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HDMI connectivity any point in the short to medium term ?

Discussion in 'LCD & LED LCD TVs' started by Faust, Apr 8, 2005.

  1. Faust

    Faust
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    I find this an interesting link http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/4065565.stm which provokes the question - unless you have, or are intending to get Sky, is there any point in the short to medium term worrying about whether the LCD/Plasma screen you have bought or are about to buy has HDMI DVI connectivity or not. I'm talking about your average Joe here, not an AV or movie buff. It's little wonder reading the article that some manufacturers are not exactly rushing to include HDMI connections on their panels. If the government keeps pushing back the analogue shut down date then widespread Hi Def terrestrial transmissions look a very long way off indeed.
     
  2. igauk

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    Funny you should mention that. I read the same article yesterday, with the same question in mind. As a newcomer to all this it made me think long and hard about the way in which I actually use my television, rather than what I might be able to do with it one day. As I would rather stick pins in my eyes than give a penny to Murdoch the imminent HD Sky broadcasts are of no interest.

    We rent about 1 DVD a month, have a cheapo supermarket DVD/VCR combo with a 14 inch portable Sony TV. We want to record stuff if we're out or there are two programmes on at once. We were looking to go digital with an integrated or one box solution, not interested in surround sound etc. However, as someone who changes their TV when it breaks the prospect of forking out money now on a TV that might become obsolete even for terrestrial digital broadcasts within its lifetime was worrying.

    I'm not holding out on buying a HD ready TV because of the lack of content, or even the uncertain hardware issues, but because I'm not sure what will happen with terrestrial digital broadcasts. Even when analogue is switched off there seems uncertainty about whether there is enough capacity to broadcast HD terrestrial TV. The other prospect is that it may also/instead be 'broadcast' over broadband internet connections which would make an HD compliant TV (whether IDTV or separate tuner) rather pointless. The other thing I'm not sure of is, if say the BBC start all HD broadcasts what support will there be for those who have non HD equipment? Will the signal automatically switch to SD? Will I get no picture? Will I be restricted to a few non HD channels?

    Having looked at all the possible permutations (from HDMI LCDs through IDTV CRTs and Media PCs to twin digi tuner PVRs) I put my cheque book away and bought a Sony set top box for £80 from John Lewis so I could at least watch the Newcastle game on ITV2.

    Anyway, this has turned into a bit of an essay, but to answer your original question. As an average Joe myself, I'm not sure HDMI DVI does matter just by itself (provided people have heard about it, which I doubt) because there are so many other uncertainties. I need more pieces of the jigsaw in place before I commit. Many other people will probably just buy regardless, which ironically might hinder HD terrestrial TV if their are millions of people out there with shiny new kit that won't work with it.
     
  3. ianh64

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    I think that makes a very important point. What people must understand is that HDMI is a low cost and easy to use connector [much cheaper than a SCART or any other analogue connector for example], licensing costs excluded. Within a year, it will probably be on the majority of cheap Chinese imports that ultimately will make their way to supermarket shelves. It will nolonger be a niche product but main stream, much like RGB SCART is now where I am sure that a large majority of users probably don't use their SCART with anything other than composite or s-video and really don't care.

    -Ian
     
  4. Costas

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    Behind all this, what you should also consider is that the sad fact that something so important like HD TV is currently left in UK in the hands of a private full commercial broadcaster, Sky. The BBC and other public broadcasters seem to be very much in the back seat and that includes the goverment relevant lobbies...
     
  5. jimsan

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    But we can't all just sit on the sidelines and wait passively for this all to sort itself out. Thank goodness Sky are doing something about this, as the Beeb are obviously not getting overly anxious to push the envelope!

    Without Sky there is a distinct possibility we'd all still be watching 4 and a half channels through an RF feed!

    They should be encouraged, and the best way to do that is to demonstrate that we are here, we're interested and that some of us (jimg, Ianh and many more) are champing at the bit to get this HD stuff going!

