HDMI - What's all the fuss about?

AV Geeza

Active Member
I had a meeting in the West End of London today so I decided to pop into Selfridges to have a look at some of the plasma's.
Now before someone says it, I know that the set up of plasma screens in a department store will always have room for considerable improvement, but I felt that each screen would be on level if not poor playing ground.

I saw the Pioneer 434 HDE connected to its HDMI player via HDMI and I have to say that altough the picture was good, it certainly didn't live up to my expectations.
The image did have good depth and detail and the picture also appeared to be noise free but it still lacked real impact.
I was also quite alarmed at the black levels which appeared to be grey!!:confused: Infact more grey than any of the so called popular screens (Hitachi, Panny, Sony, Philips). Im guessing that its because of the black gloss surround as the contrast figures for the 434 are quite good.
Im sure that a better picture could be achieved with some tweaking but surely the fact that the connection is digital should remove a lot of the normal tweaking options, no?

The bottom line is that Im not convinced that HDMI is that much better than a good progressive feed from a decent player on a plasma screen.
I suspect that HDMI it may well come into its own on a larger image from a projector, but will have to wait and see.

BTW, I saw the Fujitsu 42VHA30 - :smashin:
This had a great picture on analogue tv, so I can only imagine how good it would be with DVD!!


AV Geeza, I'm with you on this. Part of the lack of impact with the pioneer, is that the panel is still scaling the image, there is no way round it, even with a PC. I'm looking at a couple of projectors here, a mustang chip Infocus 7200, DVI from UVEM PC, and a Z2, DVI from an iscan ultra, both of which leap out and grab you by the eyeballs. Apart from the lack of black level, the MXE pioneers are capable of being scarily sharp and detailed via DVI, leading me to believe it's down to scaling.


Standard Member
are you saying we dont need HDMI and that DVI is sufficient??


This is education point of the week, clearly. HDMI is DVI with audio added, and HDCP support. DVI can also have HDCP support, but not always. You need it to connect any other HDCP device, like an 868 DVD player. With a PC, they just don't care, and you can buy cables to connect PC's to DVI or HDMI ports, it's just a plug, not a format.


Standard Member
I think due to large number of DVI/HDMI/HDCP questions doing the rounds at the moment and the obvious level of confusion around it, a sticky outlining the DVI/HDMI/HDCP basics might be a good idea, it might save having to answer the same question time and time again, what do you think?



Standard Member
so hdmi is basically dvia(audio)

thanks :devil:

gmt steve

Active Member
I thought DVI was PC optimised and HDMI is AV optimised. I'm sure I read something Gordon at Convergent posted to this effect. Also, in answer to the original posting, it seems that the black level is your only gripe with the combo you saw in Selfridges. Isn't that the one aspect that was most likley "overcooked" in order to compete with the store lighting?

AV Geeza

Active Member
gmt steve
in answer to the original posting, it seems that the black level is your only gripe with the combo you saw in Selfridges

I wish that were true, but it isn't. Apart from the black level the image did not really grab me or have that wow factor I had expected.
When I first saw a progressive scan image from an Arcam FMJ on a Panny 5 series, that had the wow factor as I was used to seeing an inerlaced image via scart.
I just expected that kind of jump with HDMI, but I didn't see it.
As I said, maybe a larger image via a projector will really show the benefits or maybe once Panny and other manufacturers start producing HDMI plasma's we'll actually see HDMI in all its glory! :)

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
HDMI is a potentially brilliant technology unfortunately all the implementations I have seen to date leave much to be desired. The Meridian it should be noted is one I haven't seen yet and I have high hopes for the video side here. Hey guys we haven't even got chipsets that conform to the basic 1.0 standard for HDMI and I will be surprized if we seem many this side of a year yet.

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor
Hello all

AV Geeza - HDMI signals require just as much tweaking as any analogue signal.

Pioneer vs. Panasonic - don't think we'll ever resolve this one; some folk prefer Panasonic some folk prefer Pioneer, no matter if its YUV or HDMI.

