Component, DVI and HDMI connections

May 7, 2006

HDMI-InputWith HD-DVD and Blu-ray players making their way into our homes and new HDTV buyers experiencing first-time connection woes, I thought a HDTV connection primer might be helpful for some of our new readers. The three most common HDTV connections currently in use are: Component, DVI, and HDMI.

Component cables are easily identifiable by their red, green, and blue bands toward the end of their connection plugs. Component was widely used as the default HD connection in first and second generation HDTV equipment. Many manufacturers continue to support component video connections on newer equipment as well.

One thing to keep in mind with component video connections is that even though they are capable of transmitting HDTV, they aren’t capable of HDCP (High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) compliance.

If you’re running cabling for that new HDTV entertainment system, I strongly advise you to run a DVI or HDMI connection in addition to that component cable. Certain HD sources and equipment may not deliver full resolution HDTV over component, due to the cables lack of HDCP compliance.


DVI (Digital Video Interface) uses a rectangular multi-pinned connector with screw-down binding posts to ensure a solid connection. DVI was originally used by the computer industry but DVI is more than capable of handling high definition at full resolution with HDCP, in consumer electronics. Keep in mind however that DVI carries video information only.

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) on the other hand supports high definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio all on a single cable. If your display supports HDMI then by all means use it, if at all possible but don’t fall into marketing hype that would lead you to believe that HDMI is superior to DVI in video transmission.

In addition to being able to carry audio and video on a single cable, HDMI also supports the transmission of the new Dolby Digital + and DTS-HD surround sound formats.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HDTV Equipment


Comments

  • gy222142

    I though I somewhat understood issues with HDCP but I must not. Just bought an LG 55LH90 which is the newest LED LCD. I have Timewarner cable & a Scientific Atlanta 8300HD DVR. I attempted to connect the DVR & TV with an HDMI cable but I continually received an error that the “content could not be displayed” or something very similar. Station information is displayed in the menu bar but no picture or sound. The LG is supposed to be HDCP compliant. So I am cinfused as to why I can not use an HDMI cable. Component works great. What am I not understanding?

  • christine reeves

    i have a new panasonic plasma tv hd built in and i finally worked out how to get the new hd channels but only if i turn off the vcr also a new panasonic because it is connected up to use this remote. How do you record a hd program then if you have to turn the tv off to get hd tv

  • christine reeves

    i have a new panasonic plasma tv hd built in and i finally worked out how to get the new hd channels but only if i turn off the vcr also a new panasonic because it is connected up to use this remote. How do you record a hd program then if you have to turn the tv off to get hd tv

  • dave

    i have a Mitsubshi hdtv with a dvi connection. I have a onkyo receiver with hdmi output connection and a fios set top box with hdmi output. When i connect the set top box to my receiver hdmi input and connect the receiver hdmi output to my tv dvi input i can hear the audio through my receiver but no picture. Any ideas

  • dave

    i have a Mitsubshi hdtv with a dvi connection. I have a onkyo receiver with hdmi output connection and a fios set top box with hdmi output. When i connect the set top box to my receiver hdmi input and connect the receiver hdmi output to my tv dvi input i can hear the audio through my receiver but no picture. Any ideas

  • Carchick

    I just recently purchased a Magnavox MRD310 home theater system. In the instructions, it says that in order to receive regular TV stations in surround sound, I have to run my home theater system through my VCR. Why the hell would they make a sophisticated piece of equipment that has to run through a “dinosaur” VCR in order for it to work. Would be great if my VCR had a digital tuner in it, but unfortunately it does not. Any idea how to hook it up without the VCR and be able to get Monday Night Football in surround sound.
    Thanks

  • Carchick

    I just recently purchased a Magnavox MRD310 home theater system. In the instructions, it says that in order to receive regular TV stations in surround sound, I have to run my home theater system through my VCR. Why the hell would they make a sophisticated piece of equipment that has to run through a “dinosaur” VCR in order for it to work. Would be great if my VCR had a digital tuner in it, but unfortunately it does not. Any idea how to hook it up without the VCR and be able to get Monday Night Football in surround sound.
    Thanks

  • F Steven Howard

    I have a Genesis Media Labs Model G-610 Powered Home Theater. It has component input only. It has DVD inputs for fl, fr, c, sl, sr all labelled as DVD input. It has CD input with two component cable input and Aux input with two component cable input.

    The system sounds great. However, I have purchased a new Panasonic HDTV with 2 component cable output to home theatre. This will connect to the AUX input for the home theatre.

    However, will it provide the surround sound I am looking for? The TV has HDMI input and output. My HD DVD is HDMI connected input to the TV but does not have 6 component output to the Home theatre. Is there a HDMI to 6 component cable that I can use from the HD TV to the input in the Home Theatre (or another solution)?