    Iga UK, even if the BBC do eventually plump for a broadband type transmission, you'll still need your HDMI connections into a full sized HDReady TV to see them at their best, so don't just sit there with your 14" portable fretting about what's to come....get out there and unzip that wallet!

    You say that HiDef broadcasting and Surround sound are of no interest to you, but I feel that they really are! Otherwise why are you reading BBC atricles on the subject then going to the trouble to register with this forum to put forward your views? Spend a bit more time reading this Forum and you'll soon be hooked....

    Just imagine......a lovely, big, top quality, LCD with a superb High Definition DVD 5.1 Surround System playing your very favourite film in incredible evocative surround.....ahhhh....can you imagine...you don't know what you're missing!

    HeeHee.

    Jimmy
     
  6. jimg

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    Jimmy, you are absolutly right. It has all got to start somewhere and in a year or so people will be wandering into Comet and Dixons and buying this kit in they same way as today they are now starting to buying Home Cinema systems. They may not understand how it works but they like to watch DVD's in the best possible way even if they have not got a clue of what makes it work! When they start to see HD demonstrated they will want it and prices will fall dramatically as the numbers increase.
    Some-one has to lead, and I am happy to be one of those people.
     
  7. igauk

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    I take your point :) I guess what I want is the BBC to say 'in 2012 we will broadcast all our programmes in HD and you will need an HDMI TV and Receiver to get them' in which case I'll invest in the kit (and no doubt be blown away)! But is there a twin digi receiver with HDMI connections that I can buy now that would work with HD broadcasts? And wouldn't I need a TV with two HDMI connections to hook up a HD DVD player as well?

    The closest combination at the moment would seem to be a Media PC (twin digi tuners, hard drive, DVD player taken care of in one box) but none of them have HDMI connections on them. I have trouble selling the idea to myself (and my wife) of spending £1k on a media PC plus a screen and then having to upgrade the tuner cards to HDMI compliance in the future (aside from the fact that I don't need a PC in my living room).

    So if there's any manufacturers out there give me a 26 or 32" LCD with twin digi tuners, hard drive, DVD and HDMI compliance and I'll buy it!
     
  8. jimsan

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    IgaUk,

    You can make lists of features you need for the 'The Ideal' product forever and a day. By the time the features you are looking for now are available, you'll have a new list of things you need for 'The Ideal' product! It's endless.

    Forget the PC thing, I don't really think this'll be the way forward. It'll be set top boxes that'll do the work. One Sky+HD box will do the lot, including all of the Beebs output, when it eventually arrives.

    Lots of HDMI sockets will come in time, but all we'll need is one HDMI or a one HDCP DVI. Connect all your HDMI devices to a DVI/HDMI switcher then to the TV. No probs...

    Jimmy
     
  9. igauk

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    Hi Jimsan,

    Thanks for your input and responses. I know you can wait forever for the 'ideal' product and I agree that the PC solution seems a bit over the top just to watch TV. Lets just hope non Sky Sky+HD boxes aren't too far away either!
     
  10. Faust

    Faust
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    I applaud your enthusiasm Jimmy, and everyone else that is keen to switch to Hi Def. However, looking at it realistically and not with your enthusiasts hat on, I think if we are honest then it's going to be an uphill struggle to make Hi Def mainstream. Just look how difficult it has been to get people to even think about going digital, the Freeview route that is - adverts on the BBC night after night since it's launch, and that's just for a relatively inexpensive STB. Now expand that to persuading people to go out and buy a new t.v. to go with it. The government hasn't helped with it's constant dithering, not wanting to upset voters, and manufacturers are still churning out t.v.'s with analogue tuners by the bucket load, even LCD and Plasma panels. I read an article somewhere but can't put my finger on it at present, that stated Sky only expect Hi Def to be a very small niche market for some time to come. Therefore I go back to my original question - is buying a t.v. with HDMI connectivity really an issue for anyone who does not have or intend to get Sky in the short to medium term? I would say not. By the time Hi Def is a mainstream reality your shiny new LCD panel bought today will be ready for replacing. Certainly I think t.v. via Broadband will not take off, people tend to want there tv to be just that, a tv, and there computer to be simply that, a computer. I'm sure people will have a different view to mine, but given the state of play at present I would be most interested to hear it.
     
