Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Converting Component Video and Digital Audio to HDMI

Converting Component Video and Digital Audio to HDMI

OK, we hear some of you snickering and saying - "Convert Component Video and digital audio to HDMI? Why? Doesn't just about every HDTV have both nowadays?"
Well, yes, that may be true, but there are still some very good reasons why a lot of people still want to do this. All of the reasons are based around running a single HDMI cable to your display for audio and video, or as near to that ideal as is possible. So, if you can turn all of your sources into HDMI, you can use an HDMI Switcher to Select between your sources and run a single cable, or very few cables, to your display.

A) Wall mounted Plasma or LCD Display
Even if you run the cables through your wall, this can be a tricky bit of business. You have to get in-wall rated cables. You have to carefully route them through your wall without breaking them. You may need complicated and more expensive wall plates with multiple connectors for all of those cables. Basically, every added cable makes it that much harder and more expensive to hide your cables.
B) Projectors
This is almost self explanatory. You usually have to run some pretty long cables over to your projector from your A/V rack. Some people run them through ceilings, some through walls, some through raceways and some, well, they just find a way to get them there. The longer the cable the better it usually has to be. Better is more expensive, and in-wall rated and better, gets more expensive still. Have to run Plenum to be within code? Ouch!

C) Neat Freaks (or those with very high WAF levels)
All those ugly cables behind a nice piece of furniture can make even a normal person cringe. If you are a "Monk" like being, or have a significant other who keeps getting enthralled by Bose commercials, with that "no visible cables" look, well, if you can keep things to a sane level, you may be able to keep a happy household. You'll still have to think of something for those speaker cables, but we'll tell you your way around that another time.

What you need:

Component Video and Digital Audio to HDMI

If you need a model with analog stereo audio here's the one you need:
Convert Component Video and analog Audio to HDMI

Need to convert two Component Video sources with audio as well as switch two additional HDMI sources?

Want to convert Component Video and Composite or S-Video as well as switch two HDMI sources, outputting everything to HDMI?

Have a Computer you want to connect through HDMI? If you need DVI and audio there are ways to do that as well.
Convert DVI and Digital Audio to HDMI
Audio Authority Model 1311

Need an HDMI Switcher?
HDMI Switchers

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

High-Def Digest -> High-Def FAQ: Is HDMI 1.3 Really Necessary?

Great new article by Joshua Zyber on High-Def Digest
High-Def FAQ: Is HDMI 1.3 Really Necessary?
Basically, a nice article about real world HDMI 1.3 pros/cons of Deep Color, Lip Sync and HD Lossless Audio format capabilities.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Is the format war over? Do I need a new Receiver? What do I need to enjoy these new high definition audio formats?

Another question this week. Sort of one of ours...

Q) Is the format war over? Do I need a new Receiver? What do I need to enjoy these new high definition audio formats?

A) Well, despite the recent announcements of Sony gains in the HD Disk format war, there is still no clear winner. Now about the receiver and all that...

OK, lets see here, do I need a HDMI receiver to decode Tru HD or do I need the player to do it and just send it PCM? What was that thingy about some receivers passing Video or audio, or one or the other but not that other thing? Doesn't everything have to be HDMI 1.3a or I can't get all of that really cool stuff in HDMI 1.3a no matter what I do? What if I have a great sounding Receiver or Preamp/Processor that sounds great but doesn't have HDMI? Problems, problems, and to top it off HDMI incompatibility issues* are as confusing as ever. What do I have to do for everything to just work, without me having to get an EE degree?
Right now, if you are considering one of the new HD DVD players or Blu Ray players, and have been looking into the whole audio mess of it all, you have probably reached a point where you just want to throw up your hands and give up. No wonder sales are so slow for the new HD players - not only do they go ahead and have an ill-conceived format war, but the complications of connecting them and getting all that the new formats can deliver in audio and video is so complicated that the most dedicated of A/V nerds shivers at the thought of helping a friend get it working in any demonstrable way.
Sure, you could go out and preorder one of the new Denons (or other brands coming soon) to decode everything you think you could want, but don't think for a minute that there might not be a "software" update possibility in your future to enable something you feel you "need", or to fix a problem. This is tricky with receivers. You usually have to send it into the shop for this.

Another solution
If you have a Receiver or Preamp/Processor with 5.1 multichannel analog inputs for surround sound, or maybe 7.1 inputs, you may want to consider this...
Here's the premise: You must use DVD/Blu Ray/HD DVD players with multichannel outputs to do all the decoding and digital to analog conversions. You can use HDMI, Component Video or whatever for video output to the display. If you have only one player, connect it with a multichannel cable and set the receiver to "External input" and you are done. If you have several players with these multichannel outputs you should think about a multichannel switcher. Connect the Audio/Video Source components to the switcher with some multichannel analog audio cables, connect the multichannel outputs of the switcher to the input on the receiver, and you are done. No worrying about the receiver supporting Tru HD or DTS HD, no worries about the receiver passing or not passing anything, and no HDMI issues. If the player can do the right thing, your receiver will not be a problem at all.
If you can't stand to deal with all of this nonsense anymore, go analog, baby. It just works.

Zektor 5.1 multichannel switcher (no remote but with IR Learning)

Zektor Passive 4x1, 200MHz, Multichannel switcher, RS-232, IR-Jack, Includes Remote

Zektor 7.1 channel switcher with HDMI, digital coax audio and Optical Toslink MAS7.1

5.1, 6.1, 7.1 Multichannel Cables from RamElectronics.Net

* Hey, HDMI is going to be great. It can work beautifully if you are careful with your product selections. Then again, it can, get pretty tricky, with all of the constant adding of new features, it gets better, but with less "compatibility". The used market is going to get ugly.