SDI dvd and video processors still useful? Is SDI to HDMI a cost effective option? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 09-07-2010, 06:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I have a DVDO VP50 with SDI and an SDI modded Panasonic CP72 dvd player which to my knowledge gives one of the best outputs for an SD DVD video signal. While the Panasonic CP72 isn't a very high end player, it does contain one of Panasonic's best MPEG decoders. The setup will be used with a Mitsubishi HC7000 lcd projector. The projector has a very good Reon VX with HQV video processor, so differences in processing aside, I am duplicating de-interlacing function with this setup. I have inquired about the differences between Reon and DVDO ABT video processors before, but here I am curious about SD DVD and SDI and whether I can get similar quality video using another source player, or, if I can connect the SDI dvd player to the projectors HDMI input.

1) Is it possible for me to keep the SDI dvd player and convert/connect it's SDI output to an HDMI input on the projector and do so at a reasonable cost? Can I maintain high quality of the video signal? I've started to research SDI to HDMI converters and while some are expensive, others can be had for about 1/2 to 1/3 the cost of the DVDO VP50. I have read some reviews and they seem positive. Another concern could be the desire for HD-SDI from a modded Blu-Ray player. I think my DVDO VP50 only has SD-SDI, so I'd need the VP 50 Pro for that, so again, instead, I could use an HD-SDI to HDMI converter in that situation, depending on the quality. It seems that many SD to HDMI accept HD-SDI too. Has anybody here actually connected their SDI dvd player or SDI Blu-Ray player to their projector using an SDI to HDMI converter? How did you find it?

2) Are there any other dvd, hd-dvd or Blu-Ray players which would provide a picture as good or almost as good as this SDI setup using 480i/1080i or 720/1080p? I've seen discussions about various dvd, HD-dvd and Blu-Ray players and their 480i output over HDMI, but they were older threads. I'll search again, but I'll ask here too, is there anything that can match or come very close to an SDI dvd player output? Or is there a Blu-Ray player out now that does such good de-interlacing that SDI isn't as important?

3) Since I have a good Reon VP in the projector, I could 'downgrade' my DVDO VP50 to a VP30 and maintain the SDI to HDMI. Or, is it even possible to use an iscan HD/HD+ and retain good 480i output into the projector? Of course, this introduces the SDI to DVI to HDMI situation. Still, if all I'm doing is bringing SDI to an HDMI input...it could work. Quality?

My main concerns are the duplication of technology. The Reon in the projector and the ABT VP. It's a duplication of equipment, costs and processing/function. I may keep the DVDO until I try it with the projector, so I'm not asking about differences in processing. In addition to the the Mitsubishi HC7000 and HC6800, the JVC projectors also have good video processing, so perhaps JVC RS projector owners are interested in the same thing.

As time goes on, I'm sure it's going to be less and less of an issue for most people. Blu-Ray media is increasing and dvd may one day not hold as much market share. One of the main reasons for trying to get the most out of the dvd format is for un-usual releases and foreign dvd's. I have a region-free SDI dvd player, so this makes it useful and desirable to keep.
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post #2 of 9 Old 09-09-2010, 11:47 AM
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SDI -> HDMI is analog -> digital. The converter box, if it exists, would probably cost more than a good BD player, e.g. OPPO BDP-83. People in the past have claimed SDI looked a tad better than HDMI but never produced any data or test patterns to substantiate claims.

The ABT chip in the OPPO is excellent. You may not get some of the extra features that a VP50 or Reon can do, but it's SD deinterlacer is equal to any other. BD movies are simple: Send the 1080p/24 frame to a display and duplicate it X times depending on the refresh rate. No special video processing needed. If you have to use 1080p60, output the ABT and others do the 3:2 job just fine.

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post #3 of 9 Old 09-09-2010, 12:02 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmmm...I was under the impression that SDI = Serial DIGITAL Interface. I have seen some SDI to HDMI converters at what looks like affordable prices. I was wondering if anybody has given one a try.

The Oppo could make sense. Use an Oppo for things that work better with ABT vs Reon. I would lose the DVDO's ability to work with other sources though. Again, I'll probably want to try out my DVDO first before letting it go. I'm just being a bit cheap and think duplicating the processing is sort of wasteful.
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post #4 of 9 Old 09-10-2010, 05:29 AM
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SDI uses an analog RF signal to represent digital data. HDMI uses "digital" signal to represent digital data. Yes, all digital transports use analog as the very basis for sending digital streams but the physical transmission is spec'd and implemented so that the 1's and 0's are intact. The basis for HDMI transmission uses the same underlying principles that allow you to read and write data to a disk drive (SATA or SAS), talk to USB devices, and ethernet for networking, etc. These same things aren't implemented using coax (many years ago a type of coax was used for 10mb ethernet). So you'd need something to convert the coax analog RF signal to the TMDS (transition minimized differential signaling) that HDMI needs. The simplest way would probably do A->D and then feed a HDMI chip. When I say simple, I mean conceptually. Some external scalers can take SDI in and use HDMI out - there's your converter.