  • F Steven Howard

    I have a Genesis Media Labs Model G-610 Powered Home Theater. It has component input only. It has DVD inputs for fl, fr, c, sl, sr all labelled as DVD input. It has CD input with two component cable input and Aux input with two component cable input.

    The system sounds great. However, I have purchased a new Panasonic HDTV with 2 component cable output to home theatre. This will connect to the AUX input for the home theatre.

    However, will it provide the surround sound I am looking for? The TV has HDMI input and output. My HD DVD is HDMI connected input to the TV but does not have 6 component output to the Home theatre. Is there a HDMI to 6 component cable that I can use from the HD TV to the input in the Home Theatre (or another solution)?

  • cliff

    I just purchased a hd tv and Home theatre system by lg. I would like to know how to hook it up so that i can receive home theatre sound when watching satelite tv
    tks

  • cliff

    I just purchased a hd tv and Home theatre system by lg. I would like to know how to hook it up so that i can receive home theatre sound when watching satelite tv
    tks

  • Nick

    I have recently bought a HDTV and upgraded my Sat box to HD. Since the installation I am unable to get TV sound through my home theatre system, i can only get sound direct from my TV. My TV is a Panasonic Viera and the home theatre system is a 4 yr old pioneer. Any Idea on how to get the sound working?

  • Nick

    I have recently bought a HDTV and upgraded my Sat box to HD. Since the installation I am unable to get TV sound through my home theatre system, i can only get sound direct from my TV. My TV is a Panasonic Viera and the home theatre system is a 4 yr old pioneer. Any Idea on how to get the sound working?

  • william

    I am going to purchase a DVD/VCR recorder with HDMI interface (ver. 1.3) and have a projector with a HDMI interface however my audio home receiver does not have HDMI interface. Can I connect projector and DVD/VCR using HDMI cable only and have it play video & audio from both vcr’s and dvd’s correctly?

  • william

    I am going to purchase a DVD/VCR recorder with HDMI interface (ver. 1.3) and have a projector with a HDMI interface however my audio home receiver does not have HDMI interface. Can I connect projector and DVD/VCR using HDMI cable only and have it play video & audio from both vcr’s and dvd’s correctly?

  • Chuck G

    I’m new to the HD Home Theater scene, and I’m attempting to set up my new home theater. I have a new Sony 1080p LCD TV, HK AVR347 receiver, and a DVR Cable box. I’ll be using a DVD player with both component and composite outputs, and a VCR with composite ins/outs. The TV has 3 HDMI inputs along with both component and composite. The receiver has 1 HDMI output and 2 HDMI inputs with A/V processing. The DVR cable box has an HDMI output. I was told that I would be able to run only 1 HDMI cable from my reciever’s output to my TV, and input my cable, DVD and VCR into the reciever. Does this sound correct?

  • Chuck G

    I’m new to the HD Home Theater scene, and I’m attempting to set up my new home theater. I have a new Sony 1080p LCD TV, HK AVR347 receiver, and a DVR Cable box. I’ll be using a DVD player with both component and composite outputs, and a VCR with composite ins/outs. The TV has 3 HDMI inputs along with both component and composite. The receiver has 1 HDMI output and 2 HDMI inputs with A/V processing. The DVR cable box has an HDMI output. I was told that I would be able to run only 1 HDMI cable from my reciever’s output to my TV, and input my cable, DVD and VCR into the reciever. Does this sound correct?

  • Tim Comolli

    I want to upgrade my HP multimedia Media Center computer but I can’t find a single manufacterur that makes ones that look like AV components and have HDMI connections. Any thoughts?

  • Tim Comolli

    I want to upgrade my HP multimedia Media Center computer but I can’t find a single manufacterur that makes ones that look like AV components and have HDMI connections. Any thoughts?

  • Greg Mitchell

    I have an older model HDTV Phillips TV. The HD inputs on the back are VGA ( like a computer monitor connection) or RGBHV ( 5 wire) connection. I have just had the directv HD DVR installed in my house. How do get an HD signal with these connection options. There are only HDMI and componant out of the box. The regular componant input will not receive HD either. Can I go HDMI to VGA, via an HDMI to DVI cable and then a DVI to VGA adapter? Please Help. Thanks

  • Greg Mitchell

    I have an older model HDTV Phillips TV. The HD inputs on the back are VGA ( like a computer monitor connection) or RGBHV ( 5 wire) connection. I have just had the directv HD DVR installed in my house. How do get an HD signal with these connection options. There are only HDMI and componant out of the box. The regular componant input will not receive HD either. Can I go HDMI to VGA, via an HDMI to DVI cable and then a DVI to VGA adapter? Please Help. Thanks

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Greg, it sounds like you could use a remote controlled component switcher. There are various manufacturers, try a Google search for “remote control + component switcher”

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Greg, it sounds like you could use a remote controlled component switcher. There are various manufacturers, try a Google search for “remote control + component switcher”

  • Greg

    I have a LCD Flatscreen TV with High Definition Cable TV. I also have an XBox 360 that also requires HD hook-up. I wanted to know if there is a way that I can get a component that will allow me to receive the high definition capability with both the XBox 360 and Cable TV. Currently, only one can be hooked up to the TV at the time.

