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Component Switching

Discussion in 'Plasma TVs' started by Phatboy, Nov 3, 2002.

  1. Phatboy

    Phatboy
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    I'm expecting my panny 42" ver 5 screen soon!

    I've been following the threads on best ways of making connections. I don't want to get into details here, but i can't see why more plasma owners don't use component switching via a home cinema amp such as the dennons? some have sound delay functions which would also solve the lip sync problems.

    I note that JS mentions this as a good method of having multiple sources connected to the plasma component inputs (with just mode!).

    I would like any comments on how the amp "switch" may degrade the signal. Is this a god idea or is it direct connections from each source to plasma for best picture?

    comments from JS would be appreciated.

    Mark
     
  2. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    I think because few people have sources that output component. My DVD/cable box are RGB, my consoles will do Component but I've got RGB cables for them all. Ideally what would make the 5 perfect would be to add a SCART socket to it, unfortunately it might put JS out of business ;-)

    Cheers,
    Neil.
     
  3. Phatboy

    Phatboy
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    Neil

    If you had component outputs for your Sky, DVD and PS2, would you then use the amp for switching? I am buying a DVD and Sky+JS converter soon so will have component outputs for all kit except the old VCR which is composite only!

    Mark
     
  4. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    Yes I probably would. I've routed all my home cinema stuff
    through a Sony 930 av amp using S-Video and its fantastic.
    I'm on the lookout for a box like:

    http://www.123av.com/DetailPage.asp?ProductID=JX-S111

    That has 5 component in's...

    Neil.
     
  5. klnc

    klnc
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    Not that i own a plasma (yet), but i was hoping to route all sources through my amp (denon a1sr), which claims to upgrade all signals be they composite or s-vid to component. Then, one simple cable to plasma which can use "just" as and when. If anyone has done this, and has any comments, i'd be interested if they're are any trade-offs..
     
  6. Phatboy

    Phatboy
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    klnc

    You are thinking along the same lines as me. I haven't bought my new amp yet so want to be sure this system will work with no signal loss. Upgrading all inputs to component sounds great! only one lead to the plasma required.

    If John Sims could shed any light on our assumptions i would be most grateful.

    Mark
     
  7. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    At the very least it'll be one connection but composite/svid quality. In my exprience of AV amps a composite or s-vid in needs to be taken out of the device in the same format, few do a conversion to a different output...

    Cheers
    Neil.
     
  8. klnc

    klnc
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    Not that i am able to confirm it yet, but the Denon AVC A1SR is supposed to convert different types of signal - i.e. composite / s-vid to component in much the same way as JS's little black boxes also convert signals. I appreciate not many amps do this and previously you would have to have had one monitor cable for your s-vid sources and another monitor cable for your composite sources, but hopefully this is no longer the case. ps the amp in question was bl##dy expensive!
     
  9. symanski

    symanski
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    Some amps are now convertering composite to S-Video and even up to component. Sounds good? Component video from composite? Like many things, if it's too good to be true, it is. If you convert composite to component, you'll still have composite quality. Up conversion is not going to give you the same quality as a true component video souce.

    Convertsion from RGB to component and to S-Video is possible because RGB is a high quality source to start with. In qualitative terms RGB is the best, with Component being similar but just slightly down (just). S-Video further down, composite near the bottom just above an RF connection.

    Your aim should be to use the best quality source, with the best quality interface. Stick with RGB or Component video.

    Video switching, if done correctly, shouldn't affect the picture quality. But a direct connections is always hard to beat. It's something that you should experiment with.

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  10. Phatboy

    Phatboy
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    John

    Thanks for your informed input to this thread. I guess the conversion to component should only be viewed as a convienient way of switching say S Video source to your plasma but using the component connections ie only one lead running to the screen.

    I'm still thinking of going component switching route with component sources either native or via one of your boxes. do some amps perform better than others? if so what do i look for?

    I am also going to buy a pal prog scan DVD (when they finally go on sale) some posts have implied that not all component switching amps have sufficient band width to accommodate prog scan. Is this the case? does prog scan have to be direct to the screen?

    Mark
     
  11. uncle eric

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    My view is that degradation in quality AV amps is minimal. As John says of course, there is nothing like a direct connection but I think many won't notice a slight degradation. As for what is best, RGB or Component, the difference is not noticable because it will get converted back and forth between RGB and component) colour space several times any way. The video is stored compressed in YUV color space for DVD, and must be converted to RGB in the STB if you output RGB. In the Plasma, component (YUV) input will eventually get converted to RGB since the pixels are RGB. So it doesn't really matter.
     
  12. symanski

    symanski
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    Yes, converting from S-Video to component will be an easy way to hook everything up, but as long as you don't expect the quality of the picture to be lifted to that of compoent. Some people do!

