DVD's are wonderful things. They are so much better than even really good broadcast or cable TV. But above DVD is HD, or High Definintion TV. DVD is encoded (for NTSC) at a resolution of 720 x 480 pixels, HDTV is encoded as high as 1920 x 1080i pixels. A whole lot more data and a whole lot more detail. The color gamut of HDTV is also larger than the NTSC gamut.
HDTV in My Home Theater:
Where does HD programming come from? Really two main sources right now, with a third emerging fast. The two main sources are good old terretrial broadcast (yes, with antennas just like the old days) and satellite. The emerging source is cable TV. HD on cable is available in some markets, but not all, and not mine. In my opinion, cable TV availability of HD will be the next big jump for HD acceptance. Folks who don't want to install a satellite or antenna, but have a big screeen HD capable set, will be willing to change their cable box for an HD capable one (I would in a minute).
My Barco projector is capable of displaying any HD format (720p, 1080i, or 1080p), being an 8" CRT it can fully resolve 720p (1280 x 720 pixels) and do a very nice job with 1080i, but technically you do loose a bit of information at this resolution. To see it all requires a projector with 9" tubes, like a Marquee 9500 or a Sony G90 or some very high end digital projectors like the JVC QX1 (see dreamgear). If you ever have the chance to see a good HD source in 1080p on one of these machines properly set up, it's heavenly. Closest thing to a virtual window I've ever seen.
I have two sources for HD material, over the air (OTA) broadcast tuned by the MyHD HDTV tuner card I installed in my HTPC, or from pre-recorded or archived material played on a JVC D-VHS decl.
New connection on the projector for the MyHD card (port 3, DB9 connector).
A Channelmaster Stealth with an amplifier.
JVC D-VHS Deck
HD Hook Up:
Two possible paths for HD signals to reach the projector:
-From the RGBHV output of the MyHD card, via a CAT5 VGA cable to port 3 of the projector. Source material for the MyHD card can be through its tuner for live HDTV, or from a pre-recorded file on the HTPC (big files! 1 hour of HD take 9 GB!) or from the D-VHS deck via an IEEE 1394 (FireWire) connection.
-From the D-VHS deck or file on the hard drive decoded with the DVHStool application and rounted to the projector through the HTPC's video card and into the 5-BNC projector input (port 5).
How's It Look:
Great! I really pushed to get this installed for my annual Superbowl(tm) party, and I was not dissappointed. After watching HD for a while you really notice the lower resolution and artifacts inherent in DVD's. Bring on the HD-DVD's!!
My current set up cannot play D-Theater pre-recorded DVHS tapes because they are copy protected with HDCP on the IEEE 1394 output. To get them to the projector (which does not have a component input) will require a component to RGB transcoder.