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No HDMI Output with Component Source

by April 25, 2008
Ask Dr. A!

Ask Dr. A!

A reader asks Dr. A why he can't view some of his material on the TV he bought. Lots of people run into this problem, so we figured we'd take it to Dr. A for a solution.

Q: I have an HDTV that only has component inputs. My AV reciever supports both component video and HDMI. I have an upconverting DVD player that I'd like to use, which only outputs 1080p via its HDMI outputs. Can I connect the HDMI from the DVD player to the receiver and then output component video from the receiver to the TV? When I try this I get no picture. How come?

This is a common issue with people upgrading their systems one component at a time. Most AV receivers, with very few exceptions, will not down-convert HDMI video to the component video outputs due to HDCP copy protection. In addition to taking an extra DAC (digital to analogue conversion) step which is something not typically included in the majority of HDMI-enabled receivers, HDCP prevents any digital downconversion at resolutions higher than 480p.

So, in our experience, even those receivers which do perform HDMI to component video conversion - and switchers which do the same, are limited to sources at 480p.

There are two possible solutions to this issue. One involves the use of an HDMI to component video switcher/converter. These devices take one or more HDMI inputs and output YCbCr (component video) for legacy displays. Typically this is cost-prohibitive (~$250) and limits your resolution to 480p at the source. We'd recommend you allocate the money towards an eventual new HDMI-capable display.

The second option is to forego HDMI output from your source components and allow the display to scale the analogue signal from 480p to its native resolution. For now, cableTV boxes and even Blu-ray and HD DVD players will also allow analogue output at up to 1080i resolution. The problem with this solution is that it is short-term and does not take into account the fact that users of Blu-ray or HD DVD players may find their analogue video outputs limited to 480p at some point down the road.

HDMI is not inherently better than component video (YPbPr), however many of the new video formats are only allowing the highest resolution to be output via HDMI since it contains DRM (digital rights management - copy protection) unavailable on analogue component outputs.

As we mentioned above, most Blu-ray players, including the PS3 include the ability to output up to at least 1080i via component video. When done correctly, this should look almost identical to 1080p output via HDMI.

The simple solution is to go with component video until such a time that your entire video "food chain" is upgraded to HDMI. You'll likely be satisfied with the results and won't be forced into an upgrade until you are ready.

 

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Drag0nFly posts on May 02, 2008 17:08
Midcow2, post: 408252
Composite video is always lower resolution at 480; it doesn't have HD. However with component (Y, Pr, Pb) you can obtain the same video quality as HDMI if you run at the same resolution whether it is 720p, 1080i or 1080p. That is 720p from HDMI will have the same PQ as 720p from componenet. ,l ikewise 1080i from cHDMI will be the same as 1080i from component. If you try to compare 720p with 1080p you will see a difference in PQ.

Some AVRs will upconvert a lower resolution signal to a higher resolution signal. While it looks better and sharper, you still do not obtain the same PQ as a native HD input.

My point exactly. I would much rather use component video instead of HDMI (at 1080p); but obviously not all DVD/Blu-Ray players support it. Since the PS3 is claimed to support it, though, there must be others also capable of outputting 1080p over component; since it appears this is some DRM-type restriction (maybe even set on a disc-by-disc basic as suggested in the article)

Also, I could care less about the audio support bundled into HDMI, since getting the same functionality would mean replacing both sources & pre-amps/receivers in one go (I am referring to SACD & DVD-Audio)
Midcow2 posts on May 02, 2008 10:47
That is true, but Component has equal quality signal

Simoncable, post: 407308
Quality HDMI version 1.3 cable certainly performs much better than composite cable, when high definition is required.


Composite video is always lower resolution at 480; it doesn't have HD. However with component (Y, Pr, Pb) you can obtain the same video quality as HDMI if you run at the same resolution whether it is 720p, 1080i or 1080p. That is 720p from HDMI will have the same PQ as 720p from componenet. ,l ikewise 1080i from cHDMI will be the same as 1080i from component. If you try to compare 720p with 1080p you will see a difference in PQ.

Some AVRs will upconvert a lower resolution signal to a higher resolution signal. While it looks better and sharper, you still do not obtain the same PQ as a native HD input.
Drag0nFly posts on May 02, 2008 10:00
markw, post: 407916
Well, my response was to simoncable's comment, not yours.

Didn't you read the post? Oh, you newbies…

Mr. Sensitive over here. Who said I was replying to your post? The whole thing got derailed due to the whole component vs. composite mixup.

Perhaps you “non-newbie” could actually post something informative instead of nitpicking?

What a pointless thread.
Simoncable posts on May 01, 2008 22:07
Sorry, I read that article just now.
Yeah, you can choose only those two options.
This means the result you got is perhaps 480P.
Simoncable posts on May 01, 2008 21:50
markw, post: 407316
Composite cables don't pass high def signals.

You are right.
The highest resolution that the composite cable supports is 480I.
Component Cables supports resolutions of: 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p.

However, many devices don't work well if you use component cable to get 1080P resolution.
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