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The CEA Nixes 1080p Video Through Analog Component Cables Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 October 2007
Despite screams of disgust from early adopting consumers and audio-video installers over horrible connectivity problems via the copy-protected HDMI digital cables, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the lobby group for the audio-video industry, recently refused to allow a standard that would allow 1080p video to flow through a standard analog component video cable. Analog component cables do not have the HDCP digital copy protection that Hollywood studios demand to protect their highest resolution video output. HDMI digital cables in their current 1.3b version theoretically carry both 1080p video and the highest resolution multi-channel surround sound, bitstream formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master HD. However, they are plagued with horrible connectivity issues due mostly to the HDCP copy protection that the studios have forced into the specification. HD DVD and Blu-ray players will output the lower resolution 1080i video via analog component video cables, which have become the choice among frustrated consumers and custom installers who see HDMI systems struggle with predictably making a “handshake” between copy protected players (Blu-ray and HD DVD) and 1080p native HDTVs. These consumers are willing to sacrifice the last level of performance between 1080i and 1080p video for a player that consistently sends video to their HDTVs.

Electronics manufacturers are equally frustrated with HDMI and its HDCP connectivity. Non-copy-protected components such as DVRs and HDMI DVD players connect via the one-cable solution of HDMI perfectly. Copy protected players, including nearly every current HD DVD and Blu-ray are more hit and miss, especially depending on what HDTV you use with your HD disc player. While second generation HD disc players and the newest HDTVs are definitely better about making an HDCP “handshake”, manufacturers complain about a lack of access to specifications that would make a simple connection actually work every time.

In the end, Hollywood studios clearly have the ear of the CEA, thus the consumer is forced to deal with the less-than-perfect world of HDMI, thanks to the HDCP connectivity, or downgrade their video to 1080i and use component cables, a solution that works every time. The CEA should be publicly putting tremendous pressure to get the HDMI specification and copy protection to a level where one-cable-connectivity passes the best in HD video and high-resolution audio. With mainstream consumers lining up to buy flat HDTVs by the millions per month, wouldn’t it be nice to sell them a new player than can actually feed their 1080p HDTVs actual 1080p video, because as of today, both digital cable and satellite can not provide consumers with 1080p.

- CEPro.com, CE.org

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