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Are All Receivers and AV Preamps Now Obsolete? Print E-mail
Friday, 20 February 2004
DVD is the driving force behind home theater and consumer electronics. DVD is a digital format that, up until just recently, had to have its picture converted from digital to analog before being sent to our TVs because Hollywood movie studios feared copy protection problems. Video enthusiasts protested at first and then invested in the best component video systems they could afford. In time receivers started adding component video switching but little could be done about the fact that converting the digital picture on DVD to analog caused significant loss of picture quality. Now encrypted digital video formats like DVI and HDMI are becoming commercially available in video sources and monitors alike. If you have the right DSS satellite or DVD-Video player you can connect your DVD player to your digital TV (plasma, LCD, DLP, D-ILA etc…) with a purely digital connection. I saw a recent demonstration of 480p video going from a $199 V Inc. DVD player into their under $3,000 42 inch plasma that blew my mind with the color quality and film-like smoothness.

The question is; are all receivers and AV preamps obsolete? If switching video in your preamp or your receiver is a primary concern to you then the answer is yes. Complicated systems with RS232 remote control systems can allow you to easily switch video sources in your AV preamp as easily as in your video processor. Most AV consumers haven’t made the investment in such expensive and hard to program remote systems thus they are forced to switch their video in various components.

Meridian, an AV electronics company always in front of industry trends, reportedly has a DVI video switching card for their top of the line AV preamp – the 861. With digital video switching coming and a digital audio connection for DVD-Audio and DVD-Video sound Meridian sets the standard for digital source connectivity. Digital sources suffer great degradation even when going through high quality DACs and Analog to Digital converters. Anyone that gets a chance to see the A-B comparison can easily see and hear the difference. Moreover, one cable digital connection for video and audio make connection to a home theater far more simple for the average user. With most Asian AV electronics companies launching new lines of products expect to see HDMI and DVI video inputs by the end of 2004 in the latest receivers. High end companies take longer to make changes but the idea of all digital video and audio connections for high resolution sources is one that consumers should, and will, demand.

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