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HDMI vs. Component - What's The Difference?

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September 11, 2007 12:02:07 PM

http://www.geardigest.com/2007/09/11/hdmi_vs_component/index.html

Some videophiles expect HDMI to completely outpace the "vintage" analog format, while true experts in the field know that there are distinct advantages and drawbacks to each format. We take a look at the technologies that make up these video formats and prove that the differences are not as lopsided as you may think.
September 11, 2007 12:54:43 PM

This is very poorly written, does not provide technical basis for the premise offered, repetitive, and WRONG.
September 11, 2007 1:05:59 PM

Wow... Just wow. I would expect this article to be one of Omid's "Second hand Smoke" rant columns, not presented as an actual educated article. The sheer lack of ANYTHING resembling evidence makes this laughable.

One of the main reasons I enjoy Toms Hardware is because the reviews always have enough thorough background information and factual references to let the reader draw their own conclusion. This article is nothing but hand waves and fancy talking. I don't know enough about each standard to say with certainty that one is better than the other, but I do know enough that "TDMS" means TRANSITION minimized differential signaling and Y-Pb-Pr is fundamentally different than RGB. YPbPr carries the Luma signal (essentially an overall grayscale of the image), a blue-luma difference, and a red-luma difference.

One of the things TDMS is particularly good at is high frequency transmission over long or degraded cables. This is because it uses very close to the minimum bandwidth required to carry a digital signal. Any proof at all that HDMI is a poor choice for long cables? This is one of the areas analog cables have struggled with since their inception. Get a single AC power line running along side the analog cable for any significant distance and you have both capacitive and inductive coupling which will cause all sorts of crazy squiggles and hiccups in the image. With HDMI, since each signal is transmitted as a differential pair along with a ground, AND the clock is transmitted along side the data in the same way, it is nearly impossible for any signal to get corrupted by EMI in transit and cannot lose synch with the clock. So how is this a bad setup for long range transmission?

Also, by saying that the AtoD conversion loss of component cables isn't much different than the DtoD loss of HDMI is just silly. Now, I'm not saying that there is never going to be a DtoD loss on HDMI, because there's bound to be some odd device out there that doesn't format it's output in a standard color space, but it is literally impossible for the quality loss of the HDMI conversion to be any worse than the loss of a component conversion, and there's a pretty high likelihood that this conversion can be done without any loss at all.

Even with all this, I am open to the idea that the *** you wrote in the article may actually be correct. But with NO evidence given in the article, nor even references cited, I am forced to dismiss it as simple ranting. Yes, component cables are capable of carrying a 1080p picture. Now give us some EVIDENCE that this signal is capable of the same quality as if it were on an HDMI cable.
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September 11, 2007 1:14:58 PM

BTW, the word that was censored in the last paragraph was as-sumptions (sans hyphen of course)... You need to word on your word filter.
September 11, 2007 1:29:31 PM

HDMI cables lose quality over time? Are they worn down by all the bits passing through them? Ok seriously though, do they corrode or something?

I can understand that the digital signal will deteriorate over a distance to the point where it is not usable. An analog signal will also deteriorate, but with its lower frequencies, I guess its not as bad.

Reading this article, I thought of monthly magazine time scales where an author would have time to make phone calls and interview knowledgeable people in the field, then his editor would have time to review the article to make sure it was up to the quality of the magazine before going to print.

I have to agree with the complaints that BitByteNibble makes.
September 11, 2007 1:31:06 PM

I was hoping you or someone can elaborate on a sentence, "HDMI has also been panned because it's much easier for the signal to degrade over time." Does this mean that the cable wears out over time and needs to be replaced? Thanks
September 11, 2007 1:44:21 PM

I've gotten to the point that if it's something Video related, Toms hardware is not the place to get information. This isn't the first 'article' I've read here with factual errors and incomplete information. No one has pointed out yet that HDMI could end up being the only way you will be able to watch HD from HD-DVD or Blu-ray or possibly some other methods of delivery. I don't know all the technical details but the short version is that there is a flag that if the studios turn it on, your players will only output a Hi-Def signal over HDMI, and Component cables will be limited to basically Standard Definition.

