Is HDMI worth the upgrade?

I'm in the market for a used av processor. There is a
number of good used processors out there at very low
prices. Is the lack of HDMI in older products driving the prices down? Or is it something else, or a combination of things?
Lack of HDMI is a serious limitation in an AV processor these days, so I would think that it would be a major factor.

It depends on how critical video switching is to you. Video switching is not critical to me since it is only HD-cable or DVD as choices. Both run directly into the TV HDMI inputs which are easily switched between sources. It also means that I can turn the TV on cable and not have to power up the processor and amp for sound or video switching. HDMI picture output is superb.

I bought an excellent audio processor cheaply(Meridian 561) that lacks advanced video outputs that I did not really need to run multi-channel movie soundtracks.
with HDMI 1.3 and 1.4 come some audio features.
I'm not an HT guy, using only 2.1, but if I were interested in the advanced BR features, I'd be tempted in the the new pre/pro direction....

Unless your BR player or other source could manage it for you
HDMI can also help you cut down on cabling (video + multichannel audio through one cable), if "cable sprawl" is an issue for you.
I think quality wise you will be missing the 2 new surround codecs. I forget what they are called.

Some factors affecting pricing of aV processors & receivers is the truncated time frame from one itteration to another. Annually and sometimes less than annually, newer models come onto the HT scene… from about every manufacturer.

As for the latest receiver iterations in past years they’ve almost completely done away with standard transformered power supplies by moving into class D amps. Thus lightening the overall weight and size of the multi ch units while allowing for as good power output or more. then networking was/is being added. Now the onset of another iteration of HDMI.

Hardware always supercedes software. Plenty of 1080P displays were in the stores well before there were many 1080{P disc choices. Now with 3D displays it’s the same thing again. With multi ch controllers

Then there’s the ongoing tech aimed at the video and audio chips. New ones or new themes on older ones are coming along pretty quickly.

That said, HDMI 1.3a encompasses a ton of audio codecs and does an exemplary job with video. There’s not a diff in the connectors from the orig 19 pin sorts, but the tech inside the components has been elevated to allow for greater bandwidths to be passed along the cable. The $$$ savings from needing only the one cable is quite attractive. All by itself

I like HDMI a lot. For what it is it’s a tuff feature to better without significantly greater outlays of cash. One wire for mere pennies brings all the digital realm to your beck and call. True color. DSD audio. HD Dolby. Etcup conversion of the video format, lip sync is easier than ever. etc.

Many processors & receivers are notoriously poor investments given their less than stellar reps for resale. Albeit, the good ones last very long and offer loads of bang for buck going in. I think they change almost as fast as personal confusers. Most often however the procs usually offer either better performance or greater flexibility, or both, albeit again, for a greater premium initially.

I’d opt for current tech in the area I could afford over a previous killer proc that has no such existing tech built into it. Given the advances in video chips and HDMI 1.3a or greater, alone.

I think with all the digital tech that seems to be whizzing by us these days, one just has to figure out what they want to do and find those pieces that’ll be compatible and required and get in where one fits in.

I’m quite happy staying a step or two behind bleeding edge technology. It’s less costly that way. That and the fact I’m not keen on keeping one eye on my HT display and the other on the changing electronic resale market.
The upgrade to HDMI in the TV is well worth it, one would be hard pressed to buy a TV without it. As long as the various source components has both HDMI and other digital and analog outputs to go into the A/v processor you have the best of both worlds, current state of the art into video monitor, the added bonus of ease of use for the entire family, not having to turn on entire system just to watch a simple work out video or such. I think not having the HDMI has driven prices down in non equipped units allowing the savvy to buy a really good processor for far less. I would much rather have a great sounding unit then one with the latest video hook up.
The low prices for the older non-HDMI units obviously directly reflects their desirablility for a good reason.

Pass through of video upconverting, digital switching and a multitude of other features make them worth having.

Yes, you can go with an older unit with 5.1 analog pass through (how much will that cost in extra cabling?), but you won't get HDMI 1.3, or the new 1.4 for 3D if that's important to you.

I was in the same position a while ago, and went with the top-end unit of the last generation of Integra. For about $1-1.5k you can get (almost) state of the art that won't be completely outdated soon.

Short answer - is it worth it? - without doubt
Thanks to all for the info.

I agree with Blindjim that "happy staying a step or two behind" which has led me to the position of replacing three
components at one time: dvd(am planning to buy oppo, again)
av processor and a TV so the budget is stretched.

I also agree with Glenfihi that "would rather have a great sounding unit..."

With those facts any specific recomendations for the processor at about 1k?
The ones that interest me are the Integra models. In the Integra - onkyo line up music sense is not replaced by non sense.