FMJ-DV27 (YUV) vs. DV-868AVi (HDMI) - I've still got my FMJ hooked up to my PDP-504HDE; digital connectivity via HDMI may be a better way of moving the signal around but the original signal is still the building block.

In Store Displays - much as everyone pushes the idea of going to a store to see a screen you need to pick and choose your store carefully; the pre sets on pretty much any Plasma are horrid and in a brightly lit store its likely that you will be seeing the plasma on max contrast and brightness.

Level playing field - I'd want to see what was in stock and what margins were being made on each screen before you assume anything about equality of set up in a big chain store!

Ryan - the basic so far is assume nothing with DVI or HDMI; its trial and error until we all learn to get the best out of what kit is available.

Best regards


PS Pioneer have teamed up with Euro1080 to promote HD in the UK and I heard whispers yesterday of SKY trialling a HD signal in the UK

Paul D

Well-known Member
I too assumed HDMI(DVI) would be a "plug and play", route to a great image.
I had read the threads about the budget DVI players blowing away "high end" Component only players.
I spent a small fortune gearing my setup for HDMI(DVI).

I was already impressed with the image from my Pioneer 868i DVD player via Component (to my Marantz S3 DLP projector).

So as i hooked it all up via HDMI(DVI), i was almost salivating in anticipation of the image awating me!:clap:

To say i was shocked at the image is an under statement:eek:

You see, i felt it was flatter and drained of colour:confused:

I spent a few hours messing, and gave up when i realised i was actually trying to get a picture as good as the Component input!:thumbsdow

I wrongly assumed HDMI(DVI) being digital, would some how be spot-on at defaults.(how wrong was i !)

To cut a long story short, i have now managed to exceed the Component picture in every aspect via HDMI(DVI).
It has zero picture noise and for some reason, pans are much smoother/cleaner.
Color is sharper, and shows slightly more colour information.
It is not the large "night and day" difference other people have seen.
Rather subtle improvements, which are more noticeable when changing back to component after watching HDMI(DVI) for a while.

The only thing a can think of, is that the budget DVI players Component output is not great in the first place.
And again the Component input on some displays isn't handled as well as the HDMI(DVI) input etc.

On my setup, Component or HDMI(DVI) looks stunning and i would be happy with either.
I will be sticking with the HDMI(DVI) from now onwards, but for those with good quality Component DVD players(assuming your display handles Component well etc), i wouldn't be in such a hurry to change to HDMI(DVI). Sure get it when you next upgrade, but i would get a demo first if HDMI(DVI) is your main reason for changing.

Those on a budget stand to get the most from HDMI(DVI), as it a cheap way to "potentially" better images!;)

AV Geeza

Active Member
Thanks for putting me straight on the HDMI tweaking issue.

As for me being in a particular camp, Panny or Pioneer, I have no strong preference for either.

As you have an Arcam connected to your 504 I take it that you prefer the picture via YUV? If this is the case then it lends some weight to my argument, however I take on board The Beekeepers comment about the Meridian.
I recently auditioned the Meridian against the Arcam FMJ via YUV and the difference was clear (as you would expect from a player costing twice as much).
I will audition it again using HDMI in the hope that it gives me what Im looking for. :smashin:

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
AVForums Sponsor


I agree with Fulabeer on this, I was already very happy with my Component setup from a Sony725 to my 500E, but was tempted by much cheaper availability of DVI now and the fact my 500E had DVI input, so I took the plunge and bought the Samsung 935 for £140.
I tried it initially as well as with DVI with the RGB output and was not impressed using component outputs, but using the DVI connection the picture was definately "sharper and just better" even the family suddenly said "WOW that looks good", I am happy I took the plunge and tried DVI as it is certainly better than the Sony Component, but "night and day" ? I dont think so, maybe "night and dawn" yes! LOL
Well worth £140, but if I had paid ten times that for something approaching or slightly bettering the result I would have been very dissapointed.

