I spent some time re-acquainting myself with the Opticis product line-up for HDMI. They basically have three different products:
1) The HDFX-200-TR -- This is the only one that is purely optical, with NO copper cables to conduct any interference.
2) The M1-2000 -- This one is very small and the conversion boxes at each end are small enough that they do not need to be removable.
3) The M1-2R2H-TR -- This one appears to be the oldest one. It has a hybrid optical/copper construction and the conversion boxes at each end are quite large.
As I've noted previously, the only one I've had direct experience with personally was an OEM version of the Opticis conversion boxes marketed by Fujitomo, with bright orange hybrid optical/copper cable, back in the days of DVD using DVI. Even with the partial copper construction, this cable gave a significantly superior picture quality to any other DVI cable I have ever used. We had a 100 meter cable on loan to us from Fujitomo and it was quite surprising at how much it improved the PQ.
With the current Opticis cables, I would only consider the first two models. There seems to be no reason to use the third one (unless you already own it, in which case I'm sure that it is a fine performer).
The second model has the advantage of having the lowest power consumption of all three models. The total draw for both conversion boxes at +5 volts is only 280 mA, and I am confident that if Philipp removed the current limiting resistor, that you could run the cable from the linear analog supply built into the DX-5. (This supply is there for one reason only. If the display is powered off completely, it supplies power to the memory built into the display that describes the capabilities of the display. Then when you turn on the source, it can read the capabilities and send the highest quality signal possible to the display.)
On the other hand, I am equally confident that the first model (which is PURELY optical) would give the highest PQ of any of the models. And as noted before, I think the ultimate setup would be to have one of each of these cables going to the display from each source. Then for the audio, use ANOTHER one of these all-optical cables to connect to your SSP. If ANY of your other sources have two HDMI outputs, connect them to your SSP with another pure optical cable. For any source that does NOT have a secondary HDMI output, I would connect ALL of the audio connections to the SSP via TosLink. This would ensure the maximum isolation between the video and audio systems which is CRITICAL for good performance of both video and audio. Yes, you would be limited by some of the formats when using TosLink, but the only other way to do it would be to run the PURE optical cable from the source the SSP, and then another PURE optical cable from the SSP to the display.
The disadvantage of this plan is that you are going through three scaling chips and video amplifiers -- one in the source, a second one in the SSP, and a third one in the display. The one in the DX-5 is as good as it gets. So you ideally want to set that one to the native resolution of your display and go STRAIGHT to the display. Going through the extra circuitry in the SSP will result in visible image degradation.
Regarding HDMI 1.3a versus HDMI 1.4, Wikipedia (generally VERY reliable) specifically states, "High Speed HDMI 1.3 cables can support all HDMI 1.4 features except for the HDMI Ethernet Channel". There are three footnotes to support this claim, and you can read it at:
While I have not performed the experiment myself, I can pretty much guarantee you that running 100 Mbs Ethernet mixed in with the picture is going to result in degraded PQ. I would NEVER combine the ethernet with the rest of the HDMI signals. The only reason that they have done this is so that the average idiot consumer can connect his video system with ONE cable to provides all functions. But I am fairly confident that anybody reading this forum would have NO problems whatsoever connecting two cables -- an HDMI cable and a separate ethernet cable without getting it wrong!
I have to admit that I don't know what exactly is meant by "High Speed". If this affected the ability to run 3D, I am sure that the Wikipedia article would have mentioned it. I suppose that it is possible that it would affect the ability tor run "4K" video, but I don't think we will be seeing a huge selection of 4K titles available any time in THIS decade!
You have to remember what drives all of this silliness -- MONEY, pure and simple. Learn from the past so you don't repeat the mistakes of others (or even worse, your own mistakes).
When DVD was released in 1997, players sold for between $800 and $1000. The top line Sony was an excellent machine, and they sold it BELOW their manufacturing cost to try to help promote the format. It was an excellent machine and set the benchmark for several years. Prices slowly declined. By 1999 a good DVD player was $300 to $400. By 2001 they had hit $200 which was pretty much the "magic" price where EVERYBODY could afford one as an "impulse" purchase.
But then they screwed up. They started selling format licenses to the Chinese. In another year, you could buy a really crappy player (that didn't even have a front panel display -- it was all on the display screen of your TV) for $49. At that price NO quality manufacturer could make money. THAT was why Blu-ray was invented. The Japanese majors wanted to make video disc players into a profitable item again. (They tried it first with DVD recorders, but those flopped miserably.) Blu-ray has only been moderately successful, but it only took a year before the Chinese made it a "bottom feeder" commodity item selling for as little as $100.
Next they tried to make it more profitable by adding 3D, but this was just a move of desperation. Nobody really takes it seriously -- not the manufacturers, not the consumers, not the movie studios, not the directors. It's just a last gasp of trying to make a few more dollars from a video disc format before China Inc. destroys Japanese manufacturing. Do you KNOW how many factories were destroyed in the Tsunami that will NEVER be rebuilt? Toshiba used to make the best TosLink transmitters and receivers. That factory was badly damaged in the earthquake. They are NOT going to re-open the factory, because it would lose money for them. Nobody wants to pay $0.25 for a high-quality TosLink transceiver, when you can buy an "adequate" Chinese TosLink transciever for $0.05. It's the "race to the bottom", and it's driven by all the consumers that think that $500 for a Chinese Oppo is absurdly expensive. (One hesitates to even ask what they would make of a $10,000 Ayre BDP!).
So even if somebody releases hardware and software for 4K video, it is not going to go ANYWHERE. The studios in particular are VERY wary of releasing the original master files of the movies for the Chinese to rape and pillage. It wouldn't even be noticeably better until we got to 100" or even 150" screens. Now you are limited to projectors instead of flat panels, and panels outsell projectors by 100 to 1. People who think that 4K is ever going to become a mainstream product have been smoking far too much crack cocaine and suffer from delusions.
And besides, those quantifiable specs have no meaning when it comes to the true performance of a video (or audio) system. The ONLY thing that matters, that is worth trying to pursue is "the involvement factor". When you start playing that music or that movie, are you COMPLETELY sucked in to the music or the plot of the movie? Does EVERYTHING else fade into the background so when the movie is finished it takes a few minutes to return to our "normal" reality?
Or is it the case that when you turn on your system, that your brain keeps thinking about the bills that are due and haven't yet been paid or the jerk at work that is making your job miserable, or that you need to change the oil on your car or that sometime this year that you will need to re-roof the house, yadda, yadda, yadda?
I would FAR rather watch a film on DVD with an Ayre D-1xe on a Pioneer Kuro in HT2.0 than watch the same film on a cheap Chinese Blu-ray player with dozens of on-board switching power supplies and crappy high-feedback op-amps in the SSP and one of those terrible multi-channel analog volume controls that ruin the sound quality. The first would be completely engaging and absorbing. The second would allow you to see the hairs in the actors' noses, but would be about as compelling as watching it in 1080p on a Nexus 7 tablet -- fine for distracting you from the miserable experience that long airplane flights have become, but hardly something that will convey all the power and emotion available a masterpiece film like "Dersu Uzala" or even "Amelie".
Ayre Acoustics, inc.Edited by Charles Hansen - 4/6/13 at 10:17pm