And if there are truly any problems with longer HDMI cable runs, get better cables. And if there is any truth to the concept that HDMI cables will degrade over time, I would like to find out where this information comes from, because this is the first I heard of it.
September 11, 2007 1:54:55 PM

This is probably the worst article I've read on Tom's. It sounds like it was written by someone who recently chose to buy a piece of equipment without hdmi, and is trying to defend himself by downplaying its importance.
September 11, 2007 2:09:00 PM

I remember the good old days when an article on Tom's Hardware was full of useful information and not fluff. HDMI vs component was worthless garbage.

The article failed to mention the fact that most DVD players and other hardware components don't put out anything beyond 480i/480P when using a component cable. For your TV to display 720P/1080i or 1080P there is no choice but to use HDMI.

Maybe next time you write an article like this you could get it published in a woman's magazine and you can discuss how the lovely component cables come in three different amazing colors.
September 11, 2007 2:24:09 PM

I second most of the complaints I read above. After reading this article I feel I know nothing more about HDMI vs. component than I did before, and I didn't know much before.

I'd like to offer you a little writing advice; never use a big word or a fancy expression when simple ones will do - "ridden with naivety"? How about "is naive"? You might say it was ridden with naivety if you were referring to an entire article full of a number of naive ideas.

And avoid excessive hyperbole. I think 'Living under the guise of these kinds of stereotypes will eventually tear your brain to shreds.' is over doing it a bit, you think? And no, it's not humorous that way. It's just silly.

Honestly, this sounds like it was written by a teenager.


Quote:
For your TV to display 720P/1080i or 1080P there is no choice but to use HDMI.

To uncleweb; How am I getting 1080i out of my cable box and my HDTV PCI card to my TV via component then? Component will carry HD signals, there is no question about that. The author was right about that much. There is a lot of confusion about this stuff so a well written and accurate article clearing this all up was a good idea.
September 11, 2007 2:30:19 PM

Nice job, Mark. I'm proud of you. Really brought the article together with a side-by-side comparison and technical knowledge.

On my 32" Hyundai HDTV (sorta old, has 1 DVI rather than HDMI - works well for my HTPC though), if I connect the cable box to component and HDMI->DVI, and switch between the two I can see that the component version is actually a zoomed in version of the HDMI signal. That is the HDMI output actually displays more of the picture broadcast. Other than that, I think component's colors look better, the HDMI ones change on each station.
September 11, 2007 2:50:53 PM

unclewebb said:
Maybe next time you write an article like this you could get it published in a woman's magazine and you can discuss how the lovely component cables come in three different amazing colors.

Stop giving the guy ideas - he may actually go out and do it.

:sol:  Nice one!
September 11, 2007 2:58:37 PM

joex444 said:
Nice job, Mark. I'm proud of you. Really brought the article together with a side-by-side comparison and technical knowledge.

On my 32" Hyundai HDTV (sorta old, has 1 DVI rather than HDMI - works well for my HTPC though), if I connect the cable box to component and HDMI->DVI, and switch between the two I can see that the component version is actually a zoomed in version of the HDMI signal. That is the HDMI output actually displays more of the picture broadcast. Other than that, I think component's colors look better, the HDMI ones change on each station.


Well, that could be your TV setting. If the TV remembers setting for each input, it might have different overscan (the zoomed in effect you're describing) and color decoder settings for each input. You can only compare the two after each has been calibrated so that you're talking apples to apples. And also, you need to know more about your TV. On last gen Sonys, for example, if memory serves me right, they took the digital input then internally converted it to analog to send it to the same signal processor. That was, admittedly, a shortcut, and I don't know if they do it differently now, but again, that's hardly a basis for any comparison between the two standards.

unclewebb said:
I remember the good old days when an article on Tom's Hardware was full of useful information and not fluff. HDMI vs component was worthless garbage.

