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Sony KP-57XBR10W or KDP-57XBR2 or KP-57HW40?


My question to this forum is to determine the value of the firewire inputs on the new Sony XBR2 sets.


OK. Here's the deal - I can get a KP-57XBR10W (last year's model) for about ~$3200 w/ $500 rebate from Sony - or only $2700. Or I can get a XBR2 for ~$4500 or a HW40 for ~$3200.


The main differences are...


XBR10W - one HD input, last year's DRC

XBR2 - two HD inputs, HD tuner, new DRC, 2 firewire inputs

HW40 - two HD inputs, new DRC, no firewire


I'm leaning towards the XBR2 because of the firewire inputs (I really don't need the HD tuner) but I thought I would ask if they're going to extend the life of the set as much as I might think. I feel better buying the XBR2 because it's more "future-proofed" than the other choices. But maybe the set won't have the right software to talk with STB's over firewire?


Appreciate everyone's thoughts on the relative merits of these displays.
 

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At this point the ONLY device that will "talk" to any of these Sony's is a Sony cable box. I wouldn't bank on future compatibility. Sony always marches to its own beat.
 

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So far there has been at least one HD recording device announced using Firewire/5C, and lots of rumors from the DTV satellite box makers about future versions with these ports.


In a sense having the firewire also might help with the # of ports problem. With Progressive DVD, XBOX, Satellite tuners, etc., there's going to be too many HD inputs to connect to these sets in the future. If stuff like the sat box move over to firewire, that frees up some inputs at least.


For the software issue - while I HOPE there will be software upgrades for these first sets, I could forsee problems. Just as an example, when I bought one, the manual had an insert inside that said something to the effect of "If you have an earlier model of the Sony Set-top box <whatever> with iLink connections, it might not be compatible with this set, call Sony to replace the box" or something. So apparently even the one device that DOES work, sometimes doesn't. But the TV does have a Memory Stick slot for software upgrades, at least.
 

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Quote:
At this point the ONLY device that will "talk" to any of these Sony's is a Sony cable box.
Does that mean that the iLink inputs on these new sets can't be used with DV camcorders? Also, what if I wanted to use one of those displays as a preview monitor for Final Cut Pro editing? I currently do that using a Sony DVMC-DA2 to SVHS, but it would be kind of nice to bypass the media convertor. I'm talking SD here, not HD...


Dennis


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Dennis Whiteman

FastPipe Media, Inc.
 

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That's correct - you can't just link up existing cameras or whatnot to the port. Someone on another thread tried it already. It recongized the device but didn't know really how to talk to it.
 

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I am in the Exact same boat(Can you feel me). I can get the 57xbr2 from 4-cost delivered to my curb for 4086 + 189(ship)=4275, 4999.99 from crutchfield delivered in my room and for 5000 from the local hi-end guys delivered with the option to return for a mits dia. 55909w/firewire(later). I can get the 57hw40 for 2879 out the door from one-call (e-mail Jason and say your a avs or spot member for the extra 10% off the 3200 w/free ship).. Sears will price match the 2879 + 7.91% tax(228) + 40(del) + 299 (3-yr. warn) = 3446 for the 57hw40.

Is the extra $1500 worth it for the xbr2. Yes and No

I live in flagstaff and will never get over the air HDTV,

KPHO from phoenix(140 miles away) will most likely reject my waiver request for dish CBS-HD from N.Y.C., I already have a Sony DD receiver and dish 6000 system with a Sony 32xbr400. I want the 57 for DVD and HDTV today.(HBO-HD & SHOW-HD). Sears has the 1-year no-payment/No fin. deal this sat.(9-22), but doesn't list the hw40 in the computer yet.

If I buy the 57hw40, I will have buyer's remorse for not getting the xbr2, but my HDTV should look almost as good as the xbr2 (xbr2 has the hi-def CRTs' and anti-reflective screen), the built-in Dolby pro-logic is nice but my full DD receiver will be way better, I will never use the OTA tuner here in Flagstaff before 2006 or later. The yahoo group (hs10 & HDTV) will have more tweaks for the hw40 series then the xbr2. The dish 6000 box will most likely be grandfather in for HDTV since they have no way to turn off the HDTV component output(unlike DTV boxes).

