If you are planning to set up an HD projector, either to screen films and images in your own home, or to put on a public screening or presentation, you will need to know how to set up your system properly. Fail to do this, and you could face rather embarrassing technical hitches right in the middle of your presentation or slideshow.
The first thing to do is to choose your projector, and whilst doing so you should look at factors such as contrast ratio, screen size, brightness and picture quality. You should also look for an HD projector which has a port for an HDMI cable.
Next, you need to:
• Mount your projector on a low, out of the way coffee table or other surface, or mount it on the ceiling
• Use an HDMI cable to connect your projector to your source device (i.e. a laptop or a Blu-ray player)
• To enable sound, connect your source device to your receiver, then connect up your speakers
• Remember to tilt or otherwise adjust the projector to align the image on the screen, and focus if needed
If you need to run an HDMI cable from your source to your projector over a very long distance, you will need to invest in high performance long HDMI cables, or use HDMI cable extenders.
When you begin browsing online for new HDMI cables for your home entertainment system, you will soon see that there are many different types to choose from. One of the main differences between HDMI cables is in connector types, of which there are five main options.
The different HDMI cable connectors available are:
• Type A, the standard nineteen pin connector
• Type B, a type with 29 pins that can carry twice the video bandwidth of Type A
• Type C, a mini-connector used with portable devices
• Type D, a micro-connector which looks like a Type A but smaller, resembling a micro USB connector
• Type E, an Automotive Connection System designed for use in vehicles
The reason there are so many different types of connector is that technology is advancing all the time, resulting in products being released and in turn, new ways that HDMI can be incorporated and used in all of them. For example, the Type C connector was not needed until the home electronics market became flooded with smart phones, digital cameras, mp3 players and tablet computers.
To work out which HDMI cable connector you need, think about what you will be using it for. Standard home entertainment setups (i.e. connecting a Blu-ray player to a TV) will only need a Type A connector, whilst a connection between a digital camera and a TV may require a Type C mini-connector.
If you have a home entertainment system that is set up for 3D, and you have also signed up to a Sky package which includes the Sky 3D channel, then 2012 is likely to be a very exciting year in your household.
The head of Sky 3D, John Cassy, has recently revealed that the channel has very ambitious plans for 2012. Speaking to 3D Focus, he said:
“We’ve learnt so much over the past 12 months. We’ve raised the bar and the technology is catching up with the scale of our ambition. Some of the shows we have planned for 2012 will blow viewers away. And with strong 3D TV sales forecast in 2012 more people will get a chance to view than ever before.”
If you want to enjoy Sky 3D and see what shows the channel has planned for this year, including the David Attenborough-hosted Galapagos 3D, the ten part reality show Safari Park 3D and numerous gigs, concerts and sports events, you will need to have the full 3D home entertainment package up and running. As well as a 3D-enabled TV, appropriate Sky box and a decent pair of 3D glasses, you will also need an HDMI cable (version 1.4) or two.
Anyone who has ever been to see a 3D film at the cinema will tell you that the experience is truly amazing, but what’s even more incredible is that you can now enjoy the same experience in your very own home.
If you plan to build up your very own 3D home entertainment centre in your living room, you will need to get a few pieces of equipment first. Here’s what you will need:
• A 3D-enabled HD TV, preferably widescreen for the full cinema experience
• A pair of 3D glasses, if they aren’t included with your 3D TV purchase
• 3D sources, such as a 3D-ready Blu-ray player and discs, a PS3 or Xbox and compatible 3D games and films
• High speed HDMI 1.4 cables, which come with an in-built Ethernet Channel for device networking as well as support for 3D technology and super-high resolutions
When buying this equipment, make sure you get the very best quality you can afford, as only one poor component can spoil what would otherwise be a mind-blowing 3D experience. If you need any more help as to what 3D equipment to buy, speak to a home electronics expert.
In the first part of this guide, we looked at one of the features offered by HDMI cables – support for advanced colour spaces. We also took a brief look at what colour spaces, but let’s now move onto the specific colour spaces HDMI cables can offer support for.
Deep Color, support for which is offered by HDMI 1.3 and HDMI 1.4 cables, allows HDTVs and other high definition displays use billions rather than millions of colours. This creates displays that are as vivid and accurate as it is possible to get. Viewers with Deep Color support can also enjoy increased contrast ratio, along with smoother tonal transitions.
Also included in HDMI 1.3 cables and HDMI 1.4 cables is support for the colour standard known as xvYCC, or x.v.Color, which supports up to 1.8 times as many colours as existing HDTV signals. Whilst Deep Color increases the number of colours there are available, xvYCC allows your HDTV to display them more accurately, expanding the available range to allow the display to include the whole range of colours the human eye is able to recognise.