External scalers are much more versatile than and dedicated player. For SD DVD there's no reason why you can't keep a SDI machine going to a scaler. For BDs, there's really no need for a scaler. 1920x1080 displays are common place and 99.99% of movie BDs are 1080p24. Video BDs can be 1080i but that's not a problem for ABT or other decent chips used in BD players to convert to 1080p60 or even 1080p24.

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post #5 of 9 Old 09-12-2010, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Fair enough. Ok, that clears a few things up. I was aware that the SDI signal is not the same as the signal carried by an HDMI cable, hence my mention of looking for an SDI > HDMI "converter" and not an adapter cable, which would accomplish nothing.

It all leads back to two things:

1) trying it out and comparing the two. There may be a difference between the Reon in the HC7000 and the ABT in the DVDO VP50 and in fact many people say there is. There are things that each do a little better than the other. I just wonder if there is enough difference that I should keep the DVDO VP50. It is a source switch and allows for great de-interlacing of so much more than just DVD, and has other useful features. In fact, it supposedly does an amazing job with 1080i HDTV? I can't recall what each chip does better than the other, but again, I'll have to decide whether I test and compare them myself, hopefully asking for people to give me examples of material that I can use to look for the differences.

2) The other point is that, even if I find the Reon in pj is good enough for me in itself, I would want to feed it an SDI signal from a dvd player. The trouble will be finding an SDI > HDMI converter that is good enough to preserve the benefits of SDI into the projector (rather than using component or HDMI from a dvd player) and whether I can obtain one of these for a reasonable enough cost to justify selling the SDI equipped VP50. If I only "save" $300 or $400, it's hardly worth it to lose the switching, de-interlacing of other sources and the other features. Like I mentioned earlier, the least expensive SDI to HDMI converter may in fact by a used VP30 or even an iScan HD or HD+. Can you recall if there are issues with DVI to HDMI?

Guess I'll have to price the VP50 with an SDI to see what mine is worth, and keep my eye's out for an SDI > HDMI converter. I guess in the end, I could be comparing an HDMI dvd player with faroudja (testing both 480i and 480p output) the component output of a Panasonic DVD player, my Sony Blu-Ray S350 for dvd's outputting HDMI and lastly the SDI dvd player into the HDMI of the projector using a converter. Who knows, maybe I will find that the VP50 has it's benefits, but sell it anyways and get a VP50 Pro or other future DVDO model later when I can afford it.

Here are a couple of examples of SDI > HDMI converters I could try:

AJA
http://www.aja.com/products/converte...ers-hd-hi5.php

BLACK MAGIC (scroll down to SDI to HDMI)
http://www.blackmagic-design.com/pro...iniconverters/

I am hoping that 480i over HDMI without HDCP should be ok into the Mits HC7000's HDMI input. Perhaps I'll look into that.
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post #6 of 9 Old 09-13-2010, 05:54 AM
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Quote:


I am hoping that 480i over HDMI without HDCP should be ok into the Mits HC7000's HDMI input. Perhaps I'll look into that.

I'm not aware of any HDMI implementations that don't do HDCP. However, I've never had to search out something with HDMI output that didn't enforce HDCP. If any player is capable of doing it, it will most likely be like DVI implementations - if source has Macrovision (or whatever it was called) protection, HDCP is enabled. Most SD movie DVDs have Macrovision protection. This is the major reason why SDI is nice.

For $500 I'd just get a BDP-83. For any non-disc sources you can use a scaler, but you're into diminishing returns. Most displays can handel 1080i just fine. The big problem with broadcast programming is bit-starvation. No scaler can fix that. Right now the best HD is from BDs (I'm ignoring that crap that some companies insist on doing to the video content).

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post #7 of 9 Old 09-19-2010, 08:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, the signal from my dvd player ala SDI should have no macro-vision, and even that has been disabled in the player, although I believe it would only affect the video outputs (comp/S-vid/component).

I recall hearing that the VP50 was good with 1080i de-interlacing, but I don't know if it's much of an issue for me. The Oppo is a good option too, can it be made region free? I may just get everything set up and test and compare away, hopefully getting some suggestions from people as to what material to use to look for differences.

One thing I also wonder about is the difference between the VP50 and the Duo with it's CMS. I wonder if it would be nicer to have the CMS rather than the SDi input of the VP50. In fact, if I wanted to, I suppose I could get an SDI to HDMI adapter and use the SDi dvd player with the DVDO Duo and have a CMS. Just an aside because all the reviews I have read about the projector I am planning to get, the Mits HC7000, say that despite the lack of a proper CMS, it can be calibrated well enough that the picture looks nearly as good as if you had a full CMS.

I guess I'll be doing plenty of testing and comparing in the end. If I can do without the SDI dvd player and DVDO VP50 for now, I may be better off. Perhaps if I need something later, to fullfill the desire to upgrade, or for use with another projector or other display, then I'll re-visit the processors and see what is out at the time.

