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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
OK, so I've been reading, changing my mind about which Plasma to buy, pricing, researching, etc. and looking only at plasmas that have DVI/HDCP when I wondered what I would really lose down the road without them.


All of my devices have S video or Component Video out--I don't have any DVI outputs currently. I do plan to get an OTA HD tuner and also Comcast's HD box but the Comcast box only offers component outputs as well. So If I buy a plasma that is not capable of DVI/HDCP what won't I be able to see later on?


Chuck
 

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Hey Chuck. I'm having the same question go through my mind too. However, I debating between the Samsung HLN507W (w/DVI HDCP) and the Panasonic 50LC13 (no DVI HDCP). The picture quality between the two is just about equal but the Panasonic is more than a thousand dollars less. Hopefully we get a reply.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by caaron
... So If I buy a plasma that is not capable of DVI/HDCP what won't I be able to see later on? ...
DVD thru DVI.


It is possible that you may not be able to see HD-DVD in HD if you do not have HDCP (the spec is still being defined).


Regards,

John Flegert
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Right but I understand that some members of this forum were unable to get their DVI-equipped DVD players to work anyway even though they have DVI inputs and that in some cases they got better results with component feeds. So with an ambiguous standard that may or may not happen (and if it did would orphan hundreds of thousands of owners of non DVI-HDCP models) and a dubious record of success with these connections why bother?


Besides my DVD player is not DVI equipped...


Chuck



Quote:
Originally posted by jflegert
DVD thru DVI.


It is possible that you may not be able to see HD-DVD in HD if you do not have HDCP (the spec is still being defined).


Regards,

John Flegert
 

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Quote:
Right but I understand that some members of this forum were unable to get their DVI-equipped DVD players to work anyway even though they have DVI inputs and that in some cases they got better results with component feeds. ...
And some members report that DVI does give them a better picture. Some members report that it gives them a much better picture. I would like to be in a position to get the best possible DVD reproduction for my plasma, and in my opinion, that will be thru DVI.
 

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This really applies to any future source that you might hook up to your display, including HD cable boxes... if your source uses HDCP and your display does not, you might either not be able to display the source at all, or only display it at a reduced resolution. But a non-HDCP source should be able to work with no issues on an HDCP-equipped display.


If you don't have HDCP capability on your display's DVI, you might be limiting your options in the future, even if you don't have any current plans that would require it...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yes, this makes sense to me. The gamble is that the HDCP standard is really going to be a supportable standard and that the equipment coming out today really will be compatible. It seems like a leap of faith is required.


Chuck
 

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In the forseeable future, if any "protection" is employed, it will be HDCP.

Otherwise, equipment manufacturers will have to design and build new equipment

and we will have to buy it.


larry
 

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The real reason you need it is because it is available, and since you are on this forum you are a slightly disturbed person like the rest of us who must have the latest and greatest, and you will hate yourself later if you don't get it ;) :D


Seriously, it may never really matter (but it might, and that is why many of us wanted to wait on it). A search will turn up a number of views on how valuable it might or might not be, both in terms of improved picture quality and future-proofing.
 

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It's simple - you MUST buy HDCP because Hollywood says it's the standard*.


And consumer electronics manufactuers are far too wimpy to stand up to Hollywood.


*This is not a guarantee. Hollywood reserves the right to change the standard and obsolete all your AV gear overnight, if they so desire.
 

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Hello,


I looked at the specs for the PT-50LC13 on the Panny website. They list the following for the model:


DVI-HDCP Interface Yes

HDMI-HDCP Interface No



So, it looks like the second post was incorrect. This model DOES have an DVI-HDCP interface.


Or am I missing something?


Thanks, Chris
 

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My thoughts:

I bought an NEC 42VP4 with non- HDCP compliant DVI. I did some research beforehand and have done more since on HDCP. Knowing what I know now, I might have leaned more toward getting HDCP, but I still don't regret my decision. I knew going in that at some point it would limit my flexibility. However I knew that I would always be able to watch standard (everything that's available today) DVD's to the best of their capability, whether component or DVI. I am agnostic on comp. vs. DVI but based on the bulk of people's opinions the difference is subtle. And if I want non-HDCP DVI there are players available today, and will be in the future. True, this limits my choice of DVD players if I want DVI. I will be able to watch true HD signals indefinitely on OTA STB for sure on component. It's mandated by the FCC--no downrezzing. I believe the FCC mandate applies to cable and dish STB's also, can someone confirm? This would allow me to receive true HD signals over component from any channel that is paid for with a monthly fee--HBO, ESPN, locals, etc. Pay-per-view movies may and probably will be unavailable to me in HD. A day will come when HD-DVD players are available at a reasonable price(sub-500). I place that day about 5 years out, but take your own guess. And they will most likely be DVI(or HDMI) only w/ HDCP and I will not be able to take advantage. I also believe that the studios will never let any recently-released movie out in HD on a non-protected medium (e.g. PPV over component) so I will be limited again at some future point. I originally thought I could aways fall back on HTPC, but after learning more about it, I think this will be tough--HDCP would have to be actively (and probably illegally) circumvented. Keep in mind that my plasma is ED, not HD, so this influenced my decision although ED definitely benefits from an HD signal. So what I have and will have available on DVD and HD was enough to justify my purchase given my particular financial situation. If had paid $5k+ and was looking out 10 years I would not have made the same decision. One last thing, a wild conjecture: Their are some reports of HDCP already on the verge of being broken. What if at some not-too-distant date the industry decides on a fix and obsloetes all the HDCP-compliant sets that have been sold? Not a prediction, just an example of how this whole thing is really up in the air and nobody knows for sure how it will shake out.
 

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Ed, your post is terrific.


As for this: ". What if at some not-too-distant date the industry decides on a fix and obsloetes all the HDCP-compliant sets that have been sold? "


That's going to be, well, impossible. They are going to have to rely on key revocation and sleuthing out who broke the encryption of something specific should it happen.


And given the near impossibility of recording DVI -- even unencrypted -- it should be possible to do this.


HDCP, good or bad, is done. They can't go back to the well because they'd have no customers.


Did I mention how good your post was?


Mark
 

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Thanks Mark,

In searching this forum for HDCP info, I found it was a bit difficult to glean what not having HDCP would actually mean to me. I found blanket statements like "You won't be able to watch HDTV" or "All sources will be HDCP DVI and you will see nothing but snow" interspersed among discussions of lawsuits and anti-piracy ranting and tech talk. So I tried to relay what I think it will mean to me. You've studied this stuff much longer than I have, so if you don't have any complaints I guess I didn't do too bad.
 

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Ed, my point is this... There are two things you can't have today with HDCP:


(1) Upscaling DVD players from major manufacturers respect the DVD Forum rules -- no >480p content out at all unless its DVI/HDCP. There are workarounds by buying "unofficial" players from V Inc. (the Bravo) and Momitsu that break the rules. So you have a workaround, but not a perfect one.


(2) Watch over DVI on some DirecTV set-top boxes that appear to be enforcing HDCP even when not required. The Sony HD300 appeared to do this and still might.


There are two things you might not be able to do in the future:


(1) Eventually, all cable and satellite providers with DVI will end up enforcing HDCP on at least some content. In the near term, that content will be available over component at full resolution. So you might need a second cable and to switch inputs. The picture, being transported over analog, will be a bit less good -- and you might not care. Still, this is Phase IA -- My DVI w/o HDCP works a lot of the time; except when it doesn't. The inconvenience phase.


(2) The longer we wait for "what comes next" -- HD-DVD or whatever, the greater the chance that the device has one output: one that is HDCP encrypted. Even if HD-DVD allows component outputs, eventually you'll see a generation of players that lack them. Ditto the cable and satellite set-top boxes.


Now, given the likelihood that someone who bought a display last year won't have it more than another four years -- not a given, but quite possible -- or will move it to a secondary room... Well, in that world, your choice will probably not bite you. But if you are buying today and you want DVI to be part of your equation, you gotta get HDCP. A fellow forum member with whom I agree on nearly nothing, arungupta, would agree with that unequivocally.


And, yes, if you have to pay $200-400 more for it (so far, at PlasmaConcepts, the one model where you literally can make the direct choice is offered with HDCP at zero premium), then do so. If you get a Panasonic with the slot, budget in the upgrade for sometime. If you buy the commercial Pioneers, budget in the upgrade for sometime...


If you get a display with DVI w/o HDCP and it's got HD resolutions, you'll be able to get some benefit from DVI today -- see above -- but know that over time that DVI may be rendered less useful.


Mark
 

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Mark


Every time I see an analysis of yours like the one above, I wish there was some place it could be saved and plugged in when this question arises in the future. It would really be helpful to many people to be able to read this kind of information without having to read so many opinions from folks who are well intentioned, but really don't understand DVI/HDCP. Thanks for your down to earth analysis.
 

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Mark,

I'm surprised you think there's even a chance that HD-DVD players will have component outputs at full res. This seems like a "no chance" to me. The manufacturers must license HDCP from what is essentially the content providers. And the license agreement states "no analog outputs of HDCP decrypted data" of any form. What's more, if a manufacturer was to violate the license the license could be revoked from all the players already in the field. Heck, even today you cant buy a DVD player with upscaled HD analog outputs (as you pointed out) even though no HD material is available for those players (and never will be). So to me it's a given that no HDCP DVI means no HD-DVD.

