HDMI: it just doesn’t work

It’s no secret that I don’t like HDMI, and my most recent experience is yet another great example of why. When I switched from two Series3 TiVos to Vista Media Center a few months back, I made the mistake of ordering a Dell with a video card that didn’t support component out. So rather than switch out the video card, I’ve spent way too many hours trying to get the kinks worked out. Then, last week when I saw the latest budget Nvidia 9400GT was released for $59, I picked one up from Newegg and had high hopes that it would solve all my HDMI woes. Now let me tell you, this is the best $60 I ever spent – well maybe — not only do I no longer have any HDCP handshake issues, or the black screens that go with ’em, but I no longer get juddder on some channels. Then, to tip it all off, the channels change sooo much faster than before. I mean, what a joke HDMI is — with Media Center at least — I only wish I wouldn’t have waited so long to swap it out. Oh, and if you were wondering, the picture quality still looks great, and there is no doubt it looks as good as HDMI on my kuro.

I suppose I should also mention that I don’t know for 100% that the fixes are all due to HDMI vs component, as it is entirely possible that the Nvidia card could’ve fixed all that via HDMI. Maybe down the road if I get curious I’ll try to confirm it, but for now I’m going to enjoy some football in HD.

9 Responses to “HDMI: it just doesn’t work”

  1. Brent says:

    I use component video a lot mind you, but my HDMI cable from my SageTV HD Extender to my HDTV works pretty well.

    With that being said, I’ve used both component and HDMI with that same connection. And component vs HDMI is pretty much indistinguishable to my layman eyes too.

  2. Mark says:

    Well with our brand spanking new XPS 420 (which came with an ATI 3870 video card…there is no component out. The ATI CableCard tuner is ontheway…now I’m all confuzzled as to what path I should take (a new HDMI receiver, I thought, was on the horizon). I’m inclined to use the computer as a DVR and hold on to the cable box for regular TV…at least for a while. But first I need to pick up the Cable Card…and get the darn thing working…

  3. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    I still recommend Vista Media Center for both watching TV and recording. I’m just saying that component works better.

    That being said, things can change and if these bugs were worked out, HDMI audio was fully supported and HDMI-CEC was implemented, then it’d be hard to not use HDMI over component. The good news is that a new video card and some software could make it all happen, so it’s not like your Media Center will need to be replaced.

  4. Mark says:


    When you switched out video cards, did you have to reset your entire Cablecard system? My gear has arrived (XPS 420 + Cablecard tuner) and I am aiming to learn all I can before getting the Cablecard itself…I’ve read (probably you’ve written some of it) where changes in video cards and/or hard drives can be a significant enough change in the computer…that the tuner becomes unfriendly after the changes…

  5. Ben Drawbaugh says:

    I’ve heard about that but haven’t run into it. I added a hard drive a PCI tuner card and replaced the video card without any issues.

  6. Jim Mallory says:

    What kind of card was in it before? An ATI? My bet would be that the Nvidia card fixed your HDMI problem. My Velocity Micro VMC has an Nvidia 8860 video card in it I never had any problems when it was connected to my LG Plasma downstairs via HDMI (occasionally I would get the blue HDCP required screen but that was only after I switched to the HDMI input and it would go away after a few seconds.) In fact, the only component I had consistent HDCP problems with was the Motorola DCT-6412 Phase III and the DCT-3412 Phase I DVRs before I got my Media Center. Other than that I have connected an XBOX 360, PS3, DMA2100, and the VMC with no HDCP errors (even through a Monoprice switch.) Will see what happens when my DVDO Edge arrives and my new Popcorn Hour (which I am at home waiting for) will be connected HDMI (since it comes with the cable) on the Panasonic 42-PZ80 in the bedroom.

  7. Jim Mallory says:

    Oh, and you may want to give that video card install a few days before calling DRM complete. When I installed a 2nd NIC and additional RAM in my VMC, it ran fine for a couple days before I started getting DRM errors.

  8. Jim Mallory says:

    And now that I think about, you installed TV pack, with that new Readyplay (or PlayReady) DRM…maybe that kind of stuff is cleaned up now.

  9. Nate says:

    I have an HP d5000t with the ati cablecard tuner. It came with the GeForce 9500 GS and I replaced it with a Radeon 4850. Long story short, the 4850 will not work if I install Vista service pack 1. Microsoft support is working with me on this issue currently. So I can personally confirm that changing the hardware can break things. BTW, HDMI scaling issues with the older GeForce drivers were resolved in this latest release (I am back to using the factory 9500 GS card).