As an aside when I connected mine up all I had to tweak was turning down the colour a lot and the contrast a bit, never had a problem with washed out colours or flat picture thats for sure!

Best regards David


Well-known Member
the only ones who seem to be saying theres a massive gain going HDMI/DVI seems to be the magazine reviewers.....i wonder why that is eh?

but from my own experience, it takes a good while to get a good pic from DVI, all looks washed out to start with... but with a bit of effort you can get a fantasticly clean image. the only true gain is less pic noise

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
Some good points being made here for people to note in general in this thread.

1. Picture noise will be less generally with digital connection but not always

2. There is NOT a night and day leap in quality with DVI UNLESS the player has poor analogue outputs (935?). DVI vs analogue is really an irrelevance long term. Analogue is here now and works well but the future is digital. HDMI for DVD, IEE1394 for many other devices (video, Sat HD, Camcorders etc etc)

3. DVI / HDMI needs as much work to get right as a traditional analogue system. Those that rush off the comparisons between the cheap DVI players and high end analogue players are perhaps trying to justify current positions. The much more measured posts from the likes of Fulabeer are much more believable (always a godd source of info). The reality is if well engineered, both are capable of quality solutions. This is really apples and pears, you always get what you pay for, Denon and Meridian HDMI is quality kit. The 935 is a budget DVI deck (note DVI). I like the 935 and will probably get one to play with (as it can do MP3, CD R, CD RW) :)

4. Differences between high end analogue and digital can be really quite small but IMHO digital CAN win through as any SDI user will tell you. The differences are small for most people but worth it for many. I still prefer SDI to anything I have seen.

5. Deinterlacing is an important parameter in determining picture quality

6. Judder is an issue that upsets many

7. DVI is a computer interface, HDMI / (and possibly even the 'pro' SDI) are more home cinema orientated. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This difference is very relevant to some of the above points. Remember this, 720p at 60 Hz means that r2 (PAL) would need to be transposed from 50 to 60 Hz if the DVI equipped device can only accept 720p/60hz. Judder judder judder? Computer based display technologies are traditionally not geared up to 50 Hz. Just look to see how many people have problems with 576p. 720p and 1080i inputs are 60 Hz generally.

8. Computers work over short distance normally. How far is you PC from your monitor? Computer have different black levels to home cinema. DVI is a computer interface. HDMI has learned form all the problems with DVI and SPDIF and done something about it. This is not trivial in it’s own right and hence it is taking a while to come to the market.

9. DVD contain 4:2:0 component signals (YPrPb ) on the disk. DVI is 4:4:4 (rgb) :) Plenty of time for someone to screw it up IF THEY DON’T KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING :)

And don’t forget:

DVI is a computer interface
HDMI is a home cinema interface


Active Member
Great explanation "the beekeeper".
Unfortunately, it is difficult to understand some screen specs.
Example, see the NEC below.

From your knowledge at the moment, can you say which screens are providing the most flexibility for now and in the future?

Example, NEC PX-42XM2G,

Input Signals:

NTSC: (3.58 / 4.43);

Input Terminals RGB:

RGB3 (Digital) DVI-D 24-pin x 1 (not compatible with analogue input)

Input Terminals HD/DVD/DTV:

HD1 / DVD1 / DTV1 = RCA-3pin (Y, Pb(Cb), Pr(Cr)) x 1
HD2 / DVD2 / DTV2 = 5BNC x 1 (RGB input of 5BNC and common use, selectable)


Well-known Member
I think no what you buy now with all AV, you run the risk of it been transitional. it maybe me but AV seems to be going through a big shift right now.