The article failed to mention the fact that most DVD players and other hardware components don't put out anything beyond 480i/480P when using a component cable. For your TV to display 720P/1080i or 1080P there is no choice but to use HDMI.

Maybe next time you write an article like this you could get it published in a woman's magazine and you can discuss how the lovely component cables come in three different amazing colors.


That's inaccurate, as was pointed out. I know for a fact you can get 1080i through component. I am not sure if 1080p is doable; I know that some vendors restrict it (like PS3, for an example, where you can only get 1080p through HDMI). Also, most DRM-protected media will require a digital path, AFAIK, so HDMI it is. But to say that you can't get 720p or 1080i over component is incorrect.
September 11, 2007 3:01:07 PM

joex444 said:
Nice job, Mark. I'm proud of you. Really brought the article together with a side-by-side comparison and technical knowledge.

On my 32" Hyundai HDTV (sorta old, has 1 DVI rather than HDMI - works well for my HTPC though), if I connect the cable box to component and HDMI->DVI, and switch between the two I can see that the component version is actually a zoomed in version of the HDMI signal. That is the HDMI output actually displays more of the picture broadcast. Other than that, I think component's colors look better, the HDMI ones change on each station.


that sounds like your TV is zooming in on the image, have you checked your settings?


I was hoping for a frame rate comparision, a 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and a 1080p(if you can find a source and tv that will accept component) comparision for hdmi vs component.

also check if there is a delay between the signals on say the ps3/xbox360 between using component vs hdmi when playing games. i.e. if one takes longer or shorter to render, which will mess up your game timings more.

here is what my monitor/tv supports
  1. 1 DVI 1-HDCP + L/R Audio 480i/p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  2. 1 DVI2-HDCP + L/R Audio 480i/p, 720p, 1080i
  3. 1 VGA/D-Sub/RGB + Audio mini jack 480i/p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p
  4. 2 YPbPr Component Video + L/R Audio 480i/p, 720p, 1080i
  5. 1 S-Video+ L/R Audio 480i/p
  6. 1 Composite Video + L/R Audio 480i/p


you really need to do a comparision on all those resolutions and maybe include a distance test. use 6ft cables, 20ft, 100ft and look at the picture quality. heck grab a welding machine and weld near the video cables.

you know, actual hardware testing
September 11, 2007 3:21:07 PM

My favorite part:

Quote:
In other words, the stuff that's going on inside these crazy cables is whacked...


I think the only real mistake that the author made is that he delivered his article 163 days too late. Either that, or else he's practicing to sell snake-oil at a videophile dealership that only has antiquated component-input-only merchandise in-stock.

Then again, I couldn't really read the whole article because my DVI-D signal began to degrade by the time I got to the end of it.
September 11, 2007 3:27:36 PM

WOW - This article is a complete wast of space. I have to agree with all of the complaints above. This article doesn't even mention HDCP http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HDCP . You can in fact transmit 1080p over component and for the most part it looks great the problem is there are very few pieces of equipment that will let you. Almost all devices require HDCP authentication for 1080p which component does not support. Anything that falls under the AACS license will not output 1080p over component. Even most upconverting dvd players require HDCP for 720p/1080i/1080p.
September 11, 2007 3:36:40 PM

why the hell use the wii's component cable system? its not even capible of hi definition anyway, not exactly a major thing but still...and as the guy above said, what about HDCP? it isnt present in component.
September 11, 2007 3:37:10 PM

I admit I don't really understand why, but I can tell you after reading a lot of web pages that both HDMI/DVI and component can and do carry HD signals more or less equally well. There are minor differences that have to do with the conversion/processing that goes on but the only way to know whether HDMI or component will do the better job is to try them out with YOUR equpiment. As the author pointed out HDMI does a conversion too, it's digital to digital but it still a conversion and subject to some sort of errors.