  • Greg

    I have a LCD Flatscreen TV with High Definition Cable TV. I also have an XBox 360 that also requires HD hook-up. I wanted to know if there is a way that I can get a component that will allow me to receive the high definition capability with both the XBox 360 and Cable TV. Currently, only one can be hooked up to the TV at the time.

  • Deo Salvacion

    What are the difference between those HDMI 1.1, 1.2 or 1.2a and now 1.3…how are those compare to each other. If you are a regular consumer can you really detect the difference between those cables …please share some info…thanks.

  • Deo Salvacion

    What are the difference between those HDMI 1.1, 1.2 or 1.2a and now 1.3…how are those compare to each other. If you are a regular consumer can you really detect the difference between those cables …please share some info…thanks.

  • Fausto

    Hi,

    My panasonic ( PT-AE700U) is connect to an ATI x600 through a DVI/HDMI cable ( 30feet). The problem is the projector can’t get any signal from the dvi video card connection (DVI). Any idea what is the problem.

  • Fausto

    Hi,

    My panasonic ( PT-AE700U) is connect to an ATI x600 through a DVI/HDMI cable ( 30feet). The problem is the projector can’t get any signal from the dvi video card connection (DVI). Any idea what is the problem.

  • Yi

    If a LCD HDTV has a HDMI input, can you connect a computer’s DVI output to the TV’s HDMI input through a DVI to HDMI cable and get good display quality ?

    How would the quality compare to connecting the computer to the TV’s PC D-Sub15 input?

  • Yi

    If a LCD HDTV has a HDMI input, can you connect a computer’s DVI output to the TV’s HDMI input through a DVI to HDMI cable and get good display quality ?

    How would the quality compare to connecting the computer to the TV’s PC D-Sub15 input?

  • B.Greenway

    That ‘shouldn’t’ cause any interference Harry, unplugging and comparing would tell you for sure though.

  • B.Greenway

    That ‘shouldn’t’ cause any interference Harry, unplugging and comparing would tell you for sure though.

  • Harry J. Finlayson

    My question is that because I am running HDMI cables from a DVD Recorder/Player [Samsung HDMI compliant]and a new Satellite Receiver [DSS HDMI compliant] to a Sony Front Projector TV [HDMI Compliant] thru an HDMI switcher control box, do I still have a need to connect the video component RGB cables. Will the two connections, HDMI & Component, tend to interfere and not produce as strong a quality picture?

  • Harry J. Finlayson

    My question is that because I am running HDMI cables from a DVD Recorder/Player [Samsung HDMI compliant]and a new Satellite Receiver [DSS HDMI compliant] to a Sony Front Projector TV [HDMI Compliant] thru an HDMI switcher control box, do I still have a need to connect the video component RGB cables. Will the two connections, HDMI & Component, tend to interfere and not produce as strong a quality picture?

  • B.Greenway

    A HDMI to DVI adaptor would work just fine as long as you don’t need to send audio to the LG.

  • B.Greenway

    A HDMI to DVI adaptor would work just fine as long as you don’t need to send audio to the LG.

  • Julian Carrillo

    I have a sony receiver with HDMI inputs, a sony dvd player with HDMI outputs and an LG HD LCD,but no HDMI. What would be the best way to connect the receiver and the other components for optimum performance? The LG does have a DVI output(I think), what are my options?

  • Julian Carrillo

    I have a sony receiver with HDMI inputs, a sony dvd player with HDMI outputs and an LG HD LCD,but no HDMI. What would be the best way to connect the receiver and the other components for optimum performance? The LG does have a DVI output(I think), what are my options?

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Brian,

    For my purposes here I didn’t necessarily want to get into the different varieties of DVI and HDMI as I was trying to keep things on an introductory level, but yes you do bring up excellent points.

    There are a few early (and I do mean really early) examples of DVI-A that aren’t HDCP compliant but those would have been found mainly in computer based displays and video cards, a small exception but an exception nonetheless. I was lumping cable, device and protocol together for brevity’s sake.