Bottom line, I need the sears no-fin,no-payment deal.

If you have the cash get the xbr2, but buy it local.

Go read the reviews of the xbr10w's, many, many problems.

I am going to sears tomorrow to start the process with one-calls price match but I think I am starting to all ready have buyer's remorse.

I will buy the hw40 sight un-seen but would wait on the xbr2 until the reviews are in.

RCIEGR

P.S. I also have Cablevision of Flagstaff, Cablevision back East has a deal with sony on the new Cable STB with a firewire HDTV pass-thru port. They say by the end of 2003 they will have 3 million boxes out to the N.Y.C. area.

Althrough we have a fiber optic cable system here in flagstaff and have good cable modem service, including the bandwidth for HDTV, I don't expect little Cable vision of Flagstaff, (not directly related to CABLEVISION) to jump on the HDTV market.

One last thought, I also want the sony but feel a mits. w/firewire may be more compatible with future devices.

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rciegr


[This message has been edited by RCI (edited 09-19-2001).]
 

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Sony has a vested interest in making 1394 more successful in the consumer space. They sell lots of 1394 equipment currently, including the only 1394 audio system that you can actually purchase (the Sony Lissa, only available in Europe...I guess only one product per continent at a time http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/wink.gif ). They want to be the center of your home entertainment world.


That being said, a few things do baffle me (I have the 34" XBR2 direct view, and I assume the firewire technology is the same in all of the units):


1) The ports are "only" 200 Mbit. If you have ever purchased an add-in 1394 card, it's 400 Mbit. 800 Mbit should be available soon (sometime within the next year maybe, now that the 1.1 1394 OHCI spec is finalized). Looking at the specs for the cable box, it uses that same lower speed connection. I wish they'd explain why.


2) For some reason, their own cameras don't even work on this tv. While I didn't purchase it for this (I don't even have one) AND they do not advertise this as a feature, I think it's reasonable for a consumer to expect to be able to plug their i.Link camcorder into the tv and play back pre-recorded or live video.


3) This one really bugs me. They have a feature called Twin View (picture by picture). According to the manual, if one of your video sources is from 1394, you CANNOT use this feature. That of course means nothing right now, since few people can actually get their hands on one of the supported STB's. In the future, this may be a bigger deal.


You are right that there are no guarantees that one vendor's STB will work w/ another's TV. I bought it because at least it gives me a better chance in the future. If nothing else, it should be compatible with all Sony HD devices. I also like has that memory stick port on the back. It probably will still need a pro to do it, but that makes me feel a little better about the purchase.


Mark
 

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That's very distressing news about the iLink feature in these new sets. I thought that Sony rated iLink at 100mps while the 1394 spec was rated at 400mps (with 800mps around the corner). Maybe Sony isn't even calling it iLink on those sets? Using that trademark would seem to indicate a certain amount of interoperability, which obviously isn't there.


Dennis




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Dennis Whiteman

FastPipe Media, Inc.
 

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These kinds of interoperability issues are par for the course with new data connection standards. They've been a part of the computer world for decades (think ATA disks, SCSI, USB, etc. etc.). This stuff is all so new that it's foolish in my opinion to count on it yet.


It's very encouraging that Sony has built in a method to download firmware upgrades, but it's of little value if you're trying to hook up a Panasonic recorder that Sony won't support.


I think it would be prudent to keep this in mind when evaluating the worth of current Sony and Mitsubishi Firewire connectivity. I think there's some value there, but not as much as there would be if the technology had more of a track record (Firewire in general does have a good track record, but not in this technology space yet).
 

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MiniDV camcorders use DV compression. Although it is DCT-based, it shares little else in common with MPEG-2. DV is very similar to motion JPEG. There is no interframe compression, each frame is individually compressed.


