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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know this might not be important to some of you, but to me (a guy with a modest budget) future proofing is very important.


Okay... I can stomach the fact that as of this writing the only item the firewire inputs on the back of the new Sony XBR2 can handle is this new Comcast cable box I've been hearing about. Updates to the software will become available...eventually (albeit a LONG while), but seriously, to what avail? Sure it will be able to DISPLAY new devices once the software compatibility issues are worked out and new firewire devices become available. Thats all well and good. But what of the OTA HDTV tuner it has? I would love to one day buy a HD-VHS (all TWO of them only have firewire inputs for HDTV) recorder and output those signals from the XBR2. Will that day ever come if i were to purchase any of the XBR2 models? Nope. Why? Because the firewire is INPUT ONLY. Not that they'd really mention that or highlight that fact when you go to buy the set. I doubt they really even spill the beans in so many words in the manual.

This seems to go along nicely with the manufactures new "look but don't own" policy of late.

I've been thinking about emailing sony on this issue asking them whether or not any kind of update to the software could make them output a signal. I highly doubt they will say yes, much less even freely admit that it IS input only.

I guess there is always the option of buying a seperate OTA tuner (probably slash DTV box) with firewire outputs, when one becomes available. But then, yikes DTV wants to go the DVI output route.

What to do from here? who knows really. I would still like to buy the XBR2, but this input/output thing is really hendering that decision. I'm thinking about waiting till March for the supposed release of the 55 inch diamond Mitsubishi set with HAVi and firewire and integrated HDTV tuner. They seem to be more receptive to the idea of consumers being able to use their free rights. Only thing is, at this point does anyone know if this Mitsu set will output through firewire and will it be compatible with more devices? I guess I'll have to waste more time and email them too..sigh. Plus, from what I've heard the Mitsu sets are a Pain in the @$$ when it comes to set up and that they just don't look as good as the new Sony model. Wish i could find out for myself but believe me, where i live, that just isn't possible right now.

Good luck to all of you on your HDTV indeavors. If anyone has any thoughts on this issue or some good/bad news for me on the things I brought up. PLEASE feel free to post.

Matt
 

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On the back of the set it shows INPUT AND OUTPUT for the 3 fire wire port. One thing I hate about Mits is you only have one HD component input and two 480P component inputs. Bottom Line, there is no perfect set yet.
 

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I think the only reason the whole copy protection issue hasn't completely frozen the HDTV market is that your typical buyer doesn't know anything about it. The same is true for most salespeople I talk to, who aren't aware of the issues involved.


The XBR2 perhaps protect you better than, say, a Pioneer Elite that has no firewire or upgrade path to get one, but even then it is possible that something will be missed and there will be segment of HDTV content that you are forced to watch in downgraded 480p.


I actually think the firewire standard from a display device point of view is meant to be input-only. What they didn't seem to consider is that if you have a tuner you should probably provide a firewire out as well. Hmm. They probably wanted to avoid the cost of the additional hardware that *might* not interest the typical buyer.
 

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Can someone please CONFIRM without doubt that the KD-34XBR2's firewire connection is input only? The firewire standard is inhearently bi-directional. But I have no idea what the Sony implementation is like. I just placed an order for one of these TVs and would really like to know.


Thanks.
 

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The KD-34XBR2 owner's manual states the following on page 67:


"I.LINK is a digital serial interface for handling digital video, digital audio and other data in two directions... "


It also states:


"When i.LINK devices are connected to this DTV, the maximum bit rate (the speed at which data can be sent or received) is 200 Mbps (megabits per second)."


Both of these imply that data flow can be bi-directional.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Good old Gary, there to confirm for me so that I don't have to go and search for that last string.

Mostly, I just think this whole thing is something to be known and not for Sony to hide. If they want to make it a one direction connection, they should tell people that.

I can not believe that they even have in the manual that the connection is input/output. Does anyone else find something wrong with that?


Gary, if you get this, do you know for sure that a software upgrade could not make them bi-directional?

thanks for letting us all know about the input only situation here. I hope I've helped to shout that out to people who might be thinking about buying it because of that feature.

Matt
 

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Hold it Stop the press,

I do not know where you guys gets your info.

IEEE.1394 Firewire with HAVi and 5C is a bidirectional 400M bit/ second network connection. There are no such as Firewire Input and Outpus. The new Mits HD VCR and the Sony HD sets are completly compatable.
 

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Bruce,


HAVi is the Mitsu implementation of 1394, other 1394 schemes are being used by other CE companies.


This has been verified by the example of how Panasonic uses 1394 on the old TU-DST50/51 DTV tuner & PV-HD1000 DVHS VCR. These two units talk to each other just fine, but other 1394 equipment does not always work with them as expected.


I trust Gary Merson's word, as it is quite possible the Sony I.LINK can prevent external 1394 devices from getting a digital signal to record.
 

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The implementation of IEEE1394 in the Sony set may simply be Sony's best attempt at getting around the requirements of the 5C license, which requires that OTA HD and HD with commercial interruptions not be image constrained or encoded with "copy never" flags.


