|HDMI: One Cable to Replace Them All?|
|Home Theater Feature Articles Other|
|Written by Bryan Dailey|
|Saturday, 01 October 2005|
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When the signal from a digital source is sent via HDMI, the digital HDCP encoding information is encrypted and sent along with the audio and video signals. At each step of the chain, whether it is sent directly to a monitor or through some kind of switching system, the HDCP “handshake” must be maintained. If the HDCP signal is compromised in any way before it reaches the display to be un-encoded, the picture will simply not appear on the screen. It is important to make sure that any cables, switches and components that you use are fully HDCP compliant.
Currently, many HDMI devices exist on the market and most next generation 1080p-capable TVs are starting to include multiple HDMI inputs for those who do not yet have HDMI switching capabilities. There are HDMI switchers available from companies like Dtrovision and Geffen, but not all of them pass 1080p video or any audio through them, so when HD audio signals such as DTS-HD begin being broadcast along with the video signals, you will want to check with the manufacturer of your switching solution to see if it is able to pass the audio along with it. Currently, this is not an issue as you just run your video and audio separately, most likely using the dedicated digital outputs of your satellite receiver, cable box or DVD player and running them into your receiver or AV preamp to be properly decoded.
The Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD battle is still raging on, but one thing is certain: the studios have all agreed that HDMI is their approved standard and although there are a few little hurdles including switching, length of cable runs and the HDCP encoding issues, there are solutions to almost every setup issue. Receivers with multiple HDMI inputs and digital amps inside will start to become smaller, as the massive amount of real estate for connectors will not be needed as much. The high bandwidth promise of 1080p video will take HDTV to the next level and, although it is not a perfect connector, HDMI is the new standard that will be transmitting it and it’s going to be here to stay for a long time.