To bnorton; I'm still confused about HDCP but IIRC it isn't yet 'turned on' and that the only worry is that one day they will turn it on. I could be all wrong about. I have heard it is true that some devices will not output 1080p via compnent but I thought this was a choice made by the device mfg and not due to conetent protection, yet. I'm happy to accept further education on this point.
September 11, 2007 3:41:12 PM

well, most device manufacturers have made that choice and they choose digital for 1080p at least...
September 11, 2007 4:02:55 PM

I too agree with previous posters - this is one of the most profoundly superficial articles I’ve ever read. :pfff: 

I’ve pieced together a new version of the article that’s much shorter yet presents the reader with far more information.
Quote:

Do a google search for hdmi vs component

There ya go… only 8 words, yet the user is presented with helpful information and more of it.

Actually, after a brief check it appears that at least some of the article’s conclusions and *** are correct, but the apparent (IMO) lack of faith in the reader’s ability to grasp the technical details of the subject is insulting.
September 11, 2007 4:15:06 PM

snowman5373 said:
I was hoping you or someone can elaborate on a sentence, "HDMI has also been panned because it's much easier for the signal to degrade over time." Does this mean that the cable wears out over time and needs to be replaced? Thanks


This has nothing to do with the cable itself, he's talking about signals traveling through the cable.

It all has to do with cable impedence. HDMI cables transmit signals over twisted pairs rather than COAX. After a certain distance the cables are prone to reflections that can interfere with the actual signal. This can result in information loss. Also, digital streams are square wave signals. The impedence factor will cause some amout of rounding of the waveforms, this proportional to the distance of the twisted pair cable.


September 11, 2007 4:19:39 PM

spongebob said:
Actually, after a brief check it appears that at least some of the article’s conclusions and *** are correct, but the apparent (IMO) lack of faith in the reader’s ability to grasp the technical details of the subject is insulting.



Reader's ability? I think the author skimmed some of the same articles we found on the web and pasted some of the ideas together, probably lacking a deep understanding himself. Sorry, but that's how it looks to me.
September 11, 2007 4:27:07 PM

I haven't found any contact info on how to reach the management at Toms / Gear Digest. This is now 0 for 3 of Mark Raby articles I've read to have any benchmarks, proof, or sound technical explanation for the opinion and 3 for 3 for inconsistencies with technical facts. It is starting to diminish the credibility of the site. I like the benchmark and control heavy computer articles, not these New Yorker Op-Ed pieces telling us, without any backup, that a DLP (BAD!) hooked up with HDMI (BAD!) is going to suck compared to a plasma hooked up with components.
September 11, 2007 4:29:37 PM

Well the article was lacking evidence to back up the statements, but he what he did get across is that HDMI image quality vs. Component video quality is literally the same. I, too, agree that he could've gone more in-depth to prove his statements.

From what I know, Component is able to "guess" and "repair" lost/damaged video signals, yet if HDMI loses the signal the pixel is lost and is seen as a missing pixel, so with long runs Component may still be more reliable. That is the only downfall I see with HDMI along with price, but everything else seems to be an advantage over component.

I still want to know what he meant by "HDMI degrades itself over time". Is that in regards to a long-run or over time itself?

The HDCP issue makes HDMI a must-have in today's Home Entertainment World and Component (even though it is able to produce the same quality as HDMI and is cheaper) is not in the Media Industry's best interest and that's what matters.

Btw, Component CAN do 1080p (i.e. Xbox 360 over VGA connection)
September 11, 2007 4:32:21 PM

devdevil85 said:
I still want to know what this "HDMI degrades itself over time". Is that over a long-run or over time?


I believe he misspoke (mistyped?). Distance is the factor, not time (see my post above).
September 11, 2007 4:58:31 PM

Mark,

The article you have written appears to be designed for those with very little to no technical knowledge of these technologies. For those people, I'm sure it was somewhat informative and may have explained a few things to them.

