New DVD Player Adds DVI Connector

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2003-08-06 Print this article Print

Review: V Inc.'s new DVD player offers DVI output, video scaling up to 1080i and 720P, all at a measly $200. Are expensive scalers and de-interlacing hardware a thing of the past?

A Digital Interface for Digital Video
The march to a fully digital experience in the living room has been glacial at times. HDTVs travails, and issues of content protection, have made both consumers and manufacturers skittish about adopting new technology for the living room. After all, who wants to go through another Betamax cycle again? However, consumers seem to be adopting digital widescreen TVs at an increasing rate, as they discover that DVD movies look great on them. If the TV is digital, then why cant the DVD player do it too? In fact, the content on a DVD disc is digital -- MPEG2 encoded video and Dolby AC-3 or DTS encoded audio, to be specific. If the content on the disc is digital, then its a pretty straightforward process to keep the playback in the digital domain until the image is actually rendered for the screen. However, you need two things to do this:
  • A digital display device. More and more HDTVs now ship with the DVI digital interface for video. This is the same connector used by many PC graphics cards to connect to digital LCD flat panels as well.
  • Digital output from the source device. Many of the latest high definition set-top boxes have DVI interfaces too.
DVD players, however, have all had analog output. The circuitry in the DVD player has handled the conversion from digital to analog, then the analog video is shipped to the display device, whether over composite, S-video or component video connections. Recently, though, a couple of players in the market have started shipping DVI-equipped DVD players. One is Samsung, the huge Korean conglomerate who has been aggressively moving into the US consumer electronics market. The other is V, Inc., a spin-off of Princeton Graphics.
Until now, DVI output of DVD source material to digital TVs has been limited to pricey home theater PC setups. But the Bravo D1 weighs in at $199 – $100 less than the street-price of Samsungs DVI-equipped DVD-HD931.

Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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