• 03-04-2011, 09:02 PM
    Woochifer
    Goodbye HD Component Video: The Analog Sunset Has Begun
    When the calendar flipped to 2011, it officially set in motion a process that manufacturers and content providers have talked about for years -- the phasing out of analog HD component video connections. For now, this primarily affects only new Blu-ray players, but there's a lot of speculation on when TVs, set-top boxes, and other HD sources will follow suit and no longer support analog HD video connections.

    The bottomline is if you still use analog component HD video, and you're in the market for a Blu-ray player especially, you'd better act quickly. Your options will dwindle fast over the next few months.

    http://blogs.consumerreports.org/ele...og-sunset.html

    Bye Bye Component Video Outputs
    Basically, the first step in the phase out has already begun -- any new Blu-ray players (or any output device using the AACS copy protection) introduced after January 1, will not include any HD component video outputs. The analog video outputs for those devices are limited to 480i composite or S-video.

    If you want a Blu-ray player with HD component video outputs, you need to look for a model introduced in 2010 or earlier. Those models can continue production until they are discontinued or in 2013, whichever comes first. For people used to seeing numerous legacy video connections on the back panel of their disc players, Panasonic's newly introduced Blu-ray players look almost shockingly barren by comparison.

    http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/201...el_610x242.jpg

    The next step in the phase out will occur at the end of 2013. At that time, no analog video outputs will be included with Blu-ray players, period.

    Downscaling's Alive! The Dreaded ICT Flag Is No Longer a Dormant Feature
    When the Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats were first introduced, their specs included a provision to downscale the analog video output to 540p using the Image Constraint Token (ICT) flag. After a major outcry from the home theater community (and the realization that the feature would have killed the market for both formats at that time), the ICT was quietly put on hold until 2010.

    Well, 2010 is now in the past and AACS-LA has quietly activated the much-maligned ICT feature.

    Unlike the component video phaseout, the ICT activation potentially affects current Blu-ray player owners, because it's built into every Blu-ray player. We're now waiting to see if any studios begin authoring their new Blu-ray releases with the ICT flag activated. This does not affect earlier releases.

    Is This Even a Major Issue Anymore? And What Else Lies Ahead?
    Surprisingly, very little has been written about this. When the word of an analog phaseout got out around the time Blu-ray and HD-DVD first came to market, you had a lot of angry responses from home theater enthusiasts. At that time, the majority of HDTV owners used analog component video connections. And given how much they paid for those early HDTVs (and how little HD programming was available back then), the last thing they wanted to hear was that the long-awaited HD disc format would exclude them.

    The AACS-LA smartly stretched out the timeline to give Blu-ray and digital video connections such as HDMI a chance to grow. Now that Blu-ray gained a somewhat solid footing in the market, and HDMI is the de facto connection standard for the vast majority of HDTVs and HD sources, the time very well might be right for the analog video sunset to begin.

    For now, the analog phaseout primarily affects Blu-ray. But, we have already seen HDTVs pretty much eliminate S-video connections, and some of them have already eliminated composite and/or component connections as well.

    And with set-top boxes, how much longer will they support analog video? At the very least, the lowest common denominator remains composite video. But, would they continue to support component HD video, especially since cable/satellite providers now have the option to disable analog video output with first run movies and other content.

    The phaseout with Blu-ray is the first step, and other components very well might follow suit in quick succession.
  • 03-05-2011, 07:43 AM
    kexodusc
    Man that's gonna put a dent into some cable seller's bottom line.

    I have yet to use a device that didn't exhibit some glitches attributable to the presence of HDMI, so I'm a little concerned about this movement. It was to be expected though. Can't say I'll miss the mess of cables HDMI can replace.
  • 03-05-2011, 08:28 AM
    thekid
    Not worried yet as I have not jumped on the Blu-Ray bandwagon yet.
    It will probably affect me when I get a new TV and see that they have eliminated the component connections on the TV panels. Perhaps I am being cynical but I can see manufacturers doing something like this to force people to upgrade to new gear with digital only connections.
  • 03-05-2011, 09:18 PM
    Smokey
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer
    For people used to seeing numerous legacy video connections on the back panel of their disc players, Panasonic's newly introduced Blu-ray players look almost shockingly barren by comparison.

    http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/201...el_610x242.jpg

    I see they still carry Composite connection :)

    These guys must have a love affair with Composite connection. They already have eliminated better analog connection such as S-video. And with component connection being next, one is forced to feed TV the worst "type" signal.
  • 03-05-2011, 09:38 PM
    02audionoob
    How will the studios benefit by activating downscaling, if they choose to do that?
  • 03-06-2011, 06:23 AM
    bobsticks
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    How will the studios benefit by activating downscaling, if they choose to do that?

    Im thinking it would make unauthorized copies done by non-digital means even less enticing...I wouldn't be surprised either to read if there was some level of communication between studios and equipment manufacturers. Obviously, downscaling would add incentive for those with older equipment to purchase new.

