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Today's Show:
We receive emails all the time from listeners asking us about cables. Many ask what they would be missing of they were to use Component cable instead of HDMI. From a picture point of view your not giving up too much. From an audio point of view you would need to run eight RCA cables to bring in Dolby True HD or DTS MA sound tracks. Eight cables for audio and three for video. That's eleven cables to do the work of one HDMI cable. So with such a big advantage in cable management alone, we found it interesting that professional installers preferred to use component cables.

HDMI or Component from a professional Installer's Point of View

On today's show we discuss an article in CE Pro titled HDMI or Component? Integrators Weigh In written by Donna Englander that will explain why so many professionals prefer component cables. It all comes down to reliability.

The main job of a professional installer is to make the viewing experience as bullet proof as possible. HDMI in its early stages was anything but that. Many professional installers agree that the specification has come a long way since its version 1.0 implementation but few are ready to give HDMI another shot. With version 1.3 most of the handshaking issues have been eliminated and devices that support V1.3 play together nicely. But there is no denying that for long runs (50 feet or more) HDMI has its issues. If you are using HDMI for a local setup we don't think anyone will argue that its the easiest and best way to go. If you are setting up a projector room or whole house video where the equipment and the projector are separated by a large distance component is the only real way to go.

The main complaints about HDMI cables are:

  • You can't reliably run HDMI cables as far as component cables
  • You can't make custom lengths
  • No good HDMI via Cat 5
  • Cost
  • HDCP not working

Advantages of HDMI:
  • Audio and video on the same cable
  • Future Proof

Things to Consider:
  • The HT Guys have successfully used a 50 foot HDMI cable for a review (Podcast 100)
  • HDMI version 1.3 is the is the most reliable when it comes to HDCP handshaking
  • You can buy a 25 foot HDMI 1.3a cable for around $40, 50 feet goes for about $135 and 100 feet go for about $255. Still less than a premium priced two meter HDMI cable.
  • Test the connection prior to completing your installation.
  • Make sure you can return the cable if it does not work.
    Additional Reading:
    Long time listener and friend of the show Joe sent us a link to an article in EDN that talks about all the confusion in the HDMI world. It seems that the HDMI group has their work cut out for them. Check out NAB 2008: Audio Precision Ameliorates HDMI Confusion.

    Posted by The HT Guys, April 25, 2008 9:13 AM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.