Very good beekeeper,
I have no doubt Digital will take over in most systems, but look at hi-fi vinyl is still used. (I wonder why) ;)

Both DVI v1.1 (hdcp) and HDMI use the same method of data transfer. video data 24bit , the TDMS encodes the 8bit per channel into a 10bit DC-Balanced then its transmitted in a serial form at 10bits per pixel clock.
Video pixel rates range from 25Mhz to 165Mhz,
13.5Mhz (480i/NTSC) uses pixel-replition, RGB 4:4:4, YCbCr 4:4:4 or YCbCr 4:2:2 in all cases 24bits per pixel can be transmitted.
in HDMI v1 type B and DVI v1.1 double link, there is a 2nd TDMS channel allowing for very high resolutions.

DVI v1 - for computers
DVI v1.1 (hdcp) & HDMI - for Home Cinema
HDMI can also carry certain sound formats, not much use unless plugging into an amp though.

Denons new DVD A11 uses DVI 1.1 (hdcp) some manufacturers use HDMI, but there are leads avaliable and converters that allow you to go from dvi to hdmi or from hdmi to dvi.

and gandley its based on anologue is better. I ask you to prove to me otherwise. digital is always limited.


Well-known Member
not arguing with you, i just wanted to know why.

DVI limited to 8bit, but hdmi can pass upto 12bit when source allows(as current DVD is limited to 8bit anyway)yes no?

Nic Rhodes

Distinguished Member
Can I input [email protected] into a plasma? No
Can I output [email protected] from a DVD player? No
Does my DVI 'PAL' output from say my Iscan ultra work in most plasmas. No
Can all plasmas take [email protected] via DVI input. No
Can all HDCP repeaters / video processors take [email protected] via DVI input. No

These are simply NOT part of the specification no matter what number you quote, 1 or 1.1 with HDCP.

DVI inputs generally work at set resolutions, RGBHV inputs scan for the incoming signal.

The list of No's is currently HUGE. The only way to work out if a combination works is to try it.

Few of these DVI systems make any concessions to HC, despite 1.1 spec. This is particularly bad in PAL countries. Have anyone ever looked to see how many of the common resolutions work at 50Hz? Not many This is a real shame as just about all r2 software runs at 50 Hz or a multiple of :)

Gandley sums it up well, what ever you buy at the moment be warned DVI is a computer interface and HDMI isn't here yet. Analogue works and works very well in some cases. We are in between with all the digital stuff and it needs a year or two to sort everything out.

If it was all hunks dory I could take my Denon DVI 1.1 [email protected] output and plug it into my DVI input and it would work all of the time. It doesn't most of the time, particularly with slightly older plasmas (months only here) and DVI has been around 5 years now.

Does anyone have any problems with DVI and computers. No It is after all a COMPUTER INTERFACE

Do it the other way around will my 480i HDMI output work into a DVI input No
Will my player output [email protected] and will my plasma receive [email protected] on either HDMI or DVI. No

Will [email protected] be a recognised as an output or input for DVI. No, it generally has to get smashed to 60Hz and we see the resultant problems, often the same for other resolutions as well.

No No No there are way too many nos. HDMI to HDMI it starts getting much more interesting as a way forward as there is a compatibility lab in the testing but as we don't yet have a single full spec HDMI V1 device on the market, nothing can be properly tested :) Even the current pioneers work to different variants of HDMI 

Oh re LPs, I have almost 8000 of these things so you are talking to the converted re analogue, they sound great. I am a huge analogue fan in all these things. However that doesn’t stop digitial, when engineered correctly (something the old timers know I have argued for donkeys years) also sounding / looking excellent possible even better know (I have high end turntable). There are still a few things we can tweak re CD digital like filters and freq (need to go > 500Khz) but things are getting much better. Some are now achieving this with stunning results even with lowly 16bit/44Khz sources. This higher bit stuff really is a smoke screen to those who really want performance gains, the real digital work has been done elsewhere.

These compatibility issues go much wider than just HDCP.

Did you know HDCP will NOT be allowed on computers, so all computers will work with only DVI 1.0 and NOT DVI 1.1 or HDMI 1. Now I wonder how many displays will be made with HDCP thus eliminating them from being used with computers? I will leave other to work out the numbers……;)

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