    Always start off with the best possible signal. No matter how good a composite video lead is, the picture will never be as good as one carrying component or RGB. Only once you've got a means to connect the good quality signal should you then consider different makes of cables etc.

    As for which perform better than others, I can't really say. I've not been able to do much of a comparison between different makes. Certainly, the better brands should be fine. Some of my customers switch progressive scan via the amp too, so this shouldn't be an issue either.

    Uncle Eric,
    Quite right - there are several conversions from YUV to RGB and back. The trick is not to degrade the picture during the conversion process. Digiboxes and Plasmas will do this in the digital domain - sounds ideal, but you may have rounding and quantisation errors. I do it in the analogue domain. Analogue has infinite resolution, so you don't have bruised integers. It's really when you look at transmitting and storing information do digital systems come in to their own. But that's another thread for another time!

    All the best,

    John.
     
  13. MarkHudds

    MarkHudds
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    Interesting thread ...

    I have been using the Pioneer AX10 amplifier for a few months now and use its component switching feature. Like the Denon, it too converts composite and svideo to component, but as John points out, this is purely for convienience rather than any 'magical' signal improvements! It just means that rather than have a composite, svideo and component monitor out leads from the amplifier, you can get away with a single component lead.

    I was careful to select components that could connect directly to my amp via component, the only difficulty being Sky+ which was sorted by using a JS RGB to Component box (superb!).

    From my experience, I would say to forget composite sources as the conversion to component output is less than satisfactory. Svideo conversion to component is ok, but I would use a seperate svideo monitor out lead if you have any svideo sources.

    Another thing to point out, again from experience, is that an AV amplifier can be a haven for interference - mains, RF on speaker wire etc ... all this can manifest itself on the monitor out picture. I had terrible problems trying to solve herringbone interference on the monitor out, it was definately the amp as a direct connection between source and monitor was fine. I tracked this down to mains wires too close to speaker wire. Just another thing to thing about!

    So I would say, if done right and with care, there's no problem component switching via an amp, although this convienience can sometimes be more trouble than its worth!

    Good luck!
     
  14. klnc

    klnc
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    thanks for that - that was just the sort of feedback i was looking for on AV amp's "upgrading" ability. Although, until i get the plasma, it's all a bit academic. I'm not that bothered about vcr as i watch so few, which only really leaves sky for which, I'll probably start with the amp to see what it can do before potentially buying a JS box.
     
  15. EvilMudge

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    Dr John or anyone else who may know,

    Do Denon or Pioneer use a '3D' Comb filter to produce an S-Video signal from composite? I know Pioneer have used it in the past and it appears to be a feature of their latest plasma screens, but wondered what else would produce a YC feed? (I'm guessing at a PSD synced to the colour carrier - but these aren't exactly renowned for their quality of output where there's cross modulation).

    Slightly off topic, but as we seem to be discussing highend amps in the plasma section this seems more than justified - especially as it relates to component video switching.

    Thank you for reading this far. :)
     
  16. symanski

    symanski
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    Dr Evil,

    haven't looked to see if they do use comb filters (to seperate colour from luminance information, thereby improving the picture quality). Comb filters do help, but it's still not the same as the real thing!

    Why? Because you're trying to filter off some information. While filtering is certainly a good idea, some of the problem will still remain.

    Look at your car's oil. You put it in and it was lovely tan colour and transparrent. But now, it's a black and opac. Even though you've got a filter to keep the oil clean, it can only capture the larger particles, smaller ones get through.

    Same with video signals, some of the noise will remain. It can reduce the problem, but not eliminate it. I've seen some research done one various adaptive filters for audio and hearing aids, and it really is quite amazing what can be done. A sentence took a week to process, and what was just white noise (think if a radio station not tunned in) did contain information, and you could understand, perhaps not completely clearly, but you could understand what was being said. And that's really getting off topic!

    Because of the way composite video is done, it's like trying to seperate brown rice from white. It really is that difficult.

    All the best,

    John.
     
  17. EvilMudge

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    Thanks Dr John,

    Hopefully your post has enlightened others in addition to myself.
    I'd be the first to admit that comb filtering isn't perfect, as the chances of getting the original uncombined signal out are slim whenever there's fine detail present in the Y component - my LD player is proof of that (a CLD-925).

    However if it allows me to make better use of my VHS collection it's a worthwhile feature. Then again blowing up 200 lines to fill a >40" screen is not exactly pleasant either.
     
  18. symanski

    symanski
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    The CLD 925 was certainly a good LD player, but the colours were very strong. I was tempted to change over from my CLD 515 as the 925 had digital output, but I decided to modify the 515 myself.