Since support for Firewire connections from MiniDV camcorders would require an additional decoder, it isn't surprising that the first TVs w/Firewire connections can't display pictures from digital camcorders over Firewire.


-Jonathan
 

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i.Link is the term Sony uses to describe all of their Firewire ports no matter what type of device it is (I think FW is a trademarked term). It does not describe the speed of the connection. I agree that they are confusing consumers by using the same term for the tv's and cameras. But I guess there's really nothing else to call it.


It is very suprising for a company that has sold probably a dozen or more models of DV cameras (that may be a low estimate) with this connectivity to NOT include this capability in their own high end television set. If the TV set came first, this would make sense. However, the cameras have been available for years. You'd think they'd want to show off their technology. They announced this unit in Feb., and they surely had it in development long before then. I don't understand why they only added support for ONE device (and it's one that a consumer can't even purchase).


Personally, I am not really depending on it being compatible with devices from other vendors. I went with the Sony unit because I have a lot more faith in them than I do in Mitsubishi (even though I think that the Net Command/HAVi features promised by them sound a lot more interesting).
 

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To me, a DVI input would have been much more useful as it has the bandwidth to support an uncompressed high definition signal. The 400Mbps bit rate you get from the current 1394 standard is not enough to support an uncompressed 1080i high definition signal, so the settop box can't use the 1394 interface to send video to the TV. So for video, you would still have to use the component inputs between the STB and the TV.
 

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The Sony has everything you will need now and the future. It has a built in OTA ATSC turner, which all new HDTV’s should have inside. It has two Wide band components that support 1080I and 480P. It has two fire wire ports and the unit’s software can be upgraded. You can buy the unit now and buy the Satellite receiver for the component input.


Fire wire will play a roll in the future beside the copy protect. Just think Sony, and other manufactures can now make a Satellite or Cable only box with IEEE and integrate to the menu of the TV. The TV can control the Satellite Box and the internal turner in one guide and no extra remotes. The guide menu can be upgraded by software.


Maybe 2002 will see something good come from the IEEE besides the hole copy protection that will take years before the manufactures get one million units sold with IEEE.



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Meredith (KPHO) SUCKs! Phoenix CBS station with no HD just SD.
 

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It seems like the TV makers, including Sony, which should know better, are still making dumb TVs. It's completely stupid for Sony not to include a DV decoder in their new models since there are no other currently shipping IEEE1394 products.


I've been thinking about this for a while. My set is about the dumbest of the dumb, but between the Power Macintosh I have hooked to it via RGB and the Dish 6000 via RGB, I have a very functional setup. It just seems that going forward TVs are going to need many of the same components of a computer if they're going to be able to fulfill their potential.


I'm a huge Sony fan, since even all my computers use Trinitron tubes, but they should know better than to ship TVs with non-functional ports.


Dennis


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Dennis Whiteman

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Quote:
Originally posted by ultimate:
That's very distressing news about the iLink feature in these new sets. I thought that Sony rated iLink at 100mps while the 1394 spec was rated at 400mps (with 800mps around the corner). Maybe Sony isn't even calling it iLink on those sets? Using that trademark would seem to indicate a certain amount of interoperability, which obviously isn't there.
Here's a link to an old Sony announcement of their DTCP protected i.LINK chipset (it was quite pricey two years ago--wonder what it costs now). I'm sure that the few vendors that are fielding 1394/DTCP equipment have gotten together for interoperability testing. That's standard procedure in the communications equipment realm and has been done with CE STBs designed to use the OpenCable standard. In any case, I haven't seen where any companies other than Sony or NEC are producing chipsets for 1394/DTCP interfaces, so it's likely that the others are using those two.


I also thought that 1394/DTCP was using 400 Mbps Firewire, but it's evidently on 200 Mbps. Still, plenty of bandwidth for sending around a few encrypted 20 Mbps HD broadcast streams or recordings thereof with protocol overhead.


