HD Over Component Video is Dead (Almost)

edit-death-of-component2-0110Everyone’s used component video for HD.  Everyone.  In fact, some surveys find that as many of 85 percent of ProAV installations using HD are still being integrated over component video.

Who cares?

Well, did you know that as of December 31, 2010 analog outputs decrypted (AACS) content will be limited to 480i and 480p (maximum resolution)? The date is referred to as “analog’s sunset.”

Translation:  We’d better hurry up and start integrating systems using HDMI and DVI or we (or better yet, our clients) will be left with systems that once were HD and, all-of-a-sudden, are SD.

Here’s the official wording from the Advanced Access Content System (AACS) – the governing body that was tasked by our industry in coming up with a standard for switching from the old analog system for sending content to the new digital systems we’re seeing today (e.g., DVI, HDMI):

1.7.1 2010 Sunset. Existing Models (as defined in Section 1.7.2) may be manufactured and sold by Adopter up until December 31, 2011. For any licensed Player (other than Existing Models) manufactured after December 31, 2010, analog outputs for Decrypted AACS Content shall be limited to SD Interlace Modes Only (i.e., Composite, S-Video, 480i component)…


I won’t bore you with all the details and data, but if you’re interested in reading the document yourself, go to and download it.

Simply put, we ALL need to rapidly transition our design, sales and integration teams towards digital standards when dealing with HD content (e.g., Blu-ray players, DirecTV, Dish Network and HD downloads).  If you’re only doing systems with computers, don’t worry; you’re OK.  But, if you integrate systems with HD video, you need to understand and learn all about the digital signal standards out there and how to integrate systems using them –they aren’t as simple as using DA’s and switchers.

In fact, just this year, both Crestron and Extron have released educational guides on designing systems using digital gear, simply to educate ProAV integration firms on the complexities of digital interfacing, switching and distribution of AV signals in a digital environment.  Both guides are excellent educational tools and I highly recommend that you order them and distribute them company-wide.  In both cases, they require you to register yourself to get a copy – that’s why I can’t just put in the URL for each one in my column.

And, as we enter this totally-digital chain of AV integration, we will all experience, together, the evolution of the AV gear market.  For example, content delivery will simplify as everything will be produced, delivered and displayed all-digital — that analog step in the middle of the chain will be eliminated — allowing for perfect images and many delivery formats for content, such as HD, PC-based, iPhone-based, HD-conferencing-based and even IM-based video chat style content delivery of everything.  It’ll be a lot like TV is today.  Think about it.  If you want to watch a TV show, you have many, many options.   You can all gather around the TV at the broadcast time of the show (say, 8:00 pm on Wednesday) and watch.  Or, you can record it to your DVR and watch it later.  If you totally missed even recording it, you can buy it from iTunes and watch it on your TV.  If it’s not available, yet, on iTunes, you can rent it from Netflix.  Or, you can hop on over to YouTube where someone’s bound to have uploaded a copy of it (albeit illegally) for all to see – for free.

Imagine the world of meetings working this way.  A professor needs to deliver a presentation, he/she can bring in his laptop, connect it to the projector in the room and voila – it’s there for all to see.  Or, if you missed the lecture, you can watch it at a later date via the school’s content server (you will be setting this up, by the way, as an AV integrator – once you understand routing digital signals and managing digital content).  Or, the class can be offered up in iTunes-U as a class that anyone can take anywhere they want – any time.  Or, watch it on your iPhone or Blackberry.  All because we, the ProAV market, began designing, building and integrating digital content delivery systems – not just classrooms and meeting rooms.

Wow!  If this doesn’t kick start an economic recovery in AV, nothing will!!!

Reprinted with permission from Sound & Communications. Founded in 1955, Sound & Communications is the premiere magazine for AV systems integrators, contractors and consultants. To subscribe or read sample articles, go to