If you look down the list of features and functions offered by your HDMI cables, it is likely that you will not understand all of them unless you are something of an electronics buff. However, by finding out a little bit more about the cables which connect up your home entertainment system, you can unlock the potential of all your devices and get the best from your setup.
One thing that many people ask about when looking at HDMI features is colour spaces, advanced support for which is offered by HDMI cable versions 1.3 and beyond. So, what are colour spaces, how do they affect your home entertainment system, and why do your HDMI cables need to offer support for them?
In terms of home entertainment, a colour space is a system for representing a colour palette numerically, for use in printing and in digital displays. There are a few types of these colour spaces commonly used in home entertainment, and some are more advanced than others.
In part 2 of this guide to colour spaces and HDMI cables, we will look at two of the most desirable colour spaces used in home entertainment devices – Deep Color and xvYCC.
The biggest issue many people face when trying to buy new HDMI cables is whether they should go for the cheapest ones available, or whether they should see a higher price tag and a well-known brand as a sign of quality and choose those cables instead.
This is a topic that has been fiercely debated by home entertainment fans for years, but there is quite a simple answer available. All you need to do when shopping for HDMI cables is look for those that display the label ‘HDMI Certified’. Without this certification, there is no guarantee that the cable you buy will perform up to the expected level.
Of course, there are sometimes benefits to be gained by spending a little more on your HDMI cables. You can now find high speed cables, or those with an in-built Ethernet Channel, which offer you more features and a superior level of performance. You may also want to buy the latest version of HDMI cables, HDMI 1.4.
All of these varieties of HDMI cable tend to cost a little more, but the difference in price is negligible, especially when you consider the benefits you get with these kinds of advanced cables.
It would be nice if every piece of technology you use in your everyday life would work as it is supposed to, without you having to troubleshoot problems. However, it is not always so straightforward, especially when connecting up devices in your home entertainment system.
As with any new technology, you will need to make a few adjustments to your setup if you plan to enjoy 3D in your home.
The following are a couple of the most common problems relating to HDMI cables and 3D TV, and how to fix them.
1. When trying to play 3D films, my TV screen just goes blank
The most likely cause for this is that one of the components is not set up for 3D, such as your TV for example. You need to ensure you get a 3D-enabled TV and Blu-player, plus HDMI 1.4 cables, in order to watch 3D movies.
2. When I try to watch a 2D film on my 3D TV, the screen just goes blank
To fix this problem, you need to change your TV’s settings so that it can display both 2D and 3D content. The best setting may be ‘auto’ or something similar, to tell your TV to display all incoming signals.
The consumer electronics giant Toshiba has launched a brand new 3D product onto the market, in the form of its first ever full HD 3D camcorder.
The Toshiba Camileo Z100 offers a dazzling array of features, including a dual lens system and 8x digital zoom, as well as full HD 2D capture (1920 x 1080 at 30fps). What’s more, the camcorder can take pictures up to 16MP thanks to its two CMOS, 5MP quality image sensors, which also have back side illumination.
Although the camcorder has a 7.1cm glasses-free touchscreen, users are best viewing their home videos and directorial efforts on their widescreen TVs at home. Handily, the Camileo Z100 also includes a mini USB 2.0 port and a mini HDMI cable port so that you can connect the device to your home computer for video editing and to your HD 3D TV for viewing.
It is not yet known how much the Toshiba Camileo Z100, due to be released in the UK in just a few months times, will cost. However, anyone planning to buy one should make sure to factor in the cost of a great quality HDMI cable into their budget too.
Shopping for HDMI cables isn’t as easy as you may think. Even if you know which version and what length you need, you are still likely to encounter a number of different options to choose from.
You should know that there are five main types of HDMI cable. These are:
• The standard HDMI cable. This is designed to be able to cope with most home entertainment tasks, and can transmit the HDMI resolutions most often used in cable and satellite TV
• The standard HDMI cable with Ethernet. This cable offers the same performance as the previous type, but with the useful addition of an Ethernet channel for device networking
• The high speed HDMI cable. This cable can handle more advanced technologies such as 3D, as well as higher resolutions
• The high speed cable with Ethernet. Offering the same advanced performance as the previous type, but with an Ethernet channel for device networking
• The standard automotive HDMI cable. This is a special type of HDMI cable designed solely for use in vehicles, and is tested to higher performance standards in order to overcome the challenges of implementing HDMI in moving vehicles.