    Just guessin'...
  • 03-06-2011, 06:44 AM
    02audionoob
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Im thinking it would make unauthorized copies done by non-digital means even less enticing...I wouldn't be surprised either to read if there was some level of communication between studios and equipment manufacturers. Obviously, downscaling would add incentive for those with older equipment to purchase new.

    Just guessin'...

    That idea of the unauthorized copies seems to make sense. I could see there being a market on the streets outside the US (and maybe even inside) for pirated movies made from the analog outputs.
  • 03-06-2011, 11:57 AM
    pixelthis
    1 Attachment(s)
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    How will the studios benefit by activating downscaling, if they choose to do that?

    They will feed their rampant paranoia, for one thing.
    HDMI has sturdy anti-copy intrinsic to the design. Try to copy using an analog
    connection and you get SD only. Being strong property rights I don't mind this,
    but its funny that studios are so determined and focused on what is really a minor problem,
    since most consumers are not a problem, copying for their own use.
    THE real "pirates" will always find a way around various anti-copy schemes.
    This is a serious issue. HAVING SHIPPED most of our industry overseas, "information"
    and entertainment is the way they intend for us to live.
    If peeps can easily copy what we produce, why pay us for it?:
    BTW great post. Wooch.:1:
  • 03-06-2011, 02:30 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by thekid
    Not worried yet as I have not jumped on the Blu-Ray bandwagon yet.
    It will probably affect me when I get a new TV and see that they have eliminated the component connections on the TV panels. Perhaps I am being cynical but I can see manufacturers doing something like this to force people to upgrade to new gear with digital only connections.

    This is more an issue for people who have already built their video chain using analog component video connections. Virtually all HD video sources made over the last 5+ years support HDMI, and the vast majority of HDTV adoption has occurred during that time.

    It's not the manufacturers putting the pressure on, it's the studios that have been trying to plug the "analog hole" for years. They also pushed for the inclusion of the ICT flag, and thankfully allowed the feature to remain dormant up to this point.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Smokey
    I see they still carry Composite connection

    These guys must have a love affair with Composite connection. They already have eliminated better analog connection such as S-video. And with component connection being next, one is forced to feed TV the worst "type" signal.

    This is nothing more than catering to the lowest common denominator, and this too will phase out in 2013. By then, I suspect that a lot of other equipment will have phased out analog video connections as well.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by 02audionoob
    How will the studios benefit by activating downscaling, if they choose to do that?

    It's a long-standing piracy paranoia from the studios. Video capture devices can easily work with the analog connections, so they're just trying to plug a hole from which HD copies can be made.

    I wonder though whether any of the studios will get around to issuing Blu-ray titles with the ICT flag activated. Doing so will probably stir up a **** storm on the enthusiasts' sites. Then again, activating the ICT flag won't impact a lot of users because the vast majority of HDTV owners use HDMI connections.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by bobsticks
    Im thinking it would make unauthorized copies done by non-digital means even less enticing...I wouldn't be surprised either to read if there was some level of communication between studios and equipment manufacturers. Obviously, downscaling would add incentive for those with older equipment to purchase new.

    This has been in the works for years, but analog video support is now in decline anyway. The entire phaseout schedule was worked out as a compromise between the studios and equipment manufacturers. Some of the studios originally wanted the downscaling from the outset, but that would have killed Blu-ray at the beginning. Fortunately, they saw the idiocy of killing HD optical media, when they had more of a vested interest in seeing Blu-ray succeed.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    They will feed their rampant paranoia, for one thing.
    HDMI has sturdy anti-copy intrinsic to the design. Try to copy using an analog
    connection and you get SD only. Being strong property rights I don't mind this,
    but its funny that studios are so determined and focused on what is really a minor problem,
    since most consumers are not a problem, copying for their own use.
    THE real "pirates" will always find a way around various anti-copy schemes.
    This is a serious issue. HAVING SHIPPED most of our industry overseas, "information"
    and entertainment is the way they intend for us to live.
    If peeps can easily copy what we produce, why pay us for it?:
    BTW great post. Wooch.

    Yep, I think that the paranoia about the "analog hole" has driven this process all along. But, given how the entire industry has standardized around HDMI, there's not much reasoning behind the paranoia anymore. This issue was relevant in 2005, but not in 2011.