BTW - I also have a couple of other Panasonic CP72's here. One I bought for a song, and it's not modded, and the other has a region free mod that I was able to get working. How does the older faroudja de-interlacing compare to today's stuff? I figure with the good scaling of the Reon in the HC7000 it may be worth a try to see how the component input works from these CP72's. My other CP72 is SDI only.
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post #8 of 9 Old 09-25-2010, 04:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper View Post

SDI uses an analog RF signal to represent digital data. HDMI uses "digital" signal to represent digital data. Yes, all digital transports use analog as the very basis for sending digital streams but the physical transmission is spec'd and implemented so that the 1's and 0's are intact. The basis for HDMI transmission uses the same underlying principles that allow you to read and write data to a disk drive (SATA or SAS), talk to USB devices, and ethernet for networking, etc. These same things aren't implemented using coax (many years ago a type of coax was used for 10mb ethernet). So you'd need something to convert the coax analog RF signal to the TMDS (transition minimized differential signaling) that HDMI needs. The simplest way would probably do A->D and then feed a HDMI chip. When I say simple, I mean conceptually. Some external scalers can take SDI in and use HDMI out - there's your converter.

larry


Sorry but this is not quite accurate.

SDI is most certainly a digital stream. Yes electrically it is much like RF but so is TMDS and any high frequency electrical signal. Converting SDI to HDMI or the reverse is actually quite simple minus the HDCP issues. There are many converters available for under $500. Convering SDI to HDMI wil not result in any data loss.

www.blackmagic-design.com
www.aja.com/products/converters/
www.miranda.com

SDI/HDSDI is a NRZ encoded bit stream. So is HDMI. HDMI/DVI is actually more of a parallel interface in that it carries four parallel streams, RGB and CLOCK. HDSDI/SDI is self clocking. This is accomplished by a scrambling algorithm that makes the code DC free and thus the clock can be recovered by a somewhat loose PLL. Note this scramling has nothing to do with copy protection. It mixes up long strings of ones and zeros to aid in clock recovery. This is why HDSDI/SDI can go over 1000 feet where as HDMI is limited to 50 feet. Note that current broadcast SMPTE 424/425 HDSDI inplementations run at 3gbs and can still go 500 feet on coax. The skewing of the three data streams against each other and the clock is the primary cause that imposes the HDMI distance limit. Note too that AES audio is implemented on both COAX and twisted pair. Again the data stream is the same. Same for SPDIF on plastic fiber or RAC jack. It's the same exact data stream - in fact I modify all my fiber only SPDIF outputs for coax. All it takes is a simple buffer amplifier tapped off the TOSLINK transmitter input.

Also coax Ethernet is easily converted to 10baseT. The data stream is the same for both. They are both bit streams. UTP cable is widely used because it's cheap and simple to terminate. But COAX is and always will be superior to TP cable for high speed data transmission. It's due to the precision impedance control that coax offers. TP cable can not cost effectivily achieve that. Also consider that fiber cable is essentially coax in that it's a single stream modulating light. If one claims coax is an analog transmission, then so is fiber optics.

www.extron.com has some good white papers on SDI and HDMI plysical data streams.

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post #9 of 9 Old 09-30-2010, 07:21 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

Sorry but this is not quite accurate.

SDI is most certainly a digital stream. Yes electrically it is much like RF but so is TMDS and any high frequency electrical signal. Converting SDI to HDMI or the reverse is actually quite simple minus the HDCP issues. There are many converters available for under $500. Convering SDI to HDMI wil not result in any data loss.

www.blackmagic-design.com
www.aja.com/products/converters/
www.miranda.com

SDI/HDSDI is a NRZ encoded bit stream. So is HDMI. HDMI/DVI is actually more of a parallel interface in that it carries four parallel streams, RGB and CLOCK. HDSDI/SDI is self clocking. This is accomplished by a scrambling algorithm that makes the code DC free and thus the clock can be recovered by a somewhat loose PLL. Note this scramling has nothing to do with copy protection. It mixes up long strings of ones and zeros to aid in clock recovery. This is why HDSDI/SDI can go over 1000 feet where as HDMI is limited to 50 feet. Note that current broadcast SMPTE 424/425 HDSDI inplementations run at 3gbs and can still go 500 feet on coax. The skewing of the three data streams against each other and the clock is the primary cause that imposes the HDMI distance limit. Note too that AES audio is implemented on both COAX and twisted pair. Again the data stream is the same. Same for SPDIF on plastic fiber or RAC jack. It's the same exact data stream - in fact I modify all my fiber only SPDIF outputs for coax. All it takes is a simple buffer amplifier tapped off the TOSLINK transmitter input.

Also coax Ethernet is easily converted to 10baseT. The data stream is the same for both. They are both bit streams. UTP cable is widely used because it's cheap and simple to terminate. But COAX is and always will be superior to TP cable for high speed data transmission. It's due to the precision impedance control that coax offers. TP cable can not cost effectivily achieve that. Also consider that fiber cable is essentially coax in that it's a single stream modulating light. If one claims coax is an analog transmission, then so is fiber optics.

www.extron.com has some good white papers on SDI and HDMI plysical data streams.

Ok, that is a lot of interesting and useful information. So do you think it's worth trying out an SDI > HDMI converter?
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