As I'm sure you are well aware, the visitors to this site have varying degrees of technical competence, ranging from beginner to guru. When they saw the title HDMI vs. Component - What's The Difference?, on a site known technical articles, there is an expectation that the article would at least start off with technical specifications for each cable type, perhaps followed by electrical transmission specifications, or a more in-depth explanation as to how each handle video from the source to its destination, in this case directly to the display.

You had some very basic information, but as others have stated, no evidence. If you had provided charts and data to prove your statements, this would have helped.

Also, you could have gone one step further and actually performed some tests, listing your apparatus and test methods, as what previous authors on this site would have done so in the past. This would give this article a lot of the weight it is clearly lacking.

Might I suggest that for next time, you take more time in preparing your article with data to back up your statements.

Hopefully others here will notify you directly by the feedback option in the article.
September 11, 2007 5:22:58 PM

I know that component cables can carry a 1080i signal but most upconverting DVD players will only put out a high-def signal when you're using an HDMI cable. With a component cable most only put out 480i or 480P.
September 11, 2007 7:44:04 PM

Quote:
why the hell use the wii's component cable system?

Where did it say Wii....he just got a picture from the manual to show a picture of component video cables.

From the title i had hoped there would be large in depth comparisons of both...with lets say test videos and images from a computer(that will take HDCP out of it for the sake of a video only test)....
September 11, 2007 8:27:02 PM

I am trying to take this article at face value because I have been a long time tom's hardware reader, and generally have found the information here to be very well informed.

I am a signal processing engineer with a good working knowledge about video cable standards. I am by no means an expert however, I did not design the hdmi standard or anything. This article came as a bit of a shock to me while reading because I question the whole premise of the article. It seems that you are trying to make the argument that component analog video signaling is of comparable and often better quality than digital HDMI or DVI for that matter. To do this you make some interesting points that I feel beg to be qualified.

question 1: why the malice? Name calling (half-witted) is a rather feeble way to present a case.

If you talk to any half-witted video enthusiast or ask an *** at your local big box retailer - bearing in mind that the two groups are pretty much the same - they'll unmistakably tell you that HDMI is better than component, case closed, end of story.


question 2: You use the word specifically and then state something very general. What exactly are these checks and balances? Please cite your sources. I am guessing you are pointing out limited error checking and correcting of the hdmi standard. I don't quite understand how this is related to "degradation of cable signal over time."

Specifically, when the HDMI standard was developed, a very robust system of checks and balances was tossed out, in favor of a cheap alternative that can lead to degradation of the cable signal over time.


question 3: why do you state that there is things going on in the cables? Maybe this is just a simplistic abstraction to what is going on, but still its confusing. Also, please explain whats going on in digital conversions that cause unintentional signal degradation and why. Please cite sources.

HDMI cables also need to convert signals to their own format. The only difference is that it's just messing around with conversions between different digital signals instead of digital and analog.

In other words, the stuff that's going on inside these crazy cables is whacked, no matter what kind of cable you're using.

question 4: cite your reference for this:
HDMI has also been panned because it's much easier for the signal to degrade over time.

question 5: why is your conclusion that they are no winners? Perhaps you should consider summarizing the benefits of analog cables vs digital cables, and perhaps provide some numbers in tables or graphs to back up conclusions. Since when is "just fine" acceptable?

The real point is that there's not really a winner: the argument to be made is that both formats function just fine.


all I can say is wow. Please reconsider this article and how it reflects on the journalism of your website.

September 11, 2007 8:28:22 PM

To those that replied to my post, I agree that one sample point is not enough to make any statements in general. Yet, this is still more evidence than the author provided ;)  I haven't seen any overscan correction settings either in the cable box or the TV. Then again, the full version over DVI actually provides the garbage at the top/bottom that normally gets cut out, which is exactly where there is no useful video, so I tend to prefer component. That, and the only DVI port is in use by the HTPC.

