How do you know if your presentation system is digital ready?
Many folks are not aware of this digital change afoot in the industry. While it has been around for a while, many are just now being exposed to the change, or will fairly soon. What am I talking about? HDMI, DVI-D, and display port connectivity to be specific.
These terms refer specifically to new connectors specified for providing digital content. You will see them on the back of Blu-Ray players and Satellite receivers. But did you know they are becoming more prominent on computers as well? Many laptops today come standard with HDMI connectors (because of the small form factor) while DVI connections are prevalent on desktop PC’s.
There is also one more new connector called displayport. This connection can be found on new laptops, flat screen displays, and many Apple products. They are all variants of the digital signal format and many have adaptors to convert from one digital display connector type to the other. There are some technical variations that may be important to your system, but go way beyond this
Why is everyone going digital?
The main reason for the change, is due to high definition video sources. The short explanation is that folks who create hi-definition (HD) content (ex:Hollywood) don’t want their content pirated in an “exact copy” HD format.
The new digital signal allows content providers to choose whether to send along digital handshake signals to confirm that the display (flat screen, projector, etc) and video source are compliant, so it can display the video, AND NOT BE RECORDED! That is why many Blu-Ray players take a few seconds to give you a picture on screen, because they may be performing this digital handshake first.
This handshake is called HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). Once a signal is HDCP encoded, it will always be encoded. We’ll explain this all further in a future article.
So what does this all mean to your System?
It is important to consider your future presentation needs.
Do you have a system that will consist of many different presenters, such as public speakers or visiting professionals? If so, you will want your system to be ready to handle today’s new laptops. If your system is not digital ready, you may find yourself gathering around the presenter’s small LCD screen!
Also, in the future if you want high definition from a Blu-Ray player, you will need your system designed to include digital signals. All modern flat panels today and most video projectors have digital inputs of one type or another. The hitch in all of this is that digital video signals can not run long distances on a single cable. To compensate for this limitation, special conversion devices or specialty cables have to be used depending on routing distance, switching needs, etc.
Your AVR Account specialist can assist you with these choices.
Article by: Jim Mauger, Director of Engineering