Many consumers set out to buy a HD-enabled digital home entertainment system knowing they want all the benefits of an all-digital system. But most don’t know that digital equipment connected by digital cables produces the optimum audio and video experience. They might think a cable is just a cable, and to save money they’ll purchase inferior analog cables instead of digital ones. As a result, they often end up with less than stellar results.

While it is true that digital cables cost more than analog cables, the higher investment in implementing an all-digital system is well worth the superior HD video and audio quality. Plus, the relatively small difference in price for digital cables is almost negligible when considering the total cost of most HD home entertainment systems.

The reason why all-digital systems—meaning digital components connected by digital cables—produce optimum results is because the signal goes direct from source to display without any analog to digital conversions. These conversion processes tend to degrade the signal, resulting in lower quality video that is especially noticeable on HD-enabled large screens and displays. Similarly, digital audio is also transmitted direct with no conversion process, which helps preserve audio quality and produces less hiss and phase errors, meaning clearer, higher quality sound.

Thinking all-digital also prepares you for the future by allowing for an easy integration of future components. Most of today’s digital interfaces, such as HDMI (high definition multimedia interface), are backwards compatible, but more and more manufacturers are eliminating older analog interfaces and producing a/v systems with only all-digital interfaces.

DVI (digital visual interface) emerged as a purely digital video connector in 1999. HDMI has since superceded DVI in HD-enabled home entertainment systems, and offers several features that make it suited for the consumer market: it supports uncompressed high definition video plus multi-channel audio in a single cable using a smaller connector; it transmits uncompressed digital video so that the picture maintains a high quality of color depth, brightness and contrast and it can extend as far as 500-meters using the proper techniques.

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Aside from using all digital connectors and digital cabling, consumers must also consider extension. In many home theater installations, components are installed in a closet or basement far from the HDTV, making digital HDTV extension an important feature, especially since both HDMI and DVI specifications limit the distance both signals can travel to about 15 feet. While analog televisions could be extended easily using a simple cable, the resulting imagery depended largely upon the quality of the cable, and could almost never be replicated at 100 percent. Digital HDTV is a bit different. It still requires a quality cable, but it can also replicate even the highest resolutions with 100 percent accuracy using the proper sender/receiver or similar transmission systems. These add-on extension systems are needed because of the uncompressed nature of digital HDTV and the large amounts of data required to generate HD audio/video on the receiving end. Gefen supplies a variety of extension solutions as well as digital DVI, fiber optics and HDMI cables that connect displays and projectors from up to hundreds of feet from the source with HD clarity and resolutions intact, making the investment well worth the effort if supreme HDTV is the goal.

All-digital systems connected by all-digital cabling, even up to hundreds of feet, allows consumers to immerse themselves in a richer, higher quality, more multi-dimensional viewing and listening experience, while preparing them to reap the benefits of all-digital connectivity well into the foreseeable future.

About the author:

Hagai Gefen first pioneered in the field of post-production studio automation and further honed his experience by engineering the designs and overseeing construction of several post-production facilities throughout Hollywood. Soon afterwards, Gefen focused on engineering products geared to the audio/video production industry. In the late 90s, Gefen became an early adopter of the digital interfaces that would soon develop into HDTV (high definition television) support solutions for both professional and consumer industries. To accommodate the time in-between analog and digital worlds, Gefen’s success in the conversion and adaptation of traditionally incompatible video signals has added to its reputation as an innovative solutions provider. Gefen continues to remain on the leading edge of new technologies and their applications, and is consistently the first to market with innovative products that are highly valued in most major industries spanning the globe.