I'm not sure exactly where Tom's Hardware became biased unproven arguments.com, but this Mark guy has to go. I believe it's the MLB where if you **** up 3x, you're gone. I like that.
September 11, 2007 8:55:34 PM

Hello . . .hello . . . anybody home?
September 11, 2007 9:30:52 PM

All this is whacked guys. Lemme take a crack at writing this article. Component cables have a digital to analog to digital conversion that is whacked. HMDI is designed by idiots and is whacked over longer distances. It is simply unreliable over longer cable runs especially for 1080p and even more so for HDMI 1.3.

The best professional installers generally use component for longer cable runs due to its reliability. When you put something into a wall, it can’t get whacked. The quality degradation of analog component cables and their limitations for 1080p on lots of equipment is a fair tradeoff for HDMI cables that don’t work at all over distance for professional installers.

So, what does this mean to the layman?

720p or 1080i? HDMI or Component will work just fine and the quality loss of the analog conversion is minimal. So, your cable company gave you component cables to their cable box? Use em, their signal is so compressed anyways that if you can tell the difference, you will be pissed with the broadcast quality anyways and will never see a difference.

1080p? Use HDMI because most equipment is limited to 1080i over component because of whacked anti consumer regulations. Got a PS3? HDMI is the only way to go if you have a TV capable of 1080p.
September 11, 2007 10:23:58 PM

Thank you Autoboy. Very funny.
September 11, 2007 10:25:08 PM

Conspiracy Theory: Actually, the author is a pseudonym employed by THG mktg mgmt as a test to see whether they can get the same ad revenue with (less expensive) pseudo science and opinion that they get with true science and engineering.

"I weep for the future."
The maitre d' from Ferris Bueller's Day Off
September 12, 2007 12:11:58 AM

"the stuff that's going on inside these crazy cables is whacked"

nahm sayin, aheet! das pofeshonalli writtin! fashizzle!

You speak of degradation of digital cabling, yet fail to point out cable quality and source. A $500 HDMI cable on a $5000 receiver probably wont experience this, vs. a $99 home theater system from Wallys World with a $5 HDMI cable which also probably still wont see this degradation you are talking about. If your statement is true, SPDIF, Coax and any digital connection should suffer the same consequences. In fact, according to your statements, every DVI/HDMI cable connected to ever computer should go "whacked". I wonder how many LCD PC monitors have degraded quality because of this?
September 12, 2007 12:49:39 AM

Ok ... the replies are getting annoying and just ignorant.

The guy is simply saying the difference between hdmi and component isn't worth the extra cost. If you have HDMI than fine but if you have component don't go out of your way to get HDMI. Simply because the difference doesn't justify the cost.

HDMI is a standard. It doesn't matter if you spend 500 dollars or 5 dollars they both operate the same. Because it's a standard that uses compliant parts to make it work. It cannot work "better" or "worst" because that invalidates the standard. In other words - the cable would not work. The devices are statically programmed to expect a certain voltage and amperage as well as the frequency of the signals. If it's any faster or slower it won't recognize it. HDMI is new so it hasn't had the time to be well thought out and to have the bugs worked out.

Component is another standard. It's based on the well known and well thought analog standards. Stuff that's been proven to work over time. Has most of the bugs worked out.

Regardless if he's right or wrong about the cables the point of the article was HDMI is to new to jump off a cliff for it.

Reading Comprehension or the lack there of for the lose. Come on people the article was clear.

albundyhere said:
"the stuff that's going on inside these crazy cables is whacked"

nahm sayin, aheet! das pofeshonalli writtin! fashizzle!

You speak of degradation of digital cabling, yet fail to point out cable quality and source. A $500 HDMI cable on a $5000 receiver probably wont experience this, vs. a $99 home theater system from Wallys World with a $5 HDMI cable which also probably still wont see this degradation you are talking about. If your statement is true, SPDIF, Coax and any digital connection should suffer the same consequences. In fact, according to your statements, every DVI/HDMI cable connected to ever computer should go "whacked". I wonder how many LCD PC monitors have degraded quality because of this?