  11. igauk

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    Hi Faust,

    The digital switch over is not a good omen, not helped by uncertainty about when analogue will be switched off. I thought I didn't need to worry about HD as I'd never subscribe to Sky, but when I saw that the BBC were going to produce everything in HD by 2010, I thought 'why go to all that expense if they aren't going to broadcast everything in HD'? I think broadcasters need to give a lead to consumers, not the other way round.

    I stumbled across these forums by accident and thanks to wealth of advice and opinion here (which is frankly astounding) I think I've got a grasp of the issues. I take jimsan's point that I could wait forever for an 'ideal' TV and if I buy one with a HDMI or HDCP/DVI connection I'd be pretty safe in the (admittedly remote) event that the BBC launch HD broadcasts in the lifetime of the TV. However, my hunch is most people buy a TV on price/appearance, some people might be swayed by the HD Ready logo but I'm skeptical. I used to have a Saturday job in Radio Rentals and the sales mantra was 'features are fine, benefits are best'. I can see the benefits of HDMI for AV enthusiasts right now, but for everyone else the benefits are just a potential, albeit a potentially significant one. Who knows, maybe I underestimate the British consumers appetite for new technology, but if they look beyond DTT things get scary!
     
  12. loz

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    whether people think HDMI is a necessity or not or have an interest in HD or not, with HD available next year, don't your think large numbers (the majority?) of sets available then that have HD resolution will feature HDMI as standard. In which case why wouldn't you buy one with HDMI?

    Manufacturers release new generations of sets every year. It is already seems clear the next generation from sony/panasonic/philips/toshiba/etc will feature HDMI. It hardly costs them a lot to add in the vast scheme of things when it integrated into the standard commodity chips they will be using.
     
  13. jimsan

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    But the fact is, boys, that HD broadcasts will be available next year. Admittedly it won't be much, but I don't really mind. I want to be in a position to utilise the facility as soon as I can.

    The thing is, it's hardly as if the TV I have now (9986) is not any use for anything else! My goodness no, it's absolutely fantastic with SD broadcasts a it has the ability to make SD broadcasts appear almost HD in nature due to the wonders of PP2.

    Actually the whole point of this thread is going to be almost mute in a year or so's time, as, by then, it'll be quite difficult to by a 26"+ LCD that isn't 'HD ready'.

    You're right, Faust, in that a very small percentage of folks even know of the existence of HD and even fewer will go to the trouble of adapting to it...but we are the guys who are aware and who are prepared to take the plunge!

    The BBC are already recording a very high percentage of their programming in HD for two reasons. The USA is already broadcasting huge quantities of HD stuff and the BBC needs to be able to sell to that market, and, of course, it means that when we do have HD broadcasts as a norm that current programming will look great - nobody will want to watch old episodes of the new Dr.Who if it was shown in SD....(no funny comments....I quite like it!)

    It's coming lads....get ready!

    Jimmy
     
  14. Faust

    Faust
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    Yes it is, but this country really makes me weep, it really does. Do we ever take the lead in anything? we seem to have to do everything by consensus, and for consensus see inertia. UK governments of whatever colour seem paralysed when it comes to making any decisions that may have voter implications - their answer? lets leave it to the market. The markets response? we need a lead from government - result? nothing ever gets done. Do you think it's to late for me to stand in the General Election?

    P.S. Was Dr Who on last night as my Sky+ never recorded it, or was it pulled so the BBC could put out that wedding drivel - Cheers to the bride and gloom.
     
  15. jimg

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  16. loz

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    I don't see Sky waiting for the government's lead.
    They are pushing ahead with HD and will lead the rest of the market with it.

    The last people you need involved is the government. Their interfering with the BBC is bad enough.

    Actually the BBC hasn't done a bad job either in terms of being at the forefront of broadcast technology over the years. Compare the state of broadcasting with anywhere else in Europe and the UK comes out pretty positive IMHO.
     
