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SCART vs HDMI connection with no HD box !

Discussion in 'Home Cinema, Hi-Fi and Gadgets' started by hop2407, Apr 23, 2007.

  1. hop2407
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    hop2407 Active Member

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    [Apr 23, 2007]
    All

    Before I get shouted at for being a numpter as the answer is blatently obvious, I am asking this as a non techie and someone who doesn't want to purchase a HD cable if not necessary.... I do think I know the answer but thought worth checking with you guys as there may be some benefit I am not aware of...

    So as the title says, I have just purchased a new 40" LCD and have standard Sky+ and a panasonic DVD / VCR combi that will, I am told, upscale to 1080i - Both are connected via SCART.

    Will I see any benefits by removing the scarts and replacing them with a HDMI cable.... (although not taken much notice of the back of my Sky+ box - I suspect there isn't a port for a HDMI cable - so maybe just my DVD player)


    Even if there are no benefits - Is it worth doing anyway and will I just get the same quality but through a different channel (rather than AV1 / AV2) on my TV.

    Thanks is advance... :thumbsup:
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  3. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 23, 2007]
    Your SKY+ won't have an HDMI,so you're screwed there.
    If your DVD player has an HDMI plug though,use it.
    Even if it's not a true HD/Blueray player,it will upscale the image through HDMI.
    It won't upscale through scart.

    When/if you do get SKY HD,even normal TV (called SD or standard definition) is improved when connecting via HDMI.
    This is because the SKY HD box upscales SD pictures.
    They're still not HD quality,but they're better than you'll get via scart.

    Basically,anything you can connect via HDMI will improve the picture over scart,simple as that.
    When I had SKY+ connected to my LCD via scart,I used to get a lot of picture issues.
    Since getting HD and connecting via HDMI,no issues.
    SD is great.
    HD is stupendous.
    So when you buy HD,you get a 'double bonus' of improved picture quality.

    As I keep saying to people though,good luck getting a quiet HD box.
    I'm on my third in an attempt to get one that doesn't sound like a hairdryer.
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  4. hop2407
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    hop2407 Active Member

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    [Apr 24, 2007]
    Thanks Matey - appreciated... will invest in a HDMI cable then... and yes i have read your posts about sky HD boxes and the noise - a point to note me thinks...

    Thanks again
    Paul
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  5. Shades
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    Shades Member

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    [Apr 24, 2007]
    Sorry, that is a load of poppycock! 'Upscaling' is just a fancy word for resizing. For example, resize a jpeg image from 640x480 to 1024x768 and 9 times out of 10 it will highlight and imperfections or compression artifacts in the original source image. Clever image smoothing algorithms can soften out any artifacts but that also softens the entire resized image. The same applies to video sources.

    Changing cables will have some effect on >signal< quality/clarity but would not improve the original source video as you suggest. Changing cables be it from low quality cheapo scart cables to high quality scart cables can improve percieved quality as it is the quality and purity (or lack of) of the materials that go into making the cables that can result on a good, or bad, viewing experience.

    Anyway this is all pointless anyway... unless you're actually viewing HD content on HD equipment your always going to get a sh!t picture, unless you live next to an anologue transmitter and you are viewing on analogue equipment. As digital broadcasters try to squeeze more and more out of their systems (to make way for even more useless quiz channels) they compress the video more and more. Anyone who's watched the footie (broadcast via standard digital, not HD) on either a normal TV, LCD TV or a HDTV will see the results of this... the image quality is terrible during fast camera pans (LCD/Plasma TV's whether HD or not make things even worse).

    I could go on but I'm bored of typing now........
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  6. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    Well,I can assure you my SD picture is not sh!t and has improved dramatically since I went from SKY+/scart to HD/HDMI.
    I used to get a helluva lot of artifacts and noise through SKY+/scart,which have all disappeared since going down the HDMI route.
    I would also venture that if you think SD football is terrible,you haven't seen it on the Toshiba LT68 range
    No problems with fast camera pans at all.
    You can only suck it and see but plenty of people report their SD picture improves dramatically through HDMI.

    My own tests with an upscaling HDMI DVD (not blueray) versus a component/progressive DVD player have also shown that there is an improvement through HDMI.
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  7. Macduff
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    Macduff Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    I would add that if you've not already done it, make sure your Sky box is outputting an RGB signal instead of composite. Your TV will almost certainly be able to handle it and you WILL see a big improvement in picture.

    On my standard Sky box you press Services and then select System Setup then Picture Settings. Video output options are PAL (composite) and RGB. You should probably also set Scart control ON and Picture Format to 16:9.

    HTH
    Dave
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  8. hop2407
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    hop2407 Active Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    Thanks Dave - and yes I changed from PAL to RGB last night - not really watched it since though.

    Had already changed to 16:9 setting and have the SCART control to on (although not sure what this does !!)

