HDTV questions/advice sought

So, as mentioned in this thread, I just bought an HDTV. And it’s FRICKING AWESOME!

Anyhow, several questions:
(1) I need a DVI-to-HDMI cable to plug in my spiffy new DVD player. And Fry’s Electronics was charging $80 for one that was 4 feet long. Am I correct in thinking that that’s just a preposterous ripoff? I mean, it’s a digital cable, right? So as long as the signal is actually carried, the quality of the cable will make ABSOLUTELY ZERO DIFFERENCE, right? So can someone recommend a good place to purchase such an item?

(2) And on that topic, why is a DVI cable (video only) really big, while an HDMI cable (video plus audio) much smaller? Or do I have them backwards?

(3) How quickly are random cable channels like CNN, Comedy Central, etc., changing over to HD?

(4) Why does Comcast HD not carry HDNET? (In the bay area, at least, I don’t seem to have it, although sometimes its signal seems to show up on the HD feed for KRON-4…



Can’t answer the last two, but Newegg has conveters for $25 or so. As for #2, DVI uses a differnet wiring scheme, and has to be backwards compatible with older VGA monitors(through a DVI-VGA convertor), so that needs more space.

  1. DVI vs. HDMI vs. component video. Good forum for this stuff. For any short cabling runs, I doubt it makes any difference betwen any of them AND I doubt that “quality” makes much of a difference. Try Radio Shack. Seriously. They take a lot of crap, but if you’re trying to save a few bucks. . .for a short little cabling run, go with one of theirs. Also, Home Depot carries cables, and if you google it, you’ll find tons of internet deals.

  2. Dunno. That link discusses it a little. I thought one of them carried audio and video and one just carries video, so maybe that’s it.

  3. I don’t know how quickly random channels like that are switching. They’re all digital already, but not all HD. It’s probably a matter of whether people want to see that particular content in HD, because for most of what they do, their regular digital is fine. ESPN and TNT have HD versions as do HBO and Showtime. ESPN and TNT both do a lot of sports. HBO and SHO do a lot of movies, and sports/movies seem to be where you really get the gains. Also, Discovery had a HD station which they run not only nature shows, but just things like “Monster Garage”. So, it’s happening, can’t say how quickly, though.

  4. Don’t know. Individual stations and Cable/Satellite providers seem to be real bitches with each other. For instance, Dish Network no longer carries OLN because of some stupid dispute. HDNET and HDNET-Movies are, IINM, run by that Mark Cuban group. I might be wrong about that, but I know that that movie Bubble is being shown on HDNET when it’s released and the producers behind that are that 2929 group with Soderbergh, Clooney, and the Cuban people. (something like that)

BTW, HDNET is a pretty cool station. I just got a HDTV and Dish Network myself. HDNET has boxing, hockey, movies, concerts, some stupid show hosted by these two hot blondes in bikinis and lots more.

Don’t bother with radio shack, they carry Monster brand cables. Well, maybe give them a quick look, perhaps your local store has a non-name brand.

Here is a DVI HDMI cable from monoprice.com for under $20. I’ve found their cables to be of good quality, and the prices are tough to beat. They had these cables even cheaper, but the new models have ferrite cores, which I guess are important to prevent interference.

Second recommendation for monoprice, 33’ cable (with ferrite) for ~$45. (I don’t like their componenet cables, I got mine from cablesforless.)

DVI is a bigger connector than HDMI. Partly it is DVI has places for analog signals, where HDMI is all digital. I think it mostly hight pin density (well not actually pins, but you get the idea)


I bought all the cables for my home theater from PCCables.com. Here’s a 6 ft DVI to HDMI Cable for $18.00.

And you’re right - exotic digital cables are snake-oil. What you care about is good quality connectors with good mechanical connectors, and a well-built cable with proper shielding. That’s it. The same goes for analog cables, and most especially speaker cable. Never pay premium prices for this stuff. Go look at the cabling used in a TV studio, for example. Even an HDTV studio. You’ll find industrial Belden cable and Canare connectors, or the equivalent. No monster cable, no zillion-dollar oxygen-free super cables. Just good, solid, commercial grade wiring. That’s the most you ever need for your own home electronics, and even that grade of cabling is probably overkill.

My guess is that DVI was designed for industrial and computer uses, where size isn’t all that important, but strength and reliability is. Compared to a parallel port or a VGA connector, DVI isn’t all that big. But when it comes to consumer electronics, size matters, so HDMI was designed to be a small form factor, at the expense of ruggedness (note HDMI does not have screw-in locking pins like DVI does, but friction-fits like USB)

Not that quickly. Even the major networks are still only showing a portion of their content in HD. HD requires new investments in cameras, recording machines, even set upgrades and improvements to actor makeup. And then there’s the bandwidth issue - we have hundreds of channels of digital TV, but if they were all HD we wouldn’t have the bandwidth.

Here in Edmonton our cable provider only offers 9 HD channels due to bandwidth constraints, even though many more channels are available in HD. We just got Fox HD and CBC-HD a couple of months ago, and we still don’t have Discovery HD.

I have no idea. Could be bandwidth, it could be licensing, or it could just be a cost-benefit decision.