  17. Faust

    Faust
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    Yes we do need the government to interfere, at least to get their big fat backsides off the fence, after all these years sitting there it must be hurting by now. For starters they should stop manufacturers selling anymore t.v.'s with analogue tuners, then they should bring forward the analogue shut down date to lets say 2007, then we might start to see some action, and to hell with being popular. I'm not expecting a lot from Sky in the short term, and I can't wait to see their business model for Hi Def, cost wise.
     
  18. David Mackenzie

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    Sad but true.

    One thing though - I think once people see how much better HDTV looks, especially at channels broadcasting 1080i, people will want the technology. Contrast this with Freeview - where many people would say the picture quality of Freeview looks WORSE than a good analogue PAL one (I would disagree because I am more sensitive to PAL image errors than MPEG-2 ones, but it's down to user preference).
     
  19. Faust

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    Yes but given the scenario that more people will have Freeview than Sky, plus the prospect for Hi Def via terrestrial looks bleak, how on earth are the vast majority of viewers ever going to see that a Hi Def picture offers unparallelled PQ. Even with Sky, the average viewer is now becoming pretty resistant to further price hikes - recently acknowledged by Sky executives, so I think they may have an uphill task themselves to persuade people to part with yet more cash.
     
  20. loz

    loz
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    Well no one can see what it looks like until they see it.
    Sky have a head start in at least you can expect to see it in every currys next year.
    Sky also have a customer base of several million households that present an opportunity for HD.
    Yes it will cost, but sky will dangle plenty of carrots their way.
    Look at Sky+ for example. People were uncertain about that. It cost a premium price.
    Now it has a healthy take up and Sky have used bundling as a means to get people on to premium channels to get Sky+ for "free". Expect the same with HD.

    A couple of years from now, HD won't be an issue.
    There will be a reasonable amount of content broadcast.
    Sky will offer sweetners to encourage take up of packages
    Flat panel HD tvs won't cost more than non HD tvs.
     
  21. Faust

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    I think a lot of what you say may be wishful thinking on your part loz. I was going to bring Sky+ into the equation myself in my next posting. Sky+ take up still only represents a tiny tiny percentage of Sky customers. When I look around where I live there appears to be a Sky dish on the vast majority of houses (modern development) and yet if one looks for the quad LNB I can only see mine and one other on a development of some 1500 homes, I kid you not. Similarly at work most of my work colleagues have got Sky, and yet there are only two of us with Sky+. When I ask my colleagues why they have not jumped at the chance to get Sky+ as they are mostly on the full package anyway, without fail they all say "we already pay enough as it is, and there's no way we would pay a further £150 for another Sky box". Not scientific I know, but it does show you what the broadcasters are up against. We sometimes forget on these forums that we are mostly enthusiasts, whereas the majority of Sky or Freeview customers are simply "television viewers" talk to them about Hi Def, or optical inputs and the like and their eyes would simply glaze over.
     
  22. Starburst

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    SKY+ accounts for roughly 10% of the DTH (Direct to Home) subscribers, not bad for a little over 3 years and a hefty price tag at launch but as always once the fools with more money than sense (Which I was one :) ) had got the ball rolling the marketing guys took over and exploited the reduced manufacturing costs to really start pushing the product.
    Same will happen with HD perhaps quicker than we think IF the BBC/ITV get into HD for the World Cup.
     
  23. igauk

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    Well, I consider myself a simple TV viewer (at least I did before I found this place!). I haven't got SKY and probably never will, I'm not an AV enthusiast but I've recently got Freeview. As the BBC seem unlikely to push HD until after the analogue switch off I imagine HD will pass most people bye for now. Even if it does start to register with things like the World Cup and HD DVDs I can't see many people being persuaded to fork out upward of £1200 for an HDTV (which seems about the minimum spend required today). Until there's a mass market for HDTV I'm sure manufacturers will limit HD compatability to the top of their ranges and enjoy healthy premiums as a result. I've never known a business give the consumer something for nothing, even if it costs little to implement, until the volumes or legislation dictate otherwise.
     
