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HDMI vs. Component - What's The Difference? - Page 2

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September 13, 2007 7:17:54 AM

I'll give the guy credit - since reading his article I learned a lot more about HDMI than I ever knew before, but that information sure wasn't in his article. The only reason I found out was because I thought the writing was so vacuous that I had to check out the comments to see what kind of uproar it caused. Lets just say I wasn't disappointed.

A few points: twisted pairs can't be THAT bad in and of themselves, how else do we reliably get 1Gbps ethernet down a skinny little cable at 10 cents a foot ? Looking at the bandwidth (Mhz) rating of Cat 6 cable it seems to be rated much higher than the 340Mhz of HDMI 1.3 - I'd love to find out more info about this...

Which leads me to - for the average home user who only needs to go a few feet most of the time (unless they are hooking up to a ceiling mount projector) I'll take a HDMI cable over a big bundle of component cables and the monster [sic] inflated prices all those gold plated connectors command!

Finally, regarding the language in the article - it really seems like it was written quite badly in a different language, then translated to English and edited badly - which ironically sounds just like one of those "whacked" signal translations the author kept on about!

PS. An update - a quick google on "hdmi error correction" lead me to this thread that quotes from the HDMI spec

http://episteme.arstechnica.com/eve/forums/a/tpc/f/6790...

So apparently data is encoded in a redundant way and with parity checks to a) make errors less likely and b) make errors detectable. The redundancy gives some automatic form of "error correction" but it is not retransmission - if the correction code can't handle the size of the error then the data is lost which would probably explain previously describe behavior of catastrophic dropout after cables exceed some critical length. A protocol like TCP/IP over the same kind of twisted pair allows for retransmission so you can continue to get good data through, just at low bandwidth due to retransmission.
September 14, 2007 2:36:49 AM

I'm sorry I don't know how else to say this, but this guy is a tard or something like that. Why they have him writing for Tom's I cannot understand. Reading this article is like going into some parallel universe where everything is opposite of what it is in our universe.

This guy should find something else to do, because writing articles shouldn't be earning this guy a living.

This is really sad, because I came across this article in Engadget HD, where some cretin of a writer (but I expect it over there, not here) linked to this article and wrote a piece backing it up.

http://www.engadgethd.com/2007/09/13/hdmi-vs-component/...

I can't understand how they have people so stupid writing on sites where the purpose is to educate the layman or enthusiast and help them understand. I mean 99% of the reader base can school the writer on something so fundamental and basic.

Anyway, this article just disgusts me.
September 14, 2007 2:40:43 AM

kittle said:
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.



Well, with analog up to a point the better built the cable the better the transmission. You can tell differences in analog cables up to a point. However with digital, a $5 monoprice HDMI will do the same as a $90 Monster Cable for all intents and purposes.

If anything HDMI saves me lots of money on my cabling costs. So if you branch out from Best Buy, you'll find that HDMI offers higher quality at a much lower cost.
Related resources
September 14, 2007 2:43:59 AM

matcarfer said:
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.



It is not HDMI that carries DRM it is HDCP. You can have HDCP on DVI as well. It is HDCP causing all those problems you hear about.

HDMI is basically DVI with a different connector with support for audio and higher bandwidth capability. HDMI and DVI can be converted with a simple $5 adapter because they are the same thing basically with different connectors.
September 14, 2007 3:08:13 AM

predaking said:
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"


No this article does not need to be longer. It simply should never have been written. Stating that you won't be able to tell a difference is an insult to the reader unless the reader is blind. There is error correction in a digital link. When you get into 100ft runs then HDMI may not work, but usually you'll just get an error and that's that. With component and a 100ft, there will be degradation and the only way to lessen that is to buy very expensive cables, and still there will more degradation than in an HDMI setup that works. With HDMI, get yourself a repeater or amplifier and you'll be fine. It isn't cheap, but if you need a good quality 100ft run don't expect to do it for cheap.
September 14, 2007 3:51:56 AM

sxr71 said:
It is not HDMI that carries DRM it is HDCP. You can have HDCP on DVI as well. It is HDCP causing all those problems you hear about.

