Analog Sunset – Does it lead to darkness or a better picture?

Perhaps you may have heard the word “HDMI”. This is the new standard for connectivity between devices to a television and is replacing all legacy analog connectivity (think yellow, red and white jacks). At the end of this year, manufacturers will not legally be able to sell devices with analog connections anymore. It is being dubbed as “analog sunset” and is entirely driven by copyright protection.
So why is this important to you? The reason is that at some point, you will be forced (yes forced) to upgrade to HDMI connectivity. There simply won’t be any more red, white and yellow jacks.

But wait you say: “this is an infringement on my rights…nobody can force me what to buy…this can’t be legal”!

The truth is that it is legal and happens to us all the time with other consumer goods. Have you tried buying a computer with a parallel printer port on it lately? How about using your old scanner with Windows 7? Or what about a Sony Memory Stick?

Technology moves forward all the time and eventually displaces and abandons older technology. HDMI is the same thing. Out with the old, in with the new.

The alert reader will now question why I said earlier that the transition to HDMI is entirely driven by copyright protection. (Did I catch you?)

So which is it: copyright protection or technology? The answer is both, but in this case, the former heavily influenced the latter.

A few years back both the manufactures’ and Hollywood studios knew the importance of and worked together on creating a means for digital connectivity. Their goal was to get things down to one wire with pristine audio/video quality. Hollywood was very invested in this because they were concerned about piracy of these pristine digital formats. They saw how it went with the music industry and MP3’s and did not want the same to happen to their lucrative movies.

By and by, the two camps duked it out and created HDMI (High Definition Multi-media Interface). The format was much more than a cable – it became a robust protocol that allowed the passage of pristine audio/video while making it virtually invulnerable to theft and piracy.

So where’s the problem? Sounds good right?

The issue is that the methods used by the HDMI protocol to keep the audio/video data invulnerable to piracy, creates all kinds of troubles in making sure a complete system works right. (See previous blog entry here for details.) This is especially true when you are attempting to send HDMI any significant distance or if you are trying to feed multiple televisions from one source.

And with HDMI, if one thing in the system is wrong, you get nothing. Nada. Zip. No picture. No sound. (Actually, the one thing you do get is irritated!)

There are, of course, ways to build a system with HDMI that will work properly which is where a professional comes in. We can recommend the right components, cable types, lengths and system settings to ensure that you can watch your favorite movie or evening news program in beautiful detail. Systems like Crestron Digital Media shown here, for example, are virtually airtight in making sure your system is awesome.

So as the analog sun now sets, please give us a call to discuss the best path and approach you should take. Pardon the schmaltzy allegory, but we will lead you to a great picture instead of darkness.