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Topic: DVI and HMDI Cables
Wag
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Joined: Feb 4, 2005
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I recently purchased an Optoma H31 and have been enjoying DVDs thru my component video connection. I also have an s-video cable hooked up to the projector from my receiver so I can accomadate other signals thru my receiver. I have everything neatly tucked away in the walls and had to purchase 25' cables to make it from my equipment to my projector.

With a DVI input on my projector, my question is, am I jipping myself out of a better picture? I don't really feel like purchasing a new DVD player with a DVI or HDMI out, but if it will make a big enough difference in quality, I would consider it. The native resolution of the H31 is a little low for HD, but I'm curious. Will I see a big performance increase using DVI from a DVD player or HDTV source?

Then there is the matter of the cable. I need at least a 25' cord. Am I going to end up hurting my signal along the way? Am I gonna pay thru the nose for a decent cable?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.
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Joined: Mar 28, 2005
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I have not heard enough consistently good reviews of DVI/HDMI when it is actually hooked up to recommend it. Some people will swear that it looks fantastic. But, when compared to HD through a component feed, they admit that it looks, at BEST just a tiny bit better.

On the other hand, there are many who have artifacts and noise that is somehow induced into the DVI/HDMI line and passed onto your set. I'm not sure how it happens, but it definitely happens to enough people that it would worry me. I would say the number is around 10%, though that's just a stab in the dark.

Either way, the risk of issues combined with almost zero performance increase is enough to have me stick with my traditional component cables for incredibly sharp images already.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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The advantage of HDMI/DVI is that you can match the exact resolution of your projector and thus use superior scaling elsewhere in the chain, and that it avoids any lossy D/A<->A/D conversions.

DVI equiped DVD players like the Momitsu and the Zenith may not improve the PQ over a good DVD player with component, in fact the quality may be much worse. It depends on how good the scaling is relative to the scaling in your projector, and the quality of the DVD player itself. If you connect a DVD player with SDI or HDMI out to a quality scaler or HTPC, and then connect it with DVI to your projector the PQ should improve markedly. Of course, it may just be better value for money to buy a better projector.


Finally, standard DVI/HDMI cables cannot be run for anywhere near 25 feet. They struggle with 10 feet. You'll need a fiber-optic one.
Wag
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Ok, thats great info thanks guys. One last question.

I'm using a rather old DVD player (about five years old to be precise) but it was a pretty spendy Sony one back then runnin at about $400. It's been good to me over the years and has held up well thru three moves and lots of use. I'm concerned that I may not be getting the best picture from it because of its "oldness." Is there anything to worry about there? Will a newer DVD player with a better video processor do a better job for me or is the video processor in the projector itself gonna cover for it? I'd rather not spend more than $150 on a new DVD player and if it's not necessary, I'd rather not even buy a new one.

I coudl post the model number for the DVD player when I get home if it would help. Any more advice?
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Early generation DVD players don't really hold up too well by todays standards, and $400 is hardly top-of-the-line material even today where prices on DVD players have fallen quite a bit. That said, you won't get outstanding performance from anything in the ~$150 range. There are some decent ones starting a bit above that, but whether you want to pay that is your call.

The Optoma is only 854x480, so don't bother with a scaler. If you decide to upgrade, either look for a progressive scan DVD player (using either a Faroudja or Silicon Image deinterlacer), or look into getting a second hand external deinterlacer (eg and iScan Pro) from ebay or somewhere. There are a couple of DVD players with Faroudja chips and a DVI/HDMI out for ~$250 (From Toshiba, Oppo, Denon, Zenith, Panasonic, etc) that you might want to look into. I can't say whether the improvement will be worth it, but you might want to at least try one out and see. Given the cost of DVI/HDMI cables, it may cost almost as much for a fiberoptic cable as it does for the player, though.
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