HDMI is basically DVI with a different connector with support for audio and higher bandwidth capability. HDMI and DVI can be converted with a simple $5 adapter because they are the same thing basically with different connectors.


yeah, I know, my bad. Sorry. I even have a PS3 connectec to a LCD with DVI so... what you said is correct. :p 
September 14, 2007 10:43:33 AM

Quote:
Amid a global spectrum of high definition format battles, none is so misunderstood as the debate between HDMI and component video.

It's not misunderstood, you are a retard.
Quote:
Some videophiles expect HDMI to completely outpace the "vintage" analog format, while true experts in the field know there are distinct advantages and disadvantages to each format.

The only advantage to component cables is that is easier to strangle retards such as yourself with them.

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This article will give you a better idea of the technologies that make up these video formats, and prove that the differences are not as lopsided as you may think.
ROFL!!!!!! :lol: 

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If you talk to any half-witted video enthusiast or ask an associate at your local big box retailer - bearing in mind that the two groups are pretty much the same
Nice little dig there to try and assert yourself as the expert. Do you fall into this category?

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they'll unmistakably tell you that HDMI is better than component, case closed, end of story.
That's because it is.

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This is just based on tired assumptions of the entire audio/visual industry.
Of course, this is where I have been going wrong... the ENTIRE "audio/visual industry" is wrong, and you, the "expert", are right.

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HDMI is based on a digital technology while component is analog, HDMI is a more recent development and HDMI costs more. Conventional wisdom says that newer formats are better, digital is always the best and a higher price tag equals higher quality.
Conventional wisdom is not always right, but in this case, IT IS!.

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Living under the guise of these kinds of stereotypes will eventually tear your brain to shreds. They're just not true.
The amount of solid facts you are spewing out here scared me to bits.

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Component video cables can deliver really high quality pictures, just like HDMI.
Yes, really high quality compared to Composite, S-Video, SCART, RGB-SCART and other legacy formats.

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They also tend to be a bit more robust, especially if you need a really long cable.
So true... when you buy a very expensive component cable and a cheap piece of **** HDMI cable.

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Another issue is that digital is rarely all that it's cracked up to be.
You've lost me right here, I can't understand all the technical details and rock solid facts you have crammed into this sentence.

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On one side, digital technologies have vastly improved mechanisms to weed out imperfections caused by their analog counterparts.
Wow, the first factually correct sentence in the whole article!

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Unfortunately, on the flip side, it's also an excuse to employ cuts to make the new technology as cheap as possible.
Of course, they really were going for the cheapest format ever when designing HDMI. Thats why cables sell for £5 a metre.

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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.
Degradation of cable signal over time? OH MY GOD, WHAT IS THE WORLD COMING TO?????? If you buy a cable make out of **** then it is likely to degrade over time. This has nothing to do with Component vs HDMI, and everything to do with the build quality of your cable.

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The analog component cable has no such built-in flaw, and in most cases should be able to last a lifetime without problems.
Yes it does, but with your expert knowledge of every component cable ever made, we now all know that component cables are INVINCIBLE!

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While both cable formats present a picture as essentially a mosaic of red, green and blue color components,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Light

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the way they do this is based on two completely different processes.
If it was the same then there wouldn't be two cable formats would there?

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For component, three individual inputs are needed; the signal is usually referred to as YPbPr. The "Y" component focuses on the brightness of the image as the "green" channel, the "Pb" component is the blue channel, and the "Pr" component presents the red part of the picture. All three signals are then put together to create the final picture.
Firstly, there are two formats of component video: Y'PbPr and RGB. Secondly, the "Y" component is luminance, and does not carry any information about green. The "Pb" component carries the DIFFERENCE between blue "b" and the luminance, and the "Pr" component carries the DIFFERENCE between red "r" and the luminance. There is no green information, it is calculated from the other three parts of the component signal.

Quote:
HDMI, on the other hand, uses a standard called Transmission Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS). What this basically does is incorporate three different channels for each color set, allowing one cable to sync all the channels together in a straight-to-digital format.
No, no, no. TMDS performs a set of calculations on the 8-bit colour input resulting in a 10-bit output with excellent fault tolerance.

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Component cables typically take a digital signal,
No, thats what happens if you are outputting component from a digital source such as a games console of DVD player. Other inputs such as cable TV use analogue anyway.