  24. ianh64

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    How many non NICAM tv's can you buy today? how long did that take to reach critical mass?

    How many b&w tv's can you buy today? That took one event to move the masses - a Royal Wedding.

    I am sure that 1 event could trigger a significant move to HD. Maybe the world cup...
     
  25. square_eyes

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    Here's the conundrum: even most AV enthusiasts admit that, given current technology, TV pictures (digital or terrestial) look worse on a plasma/LCD screen than they do on a good CRT. And yet many have purchased non-HD plasma/LCD screens, some costing up to ten times as much as a good CRT. They have therefore been willing to sacrifice the best possible TV-watching experience in order to secure the other perceived benefits of plasma/LCD (space-saving; multi-tasking TV/PC display; better DVD playback; fashion/style statement, etc).

    Admittedly, a few will have been misled into believing that their new plasma/LCD would give them a better TV picture but the majority have knowingly sacrificed their TV picture for some other perceived benefits. It would be surprising then if they all rushed out to change their non-HD plasma/LCD for an HDMI/DHCP-compliant model in order to receive better TV pictures when HDTV broadcasts begin.
     
  26. loz

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    My point was that the barriers will have been removed. e.g. things like HDCP compliance will largely be a none issue as any screen capable of HD resolution with have it (or it will have failed to become a requirement)

    Whether people rush out to buy it, is I agree a different matter.

    But if the masses go into their local currys it will be staring them in the face, the cost of HD ready flat panel displays wont be any worse than the cost of many SD panels today. And the friendly sales person will be able to tell you all about it by simply pointing to the HD Ready logo - buy this box, buy this panel, off you go.

    And several million sky subscibers will have been bombarded with endless advertising across all sky channels as with Sky+ and Sky Multiroom. They will be aware of what HD is, what is requires, and what it costs. All they have to do is make the choice.
     
  27. neilmcl

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    The fact that you've been looking in on over 1500 of your neighbour's houses is a scary thought. :)
     
  28. Faust

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    You can cover a multitude of sins simply by walking your dog.....? Seriously though it's just something that you notice as you idly walk by, well you do if your a nosey sod like me, and you have got Sky+. I hope that loz and everyone else are proved right and me proved wrong. However, going on past experience of change in this country I think Hi Def will remain a niche product until terrestrial gets heavily involved. 10% Sky+ take up after three years someone quoted earlier, and that's just spending £150, but what about spending £1500 for the privilege of a sharper picture? I bet a bookie would not give you very good odds.
     
  29. Faust

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    I do keep coming back to this point I know, but it does have relevance, and is important for different reasons to a good many people. My work colleague has just purchased an LCD without HDMI, and I asked him why, the answers he gave could have been given by myself - this is what he had to say. Hates sport with a passion, so no Hi Def there, rarely watches movies on Sky but has movie package to utilise Sky+, so that rules out Hi Def there, only ever bought one DVD (I have bought three) so Hi Def not an issue there either. That really only leaves terrestrial t.v. and given that the BBC have said they do not expect to be transmitting Hi Def before 2012 is there any point in those of us with similar tastes to bother whether the LCD we buy is Hi Def Ready or not - that is in the short to medium term, medium being years. I would also add to that, I have no intention of paying Mr Murdoch any further subs for an improvement in PQ - I am more than happy with my RGB feed thank you very much. I would be most interested to read any sensible replies to the argument I have put forward.
     
  30. jimg

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    You do not have to have any particular channels for SKY+, it just happens to be free if you take any premium package.

    That may be true of terrestrial, but the BBC is already recording in Hi-def and this will almost certainly be broadcast via SKY.

    There will be plenty of choice of Hi-def material being broadcast apart from sport and movies. It seems daft to buy a product with built in obsolescence unless it is a very low cost compared to the alternatives that are going to be available from all the major manufacturers over the next few months.
    At some point you just might be attracted by the inevitable offer from SKY to upgrade from SKY+ to a Hi-def STB. I for one will be taking that offer when it finally appears.
     

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