Re: Next Gen, HDMI 1.3 Receivers Slow To Market – Do You Really Need Them?
Amen to standardization. I sincerely believe that we would be better off with the signal in the digital domain for as long as possible. Signal transmission is so much better and cheaper in digital form than analog. Ask the telephone and cable companies, which have been doing it for years. And what purpose is served exactly by multiple d-a, a-d, d-a conversions in the system? It sure does not make the system cheaper or more efficient or better sounding.
I envision our audio/video systems of the future being entirely hi-rez digital from source to digitally amplified active speakers, with one and only one DAC for the entire system in the active speaker. We have already had many hints at this. Meridian, in particular, comes closest, but their approach is proprietary, horrendously expensive and now obsolete. Theta was making analog amps with a built-in DAC option. Okay, there will always be an a-d input converter for vinyl or reel-to-reel fans.
I do not think HDMI 1.3a is ready for this, but future evolutions might be. I have always loathed spending outrageous sums for analog cables and it gets worse with multichannel.
Not that there is not a slight difference between analog cables, but the whole process of listening, system matching, etc. is no fun at all. Need I mention the outrageous prices, retail markups and "snake oil" peddled by the analog cable makers. Digital cables do away almost entirely with these issues at unbelievably low prices. Now if HDMI only had a proper latching plug and jack system, like the elegance of XLR cables, we would be in great shape.
As to HDMI 1.2 vs. 1.3a, does anyone actually believe that deep color, etc. is not going to happen in Blu-Ray? For life of me, I do not know why anyone would buy something they know will be obsolete within months. Manufacturers and dealers - especially the low volume high end - are promulgating several myths for their own economic advantage, e.g., "HDMI 1.2 is all you need" (because they can't get the 1.3a chips). Or, "component video is better than HDMI, the latter of which is absolutely and utterly unacceptable". Robert Harley published this notion which he attributed to Arcam. I do not know for the life of me why, when I have a hi-bandwidth digital source (Blu-Ray or even DVD, cable or satellite) and I have a digital monitor, audio controller, room equalizer, etc., why I would want an analog transmission medium - component video and analog audio - in between.
My conversion from stereo to multichannel uses an Integra DTC 9.8 with an Oppo 980H via HDMI. I have not in 40 years as an audiophile heard better sound in terms of faithfulness to the original than this with SACD's or DVD-A's. And, you would not believe to prices of the 2-chanel gear this replaced.