If the Sony set is indeed designed not to output a digital HD signal at all, they cannot be said to be violating the 5C license on OTA and commercial interruption HD content. Their reasons behind this decision may be the result of Sony's membership in the MPAA (which would prefer that consumers have no way at all to record HD), or it may be a simple design mistake.


IMO, interoperability incompatibilities are a good thing - it can only help to frustrate consumers that purchase 5C-compliant products, and potentially to make the whole HD encryption specifications fall flat on its arse.
 

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I am in the midst of reviewing the Sony 34XBR2 for publication. I decided that it would be in the best interest of all parties if I would respond to the question concerning its abilities.


Sony has decided to only design the i.link on this model series as an input. Just because i.link may have 2 way communication does not mean that it has to have the capability. There are no plans to upgrade this model for 2 way operation.


I have also tested the new Mitsubishi WS-65869, and have the lowdown on its capabilities, which will appear in my review in The Perfect Vision
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Ken H


HAVi is the Mitsu implementation of 1394, other 1394 schemes are being used by other CE companies.
There are eight companies that developed the HAVi specification.

Mitsubishi is just one of them... Sony is another.


See http://www.havi.org for more information.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Ken H
HAVi is the Mitsu implementation of 1394, other 1394 schemes are being used by other CE companies.
Not entirely correct--Mitsubishi does implement HAVi control on their 1394 connection, as well as DTCP and the basic protocols specified in EIA-775-A, which include a precursor to HAVi called AV/C and a rudimentary protocol for specifying on-screen displays (OSDs) and overlays to display devices. But you imply (probably unintentionally) that HAVi is a Mitsubishi proprietary protocol, which it isn't--it stands for Home Audio Video Interoperability and its huge honking specification is available here . It is a standard specifying a set of messages that can be exchanged across a home A/V network which allow participants in the network to discover each other's capabilities and to request services from one another. (It additionally specifies an API--applications programming interface--for writing Java applications using the protocol to implement sophisticated cross-network functionality). Ideally, every A/V equipment vendor will adopt HAVi and include implementations of it in their products--there are a few different companies selling off-the-shelf firmware libraries for implementing it (along with 1394 and DTCP drivers).
Quote:
I trust Gary Merson's word, as it is quite possible the Sony I.LINK can prevent external 1394 devices from getting a digital signal to record.
More likely it just doesn't offer the video source functionality to the network. It doesn't prevent video from flowing; it doesn't accept requests to provide it.


These digital A/V networks aren't like analog connections, where the information is just flowing all the time. They're more akin to computer networks (actually, they are indistinguishable from computer networks--they just have their own purpose-specific protocols, with integral A/V-oriented functions). One device has to ask another for something, or there's nothing on the wire. In the case of protected content provided through DTCP, a device not only has to ask for it, it has to prove that it is authorized to receive it, and keep proving that every couple of seconds by responding to challenges (this keeps someone from starting content flowing to an authorized device, then connecting the wire to an unauthorized device). Moreover, the protected content is encrypted such that only the requesting device can understand it--if multiple devices are being provided the same information at the same time, multiple versions of that information would have to be transmitted over the network from the source.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Purins



There are eight companies that developed the HAVi specification.

Mitsubishi is just one of them... Sony is another.


See http://www.havi.org for more information.
Ooops--you scooped me, John. :) I started writing my post some hours ago and walked away before posting it.


-- Mike Scott
 

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Mike, Thank you for your explanation. While you don't need to understand the OSI model to watch television, it doesn't hurt. :)
 

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Let me see if I have this right. The firewire standard is bidirectional. The Sony manual says (implies) that their implementation is bidirectional. Yet some of you guys "in the know" have confirmed that it's input only.


This smells of a software limitation (due to time?) or one of those copy protection rules rearing it's ugly head.


Gary, do you know if the limitation is in hardware or software?
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by John Purins



There are eight companies that developed the HAVi specification.

Mitsubishi is just one of them... Sony is another.
Sorry, didn't mean to imply that HAVi was a Mitsubishi exclusive. Having said that, to my knowledge they are the only one to implement it, or promote it, at this time.


It does have a very comprehensive set of capabilities, but it's too soon to tell if it will become widely used.
 

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Firewire and the standard are both Bi-directional. For the Sony to be able to display anything it must be bi-directional. Where the confusion lies is mixing up the protocal with function. Here is a really simple example of a DVCR talking to a Sony TV:


DVCR: I have something to be displayed

SONY TV: I am a display, send it to me please

DVCR: OK here you go


Now here is the DVCR trying to record:


DVCR: Hey SONY TV send me something to record

SONY TV: No Thanks the guys at Sony said I shouldn't send stuff out

DVCR: Darn



Now you can see that the firewire protocal is in fact bi-directional but the sony is an input only device.


-apnar
 

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Some have said that the Pioneer Elites do not have upgrade possibilities in regard to firewire, etc.


According to my information that is not accurate.


Pioneer Elites have a slot in the back for inserting a digital tuner. At this time a SH-D09.


Technicians (not connected with Pioneer) have told me that it would be possible to bring out a tuner or another type of add on device with requisite firewire or/and other inputs and outputs.
 
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