    I will still be investing in a HDMI cable - not losing anything I feel and may gain some benefit - although I see this is open for debate...

    Thanks very much both of you.....
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  9. Amchlolor
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    Amchlolor Active Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    Don't waste money on a fancy HDMI cable.
    Unlike scarts,I've yet to see any evidence that one HDMI cable is better than any other.
    Put it this way,I've spent a fortune on leads over the years,but the HDMI cable that came with the SKY HD box is just fine.
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  10. timps
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    timps Shakersville

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    This is to tell the TV to switch to over to that scart lead when you switch the sky box on.


    As far as the benefits of HDMI it depends on the hardware manufacturer you are using.

    Scart & component uses D/A converters to convert digital to analogue then the TV converts that analogue signal back to digital.

    Panasonic for example has very good D/A converters so the difference between SD or HD (component) material is not that great with some people preferring the analogue component or RGB connections over HDMI.

    However some manufacturers Samsung for example, are renowned for having better HDMI inputs than their analogue Scart & component inputs due to the D/A converters not being as good.

    So for example most people with a Samsung TV do notice a difference but those with a Panasonic don’t.

    This is repeated with other manufacturers so it is a suck it and see situation.

    But HDMI is easier to get right as you can use cheap cables with no detriment.
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  11. Shades
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    Shades Member

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    [Apr 25, 2007]
    Well for once, on these kind of forums, I'm glad to see bowfer hasn't taken my rebutle of his claims personally, which happens far too often these days (not necessarily on here). Nice one fella! :icon_thumright: Anyway, enough of the niceties... time to rip his reply apart! ;)

    Sorry, I didn't mean sh!t sh!t, just not-as-good-as-it-could-be sh!t. And I was referring to digital not analogue (if you live in a good reception area and have decent quality cables SD analogue will always be better than SD digital as it doesn't suffer the curse of compression)

    This kind of stands to reason, of course its going to be better, or was it a deliberate mistake? Kind of like saying Punto/95ron to Enzo/98ron! (or something like that!)


    Again, this speaks for itself. Artifacts would be courtesy of SD Sky+ compression and noise due to digital to analogue conversion process and scart cables. Of course this will would all dissappear with a switch to HDMI (presumably with a HD source). For a start HDMI, being a digital medium, doesn't suffer from 'noise' in the traditional sense and as HDMI can shift huge amounts of data rapidly a HD 'source' is less compressed than a SD source (that's why we're having the Blu-Ray/HD-DVD wars as the higher storage capacity of these discs is needed to store the less compressed source), so there go your artifacts! This still doesn't change viewing a SD source via HDMI on a HDTV, granted you will get little or no noise (due to the signal remaining purely digital) but the artifacts of compression will still be there!

    Actually I think football in general is terrible, but thats a whole other can of worms! I admit I have no experience (to my knowledge) of the LT68 range but I can assure you that, again, the SD compression artifacts will still always be there even on a HDTV via HDMI. I used football and fast camera pans as an example but the artifacts of a SD compressed source are highly visible in a lot of things (particularly in areas of high contrast or rapidly moving objects) no matter what your combination of TV or cables are. The artifacts are due to the way the compression methods work and how much the original signal has been compressed. TV broadcasters and DVD makers can choose the compression rate (much like you and I can with MP3s etc) at which to compress the source by to squeeze as much capacity out of the digital TV networks (for all those 'press the red button for more info' adverts) or to fit even more onto DVD's (useless commentaries with the barely-there extra who died in the third scene, bloopers, biographies, alternative endings, interviews with the producer who's fed up with being the guy who's really in charge while the director gets all the glory (Joel Silverman and Jerry Bruckheimer spring to mind) etc).

    In no way do I presume any of this to be the fault of the TVs themselves and I'm sure they make the best of what SD signal they are given. Think of it this way; Stick dodgy fuel in an Enzo and, no matter how great the car is, you ain't gonna get what its really capable of.

    I think 'dramatically' is a little too, erm, dramatic. Once again, see above! But if you, or plenty of people, do not notice the compression artifacts of an digital SD source then you are lucky... I can't even watch The Simpsons (digital SD) viewed on a 42" Samsung HDTV via HDMI!

    Again this would be due to the lack of digital to analogue conversion process. I don't have to repeat myself do I?

    So to conclude, after all that... were both right, but I'm more right than you, so technically, I win! :p
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  12. hop2407
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    hop2407 Active Member

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    [May 2, 2007]
    Thanks Lads - dropped subtle hints about HDMI to our lass as its my B'day soon
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  13. pav-g
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    pav-g Member

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    [May 2, 2007]
    Using a quality (Qnex) HDMI lead has made a difference in picture quality via upscaling the picture from my Denon 1920 DVD player connected to Pioneer 43XDE. Personally looking forward to true hd feed once I get sky hd.
    #12

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