The Integra 9 series and more recently their 40 series (SE only.... 80 = xlr), are well received by the press and aren't to hard to come by in the used market.

it'll take a pretty good bit more to improve upon what they bring to the table. That said, I'm pretty happy using my Onkyo TX SR 805 as a processsor only now. So If you think about things that way, using a rec as a proc, the budget gets a shot in the arm and more money for other concerns can be freed up.

I'm digging my Panic sonic TCP 50C2 as well. I'd have preffered a 60 though, more than likely. But for the Bedroom, it'll do.

One other thing here... if you want a very nice Blue Ray effect, do make sure the display does 24fps & 1080p. The 3:2 pull down tech is a compromise of sorts for displaying BR. It's not a bad one, but I feel a more dedicated & direct route might be better.

Good luck.

Thanks, Ive started to become a daily reader
(getting myself educated)
of the web site and have noticed your excellent
comments and input to others!!

Thanks again

Thanks... you're welcome.
Unless your monitor is 60in and up your not likely to see any true benefit of 1080p that at this time is still only on BluRay. HDMI direct from a player will allow often the upsample of standard def video but its not signifcant.
Hook up HDMI direct to monitor, use SPDIF Coax or Toslink digital for audio unless the new codecs for HD audio is a must have. You can save alot of coin on used units that are pre HDMI if you truely understand what they offer and what they really dont. I myself as of yet feel the need to update every item in my home for full HDMI.
Can't you use a Oppo BDP-83 with its' analog outs to go this route? Do the new high bit rate audio codecs play over the Oppo's analog outs?
No they only play via HDMI, thats why the market has crashed on pre HDMI gear, between 1080p and the latest codecs thats where HDMI gets its strength even if its goal really was only a way to prevent piracy (or try to)


Newbie asked…
Can't you use a Oppo BDP-83 with its' analog outs to go this route? Do the new high bit rate audio codecs play over the Oppo's analog outs?

You replied….
“… No they only play via HDMI, thats why the market has crashed on pre HDMI gear, between 1080p and the latest codecs…. “

This is confusing.

Full on HD audio doesn’t come out of the Oppo BDP 83’s analog outs?

Hdmi ONLY? That doesn’t make sense to me.

So then… the full on HD audio only comes out of the processor in a dedicated HT multi ch proc or reciever’s analog outs, and NOT from a capably equipped source unit?

It has to.

I’ve not yet seen amps with HDMI…. At some point the digital HD AUDIO INFO has to be converted to analog… be it at the proc/receiver or at the source.

The BDP 83 has the codecs for HD audio too.

I’d bet the Oppo also allows for true HD audio out of it’s analog audio connections.

It has to be so. Processing of the Dolby and DTS HD audio is processing that info into analog. We would not be able to realize that sole benefit if it were to remain in the HDMI arena only.

The reason for the Oppos’ HDMI & multi ch outs is for flexibility with interfacing it into a greater variety of downstream appliances, and configurations.

HDMI has it’s own feature set for both video and audio, respective to it’s class… 1.0; 1.1; 1.2; etc. Only the bandwidth increases with each subsequent iteration. Due to the bandwidth increases, other audio aspects were then enabled… like DSD, multi ch audio, and now true color and HD AUDIO to be passed along a single cheap cable.

UNTIL hdmi 1.3 CAME ALONG YOU WERE ONLY GETTING STEREO AUDIO. 1.3A ALLOWED FOR STEREO dsd DIRECT WITHOUT IT BEING SWITCHED INTO pcm, AND THE hd color and audio facets. The video side also got a step up enabling True color.

Now networking is being added in the 1.4 version.

However capable the HDMI versions may well be in terms of bandwidth capacity enhancements, it remains the province of the displays, processors, and source units to be likewise outfitted or capable.

Not every source unit has the higher res audio or video codecs even if it has HDMI. One has to check which version of HDMI is on board. If it’s Blue Ray and doesn’t have analog outs, it likely doesn’t have the HD audio codecs needed to realize the better audio Blue Ray affords., and serves only to pass them along to the processor. If it does however chances are quite high that it does have those codecs and the only likely losses one could suffer then would be True color if the display doesn’t have the same level of HDMI gbuilt in. No such losses should occur if the source’s analog outs are employed, either by way of a receiver or right out into a multi ch amp from the source unit.

My Oppo DV 980H has HDMI 1.2. Upscalable video, and multi ch audio on the standard 19 pin HDMI cable. No true color video, DSD (SACD audio without conversion, and 24/96 multi ch audio , 24/192 in 2 ch though).

Blue ray dictated greater needs in thruput to accommodate more audio and video info, so another iteration was added. And agan, the technology preceeded the implementation of it’s benefits as the software lagged behind as usual.

Checking the capabilities of each source item, and processing and display device will tell you which way to proceed downstream of it. . that and your current devices of course.