    It’s my understanding that HD-DVD players are theoretically capable of transmitting both DD+ and DTS-HD right now, of course as you mentioned there are no receivers (that I’m aware of) to decode these signals on the other end.

    As to your last point, in my opinion this is yet another reason to avoid MovieBeam :P

  • B.Greenway

    Hi Brian,

    For my purposes here I didn’t necessarily want to get into the different varieties of DVI and HDMI as I was trying to keep things on an introductory level, but yes you do bring up excellent points.

    There are a few early (and I do mean really early) examples of DVI-A that aren’t HDCP compliant but those would have been found mainly in computer based displays and video cards, a small exception but an exception nonetheless. I was lumping cable, device and protocol together for brevity’s sake.

    It’s my understanding that HD-DVD players are theoretically capable of transmitting both DD+ and DTS-HD right now, of course as you mentioned there are no receivers (that I’m aware of) to decode these signals on the other end.

    As to your last point, in my opinion this is yet another reason to avoid MovieBeam :P

  • Brian Hoyt

    I wanted to offer a couple of small clarifications. It appears to be implied that a DVI or HDMI cable exists that doesn’t support HDCP. It isn’t the cable, but rather the sending or receiving device. It is mentioned that HDMI will be able to carry the new high resolution DD and DTS formats. While (afaik) any HDMI cable will be able to carry those formats I don’t believe any of the shipping players can actually send the new formats via HDMI currently. Also there are no AV receivers which can receive or process those signals digitally currently. HDMI 1.3 is required for that and I don’t think there are even any 1.2 devices available yet.

    For wiring purposes though, definitely run HDMI though for future use.

    One other side note, apparently there are some devices that detect if the receiving device is DVI or HDMI and change the functionality accordingly. For example the moviebeam player won’t allow HD out to a DVI device even if it supports HDCP. No idea why it works that way though.

  • Brian Hoyt

    I wanted to offer a couple of small clarifications. It appears to be implied that a DVI or HDMI cable exists that doesn’t support HDCP. It isn’t the cable, but rather the sending or receiving device. It is mentioned that HDMI will be able to carry the new high resolution DD and DTS formats. While (afaik) any HDMI cable will be able to carry those formats I don’t believe any of the shipping players can actually send the new formats via HDMI currently. Also there are no AV receivers which can receive or process those signals digitally currently. HDMI 1.3 is required for that and I don’t think there are even any 1.2 devices available yet.

    For wiring purposes though, definitely run HDMI though for future use.

    One other side note, apparently there are some devices that detect if the receiving device is DVI or HDMI and change the functionality accordingly. For example the moviebeam player won’t allow HD out to a DVI device even if it supports HDCP. No idea why it works that way though.

  • Dan

    I have question/comment. I have a new HD sat box from Expressvu in Canada (same as the 921 from DishNetwork I believe) connected to a Samsung 42″ EDTV. I have connected using both component (decent Acoustic Research) cables and a HDMI (origin unknown) and have found that HD channels show basically no difference in quality, but when watching SD I find the componnent cables much better. The blacks are much blacker and less grainy.
    Anyone else see this??

    D

  • Dan

    I have question/comment. I have a new HD sat box from Expressvu in Canada (same as the 921 from DishNetwork I believe) connected to a Samsung 42″ EDTV. I have connected using both component (decent Acoustic Research) cables and a HDMI (origin unknown) and have found that HD channels show basically no difference in quality, but when watching SD I find the componnent cables much better. The blacks are much blacker and less grainy.
    Anyone else see this??

    D

  • B.Greenway

    DVI started out as a computer display connection so making sure they were firmly attached behind the monitor was a must.

    HDMI on the other hand is supposed to mimic the ease of USB connections. I agree HDMI feels insecure once plugged in.

    Here’s another little HDMI annoyance, those inserts are prone to wear. The insert itself can wear out, not exactly the kind of thing I want happening to my $500 HD-DVD player…

  • B.Greenway

    DVI started out as a computer display connection so making sure they were firmly attached behind the monitor was a must.

    HDMI on the other hand is supposed to mimic the ease of USB connections. I agree HDMI feels insecure once plugged in.

    Here’s another little HDMI annoyance, those inserts are prone to wear. The insert itself can wear out, not exactly the kind of thing I want happening to my $500 HD-DVD player…

  • ErikR

    Do you know why there is no sort of latch (screws, snap/click, etc.) on HDMI connectors? Unlike DVI (which has screws) the HDMI connector seems insecure in its seat.

  • ErikR

    Do you know why there is no sort of latch (screws, snap/click, etc.) on HDMI connectors? Unlike DVI (which has screws) the HDMI connector seems insecure in its seat.