Say Goodbye to Analog Ports on Blu-ray Players
All high-definition video will be supplied through the HDMI connection on Blu-ray players.
The installation world is facing something of a paradigm shift with the upcoming “Analog Sunset,” referring to the phasing out of analog ports on Blu-ray players.
After December 31, 2010, manufacturers will not introduce new hardware with component video outputs supplying more than an SD resolution (480 or 576i).
If the manufacturer has existing models in its line-up, it will be able to continue selling that model until the end of 2013.
The idea is that all high-definition video will be supplied through the HDMI connection.
But that’s not the end of the story. After January 1, 2011, software manufacturers will be able to insert something called an Image Constraint Token into any Blu-ray disc. This bit of digital information will turn the high-definition component video output OFF the player(s).
This is true today for Blu-ray players, but it does not currently apply to other high-definition sources, including satellite and cable boxes.
This will clearly cause some discomfort for installers who have, in the past, avoided HDMI because of technical issues associated with the format. If the installer did not take into account the possibility of a change in format, they may be facing an unpleasant situation.
There are a number of potential remedies for installers who have component-only wiring in place. The first choice would be to deploy a set of baluns, which use either two or, later this year, one Category 5e or 6 wire to carry the HDMI signal. Essentially, these devices are either stand-alone boxes or wall plates, with RJ45 and HDMI jacks for connectivity.
Another alternative is wireless transmission of HDMI, with all the perils associated with wireless devices, including range, interference issues and cost.
Another choice is using five coaxial cables with a variation of the baluns.
Manufacturers are also exploring devices that will support HDMI over a network connection, over coaxial cable, and over power lines. Results may vary on the format and form factor you choose.
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Fred Harding is in sales and technical support at Capitol Sales, a full service distributor of electronic installation hardware. He is a frequent contributor to CE Pro, writing hands-on product reviews and technical tips. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Fred at firstname.lastname@example.org
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