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convert it to analog for internal conversion processes,
No, they "convert" it to analogue (if it was digital before) because COMPONENT IS A **** ANALOGUE FORMAT

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and then convert it back to digital for output to the TV.
No, thats what happens when you are watching on a LCD TV. If you are watching on a projector or analogue TV (all CRTs are analogue btw) then it has to convert it back to digital.

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The resting assumption is that, because of the digital-to-analog-to-digital mechanism involved with component cables, there's always a bigger loss of picture quality.
There is a **** huge loss in signal quality when you do this. You probably will have never been able to tell though, because you would need a high-definition analogue video device (such as a high definition projector) to be able to output component in it's native format (analogue).

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That sentiment is ridden with naivety, though, because HDMI suffers similar issues. Even though it's a digital format, it's hardly a universal conversion from every single output source.
Your brain is ridden with naivety. Who the **** would use HDMI to transmit to or from an analogue source? Oh wait, a retard like you, of course, why didn't I think of that?

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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.
They do have to convert it to their own format, yes, but the conversion process is 100% lossless, so it is impossible to distinguish.

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In other words, the stuff that's going on inside these crazy cables is whacked, no matter what kind of cable you're using.
Your face is gonna get whacked if I ever meet you in real life.

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While it's an easy cop out to just assume a more antiquated analog format will have more trouble reproducing a purely HD image, that statement lacks thorough consideration.
Your article lacks thorough, no, any consideration.

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HDMI has also been panned because it's much easier for the signal to degrade over time. Long-range HDMI cables are also known to lose quality because of a less-than-perfect set of standards for the format.
Back to this argument again..... BUY A DECENT HDMI CABLE FOR GOD'S SAKE.

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Analog cables, on the other hand, can last decades and stretch for dozens of feet without any sort of automatic degradation.
Ah yes, your magic analogue cable from never-never land!

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Because of its universality with one single input for audio and sound, HDMI has become the much preferred standard for HDTV hook-ups.
That is one minor advantage of HDMI, among many of the others it has including immeasurably better video quality.

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That doesn't mean it necessarily has a huge leaps-and-bounds advantage over component, though.
No it doesn't necessarily mean that, but it's true nevertheless.

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Component video provides a more reliable picture, carries a more robust set of standards and generally works better for long-range professional-type set-ups.
No it doesn't, HDMI standards are being updated all the time and, again, no it doesn't.

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It should be noted that the other major high definition video standard, DVI, runs with the exact same technology as HDMI, except it does not carry audio. Your HDTV may have DVI inputs instead of HDMI, and everything written here about HDMI video is the same for your video signal.
Far from being the exact same, they are highly compatible but have MANY differences.

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The real point is that there's not really a winner: the argument to be made is that both formats function just fine.
The real point is that you are possibly the biggest retard I have ever seen write a "professional" article on a hardware website. Since I have been avidly reading these types of websites almost every day for about 11 years, I have to say that is a **** amazing achievement, well done!


Quote:
HDMI is nice because it incorporates both audio and video, and that's a very nice extra feature. However, if your cable company's HD converter box only supports component output, that's not a reason to jump to another service provider.
Ignore this idiot, if you want a better quality picture than component, HDMI is the way to go - change your service provider.

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Analog technologies date back decades upon decades and are built on a long-standing tradition.
Oh yes, those analog traditions, lets not forget them!!!

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And while digital formats are supposed to deliver more fulfilling standards, they're often under-utilized in favor of making cheaper products.
Like I have been saying, don't buy a cheap piece of **** in future and you might not have any problems. But considering your level of ineptitude, I have to say that is very unlikely.

Anonymous
September 14, 2007 1:32:31 PM

This is the worst article I have ever read; the technical details are not only misleading, but also erroneous. I work in this field, and I found it so poorly written I had to register and post a comment.