September 12, 2007 2:53:58 AM

Erm, I don't know much about anything but just suppose you do convince me that the component cable is better, but what about audio? Are you telling me I will get better audio as well into my receiver than with my receiver which supports HDMI? I doubt that.
September 12, 2007 3:25:00 AM

man... Tom's Hardware is written for, by, and populated by 15-year olds now. the only remaining tech site i can get any real info from now is Anandtech.
September 12, 2007 5:49:00 AM

Unfortunately this article simply provides a dis-service to everyone. To the initiated it has no technical meat. To the uneducated it seems to defend a very good for its time, but antiquated technology (component). And while component is definitely indeed capable of supporting transmission up/to 1080p, he fails to mention (as pointed out by others) the lack of hdcp support (a critical piece in today's video/audio totalitarian state), he also fails to mention the equally important factor of hdmi carrying multi-channel audio. Formats that simply cannot be carried by any other analog or digital connection (toslink and coax digital max out at 1.5 mbps). Therefore, uncompressed pcm audio, truehd and master dts will simply not have the bandwidth available to transmit these audio encodings unless one uses hdmi. I won't even go into the future potential of 1.3 and deep color.

To the author- I know sometimes it's hard to say goodbye to good friends that have served us well, but it's time to (for much better) bid a fond farewell to component.
September 12, 2007 7:40:53 AM

Well what can you say, it looks like ever since they sold out and saw all the pretty green that came from it, the tech side just went down hill.
September 12, 2007 1:54:02 PM

xxsk8er101xx said:
Ok ... the replies are getting annoying and just ignorant.

The guy is simply saying the difference between hdmi and component isn't worth the extra cost. If you have HDMI than fine but if you have component don't go out of your way to get HDMI. Simply because the difference doesn't justify the cost.

....

Regardless if he's right or wrong about the cables the point of the article was HDMI is to new to jump off a cliff for it.

Reading Comprehension or the lack there of for the lose. Come on people the article was clear.


show me the differnce. where are the charts? show me the benifits/pitfalls of using the resolutions at 480i/480p/720p/1080i/1080p over a 6ft run, a 10ft, 20ft, and 100ft run.

what artifacts get introduced. is there any latency introduced? what are some cost differences.

honestly this entire article should have gone on for 10-20 pages.

also whats the different between HDMI revision 1.0,1.1,1.2/1.2a,1.3/1.3a/1.3b. what about category1 or category2 hdmi cables?

the article may have been 'clear' but without backing up the statements it should have just been "you won't be able to tell the difference, pick what is easy for you"
September 12, 2007 2:01:12 PM

xxsk8er101xx, I think posters were pretty clear in their replies and points. Do you know anything about the subject matter? What was not clear or incorrect in the quote you provided? The fact that reflections are lower in higher quality cables and that higher-end equipment can better deal with reflections? That's a fact. How about what aapocketz said? I think that was well put and he stated his qualifications.

Are you just protecting one of Tom's boys, or are you actually employed by the site? This article is garbage. Like someone said, just google HDMI vs component for some quality info that, while not necessarily always at odds with the points raised in the Tom's article, is much better supported and explained.
September 12, 2007 3:13:21 PM

I am not an expert by any standard but even I know that HD sources have the ability to limit component to 720P. HDMI is the only way movie studios can send an anti copy flag to recording devices so they have the ability to limit component to 720P in an effort to reduce HD copying of copyrighted material. They currently don't use this feature but as HD dvd takes off it is only a matter of time. When this becomes widely used component will not be very useful as an HD cable. This is a simplified and perhaps somewhat inaccurate take on this process but the author totally overlooked this .
September 12, 2007 6:48:11 PM

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch! Sorry to one and all. I was hoping to see some discussion of how HDMI on PCs has been perverted by taking S/PDIF audio as input for the HDMI audio, when that technology is limited to something between 1 and 2 Mbps and the new 8-channel and 7.1 formats need something around 6 Mbps to move uncompressed surround sound from the player further on down the processing chain (receiver or TV set, depending on your setup).
This is a tough and interesting area, and one where the standards folks failed to specify definite distance limitations. I don't recommend using HDMI cables more than 15 feet long (10 feet to be really sure) without some kind of in-line amplifier or repeater to make sure what goes in on one end matches what comes out on the other. FWIW, plenty of companies will sell you equipment designed to run HDMI from 25-100 feet, but it does come at a price...
HTH,
--Ed--
September 12, 2007 7:57:44 PM

Quote:
I won't even go into the future potential of 1.3 and deep color.


