HDTV connectivity question

I’m currently researching a new HDTV and home theater system purchase. I’ve narrowed my video signal choices to a Comcast Dual Tuner HD cable set-top box and a progressive scan DVD player. I’m considering a Panasonic industrial model HD plama panal TH-42PHD7UY. One strong reason for this choice is that I can’t figure out why I should pay the extra cost for an integrated tuner if I’ll already have the Comcast box to tune cable channels. The problem that I have is that both the Comcast STB and the progressive scan DVD player I picked out offer the highest quality Video Out signals (DVI-D and HDMI respectively). However, A/V Receivers are typically only capable of switching video signals at the component level (short of spending $thousands$). Thus it seems my available options are to accept the component level connections and switching, and send a component level output to the TV (this seems a bit sub par), or, figure out a way to take the two highest quality signals directly to the monitor and figure out a way to switch video signals there. Option two probably means buying two HDMI interface cards for the monitor and relieving the A/V Tuner of all video responsibilities.

Any input on how I might untangle myself from this system design delima would be greatly appreciated. :confused:

I use component from the box to the HDTV and HDMI to my LG upconverting DVD player. Believe me, you can’t tell a difference from the box to TV between component and DVI. I talked to a guy at a cable and connector store (that’s all they sell) and he could have sold me an $80 HDMI cable yet he told me to go with component. He has it all at his disposal, yet when he and his wife tried several cables one after another, he couldn’t tell the diff. However, my upconverting DVD player requires an HDMI cable for the upconversion. There is a noticeable difference there. I run optical cable from the box to AV receiver for the audio.
Just a tip the guy gave me, the lower, non-digital cable channels (I have Comcast and dispite what they claim, they are not all digital), look terrible thru the HD box, use a switcher before the box and watch those channels from one of the TV video options. It’s probably 50% clearer.

  1. Component cable from Comcast STB to HDTV…Ok

  2. HDMI cable from upconverting DVD player to HDTV… Please confirm. this means you must be switching between the (STB Component Signal, DVD HDMI signal, and the straight analog coaxial F-Pin cable signal for “lower” channels)
    at the HDTV.

  3. Optical audio cable from Comcast STB to A/V Receiver…Ok

  4. Straight analog coaxial cable to HDTV for “lower” channels…see above comment.

Am I on track with you?

Thanks a bunch for the feedback.

You got it. When you go thru the HD cable box for the lower (really analog) channels, it takes an extra conversion and you lose a little of the signal with each conversion.
My DVD player will not upconvert to 1080i without the HDMI connection. With my TV (50" Sony LCD Rear Proj.) Video 1 is for the coax (lower channels), Video 5 is the HD cable box/HD DVR, and Video 7 is for the HD DVD Player. I switch using the TV remote. It can be a little annoying if you jump around like I do, but it works (until I get a satellite dish which is totally digital). By the way, the upper true digital channels look very good even if not quite HD quality.

If you are going to be watching HDTV on the cable box, then that’s where the DVI cable should be, not on the DVD player. Upconverted DVD’s are fine, but it’s still a 480-max image. HDTV is 1080 and does benefit from the DVI connection. The visable differences between DVI input and component are small on a 50" screen, but they do exist and DVI is better. If you are in the USA, consider going to satellite, it’s often cheaper, the boxes are better and the picture quality is always better.

There’s also no reason to be watching different channels on the cable through different outputs. No doubt cable provides less than ideal picture quality, even on digital channels, but watching them via the DVI will give the best quality.

Theoretically I agree, but in practice I can’t tell the difference with the component cables. Since the TV only has one HDMI input, I use it for the upconversion, it makes a big difference from progressive scan. Also, I haven’t seen a cable box with HDMI connections, only DVI and there are a lot of complaints about reception on some HDTVs with DVI to HDMI cables. That’s why I suggested the hook-ups that I did.
I definitely agree with the satellite suggestion. Dishnet just purchase 10 extra HD channels from the former VOOM network. I hope to get it soon if I can “see” the satellite from my house (trees & shit, y’know). :iagree:

There’s no real difference between HDMI and DVI cables, certainly nothing that would in any way affect “reception” of any kind. Most satellite boxes use HDMI. There are some boxes that have software bugs that affect the DVI/HDMI outputs, but that has nothing to do with the cables.

If you see a “big difference” between component and DVI outputs on your DVD player, it’s likely due more to the component cable you are using or the player itself. Your player should have a setup for picture adjustments on the component outs, (DVI does not), you may have them adjusted poorly. If you want to compare the 2 outputs, be sure that the picture adjustments are correct for that purpose. Same for the monitor end, you may have them adjusted differently. But in any case, HDMI/DVI is a superior connection, and should be used for the best quality source, which is deffinitely HDTV.

BTW, Dish did not buy the VOOM service, they are simply providing the VOOM channels by subscription. The satellite they use is WAY too low in the east, and is nearly useless in the northwest and western states. They also charge $100 for the extra dish install. If you live in the west, you will see a lot of weather related problems on that sat’s reception, even if you do have a clear view of it. AFAIK, it’s the same sat that VOOM was using, which I am personally familiar with. It takes very little weather to block it in the southwest USA.

I didn’t say they bought VOOM, just some of their programming. As far as the DVI-HDMI-component thing goes, I’m just telling you my experiences. Even the Comcast guy told me not to bother when I told him I was going to pick up a DVI-to-HDMI cable, I woudn’t be able to tell the difference. Maybe I mispoke when using the word “reception” but the point is that there are some reported problems with picture quality with the DVI-HDMI hookup. Whether the problem is software, as you say, or not, I don’t know, just reporting complaints I read in more than one site and is something to consider. These cables ain’t cheap.
To Ponce: There is another option if you buy a TV that takes a cable card. I’ve talked to a couple of people that use it and they claim it blow the box away. The drawback is that you can’t get pay-per-view or On-Demand programming with it.

Thanks to all.

I’m going to go ahead and get the sister HDTV model with the integrated tuner. I found one on sale for almost the same price. That way I’ll have the flexibility to tune the direct analog cable signals or over-the-air local HD signals, and use a CableCARD should I ever want to do so.

On the single open HDMI input on the HDTV, I guess I’ll have to try it both ways (STB and DVD player) and be sure to use Digital Video Essentials for the correct adjustments to see which works best for me. It sounds like ultimately it will be the lesser of two evils. Which souce is helped the most by the digital HDMI connection vs. which of the two is hurt the most by going digital to analog and back to digital over the component cables.

Thanks Again for the assistance.

An HDMI cable costs as much as a DVD player? :frowning:

2-3 times as much. $120 for a 2 meter cable is common. :frowning:

The average HDMI cable can cost $80-$100+ and more if it’s a Monster cable that all the stores are pushing. You can get cheaper cables that work just fine at Tigerdirect.com and a few other internet companies. As low as $25. But you can get a cheap dvd player around here for $30 too.

At AVKorea.co.kr where I bought my Samsung STB/DVD, HDMI cables cost as little as US$50 and cheapest DVD players in South Korea cost a little over US$50. $25 sounds a lot more reasonable.

I’ll probably continue to use composite and DSUB cables until I get something like 60-inch LCD monitors. Stone age things. :frowning:

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