Several points:

The description of Component Video …

+ Y is not Brightness, it is luminance (technically very different) – and not technically the green channel (yes, it is green on the cable …)

+ Pb is not the blue component, but the difference between the Y and the Blue component from RGB, but it’s not a straight conversion either (ditto for Pr)

Secondly the advantage that digital has over analogue, which should have been taken into consideration, is that a digital signal is either 0 or 1, signified by a voltage level (which can be anything to represent the two levels: for example 0v or 5v; -5v or +5v, etc) analogue as the name suggests is variable between two extreme voltage levels. This means that if there is interference in the digital it’s easier to reconstruct because we know it is either 0 or 1 (so any degradation of the signal has a long way to go before it can be confused, i.e. 5v or 2.5v whatever the voltage level) this is aside from the other reconstruction technologies (such as CRC type checking and alike), analogue on the other hand can suffer from noise because the values represent different levels, therefore any noise is harder to define (although it can be removed)

The other issue of course is that signal degradation on component cables can be different for Y, Pr, and Pb – but component is the best of the analogue group because it can use each channel to calculate the noise level and filter it out (unlike composite where there is no comparative channel, or s-video (Y/C) which has only one other channel), but small variations (impedance, length, etc) in the cable can cause the 3 channels to be slightly (very slightly) out of phase with each other and therefore you can see a slight shift between RGB due to this phase difference when using lower quality cables.

HDMI on the other hand doesn’t suffer so readily from these problems, and the reason why you don’t see such shifts (don’t forget analogue RGB SVGA cables work on similar principles to component video, although obviously RGB and not YCrCb – which is more robust and closer to the original digital signal of your video broadcast).

I should also mention that component cables can take 1080p in most cases, but the bandwidth of those cables is close to requirement of 1080p, so again poor quality component cables will show degradation especially over some distance – HDMI is suffers less.

So generally you can buy a 1m cheap HDMI cable, and it will be the same as a 1m ultra-expensive HDMI cable.

As for the DRM (which is also not the correct term) issues of HDMI I cannot really comment on the details, but you can degrade a signal in many ways (quality, size – 1080p -> 480i) and HDMI or component won’t change that, both can be used for such things. My video camera for example knows, when connected via component, that I am trying to record protected media (and tells me outright – “you are trying to copy protected media, cannot proceed”).
September 14, 2007 8:56:08 PM

For a full, complete understanding of the new digital interface, HDMI you can go to DPL.org. This is a brand new rating program for all cables and accessories. The DPL Ranking System tests HDMI cables and ranks them by performance on a scale from 1 to 5 based on bandwidth, eye patterns, supply line current, impedance, jitter, etc. This system will empower YOU, the end user, to choose between high and low quality cables. We can also discuss the basic differences between analog and digital. Let's not be silly RGB is better than component. Balanced RGB is in HDMI, its better. Pure digital data is better than A to D, D to A whatever. Distance and Matrixing are our issues with HDMI as compared to component. Those are the only areas where component is logically better. For further info you can log onto HDMI.org or simplayhd.com. They are both divisions of Silican Image, one of the founders of HDMI.
September 15, 2007 3:13:32 AM

Wow! What can be said that hasn't been already?

I've been reading this site for longer than I can remember...

And THIS was the article that angered me so much that I actually registered for the forums, just to tell you all!

Apart from the quality of the writing, this article's biggest sin is that it leaves you with the *feeling* that component is for the "smart guys" whilst HDMI is inferior. FUD.

IMO, this guy/TG could just be shilling for the cable makers, who are *gutted* that all
somebody needs to get a perfect 1080p picture is a $5 HDMI cable (<3m).

Who needs 5 x £$£$£ fancy OFC cables now? no-one!!

Cable snake oil is a HUGE con but is massively profitable.

Manufacturers sell cables at huge multiples of what they cost to make.

Might that be the reason that, despite all the criticisms on digg and the forum, this "informative comparison" has been 1st thing you see on TG's homepage since Tuesday morning?
September 17, 2007 9:10:34 PM

FUD, Do you know what that stands for? If so then you also know there are huge differences in the performance of HDMI cables. Take the price tag off, the brandname off, the pretty colors off, and rate by PERFORMANCE only. We'll soon find out how these cables perform compared with the HDMI minimums (compliance).
September 18, 2007 12:08:48 AM

This article should be taken off THG's site, for THG sake. Although there are some ignorant comments on the article, most are correct and say it all. So I too came here for the same reason as most of the readers, but there isn’t much more left to be said.

Blefuscu said:
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.


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