HDMI 1.3 is almost doomed to failure. They increased the bandwidth of HDMI without changing the specs for the cables, which already have trouble transmitting over long distances. It is all about the bandwidth guys. Increase the bandwidth without changing the cables and it can lead to problems.
September 12, 2007 8:03:55 PM

Technical inaccuracies aside, the article does make one good point -- Dont beleive everything you hear, and more expensive does not always equal better.

If you want some real laughs and insights into the world of cables and snake oil advertising, check out some of the more expensive speaker cables. At prices up to $500 a foot, the advertising and reviews can get pretty creative.
September 13, 2007 2:44:11 AM

While I don't have a lot of tech knowledge specifically, I do have a high end monitor and DVD with both component and HDMI, so I can experiment with both with the same input. Also the DishNetwork receiver has both.After almost 2 years use I can say the only difference between the 2 is a slightly higher signal strength/bandwidth with HDMI. Also many HDMI units I've seen have DRM issues, not mentioned before, seemingly absent from component. Picture and sound quality are much more dependent on the input which does vary enormously. And for the record I have used 10 foot and longer runs with both with no noticeable degradation. All in all we're talking about a very few percentage points between the two in any application, so in that I think the author was correct, it's not that big a deal.
September 13, 2007 3:12:38 AM

Any cable using RCA phono plug connectors(component) is a full employment guarantee for tech repair people like myself. Just remember how many times that you recovered your left or right side speaker output by twisting the RCA connector slightly. I've had 3 repair calls over the last 2 months wherein the customer's HDTV's display was either slightly greenish or purple. In each case the customer was using a component cable with non-gold plated RCA connectors supplied in the initial setup installation by the cable company. After explaining the reason for the HDTV's distorted colors and my recommendation to use a high quality component cable with gold-plated RCA connectors, the problem was solved and the customer relieved with the solution only costing the price of the replacement cable plus my minimum on-site service call charge.
FWIW, HDMI connectors are the future and make home theater/PC setup installations a snap. However, as some herein have posted, there are early implementation problems that only time will settle. Bandwidth constraint and an inability to run long lengths are not limitations of HDMI. In fact only HDMI is robust enough to handle super-HDTV, otherwise known as 4K HDTV.
September 13, 2007 3:40:32 AM

Well, lets make it short. This is a Technical site, and we, toms readers, expect technical explanations. This article lacks technical explanations, let alone self tests to confirm the specs. But the terrible fact is that the info is ambiguos and wrong:

If the article is targeted to consumers, normal users, nontechnical users, casual people... (everyone except the minority, US), it should say that HDMI is the best solution for Home Video/Audio: everything digital (Audio+Video), no lossless conversions (perfect image), ONE CABLE (SIMPLICITY!!!!). Short cables that cost 5$ produce the same result than a 100$ short cable.
If the article is targeted at us, technician, curious people, gamers, tech freaks, and more, should know that at least in theory HDMI is TECHNICALLY SUPERIOR AND MORE FUTURE PROOF than component cables. If you want techical info google it, and see for yourself.
Like it or not, HDMI replaces Component, as DVI (or DisplayPort in the near future) replaces VGA, as HDVD/BLUERAY replaces DVD.
The shortcomings that HDMI has, (long distance problems, DRM problems, and more) are shortcomings that come with a NEW standard that is going AND IT IS always evolving. its normal, and there is nothing we can do more than wait to be solved OR BUY/KNOW how the hardware work and the quality of it and the cables.
!