    For one thing, the AACS encryption key was broken a while ago, and anyone with a Blu-ray drive and the right software can readily create HD copies. I doubt that too many pirates are going to take the time and trouble to capture analog HD video in real time.
  • 03-07-2011, 03:27 PM
    pixelthis
    YEAH, remember that the industry insisted on "analog only" for SACD and DVDA,
    then did a complete reversal, allowing digital only for HD.
    Do you think that those formats would have had at least a fighting chance with a
    more convenient digital connection?:1:
  • 03-07-2011, 04:25 PM
    Robert-The-Rambler
    I don't think they ever had a chance
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    YEAH, remember that the industry insisted on "analog only" for SACD and DVDA,
    then did a complete reversal, allowing digital only for HD.
    Do you think that those formats would have had at least a fighting chance with a
    more convenient digital connection?:1:

    I support both SACD and DVD-Audio and I just don't think enough people care about audio quality for either of the formats to be any more than what appears to be life support for sure when it comes to any popular music. CD and other formats just have way too much a presence out there. Finding players for either format is not that easy and even as a niche product in master quality audio there is just not enough music to be had. Unfortunately it boils down to almost nobody cares and whether it be analog or digital it doesn't matter.
  • 03-07-2011, 05:58 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    YEAH, remember that the industry insisted on "analog only" for SACD and DVDA,
    then did a complete reversal, allowing digital only for HD.
    Do you think that those formats would have had at least a fighting chance with a
    more convenient digital connection?:1:

    The irony is that the copy protection that the recording industry wanted is built into HDMI 1.1/1.2, and you have universal players right now that can seamlessly feed a native high res PCM or DSD signal into a compatible receiver/processor. It just arrived too late to make any meaningful difference. DVD-A and SACD were already on the wane by the time HDMI arrived in 2004, and v.1.1 devices didn't come out until 2005.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Robert-The-Rambler
    I support both SACD and DVD-Audio and I just don't think enough people care about audio quality for either of the formats to be any more than what appears to be life support for sure when it comes to any popular music. CD and other formats just have way too much a presence out there. Finding players for either format is not that easy and even as a niche product in master quality audio there is just not enough music to be had. Unfortunately it boils down to almost nobody cares and whether it be analog or digital it doesn't matter.

    You might be right, but I don't think the recording industry ever gave it much of a chance. This was about as botched a format launch as I've ever seen. All of the arbitrary barricades that accompanied both formats assured that they would eventually fail. For starters, you had a format war at the outset.

    Aside from Fleetwood Mac's DVD-A release, and a few select jazz and classical CD/SACD hybrids, you never had concurrent new releases. Relying on catalog titles will not generate much in the way of sales.

    I thought that SACD had the best chance because it has the hybrid option for including a compatible CD layer. Since it was copy protected, I thought the recording industry (or at least Sony) would standardize all of their releases around the hybrid format to migrate listeners away from the unprotected CD layer and towards the SACD layer that not only included higher resolution but multichannel as well. With home audio quickly transitioning into home theater, it was an ideal opportunity to move towards multichannel music.

    But, the draconian copy protection put the damper on any enthusiasm that this might have generated. And in the end, the recording industry (Sony included) abandoned the high res formats without even really testing the market in any meaningful way.They couldn't have conspired a worse set of circumstances all working together. If it's going to fail, at least let it fail after giving it a fair shot.

    On the video side, the jury's still out on the ultimate fate of Blu-ray. But at least in that case, the studios and manufacturers are out there selling and promoting the format, and doing whatever they can to give that format a fighting chance.
  • 03-08-2011, 01:21 PM
    pixelthis
    1 Attachment(s)
    THIS has been an issue since I was nee-hi to a subwoofer, from the BETAMAX
    lawsuit on down.
    I wish a perfect anti-copy scheme would be developed, so it wouldn't be an issue anymore.
    Since I don't steal, it would be great .
    Let the bums scream their anti "DRM" CRAP all they want.
    Without property rights you have nothing.:1:
  • 03-10-2011, 02:14 PM
    Woochifer
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    THIS has been an issue since I was nee-hi to a subwoofer, from the BETAMAX
    lawsuit on down.
    I wish a perfect anti-copy scheme would be developed, so it wouldn't be an issue anymore.
    Since I don't steal, it would be great .
    Let the bums scream their anti "DRM" CRAP all they want.
    Without property rights you have nothing.:1:

    Problem is that anti-copy measures do more to inconvenience the paying customers than stop piracy. Sony's infamous rootkits are the most egregious example.

    The best way to combat piracy is to give consumers better value. Give them incentive to keep purchasing music. The recording industry totally missed the boat on this until it was too late. They just kept pricing the 20something year old CD format as a premium product, even after other more multifaceted options like video games and DVDs had already made huge inroads with the buying public.
  • 03-11-2011, 01:53 PM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Woochifer
    Problem is that anti-copy measures do more to inconvenience the paying customers than stop piracy. Sony's infamous rootkits are the most egregious example.

    The best way to combat piracy is to give consumers better value. Give them incentive to keep purchasing music. The recording industry totally missed the boat on this until it was too late. They just kept pricing the 20something year old CD format as a premium product, even after other more multifaceted options like video games and DVDs had already made huge inroads with the buying public.

    The best way is to not be a "pirate" yourself.
    When given a tour of JVC'S huge disc washer(prevented laser rot) it was explained to me that
    a new CD cost two bucks to make...TWO BUCKS.
    Ever buy a new CD for even close to that?
    And you can have copy protection without destroying hard drives, that was just another in a
    long line of PR disasters from Sony.:1: