HDMI or Component? Integrators Weigh In
Component video heavily favored among CE Pro readers over HDMI connections.
The vast majority of respondents far prefer to use component video for a number of reasons. Most of the complaints about HDMI center around distance issues, the challenge of terminating in the field, the fact that the connections easily disconnect, the fragility of the cables, the large connector size and HDMI's far greater expense.
There were also a number of complaints about compatibility issues, the lack of HDMI standards, HDCP issues and a negligible quality improvement.
John Isaac of Blueprint Wiring Systems Inc., in Knoxville, Tenn., delved even deeper into the subject. He wrote:
Why are we having this discussion when the technology to process digital video locally at the display has existed for several years? Imagine something like a TV with an Ethernet jack and a terabyte of memory to store video. Imagine a single cable box that can transmit 10 simultaneous streams over a LAN to various televisions. And if I do not like the local cable provider, I can purchase content from 10 other people who stream video.
Why isn't the industry demanding that manufacturers comply to open standards that exist today? It's high time the audio/video and alarm industries come out of the dark ages and embrace the future. I thought we had made it when Polk Audio announced an IP-addressable speaker more than two years ago ... Our industry should be launching the next killer app, but instead we are debating cable standards. Who cares?
Nevertheless, we divided the the CE pro responses into three camps: Component lovers, those supporting HDMI and those that use both.
Component Video Still Rules
By far, the largest number of respondents believe that component video is the only way to go. While some do believe HDMI offers a better quality picture, they have found that the assorted problems associated with the format far outweigh its benefits.
Many have tried, and failed, to successfully install HDMI and have now written it off. Most agree that until the issues are better addressed by the manufacturers, they will not offer this option to their clientele.
I stay as far away from HDMI as possible. It is unreliable, and often doesn't produce as good a picture as component video. I run all my video in component, with either optical cable or digital coax for audio. -- Bob Bentley, Bentley Electronic Systems, South Glastonbury, Conn.
We use component video distribution because it works every time! No worries about the handshake, or if the connector comes off, or distance limitations -- within reason. -- Greg Calvimontes, Pgh Custom Home Theater, Pittsburgh, Pa.
We use component because it is more reliable and we can make custom lengths as needed. There doesn't seem to be that much of a difference in quality for most customers to notice. -- Darryl Kuder, Red Dot Audio Video, Carlsbad, Calif.
I guess I am old school and do not convert to the newest and more expensive options right away. I still utilize the component video cables as most of my runs are rather long so it is very cost effective. And I really cannot see the need to use HDMI at this time for two reasons.
First, there is no material other than HD DVD and Blu-ray DVD that are sending true 1080p to the display. When my local cable or DirecTV or even a broadcast channel make that leap -- and I do not think it will happen soon -- then I may change my mind. And the second reason, there is still confusion over format of HDMI cables! I find this very unsettling for myself and my customers.
Our industry needs to finalize on this format stuff before bringing products to market. Can you imagine if the other industries were this way? Michelin tires only work on Ford and Jeep? Sunbeam toasters only work with Wonder Bread? -- Jim Barto, Conexus Network Systems, Altamonte Springs, Fla.