Sony PS3 and consumer electronics HELL!

Sony PS3 and consumer electronics HELL!

Summary: Want HDMI 1080p output from your Sony PlayStation 3? No problem, you'll just need this $100 cable and a non-existent HDMI 1.3 interface on your HDTV. Welcome to HDMI consumer electronics hell.

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TOPICS: Toshiba
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[Update 10/25/2006: This blog incorrectly blamed the HDMI standard for some of the problems. Title and body has been corrected.] In another case of consumer rip-offs, Humphrey Cheung is reporting that Sony will not be including an HDMI cable with the Sony PS3 and cites Sony's own website as the source. Cheung points out that Best Buy offers HDMI cables for $60 to $200 which is a bit of a nasty surprise for shoppers. Note that a quick search on the internet will yield lesser-name online vendors that offer $13 6' HDMI cables though you'll probably still have to pay at least $10 for shipping and handling. In my experience, this is only where the nightmare begins. I have a Toshiba 72" DLP HDTV capable of displaying 1080p (or that's what it's advertised as), the only catch is that the HDMI interface on it (as with most HDTVs on the market) only supports 1080i. Apparently, you would have to have a 29-pin HDMI 1.2a type B connector or an HDMI 1.3 connector to be able to support 1080p. [This is an implementation issue of Toshiba on the HDMI interface and not a problem in the HDMI standard itself. HDMI 1.2a type B and 1.3 allows HDMI to go higher than 1080p while existing implementations of HDMI all support 1080p. My apologies to the HDMI standards body. Some have told me that this myth was started by the TV manufacturers to pass the blame on to the standard rather to hide their own shortcomings.] Most of the HDTVs on the market use the older 19-pin connectors and this kind of information isn't obvious. DVI which is several years old has always supported very high resolutions at progressive scan, so it's frustrating that they electronics industry is shoving this stuff (to keep it civilized) on the consumer which highly technical people have a hard time understanding. If I want to view 1080p, I would need some kind of proprietary IEEE 1394 firewire device that is supported by the onboard embedded computer in the HDTV. When I plugged in my Sony HDR-HC1, the Toshiba recognized the device but told me it wasn't supported so I'm forced to go back to analog RGB component inputs and standard RCA for the audio. That's a total of 5 cables on each end I have to plug in and I know people who are even scared of plugging in a single cable. Then I got the bright idea to connect a powerful desktop computer to the 72" Toshiba DLP [Update 9:20PM: This is a 3 month old HDTV. I am clarifying this because someone suggested that this was too old] using the DVI output via DVI-HDMI cable to the HDMI input of the HDTV. Not only was it 1080i (interlaced) input which was ugly as hell for a computer display, the shadow and bright areas where horrible compared to the cheapest LCD computer monitor. All I got was a blotch of black and a blotch of white with no subtle details. Now this isn't just the Toshiba DLP, I noticed this on almost all of the DLP HDTVs in the store and the Toshiba was actually one of the better ones showing an up-converted DVD in the store. To add insult to injury, the Toshiba unit was supposed to support resolutions of 1920x1080. While it did this, it was over scanned by tens of pixels on all sides and chopped off the edge of the image. I can barely see the top of the Windows taskbar or any of the top control buttons of a window. Now couple this with aspect-ratio hell and it's enough to drive anyone crazy! For video playback, these kinds of issues are considered normal because TV technology has never come close to computer displays in terms of detail and faithful color rendering. So hooking up a computer up to an HDTV will be okay for the purpose of displaying video and maybe some gaming but not much more than that. When you go in to a store, there is no way to tell which monitor is better because some of the HDTVs have to deal with more glare and lousy input sources. The online review sites unfortunately don't help because they don't tell you these kinds of issues and they don't really show you how good or how bad the color and distortion issues are. If this is the future of living room convergence, it is doomed to failure.

Topic: Toshiba

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  • Quit Whining

    Why bring up the PS3? Do the HDTVs themselves come with this cable? Um....no. You'd think that would be the obvious choice. Do HD-DVD players or Blu-Ray players come with it? Um....no. Exactly how much 1080p content is out there? Not much. Know stations showing HD content in 1080p? Um...no. Anything TV under 50 inches( which most people will by ) and there isn't any visible difference between 720p, 1080i and 1080p.

    Fact is if you can afford a 50+ inch HDTV that supports 1080p and a $600 P3 and/or a $500-$1000 HD-DVD/Blu-Ray player then you can afford $60 for a HDMI cable.
    BCF1968
    • I bought a $60 upconverting DVD player that came with one

      I bought a $60 upconverting DVD player that came with one. It probably costs a manufacturer $3 to bundle one. HDTVs don't come with cables, but the players usually do come with cables.
      georgeou
  • Look to the future

    [George writes]
    I have a Toshiba 72" DLP HDTV capable of displaying 1080p (or
    that's what it's advertised as), the only catch is that the HDMI
    interface on it (as with most HDTVs on the market) only supports
    1080i. Apparently, you would have to have a 29-pin HDMI 1.2a
    type B connector or an HDMI 1.3 connector to be able to support
    1080p.
    [/writes]

    "Although all previous versions of HDMI have had more than
    enough bandwidth to support all current HDTV formats, HDMI
    1.3 increases its single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps)
    to support the demands of future HD display devices, such as
    higher resolutions, Deep Color and high frame rates."
    http://www.hdmi.org/consumer/faq.asp

    Of course it goes on to say "According to announcements by
    manufacturers, new high-definition DVD formats (HD-DVD and
    Blu-ray) and game machines (including the Sony PLAYSTATION?
    3) will make use of capabilities added in HDMI 1.3."

    [George writes]
    If this is the future of living room convergence, it is doomed to
    failure.
    [/writes]

    Unfortunately its the past that is holding you back.

    I suspect it isn't as big a problem as you think, I lost count of the
    number of plasma displays I've seen being powered by
    composite video cables (yuk). This used to really annoy me, now
    I look the other way.
    Richard Flude
    • I bought this HDTV less than 3 months ago

      If this TV was 2 years old, you can say it's obsolete. But this is a 3 month old HDTV that I bought. I would wager that most HDTVs in stores right now DO NOT have HDMI 1.3 yet and consumers have no way to tell which one is which.

      My point was that DVI is more than 6 years old and it works with 2500 pixels wide displays in progressive scan. Why is it that a 3 month old HDTV and sets still being sold in stores are still a step behind DVI? What's wrong with this picture?
      georgeou
      • obsolesce is yesterday

        "If this TV was 2 years old, you can say it's obsolete."

        It is now the digital age, obsolesce is yesterday.

        "I would wager that most HDTVs in stores right now DO NOT
        have HDMI 1.3 yet and consumers have no way to tell which one
        is which."

        True, definitely requires research.

        "My point was that DVI is more than 6 years old and it works
        with 2500 pixels wide displays in progressive scan. Why is it that
        a 3 month old HDTV and sets still being sold in stores are still a
        step behind DVI?"

        The two are different standards for different purposes.

        Digital Visual Interface (DVI) was developed by the Digital
        Display Working Group for video only (analogue, digital and
        combination).

        High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) was developed by
        consumer device manufacturers and has audio, video and
        control streams (digital only). Type A HDMI is backward-
        compatible with the single-link Digital Visual Interface (DVI-D).

        Single link DVI-D maxs out at 1080p (5% LCD blanking).

        "What's wrong with this picture?"

        Don't get me started. Digital media systems is a large part of
        what I do.
        Richard Flude
        • You're disagreeing for the sake of disagreeing

          I just looked up Toshiba's website for their latest model and it only mentions HDMI and not what version or what it's capable of. This is nonsense and you know it. You're just disagreeing with me for the sake of disagreeing which gets old.

          Obsolescence is NOT yesterday and there is no way consumers will tolerate that kind of attitude. Why is it that a 6+ year old DVI standard can handle 2500 pixel progressive scan video with ease?
          georgeou
          • I don't disagree

            "You're just disagreeing with me for the sake of disagreeing
            which gets old."

            I don't disagree with what you're saying, just accepting the way
            it is and explaining why it is this way.

            "Obsolescence is NOT yesterday and there is no way consumers
            will tolerate that kind of attitude."

            The evidence supports my explanation. Consumers don't even
            understand enough to not tolerate the situation.

            "Why is it that a 6+ year old DVI standard can handle 2500 pixel
            progressive scan video with ease?"

            Because it only dealt with video, HDMI adds other streams. Again
            they were designed for different purposes.

            HDMI is a fine standard. You want to dump on Toshiba for your
            decision to purchase a pre-HDMI 1.3 model fine, seems unusual
            if you were after 1080p.

            Strangely the XBox 360 is missing in your attack. XBox 360
            doesn't support 1080p at all, guess that's better than PS3 lack of
            HDMI cable;-)
            Richard Flude
          • You missed my point

            Toshiba or the other makers don't even list what HDMI version they're offering. The stores and the sales people can't even tell you. Their websites tell you nothing. The issue is that they're all advertising 1080p capability without being able to back it up with an HDMI 1.3 connector and they've been doing this for more than a year.

            The point is that you wouldn?t be able to find an HDMI 1.3 connector if you tried.
            georgeou
          • 1080p

            The TV displays 1080p. Your display probably doesn't accept 1080p input. Most TVs out currently don't. They upconvert to 1080p. They figured this was acceptable because there is only one device on the market right now that outputs 1080p, the Samsung BD player.

            HDMI is backwards compatible, so it doesn't matter which version it is. 1.3 will be able to pass the new HD audio formats from DTS and Dolby, and 1.2 can send the current DTS, Dolby and THX standards just fine. The current BD and HD-DVD players send their HD audio through 6 analog outputs. With a 1.3 HDMI player (in the future) it will simply use the compressed audio that will work with your display or receiver. You might have to select the appropriate one, but you don't have to worry abotu it.

            I work for a custom installation company. We've had our headaches with HDMI, so we keep using component video. But with BD coming out now, we're starting to go to HDMI, and we've only been seeing a few problems, and it's usually because of something we did wrong.

            You're also exhibiting an ignorance with TV resolutions. 1080p only requires 1080 vertical lines, and it doesn't matter if DVI is able to do 2500 pixels wide because your TV won't be able to display it. Hitachi right now has 1080p TVs, but they're only 1080 pixels wide. Pixel count and line count are totally different.
            glocks out
      • You're blaming the wrong thing

        It's not DVI's fault, it's your TV's fault. Your display is probably not really 1080p, but the wobulation technology. All TVs have overscan, but you can usually reduce this through settings on the TV. But for TV programming, overscan is mostly neccessary.
        glocks out
        • The real ones to blame

          Shouldn't the real blame here go to those pushing for HDMI DRM to be built in to every new machine?
          tic swayback
          • DRM

            I assume you're refering to the HDCP, which is not a DRM at all (but acts like one). HDCP is part of the Intel specification to make sure devices are connected properly so there are no weird artifacts and things of that nature. The real problem is companies who get the specs wrong and HDCP doesn't work as a result.
            glocks out
          • No, I'm referring to DRM in HDMI

            http://videothing.blogspot.com/2006/05/hdmi-drm-dormant-until-2010-boing.html

            "The 'image constraint token' in HDMI DRM...is a flag in a video signal that instructs receivers, DVD players and other high-definition sources to 'down-rez' their output to a low-definition signal when connecting to an 'untrusted' screen or other sink.

            The effect is that if your screen or recorder isn't blessed by Hollywood, they can limit the video they send to it to a low-resolution image. Manufacturers who want the full signal have to enter into the HDMI license agreement and agree to cripple their hardware in lots of ways -- and have to promise not to make their equipment compatible with anyone else's, unless they, too, agree to cripple their hardware."
            tic swayback
          • non-issue

            This ICT is not mandatory, and is not in use. No Hollywood Studio has released, or committed to using it. This also has nothing to do with HDMI, but with the HD formats (BD and HD-DVD)
            glocks out
          • You're a very trusting soul

            Let's see, they've built in a DRM technology, a way to surely increase profits, but you think they probably won't use it.


            Yeah. Right.
            tic swayback
  • Strangely enough...

    This is one time where I am glad that I don't have the money to waste on electronics.

    Sometimes it pays to be poor. Just as anyone who collects food stamps.
    nucrash
  • Where's the scoop?

    I'm still waiting to hear the info you promised to reveal about the
    MacBook WiFi hack fiasco.

    Meanwhile ...

    http://daringfireball.net/2006/09/challenge_update
    Len Rooney
  • when you complaing about the picture

    on your 72" tv, it's really hard to dredge up a ton of sympathy.

    This all goes back to the various industry efforts to ensure that we can't actually use the hardware we purchase in the name of "anti-piracy".

    Sounds like another convert to the C.R.A.P. campaing in the making.
    Robert Crocker
  • Hoopjumpers and suckers

    Two main responses to this:

    1) By making consumers jump through ridiculous hoops like this (buying extra cables and adaptors, not having a system that works on all televisions), the net result is driving consumers to illegal means of obtaining content. Really, which is a more likely path for Joe Average, doing the research, buying the right cable and adaptor just to watch a movie, or hopping on BitTorrent and downloading the movie from there? All these DRM systems that make life difficult for the lawful user only serve to convert them to unlawful users.

    2) Is it now fair to declare anyone who has already bought an HDTV a sucker since their extremely expensive purchase is now obsolete?
    tic swayback
    • You're obsolete if you bought yesterday according to Robert Crocker

      You're obsolete if you bought an HDTV yesterday according to Robert Crocker. The problem is that I have yet to find one of these so called HDMI 1.3 connectors on an HDTV.
      georgeou