
 
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This may sound weird and stone age talk, but I don't have a Home Theater system, not even a CD player. I have a portable CD player (other than the one in the computers), and a DVD player which is connected to the (seven year old) TV and it plays the CDs. Just wanted to share....

- m
 
Tony Alicea
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Well, it arrived recently! My Panasonic PLASMA EDTV TH-37PD25U/P. 37" diagonal (16x9 aspect ratio).

As it is a plasma display, it is a digital, fixed-pixel display like the competing (but inferior IMHO, when it comes to actual "better-resolution" TV) technology of LCD.

It has one HDMI input (no DVI; who cares? That's for PCs); Two high bandwidth Component inputs plus other inputs that will remain unused.

I was going to skip the part about the Sears guys (actually only one of them; the "lead" one) not knowing much about these sets. It must have been the first Panny 37 or 42" that he delivered.

You see, they will assemble the stand which is the same exact model for the 42" as it is for the 37". The model number of this stand is the same; I checked it on-line before it arrived.

The guy erroneously assembled the stand for the 42" display and solemnly proclaimed "they included the wrong stand in the carton". It didn't matter that I said three times that the same model stand was used for both the 37" and 42" models; he completely ignored me.

Then the other guy (maybe he did hear me) noticed that the stand could be assembled in a different way by screwing the screws in other holes such that it would fit correctly the TV. Luckily the "lead" guy decided to follow the advice and it worked. Of course it worked.

Before that, this same guy told me that the TV stand that I had, would not hold the display because it (the display) was, well, "wide and big". I informed him that what mattered was that the TV that I had on it weighed about the same even though it was smaller (21" Sony CRT TV), and that the stand for the plasma display more than enough fit on top of this stand. Assuming that the weight is evenly distributed across the flat panel display (!!), then everything should be OK, right? I had to insist that he install it on said stand. The "other" guy also agreed for the same reasons. Laws of physics, you know...

Ferrite core for the coax cable (included with the Panny)... "What is that!?" said he (at which point I was assured that I would have to take care of these details going forward).

They only plug the AC in, plug in the cable feed and turn the display on. If an image, any image comes out, then they're done. I guess that's one of the reasons most of us educate ourselves well in these matters before spending this much ca$h.

Well, I am very satisfied with my new Panny plasma 37". I was prepared to see analog cable for what it really is, for the first time: low resolution, Ha ha! Crap.

Of course I had digital cable (with some HD stations) installed along with the Scientific Atlanta HD-DVR model 8300HD. That was planned even before I bough the set. In fact, I found out from Adelphia their HD cable lineup before I decided to get a digital display, even if my original motivation was to watch DVDs in wide aspect ratio and at their full resolution (ED).

Now I will get the "extra" of watching most of my favorite prime time TV shows in ED! (Which really looks like HD in these units when you don't watch them 12" from the screen, ha ha!).

The DVD experience is theater-like. And at the beginning I only had cheap $10, six feet component video cables (Phillips) from Wal-Mart until the "real" one (plus an HDMI cable for the HD-DVR) arrived from bettercables.com.

My set had ZERO hours on it when it arrived, BTW, and I religiously have followed the BREAK-IN instructions from Panasonic; I want this set to last me as long as possible.

I can say thet the set really looks great without extensive calibration.

later...
 
Tony Alicea
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This is how I began my search a few months ago...

I decided to upgrade from my Sony Trinitron-tech 21" 4:3 aspect ratio CRT which looks great for std def (the blacks and the colors are great), when I rented/bought one too many DVDs and got tired of the letterbox black stripes and accompanying wasted screen real estate. Sometimes I even had to move the chair significantly closer to the TV, especially for 2.35:1 aspect ratio (or greater) movie DVDs.

I said to myself "I have to get a wide screen TV so that I can see more of these movies without having to sit closer to the TV just to make up for the smaller size that letter boxing causes..."

I also decided early on that any new TV that I might buy would have to be both significantly bigger than what I had at the moment but not correspondingly heavier. That meant LCD or PLASMA, not that I knew the detailed differences between them. For one thing, I had never seen either up close for examination.

I decided it had to be (1) 16:9 aspect ratio (duh!), (2) bigger and (3) light (as in weight).

Since the first thing to consider is SIZE, I started by requiring that I should NOT get a smaller size screen that I had at the moment and for many years, a 20-1" diag Sony Wega CRT.

The Pythagoras Theorem comes to the rescue: I wanted (at the start) to get a similar 16:9 screen that would have at least THE SAME HEIGHT as the one that I had, with the CORRESPONDING width that a ratio of 16:9 dictates.

Then I started looking first at LCDs if only because I am a programmer and I knew LCDs were LIGHT in weight.

And as such I was driven immediately into the AQUOS world of Sharp TVs...

Only to be seduced by their numbers... (HD; 720p etc.)

The numbers were high (1366x768?) as their price was/is. The inputs, very good (HDMI plus DVI) and 2 Components inps...

BUT my discipline told me to do yet more research...

Anyway, one day I was at Circuit City (like for the 4th time after seeing only LCDs and ignoring everything else) until I came across a 37" display (the 32" AQUOS LCD that I had my eye upon was more expensive and didn't look quite as good...) that just looked GREAT and was at a lower price ($2K) than the 32" AQUOS ($2.5K)

When I asked the salesman why that was the case, he said "oh, this is NOT an HD set; it is only an ED set".

Which motivated me to continue reading user opinions, esp. from the AVSCIENCES forum after which I concluded (as my experience in watching the Panny at CC proved) that if I watched the Panny 37" EDTV from 8-9 feet, I would not tell the difference from a "real" HDTV even as the signal entering the Panny is an HDTV signal.

I am happy to say that I can tell the difference from DVD playback (480p) and 1080i HDTV from the special HD channels that I recveive via cable (HDNet, INHD1, INHD2 and Discovery Theater HD).

I have also noticed that so-called HDTV signals from the TV nets (NBC, Fox and others - shows like 24, Law and Order, Crossing Jordan) seem to be in DVD resolution (480p) when compared to the REAL HDTV stations that I mentioned. The latter look better; more, well, defined.
[ December 30, 2005: Message edited by: Tony Alicea ]
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