Where I'm not as clear is the cable and dish STB's. As far as I know, all the HD models now have component outputs. The cable and dish co.'s are notoriously slow to change hardware designs, and with the need to support customers with non-DVI HDTV's I don't see that changing quickly. Where I'm really unsure is whether the FCC "fair-use" mandate covers cable and dish co.'s. If it does, then any programming that is not "one-time veiwing" (PPV) must be made available in a full res. decrypted form. This would include HBO movies, etc. If anyone has insight into the cable/dish aspect, please jump in.
 

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Here's the way I look at it: If you purchase an HDCP-compatible display/monitor now, you lose nothing--HDCP-enabled monitors can display both HDCP encrypted video and standard DVI video.


However, I would suggest boycotting all HDCP-enabled video output devices (DVD players, satellite receivers, OTA HD tuners, etc.) unless they have full-res analog outputs (in lieu of the crippled DVI output).


In any case, I am confident that if HDCP ever becomes required (and that's a big *if*), devices that convert HDCP to analog RGB/component (or even standard DVI) targeted at owners of "older" HD displays will show up on the Internet within months. (All it really takes is a device that appears to be a "Display Device" to the HDCP stream when in actuality it is an HD transcoder). However, due to the DMCA, these devices would be illegal to own or sell in the U.S. (once again making criminals out customers whose only motive is viewing the best possible picture with currently available technology).

[rant mode]

In my opinion, copy protection is an misguided effort to stop what is essentially unstoppable. There will always be people who will make illegal copies of "intellectual property". These are the people who already break numerous laws in order to make a quick buck--the same class of people as spammers. Creating weak technological protection and then backing it up with new laws such as the DMCA will not stop these people--to them, the ends (quick buck) justify the means (breaking laws). These people *should* be tracked down and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the existing and quite adequate laws (DMCA notwithstanding).


The unfortunate side-effect of all these new artificial restrictions and new laws (which, ultimately, will not stop piracy) is the reduction of the rights and technological capabilities of the average customer. The average customer really has no need to illegally copy "protected" content under circumstances in which the customer deems the cost for access to said property to be fair and reasonable. People will not pay $15 for a CD with maybe 1 or 2 good songs, especially when those same songs can be had for free; but they will pay $1 per song if they perceive it a good value (see iTunes Music Store). Likewise, I will not to pay for access to (HDCP-crippled) HD content only to find I can only play it back in SD resolution on my $20,000 full-1080i-resolution display device because I choose to use an HTPC (a non-HDCP-"approved" device because it *might* be used to make illegal copies) as the centerpiece of my home theater.


The lesson content providers seem to have to keep relearning is that if you provide worthy (i.e. un-crippled) content at a fair price, the majority of "consumers" (gah, I hate that word) will happily buy it. Treating potential customers as probable criminals does not seem like a sound business strategy to me.
[/rant mode]


-Mike
 

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The problem with cable/satellite and HDCP is that they can pretty much turn it on willy nilly... There is NOTHING about HDCP that discusses down-rezzing of component. It's not in the HDCP spec and never has been. All it says is that if both ends of the DVI don't support HDCP, shut down the DVI on the source. That's really all.


Down-rezzing comes from the Firewire 5C/DTCP agreement and also some obscure deal that DirecTV once may or may not have ever cut (I call it "techno myth" -- grain of truth shrouded in ambiguity).


I don't believe your existing component outputs on your HD boxes will be down-rezzed by anyone -- even when you are watching HD Pay Per View. Your Firewire will have Copy Never turned on at that point... Unless HD analog output "caps" are being made and distributed online, the studios don't have the slightest incentive to screw over early HDTV adopters. And so far, through the cable deal, such early adopters are very well protected.


I don't believe the converter will ever be made. It's not worth it. Ed thinks he'll never see HD-DVD and maybe he's right (until he gets a new set). To engineer the converter will be very hard. The studios will buy one, get the key, and revoke the key. To sell the converter will be completely illegal; so you are looking at overseas sales only. There won't be many sources because it will be pricey to inventory....


And all this for what? For a few pretty well-off people to get HD-DVD? (Note: I still think HD-DVD has a good chance of having component, so I don't even see this scenario). But regardless, there is simply no other threat. You're not going to see someone engineer this HDCP cracker so you can use an upscaling DVD player over component. If that is what you want, buy the Bravo (although I hear it's bad over component). Or, much better, build an HTPC -- a great upscaling DVD player that you can legally and easily make work over component.


Mark
 
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