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.