    VHS tapes are quite low quality to what we're now expect in a DVD world. Ideally, an external processor could clean up the picture, but the price of such makes it not worth while. However, most screens have such circuitry built in - which is cheaper because it's something that can be integrated.

    All the best,

    John.
     
  19. foxmeister

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    You are thinking along the same lines as me. I haven't bought my new amp yet so want to be sure this system will work with no signal loss. Upgrading all inputs to component sounds great! only one lead to the plasma required.


    Phatboy, re. the above, surely there will be 3 leads (component) going up to the Plasma ??
    I am in the same position as you, I want the least amount of leads going up to the Plasma as I only have a small tube to fit them in !!
    How do you propose connecting your VCR because I am unsure what to do with mine (it only has 1 scart socket !!).
    I only use it to tape the odd programme and the wife only needs it to watch her old friends videos !!
    Any simple and cheap connection ideas would be greatly appreciated ...
     
  20. Phatboy

    Phatboy
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    foxmeister

    Yes one "component" lead which is actually 3 leads usually joined together. I still think I might place all cable types concealed within my wall for future use. If you don't have sufficinent space one component leads seems a good choice via amp switching.

    VCR! they seem so poor quality these days, but I am resolved to the fact that they (usually) only output in Composite. I have a scart to composite lead which can then be connected to my amp or direct to plasma.
     
  21. symanski

    symanski
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    Try to install trunking, a channel dedicated to cables, in your wall. Better still, two, one for power and the other for signals. That way you can add more cables if you require at a later date without taking down the wall again! Difference in cost just now? About £10. Difference later? About £150.

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim
    (part time Discovery Home and Leisure viewer).
     
  22. foxmeister

    foxmeister
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    Mark or anyone, would my VCR work (playback and record) if I connected it to my Amp then onto the Plasma using S-Video ??
     
  23. symanski

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    If the amplifier can do the convertion from composite to S-Video then yes. But remember, only at composite quality.

    I do a trick with my TV. I route both S-Video and Composite through the S-Video path of my amplifier, and then in to the SCART of my TV. It works because the SCART is a dual function input, both composite and S-Video. I just have to tell it which to expect! However, we've already tried this with Panasonic plasmas, and I'm sorry to report this trick doesn't work.

    All the best,

    John.
     
  24. Phatboy

    Phatboy
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    symanski

    I do intend locating a conduit within my wall to take future cables. My only worry is the diameter to ensure I can pull through cables even with connectors attached. Any experience of say VGA connectors sizes?

    Advise please on scart to other connection cables. If I use a scart to S-Video cable will i get true S-video if I set my Ntl box to output S-video? This works scart to scart so I assume it would. If I connect my VCR via scart to S-Video how can I tell if its outputting S-Video or composite? (I think it only does composite).
     
  25. symanski

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    Phatboy,

    if you've got big enough trunking, you can put anything down! You can make it as big as the depth of your wall. The bigger it is, the easier it will be later. Have a look in B&Q for different sizes of pipes.

    If and only *if* NTL outputs S-Video (which I don't think it does), using a SCART to S-Video cable will work. If not, you'll have to set to RGB and use a RGB to S-Video converter (put www in front with a dot com at the end!).

    Keep in mind the difference between signals and connectors. You've got to have the right signal for that type of connector. SCART to S-Video is a connection solution, but RGB to S-Video will convert the signals.

    All the best,

    Dr John Sim.
     
  26. NeilMcRae

    NeilMcRae
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    None of the Pace NTL boxes output S-Video. Only RGB or composite.

    Neil.
     
  27. Phatboy

    Phatboy
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    Ntl & S-Video

    well I do respect JS's opinion BUT...... my ntl digibox from Pace seems to think it can output either Composite OR S-Video. This is because it says so at the back of the user guide! but no RBG!

    Also in the user menu you can select the output either composite or S-Video. I have it hooked up to my Sony TV via the non RGB scart and when the scart sends its "i'm on signal" the TV tunes to the correct scart input but the composite settings. I then select the same scart but as s-video input and a great picture appears.

    If this isn't S-Video what is it? it ceretainly looks better than composite and only works on s-video scart setting not any other (just a black & white picture). It does worry me that I might buy future AV kit with no real idea of what it really outputs!
     
  28. leedsfireman

    leedsfireman
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    hi, can any one tell me how ntl digital looks on a panny plasma.
     
  29. Phatboy

    Phatboy
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    I would if only my new panny 5 due on wednesday had not been damaged before dispatch! I'm now looking for anywhere that has them in stock!:( :( :(
     
  30. NeilMcRae

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    It looks pretty cool under NTL digital. Re panny stock try www.plasma4u.com got mine the next working day in silver with stand and RCA board.

    Neil.
     

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