HDMI versus component video - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-16-2013, 08:17 AM - Thread Starter
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True or false: HD video conveyed from a high-quality source to an AVR and then to a high-quality display will have a noticeable image display quality difference depending on whether the cabling is HDMI or component (Pb/Pr/Y) analog video.

 

I understand that there's a subjective element -- noticeable to whom?  So maybe think of the question this way: in an A-B switching test, what proportion of the general population would notice an image quality difference?  Everyone? No one? Small minority? Big majority?

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post #2 of 7 Old 11-16-2013, 10:04 AM
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In reality it’s becoming a moot question as analogue HD has been confined to the history books by the content owners.

We have many customers with fantastic ‘non-HDMI’ HD capable systems which would blow most folk away!

The ‘general population’ seem to be more interested in how thin a TV is!

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post #3 of 7 Old 11-16-2013, 12:01 PM
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There will almost always be a noticeable difference to just about anyone in an uncalibrated system because the analog signal chain is different. That doesn't mean that HDMI or component is better, though. You can calibrate either. Technically, digital transmission has the advantage because it isn't subject to certain problems that analog transmission is subject to. But in most cases, either can deliver an excellent picture.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-16-2013, 07:34 PM
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Let's be clear: HDMI 720p and component video 720p are the same signal.

There is not going to be any visible difference if the rest of the gear in the chain is of similar and good quality and noise isn't being introduced into the analog chain.

There are obvious advantages to HDMI in that you can generally appreciate in a low-budget system, but for distributed video systems, you will experience a price spike for quality HDMI which far exceeds component video distribution systems.

The reality in reports I've read over the years is that you can run into differences that mostly seem to be localized in the source or the sink. That is, for component video, there are DACs which are in use, and they can do a great job, or a poor job, and when they do a really great job, when the digital only side (HDMI) is poorly implemented, then component video can outshine HDMI. But, when it is poorly implemented HDMI can look better. More often, from what I've read over the years it ends up being a wash between HDMI and component video with the same source.

As said, it's becoming a completely moot point and issue since HDMI is becoming ubiquitous.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-16-2013, 10:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AV_Integrated View Post

...when the digital only side (HDMI) is poorly implemented, then component video can outshine HDMI
Just to be clear, HDMI problems will not result in differences in things used to judge image quality like brightness, black levels, saturation, etc. They will manifest themselves as sparkles, obviously wrong strings of pixels, complete loss of picture, etc. If you are seeing a poor, but intact, image when using an HDMI input, it is a result of the process of converting the data delivered by HDMI to the final analog signal that ultimately drives the display.
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post #6 of 7 Old 11-17-2013, 02:13 PM
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I have one setup that has both HDMI from a DVR in the main viewing room and component from the master Bed room. The panel is in the kitchen/dinning room.
Viewing same program using inputs to switch back and forth I could not make up my mind what I like the most. The 2 DVR's have been replaced with a HR 44 and client, nothing ells changed, now I am going to say that I really can't tell one from the other. What does not work is something with content protection on PPV or some of the programing with HBO or Showtime. Only the Movies not the series they have. Then to make things just a little bit weirder I get a massage to replaced the HDMI cable with component cable on the component input. I have DirecTV and thats what they out put if there are both (HDMI/component) are used on the same DVR, client or receiver. I find that both types of cables viable, only I would never bother with component again because HDMI is just easier to work with and if you have 3D or a 5.1, HDMI is the only game in town. By the way I did not plan that from the start, it worked out that way, over about a 10 year period, and the panel is the third on at that location.
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-18-2013, 08:59 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brec View Post

True or false: HD video conveyed from a high-quality source to an AVR and then to a high-quality display will have a noticeable image display quality difference depending on whether the cabling is HDMI or component (Pb/Pr/Y) analog video.

I understand that there's a subjective element -- noticeable to whom?  So maybe think of the question this way: in an A-B switching test, what proportion of the general population would notice an image quality difference?  Everyone? No one? Small minority? Big majority?

It's not a true or false question the way you phrased it. Component video and HDMI for 720p and 1080i (and 1080p, if it were allowed) can result in the same picture quality, given the use of good quality cables (particularly on the component video side) with no electrical interference.

For a DirecTV or Dish or cable output, the result (again with the good quality cable and no interference clauses) should be the same. The only difference is that satellite/cable set top box is converting from digital to analog with component. While with HDMI, the TV converts from digital to analog, although there is still some conversion done in the set top box even with HDMI to produce an uncompressed bitstream from the MPEG2 or h.264 source material.

So, if the digital to analog converter in the set top box is as good as the one in the TV, then the output is the same.

For audio, it's roughly the same thing. Those 7.1-channel analog audio outputs in many Blu-Ray players are equivalent to the HDMI output. The digital to analog conversion in an OPPO BDP-105, for instance, is a higher quality than the D/As in the many receivers. Now for bass management many receivers will convert that analog signal back to digital using (usually) dual 192/24 A/D converters. That is done so bass management can be handled in the receiver. So, that adds an extra layer with the analog outputs. But, the audio is still just as good in many cases. And, again, with satellite/cable which uses lossy 5.1-channel output, the output is exactly the same. I send Dolby Digital and DTS throughout the house using RCA cables (one running 75 feet) without problems.

Just because it has been mandated and not because of any physical limitations, component video can't send 3D or 1080p/24. So, we're stuck with HDMI for those signals as we will be with UHDTV/4k. And, of course, an HDMI cable is much easier to deal with than 5 RCA cables for component video plus audio.

But, overall a well done component video system can provide you with the same picture quality as an HDMI system, assuming the conditions I've listed above.
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