In any case, a participant in these forums has gotten Sony's set to work with a Panasonic HD D-VHS VCR deck (which I thought was too early to be DTCP compliant, but this press-release proves me wrong) and I suspect that it will work with either JVC or Mitsubishi's new HD VHS VCRs when they become available.


-- Mike Scott
 

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This is precisely why you only see the Firewire inputs on Sony displays that DO have integrated ATSC tuners (and therefore the MPEG2 decompression hardware).


What it means to me in the long run is that we can pay for a single decoder where it makes the most sense (in the TV) and get cheaper components elsewhere. There's no reason a tuner/satellite receiver box should cost $700, if they make a model without an on-board decoder I would think they could be had for like $300 initially even cheaper long-term.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by Hairy Troll:
Unsure how useful a 1394 interface is between an external ATSC receiver and a HDTV set. This means that the TV would have to have MPEG-2 decoding hardware to decode the compressed 20Mbps HD stream, raising the cost of the TV. What then is the point of the external receiver ? It would be more cost effective to build the tuner/decoder into the TV, as RCA does, and have 1394 ports available in the TV talk to VCR's etc.


Sending uncompressed HD over, say DVI to the TV makes more sense.
In such a setup there wouldn't be an external ATSC receiver--so much of what's required to implement an ATSC receiver is also required to implement 1394/DTCP in a monitor, that vendors will almost certainly throw in ATSC tuning if they go that route. There might be an external cable or DBS STB, but those boxes are receiving what they receive in some form of encrypted, "multiplexed" MPEG-2 anyway--they just need to separate out the desired elementary stream, and encrypt it to be moved to the set over the 1394/DTCP (that last bit done "for free" in the 1394/DTCP interface chip hardware)--no need for anything in a 1394/DTCP-only A/V network to have MPEG decoding capability other than a display.


Now, DVI/HDCP has its advantages--it is compression-format-independent, since you don't send the monitor compressed data. You can upgrade your upstream equipment to be able to handle MPEG-4 or Wavelets or whatever else they dream up in the future without obsoleting your television, which is likely to remain an expensive component. However, it requires that everything that talks to the set through it have the ability to decompress video, adding expense to your HD cable or DBS STB and your HD PVR, HD D-VHS VCR and HD DVD decks. Added to that, the HD recording and tuning devices still have to have 1394/DTCP connections if you're going to record anything with today's technology.


It would be nice if you could count on having an element in your network--say your cable or DBS box--which would have a DVI/HDCP output, a pair of 1394/DTCP connections and an HD MPEG-2 decoder which could be used to decrypt (if necessary) and decode any incoming stream from an 1394/DTCP connected device in the network and encrypt it to be transmitted to a set over DVI. That would give the monitor the cheapest possible and most future-proof HD connection (also probably resulting in pure monitors again, without expensive OTA ATSC tuners that the 85% of the country who view television through cable and DBS have no use for) and give us HD recording devices and HD DVD decks without expensive video decompression capability. These general-purpose cable and DBS STBs could even have HD analog component video outputs to support older monitors, though, by agreement, they'd have to image-constrain the copy-protected stuff displayed through those outputs (per the DTCP Adopter's Agreement, restricted to subscription movie-channels, pay-per-view and pre-recorded video).


Alas, I just don't foresee anyone building all this cool capability into an STB.


-- Mike Scott


[This message has been edited by michaeltscott (edited 09-21-2001).]
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by ultimate:

I also thought that 1394/DTCP was using 400 Mbps Firewire, but it's evidently on 200 Mbps. Still, plenty of bandwidth for sending around a few encrypted 20 Mbps HD broadcast streams or recordings thereof with protocol overhead.



Unsure how useful a 1394 interface is between an external ATSC receiver and a HDTV set. This means that the TV would have to have MPEG-2 decoding hardware to decode the compressed 20Mbps HD stream, raising the cost of the TV. What then is the point of the external receiver ? It would be more cost effective to build the tuner/decoder into the TV, as RCA does, and have 1394 ports available in the TV talk to VCR's etc.


Sending uncompressed HD over, say DVI to the TV makes more sense.
 
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